Christian hip-hop, also known as Christian or gospel rap is a blend of rhythmic music and faith-based lyrics that emerged from urban communities in the United States in the 1980s. The music is both an evangelism and encouragement tool from a Christian back ground and perspective purposely to promote faith in God. However, one cannot detach the element of entertainment from the music. Gospel hip-hop has attracted crowds and attention overtime compared to when it first emerged on record, but it still has minimal mainstream attention.
On the contrary, mainstream music is extremely popular and has been distributed over a large audience mostly because of its diversity with styles like trap. Because of these forms, it is to no surprise that mainstream artists are a lot more prominent than Christian hip-hop artists. While Christian hip-hop is crafted from a place of encounter with God, it could be a revelation from the bible or a personal experience/testimony with a goal to glorify God. On the other hand, mainstream music happens a lot more naturally in that anything that comes to the artists’ mind can amount to music and has no limitations. With this said, it is very hard to match popularity of mainstream hip-hop acts to Christian hip-hop rappers.
Even with the limitations around Christian hip-hop music, we cannot deny the fact that there are Christian hip-hop artists that have made it to the mainstream. Big names like Lecrae, NF, and Andy Mineo are some of the few hip-hop rappers that have broken the shell.
NF has one of the best flows currently and his lyrics are such an encouragement. His music and rap style has been compared to big names like; Eminem, Jay-z, and Kendrick Lamar. On the list is also Lecrae who has previously won a Grammy award for his sixth studio album Gravity and doubles as the founder of Reach Records, a record label specializing in Christian hip-hop.
With some of these achievements mentioned above, the pace might not be as fast as we would assume but one should appreciate that there is progress. Christian hip-hop music is not where it was before and we are about to see it taking more big stages in the world if given more time.