This ain’t Grime, it’s Christ-like music” – MC Stealth (Bibles! Bibles!)

Today we have a guest writer on Artists for Christ, my good friend Jonny Rose. He is currently a student at Exeter University and has a love for Urban music.

– James
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Grime? – it’s just hip-hop isn’t it?…

Unlike hip-hop, where true fans are at pains to explain the difference between the original praise-worthy tenets of the music – championing the virtues of education, hard-work and mobilising as a means of self-improvement – as opposed to the trends of illicit gangsterism and materialism that later entered the genre. Grime lacked this from its very conception.
A darker sonical off-shoot of UK Garage, Grime sprung up in from the insalubrious urban sprawl of London’s less affluent areas. Traditionally, the sound comprises of double-time rapping over grubby basslines and syncopated beats. The lyrical content never strays far from the secular rap staples of drug-taking, pre-marital sex and the constant championing of violence. It comes as no surprise that most of the proponents of the scene have been involved in criminal activity and spent time in jail as a result.
Grime is the voice of angry and disenfranchised British youth who aren’t blessed with a stable home-life, a sparkling academic record or opportunities. Most of all, they’re lacking the Good News.

Enter Bibles! Bibles!

An 8-bar Grime riddim championing God’s word in a way that would make a Fundamentalist proud, ‘Bibles! Bibles!’ firmly sets itself apart from the scene and embodies – in my opinion – the Christian ideal of being in the world, but not of it. Subverting the traditional grime response of elevating fingers shaped like a pistol and shouting, “Brrrap!” as a means of showing approval, the song instead calls for the lifting up of Scripture.
The restrictions of the Grime sound means that the MC words lack the slower more contemplative lyricism that can be found in the Christian hip-hop but this does not make for a watered-down experience.
The song contains lyrics such as:

“I stay close to God for my own survival
I seek God and wait for his arrival
No-one else he’s my only Idol
The Bible always brings a revival”

And….

“I’m kinda hungry and I want a munchie
So I draw for the daily bread
Forget cutlery I make moves on my N.I.V”

As well as a catchy and joyful chorus. Watching the video, one can’t help but smile at the sheer ebullience of these boys and their rhyming.
What I’ve always loved about the Gospel message is its enduring ability to permeate even the most God-forsaken places. Although mass media, in all its forms, does all it can to reject the word of God, God is not limited. Bibles, Bibles shows this.
Some may view this as inarticulate noise, but I have no doubt that if more and more music like this is made, we’ll see something amazing happen amongst the young in Britain. For those of us who like their music to have a little more ‘umph’, when it espouses Kingdom values, you can’t go wrong with this!

– Jonny Rose

More from Jesus Painter (Mike Lewis)

We have shown Mike’s work in a previous post but he has a lot of videos of him painting that are just SO worth sharing. The particular video shown above is very beautifully put together, and very moving. I love the way that the emotion is put across using so many dimensions with the painting, the words and the music.

– James

The Illuminate DVD

This week, a very exciting project is launching across the university of Oxford, where every new student is being given a DVD of the testimonies of 3 students who became Christians last year with a short explanation of the gospel afterwards. Both filming and production have, in my opinion, been excellent – certainly better than I’d expected! The plan is to deliver around 3500 of these door-to-door to new students to give them a chance to explore the Christian faith, and ask any questions they have arising from watching it. See it for yourself in the videos below, and please keep the project in your prayers. If you’d like to know more, or if you’re considering doing something similar at your university, please do get in touch with me at stephen.hibbs@spc.ox.ac.uk

– Stephen

Another Christian Graffiti Video

At the moment I am really appreciating Christian graffiti, there are some amazingly talented artists out there and I am so blessed that instead of not bringing God into their graffiti art, they are letting the two flow hand in hand.

The video above features a few Christian graffiti artists, including Camer1 and Fasm who we have seen before in a Christian graffiti video put together by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.

– James

Jesus Saves – Graffiti

Every month or two I receive a street art magazine called Overspray (which if you are interested in street art is WELL worth a read). In the latest issue there was an article about a guy called “Rubin N” who goes around the streets of New York tagging “Jesus Saves”. In the interview that the journalist had with him, Rubin explains how this is his evangelism, and by leaving these tags it “preaches it for me, 24/7“.

I think this youtube video, which appears to be blackbook work of Rubin’s, is very interesting. Although at first it seems that some of the drawings seem a bit childish, there are some real gems in there, including some good humour! The variety is absolutely amazing, and when you consider quite how many drawings there are, you realise that a lot of time and effort has gone into this.

I’d really like to know what people think about using illegal graffiti as a form of evangelism. Certainly graffiti and street art are more and more becoming a great way of putting messages across, and to truly live a life devoted to Christ is about living a radical one,  Jesus himself was a real revolutionary, and did stuff that upset people to make a point and make them think. How far should we go as Christians to share the gospel? Should we be doing outrageous things that, in the eyes of the law are illegal, but, may well reach a lot of people who may not be reachable in other ways? I’d love to hear what you think…please do leave a comment with your thoughts.

– James

Lyrical Theology, part 1

Greetings all!

I’d like to take a moment to introduce myself: I’m Stephen, also known as the centurion (my rapping alias). I hope to make a regular contribution to this exciting new blog in opening readers up to areas of Christian creativity that they haven’t come across elsewhere. My particular interests are in Christ-centred hip-hop, preaching and books, and these are the areas I hope to cover in my posts.

…Right now, my focus is the Man who took the three nails

Two through His wrists, One through His feet

The wrath of God satisfied, the work of the Son is complete

– shai linne, The Solus Christus Project

I would like to introduce you today to an area of current Christian creative expression that you may be tempted to turn away from without a second thought simply because you haven’t liked hip-hop music that you’ve heard in the past. shai linne, the artist who wrote the line above is one of the best examples of a quickly-evolving field of God-glorifying, scripture-heavy, well produced and basically fantastic Christian hip-hop that I think can be appreciated by any person who is hungry to see more of God, whether or not they like hip-hop.

Much of modern day Christian music is very simple, and tends to focus on a small list of topics: thanking God for forgiveness, overcoming difficult times, praising God for His love and creation and other important topics – key themes, but a fairly small list. In contrast, just on the forementioned album Solus Christus Project you will hear “Angelz” – a three way conversation between shai, a demon and an angel discussing the justness of God in election; “Dark Night of the Soul” – an anguished cry in which the rapper laments his own sinfulness; and “Justified” – a lyrical verse by verse exposition of Romans chapter 3. Not only is it theologically profound, but musically accomplished and a real joy to listen to shai’s wordplay (“Crime rate – evidence of our depraved mindset; ‘cos sin got us hypnotised like chlorohydrate. Grimy associates, high off of opiates procreate within a kaleidoscope of hate”). This is the sort of album you can listen to ten times or more, and get something new from it each time. I can honestly say that I have seen more of God through listening to this album – probably the highest accolade I could give to it!

Whether you are a seasoned hip-hop head, or someone who runs at the thought of words without a tune, I cannot recommend this album highly enough to you. Get it off iTunes or http://www.spiritdistribution.co.uk/acatalog/Red_Cloud_Travelling_Circus.html and listen to it through several times. Then when you’ve listened to it, get his next album (like I’m about to do) – The Atonement. To get you excited I’ve even left a video link below to one of his newer tracks. Listen closely my friends, there is much to learn here….

– Stephen

Beautiful Graffiti Video

This video is a collaboration between the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, graffiti artists Camer1 & Fasm, DJ and graffiti artist DJ Promote, and spoken word artist Tavis Brunson.

Being a fan of graffiti and street art I think that the painting is amazing and that the video is beautifully put together

For more information please see the BGEA news article.