Recently, I read an article written by a Christian parent that talked about Chance The Rapper and his music. In the article, the author talked about his music, warning parents about how explicit the lyrics were and that he was not a “Christian” artist. They wanted to warn parents of tweens about his lyrical content and to stay away from it. This is totally reasonable, in my opinion. However, in a sense, it almost seemed as if the author was implying that Chance was using his newfound faith in order to garnish media attention. That’s where I found myself disagreeing with the article and thought this kind of narrative was somewhat judgmental.
Some of you may be totally lost at this point because you are completely unaware of who Chance The Rapper is, so let me fix that:
Chancelor Johnathan Bennett is a 23-year-old rapper from Chicago, Illinois. Chance gained a huge following after the release of his second mixtape, Acid Rap, however, his first mix tape, 10 Days, was what started his career after he was suspended from school for ten days and proceeded to record an album throughout the suspension. His Grammy award-winning album, Coloring Book , Chance mentions his faith and relationship with God.
To redirect the subject of Chance and this said article I read, here’s three thoughts I have:
- Christian folks, Chance the Rapper isn’t here to market or exploit your religion (this is coming from a fellow Christian, mind you). What I mean by that is, Chance is not obligated to be or become a “Christian” rapper just because he is now a believer. In fact, no artist, no matter what genre, faith journey, etc. is obligated by any means to pander to a Christian audience; his music is targeted at non-believers, not current believers.
- Christian parents, I know you’re concerned about what your kids listen to. I get it; I’m a pastor’s kid, I know very well how you want to make sure your children aren’t exposed to too much. If I was a parent of young teen, I probably wouldn’t want my kids listening to some of Chance’s earlier music, due to its more graphic content; I get that, however, don’t use Chance as a scapegoat in order to let other parents know about his lyrical content; he isn’t in control of what your kids listen to and shouldn’t be held accountable or convicted for that. Chance shouldn’t be implied as a let down for the Christian community, If anything, he’s bringing more people to Christ through his words and his actions.
- It’s not your place to decide whether or not Chance is a “real Christian” or not. His life choices or his choice of words in lyrics shouldn’t define whether or not he “really” has a relationship with The Lord. Don’t assume that his career is the embodiment of “Jesus Walks” by Kayne West.
These thoughts aren’t an attempt by me to chastise parents about discussing Chance and his music in a negative light. It’s an opportunity for people, as believers, to not necessarily understand where he is coming from, but to know that he loves The Lord and exclaims that willfully. In regards to this topic, I have been reflecting on Colossians 3:11 which says:
“Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.”