have heard of The Truth Behind Hip Hop, a DVD featuring G
Craige Lewis of EX Ministries. The series is proving to be
remarkably popular with young people; recently while on patrol
with the Street Pastors
in south London I was stopped by a group of youths whose first
question on seeing the Street Pastors' logo was "Do you
know where we can see The Truth About Hiphop?".
Subsequently I arranged to show The Truth Behind Hip Hop at their youth
club in Camberwell with Michael from da Vision. The DVDs had a remarkable effect on the young
people, making them think about the artists they spend so
much time listening to. This experience has been common
in many places where the DVDs have been seen — quite
amazing since they are basically videos of a pastor preaching.
The subject matter grips them — Lewis seems to have
something to say about all the major rap artists, R&B
stars and even a few church leaders! Many churches and youth
pastors are rushing to use these videos in their ministries,
yet I would urge a note of caution. Do not simply take the
DVDs at face value; do a bit of background research on some
of the claims made in them. One particular part of the DVD
that has a strong impact on young people is when Lewis plays
a track attributed to Jay-Z. The effect is so amazing that
I have even see teenagers run screaming out of the room
on hearing the track.
Tryumf and ZionNoiz performing at da
the story behind this track is not as simple as The Truth
Behind Hip Hop makes out. Underground DJ Danger Mouse mixed
an a cappella version of Jay-Z's The Black Album with the
Beatles' The White Album to make The Grey Album. If you play
the track Interlude normally it makes no sense; however, when
played backwards it includes the lyrics "666..., Murder,
Murder, Jesus". The track was made to be played backwards,
and DJ Danger Mouse simply samples Jay-Z's voice and edits
it to make him say what he wants. The album is not made or
endorsed by Jay-Z, yet Lewis does not make this clear.
This is one of several discrepancies that I have found in
The Truth Behind Hip Hop; many other people have also found
glaring errors in Lewis's comments. Rap duo Hazakim have countered
many of his arguments in an article you can read here.
The DVDs' mixture of half-truths along with their personal
attacks on Christian artists and preachers have lead me to
seriously doubt the validity of The Truth Behind Hip Hop as
a tool for use with young people.
Mouse presents The Grey Album
is a history of preachers decrying young people's music
as satanic. Many churches now use contemporary Christian
music in worship, but this wasn't always the case; years
ago disgraced televangelist Jimmy Swaggart called Christian
rock music "a diabolical force undermining Christianity
singer and spoken word artist Karl
Nova told me:
Hip hop is a
culture. It is the dominant youth culture today, whether people
like it or not. If you want to reach youth you need missionaries
who understand the language and can relate to young people.
We are in the world though not of it! Hip hop is not an organized
religion. I agree that rap music has been co opted and used
to push all kinds of evil values through the manipulation
of sounds and images that seem to have brainwashed those who
are searching for something real, but a generation has arisen
from amidst the darkness to shine a light that cannot be overcome,
within the culture. I don't personally subscribe
to the phrase Holy
Hip Hop but I understand it. The redeemable elements of
the culture can be offered up to God and made holy by those
who have set themselves apart for His service. This is the
truth about hip hop that G Craige Lewis didn't tell y'all!
The problem with him is that he mixes in his personal views
and opinions and tries to pass on everything as Gospel truth.
He also mixes in badly researched information and plays on
the prejudice of narrow minded traditionalists, legalists
and very religious folk! I also disagree with his calling
out other Ministers. It throws everything he says into question.
Where is the love? We are to speak the truth in love! He has
some truth but being that it is mixed in with wrong motives
which at times appear to border on hatred, it almost neutralizes
the truth he does speak! He simply doesn't understand what
hip hop is!
also asked rapper Smooflow
of Royalpriesthood if he takes issue with Lewis's comments.
If hip hop was
a sinner, when God came into the picture the dynamics changed.
All music belongs to God. Hip hop started in Africa, singing
and talking over beats and drums. If you can generalize and
say all hip hop is bad, then I guess I can generalize and
say all black people are criminals. If people agree with G
Craige Lewis's claims then I guess we need to stop using the
Internet because the foundation of the Internet is very demonic.
Cerberus is a server that we go via to get to the Internet.
Cerberus is a three headed demon dog that protects the gateway
to hell, yet everyone logs on to the Internet. I don't care
about the foundation of the Internet. All I know is I use
it for good. I don't care about the foundation of hip hop.
All I know is I use that for God. Proverbs 18:6 says 'The
words of a fool start fights; do him a favour and gag him.'
(The Message). People are coming from the streets into the
church and if a man like G Craige Lewis is man enough to disrespect
people then what comes back to him is his problem.
performing at da Vision
As a music major
I have taken several world music classes, and they all conclude
that modern day pop music, including hip-hop, goes back to
black church music. Jazz, blues, and gospel all started in
the black church in the early 1900s. Rock music goes back
to church music, soul, these are all the foundations for hip-hop.
Up until the black church, music didn't have the soul, the
beat, the rhythm it has today. James Brown is the godfather
of hip-hop. His sound is gospel, soulful. Ray Charles, the
innovator of soul, got dissed for taking the Lord’s
music to night clubs and bars. The reality is, all the innovators
in pop culture in the last 100 years started where? —
the church. We dropped the ball because we didn't give these
people an outlet to express themselves outside of Sunday morning.
It was either praise and worship or nothing. Now if as an
artist you were limited like that, I'm sure you would leave
the church and go and get your music heard. In the church
not giving these artists room to blossom, they left, and the
drugs, sex, and sin took over.
Rock originally used to refer to the rock of Christ. Elvis
was a Christian, Little Richard, all these dudes started in
church. We need to take back the culture. Christians have
always lead what was popular and cool throughout history,
until the last 100 years when we became afraid of culture
and gave it away to the devil. Those are the roots of hip-hop.
Gospel, jazz, soul laid the foundation and the guys in the
south Bronx just used it to bring people together and express
what was going on in the community. Some of you really need
to take a music class and study the origins of music before
you start speaking as an expert and say this music is devil
inspired. There is no such thing as secular music, just secular
lyrics. All music is of God, just like all food is of God.
Corinthians 8. Paul said it was okay to intake food sacrificed
to idol gods. So if we draw the line between what we eat and
what we watch, we have a lot of liberty. Our concern should
be not offending our neighbors with our freedom.
me most about The Truth Behind Hip Hop is the effect it is
having on Christian artists. G Craige Lewis’s comments
will have little impact on the fortunes amassed by the likes
of Eminem and 50
Cent. However, many of the CDs destroyed at Lewis’s
seminars are by respectable Gospel artists that Lewis has
preached against. Lewis is making life very difficult for
Christian rappers; his DVD sales reportedly outstrip those
of Christian rap music. Holy hip hoppers are finding themselves
unable to get gigs in churches that Lewis has preached his
do you think of The Truth Behind Hip Hop?
Read other people's comments below and then let me know.
Craige has many valid points, I ask you this: Do his few valid
points make up for calling other believers "fags"
and claiming that they are "not saved"? Do his FEW
valid points (which an unbeliever with an ounce of moral clarity
would agree with) make up for his historical inaccuracies
and absurd claims? And please answer this: Why does the black
church often fall into the error of labeling everything "cool"
or "new" as being of the world? I mean, is the "world"
a state of the heart or a beat or a style of dress? Please
read the Biblical references of when Jesus and the disciples
condemned "the world". You will see that is NEVER
in reference to music, a style of dress or slang (though it
can encompass these things). Jesus condemned the "world"
in terms of SIN. Slander is one of these sins (please read
1 Corinth 6:9-10). Here
is an article I wrote before our song's release. Just
something to think about.
— Anthony of rap duo Hazakim
my junior year in college I came home only to be forced to
watch the first of Craige's many DVDs. While watching I must
say that I was moved at first glance. But after a few jabs
at Kirk Franklin, Musiq, Yolanda Adams, and oh his favorite
artist Tonex, I was truly turned off. After watching his third
video where he made jabs at "alternative" sororities,
clubs, etc I was through. I felt like his study was not complete.
Like he took it at face value instead of finding out what
drives it. You know the Pharisees did that to Jesus; they
saw him at the wedding, they saw Him perform miracles but
it wasn't until they asked Jesus why He did what He did that
they got full understanding. I think that his motive and heart
was in the right place but if you want to reach the youth
of today you can't come with half truths, we have been lied
to all our lives. We know what’s truth and what it is
to have us believe "ur" doctrine. In the end we
must pray that God will manifest the true men and women of
God, and not these people who want you to believe as they
believe. I am saved and I love the "holy" hip-hop
culture! Why? Because if God can take a man who spoke totally
against believers and tormented them and make him into one
of the best ambassadors we have seen this side of heaven (Paul),
I believe that He can take what the enemy tried to make evil
and use it to reach young people. Everything belongs to God
agree the DVDs made me more aware of what I listen to, but
I don't agree with everything Lewis says. He makes it seem
like if I listen to violent rap that I am going to hell, but
that is like watching a movie with violence, yet that would
be OK. He is also casting a lot of judgment on rappers and
Christian artists, as if it's his place to say what people
||When I first watched this, I completely believed what Craige Lewis said and I was truly scared. Being a teenager who is a fan of hip-hop, I guess you could say that I am a "victim" of the religion. His heart is in the right place and he made some good points about specific artists such as Jay Z and DMX, but as soon as he started to insult and reject Christian hip hop arists, that made me feel a bit like... hang on a minute, you're not God! Only God can judge. —
definitely don't hear music the same any more... but to say
that God doesn't want to use something Satan has used is a
false statement. To keep this in its simplicity — I
look at my life and all the evil and corrupt things I have
done. I was owned by the master of evil himself — a
lying, cheating, murderous, adulterer. I should not be saved;
I was horrible... but some how the merciful, forgiving, loving
and gracious God has made me a new creature. When Christ was
put in me, I was changed, so why can't hip hop be changed?
Because hip hop was created by evil men? So was the cross
but put Christ on it and people fall on their knees. I loved
the revelation of hip hop Minister Lewis exposed but there
aren't a lot of references used — that's not sound (Titus
2:8). Nevertheless, he is our brother — not our enemy.
It gets to me when I see "Christ-like" rappers dog
out Minister Lewis and vice versa (Matt 18). They are acting
like Tupac and Biggie — just like the world and it's
hurting our young people. TTBHH has taught me that all Christian
rap is not Christ-like... if it was there would be less "I"s
and more "He"s in their lyrics. Also, it has shown
me that I couldn't care less what you call it — hip
hop or holy hip hop. All I know is God gave me this gift,
and I'm giving it back to Him.
have only seen the third DVD, "Antichrist Superstar".
I urge everyone to take the time and do some major research
on their own. Take notes and hit the books. I am the parent
of teenagers and before I sit down with my kids to view
this I wanted to be sure I was not contaminating their spirits,
their thinking and their minds. This video can be both confusing
and scary in some instances. He gave a lot of information,
some good, a lot of it his own personal convictions, and
some of it way out of context. I plan to continue to thoroughly
research the information given. God created music and worship,
the devil contaminated it. The bible said for us to preach
the Gospel to all, Mr Lewis on several occasions in the
video made it seem as though it was an abomination for secular
artists to even come to church. The bible says "we
wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities,
against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this
world, against spiritual wickedness in high places".
This battle is supposed to be spiritual; he personally attacks
people saved and unsaved, and voices his opinion on how
he feels about these people and their lifestyles. Parents
I urge you before you purge you children's room of all their
demonic influences research, research, research. Amos says
"My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge".
We can also be destroyed by knowledge not given in its entirety.
Romans says that "all things work together for good
to them that love God, to them who are the called according
to his purpose". It is not our job nor Mr Lewis's job
to berate or slander pastors, preachers or other artists
for anything. Craige doesn't know what God said to TD Jakes
to allow the secular artists to share the stage at Megafest.
Nor was he present when or if God spoke to Yolanda Adams
about who she is touring with. We all have a purpose, we
don't know the effects of these artists being around Christians,
we cannot predict God's moves nor should we judge, as the
bible says "judge not lest ye be judged". Don't
be ignorant, check the information out for yourself and
then share it with your children.
have only seen the first video, but that one alone has changed
me. It was very powerful. I had to get rid of several of my
own CDs after watching that because I felt convicted to do
am a youth pastor and this video answered a lot a questions
I had about rap music and hip hop. It opened my eyes, it was
an answer to prayer.
to watching this DVD I was a huge fan of hip-hop but I am
now cautious of what I listen to... I must note however that
not all points made were accurate but the DVD was mind-blowing.
may be discrepancies on the DVD, nevertheless, if one takes
the time to look at hip-hop in light of God's Word and who
He is and how He does things, you begin to realize that this
music is simply not of God. And in regards to using music
to minister to people, where in the Bible was music used to
win souls for the Kingdom? Is the Word of God not powerful
enough by itself?
agree with what you say. At first watching this DVD I thought
how true. Most of the things he was saying were true, like
how music can affect your mood from angry to sad, but, for
example, 2Pac had some very uplifting things to say. This
DVD left me very confused!
too have only seen the first video; it changed my perception
of hip hop. I got rid of a lot of albums and it has opened
my understanding to the spiritual realm involved in music.
When Lewis said that the devil was in the choir in heaven,
before he got kicked out to hell, it made me think that he
to can use music to give himself glory without you even knowing.
viewing some of the videos and reviewing some of the comments,
I must say that we are definitely living in the "Last
Days". People are unknowingly questioning the "Word
of God". God tells us in His Word to be separate from
this world and I read that God can use what the Devil can
use? Look at what happened to Cain and Abel — God gave the
instructions for the sacrifice they were to offer and Abel
obeyed and Cain thought it would be a good idea to sacrifice
the fruit of the ground or the plants he had grown. God was
not pleased with Cain's offering and rejected it. Is it okay
to give God what we feel is right to give, instead of what
He has asked us to give? God, through His Word, tells us how
to worship Him and how we should live and the bible say the
Word of God is not of a private interpretation. You have to
be filled with His Spirit (Acts 2:38) to understand the scriptures.
If we all are filled with the same Spirit, we would interpret
the word of God the same. So how can we all have different
interpretations and have the same Spirit? I think Elder Lewis
was lead by God to reveal a lot of the influences (Spirit
lead) of this Hip Hop culture. Why do you think in the old
testament God wanted Israel to be separate from the world?
They were told how to dress, eat, how to plant their crops,
and who to marry. If God judged his chosen people - don't
you think he would even judge the grafted limbs that were
chosen to be his people as well. Read the "Word of God"....
It will lead to Salvation.
Bible says that we will know them by their fruits. I agree
with Lewis, whether he is doing it for money or anything else,
may God bless him. I'm ready to stand and to preach against
hip hop. A Christian is supposed to walk like Christ. Would
Christ wear earrings, nose rings and tatoos? We need to learn
how to respect God and how to honour him. I can't see a difference
between so called holy hip hop men and those from the world.
Not fruits, the tree needs to be cut off and thrown into the
saw the complete collection of The Truth Behind Hip Hop and
it's like every time I watch it, it's renewed. It made me
stop wearing hip hop clothes and even listen to the so called
Holy Hip Hop. I thought twice of the difference between worldly
music and Gospel music. Even some of the "Christian"
artists such as Kirk Franklin, T-BONE, Yalanda Adams, etc,
seem so fake to me. I think this DVD had a great impact on
me and I'd highly recommend it for everyone.
Truth Behind Hip-Hop really opened my eyes to something that
I never noticed before. Craige Lewis brought us this message
in such an up beat way that you would actually want to listen.
He was straight forward and he told us that Hip-Hop is ruining
the youth of our world. I Thank Craige Lewis for helping the
young people in my congregation realize the junk we listen
to and who brings this junk to us. The devil has many servants
and we need to stay far away from them. I have not listened
to any demonic music since I watched that series. So thank
you Craige for saving my soul!
watched all four DVDs by G Craige Lewis and it was truly life
changing. The Body of Christ needed a wake up call and I believe
that the Truth Behind Hip Hop is just that. You can't take
something evil then rearrange it to praise God! God doesn't
need evil leftovers to do His work. God gave us Jesus to take
away our sins. Jesus is the only way to salvation. So using
hip hop to reach and save our youth is totally against what
the Bible states. I think everyone who believes in Jesus and
even those who don't to watch this ministry series and see
for themselves. Let Jesus lead your life... not music artist,
not hip hop, not the clothes you wear-nothing but Jesus Christ
our Lord and Savior!
think it's time to stop being safe and stop trying not to
step on people's toes. God is not trying to share the stage
with anyone. He is a jealous God. I appreciate the message
that Craige Lewis allowed God to speak through him. Craig
Lewis did not convict me — God did! It's not important
that he is not completely accurate, because it isn't about
specific artists! It's about how tolerant we have become to
the devil's schemes. It's about him tricking us every so often
and we don't even get it. It's about the wake up call! Thank
you Jesus. I glorify you God. I pray that your word convicts
and promotes change towards you now and forever! Praise God!
I can say is powerful! I know that G Craige Lewis was sent
in these last days for those who would have an ear to hear
what the Spirit is saying. In the last days many shall depart
from the faith giving heed to seducing spirits. This world
is being seduced and of course they can't see it because they
are in darkness. But, glory be to God for His infinite wisdom,
power, and love because He has brought us out of darkness
into His marvellous light.
believe that everything in these DVDs is true. Hip hop is
absolutely not of God, even "Godly hip hop". These
so-called rappers for God are proving Craige Lewis' point;
they are now making "Godly diss tracks" about him
over secular beats. These DVDs have changed my life, and I
would encourage everyone to watch them.
feel that the sermon that Elder G Craige Lewis gave was very
relevant. As a teenage Christian it's hard to fight some of
the daily temptations we go through. It's hard to live like
Christ when you’re surrounded by demonic peers. Hip
hop really and truly has teen Christians in sort of a state
of confusion. Thanks to G Craige Lewis, he sort of summed
up what we needed to know. For every Christian out there that's
still trying to rehabilitate their minds from hip hop, I just
want to say that if God can give up his only son so that we
will be saved from sin, then we should be able to give up
hip hop to be saved from eternal damnation.
am a hip-hop music producer and I too must admit that after
watching the video I haven't listened to hip-hop in the same
way, but it seems that Craige is trying to completely ban
hip-hop which, in my opinion, is not safe. It's true that
hip-hop has taken music to a level I never thought it would
go, but music is still God's not satan's, and we need to understand
that God and satan's power are not equal (even in music).
Just as the devil manipulated it so can God. Remember God
created Satan... meaning that God has replaced Lucifer’s
position as leader of the choir in heaven with a being who
is way more qualified.
me, Craige, I am a sound engineer and a DJ in a local radio
station that plays nothing but secular and influencing songs.
Yes my Christian life has changed a little but I still believe
I belong to God and I do my best to do right not to go against
the laws of God. What should be your advice for me? Cos I’d
not get employment is any of the Gospel radio stations.
your seatbelt and prepare to experience the explosive world
of spiritually-enlightening holy hip hop ministry, music and
entertainment glorifying God! Director and producer Christopher
Martin professionally known as Play from the rap and acting
duo Kid 'n Play is the feature's host and invites you to meet
some of Holy Hip Hop's trail blazin' artists and Ministers
of the Gospel, who are a part of a movement that began in
the late 1980s and thrives worldwide as one of the fastest
growing music genres today, with over 2000 active emcees and
legions of fans worldwide. Peep this video and see what these
souled out Christian souljahs for the Lord are doing to change
the face of music for generations to come with powerful lyrics
and bangin' beats — and bringin' nothin' but the Truth.
A must see video for any ardent lover of music who wants to
be tuned in to the cutting edge, whether you are within or
outside the four walls of the church.
Hip-Hop Church: Connecting With the Movement Shaping Our Culture
culture is all around us: in the clothes youth wear, in the
music they listen to, in the ways they express themselves.
It is the language they speak, the rhythm they move to. It
is a culture familiar with the hard realities of our broken
world; the generation raised with rap knows about the pain.
They need to know about the hope. Enter the hip-hop church.
Like the culture it rises from, the hip-hop church is relevant
and bold. And it speaks to the heart. In this book, pastors
Efrem Smith and Phil Jackson show the urgency of connecting
hip-hop culture and church to reach a generation with the
gospel of Jesus Christ. They give practical ideas from their
urban churches and other hip-hop churches about how to engage
and incorporate rap, break dancing, poetry and deejays to
worship Jesus and preach his Word. Hip-hop culture is shaping
the next generation. Ignoring it will not reduce its influence;
it will only separate us from the youth moving to its rhythm.
and Spirit: The Religious and Spiritual Sensibilities of Rap
music is often seen as a Black secular response to pressing
issues of our time. Yet rap has deep connections to African
American religious traditions. Noise and Spirit explores the
diverse religious dimensions of rap stemming from Islam (including
the Nation of Islam and Five Percent Nation), Rastafarianism,
and Humanism, as well as Christianity. The book examines rap's
dialog with religious traditions, from the ways in which Islamic
rap is used as a method of religious and political instruction
to the uses of both the blues and Black women's rap for considering
the distinction between God and the Devil. The first section
explores rap's association with more easily recognizable religious
traditions and communities such as Christianity and Islam.
The next presents discussions of rap and important spiritual
considerations, including on the topic of death. The final
wrestles with ways to theologize about the relationship between
the sacred and the profane in rap.
and the Hip-Hop Prophets: Spiritual Insights from Lauryn Hill
and Tupac Shakur
organized into seven short "tracks" instead of chapters,
this slim volume offers reflections on the lyrics of two popular
recording artists, Lauryn Hill and the late 2pac Shakur. That
Teter, director of two More Than Conquerors campus ministries,
and Gee, pastor of Fountain of Life Family Worship Center,
are knowledgeable fans of hip-hop and admirers of the two
featured lyricists is unmistakable. Equally evident is their
desire to enable their fellow fans to discover the spiritual
truths embedded in the lyrics. The book suffers from the typical
awkwardness of the first-person narratives of two writers-the
"I, Alex" and "My (John's)" type of construction.
Still, the book offers a valuable look at the connection between
the harshness of urban life and the prophetic warnings from
two singers who managed to find hope amid difficult circumstances.
Hip Hop Prayer Book
powerful evangelism tool, developed at Trinity Church of Morrisania
in the South Bronx, The Hip Hop Prayer Book offers a means
to worship that will draw in the young and speak to those
not generally spoken to by the Church. Containing daily prayers,
psalms, a variety of services, and a selection of bible stories
all designed with the enlivening power of Hip Hop in mind.
The Hip Hop Prayer Book features Psalm 23 as adapted by Ryan
Kearse: "The Lord is all that, I need for nothing. He
allows me to chill. He keeps me from being heated and allows
me to breathe easy. He guides my life so that I can represent
and give shouts out in his Name. And even though I walk through
the Hood of death, I don't back down for you have my back.
The fact that you have me covered allows me to chill. He provides
me with back-up in front of my player-haters and I know that
I am a baller and life will be phat. I fall back in the Lord's
crib for the rest of my life."
and the Eroticizing of Black Youth
Are rappers raising Black youth? What kind of values are being
taught? Do rap lyrics contribute to the STD and AIDS epidemic?
How can we save Black youth? Showing that in its early days
rap music led to black consciousness, this book goes on to
argue that the current preoccupations of rap — especially
the erotic themes expressed and their dramatization in music
videos — have led to an unthinking youthful acceptance
of profanity, vulgarity, sexual abuse, and violence. The book
advocates for a return to rap's origins, for young people
to become more selective and critical of today's music, and
for parents to take a more active role in monitoring their
children's listening habits.
agrees with what G Craige Lewis says in The Truth Behind Hip
Hop DVDs. Holy hip hoppers Hazakim felt the need to respond
with a controversial rap called The Truth Behind Craige. You
can read what motivated their response here.
Hop Strikes Back
possible to have holy hip hop? According to G Craige Lewis
of The Truth Behind Hip Hop the answer is no. He claims that
hip-hop is not music, but a religion. However, many take a
different view, believing that the church can use rap music
to reach out to young people.
me, you were surprised to see Pastor Mason Betha rapping with
50 Cent on his single Window Shopping, you might be wondering
what's going on. Mase's conversion to Christianity in 1999
is well documented, not least in his autobiography.
Ma$e exchanged Creflo Dollar for half a dollar?
violence seems to follow the rapper 50 Cent, who has himself
been shot nine times, and always wears a bulletproof vest.
Now it's claimed that 'Fiddy' makes a profit out of the misery
of parents who are burying their children.
50 Cent Bulletproof?: Rap Music and Violence