On Responsible Criticism and Hip Hop

Yesterday I experienced a new first: the first time somebody has made up an email address for the purpose of dissing me. Some guy wrote to tell me that my music sucked under the email address juststop@mailinator.com. His comment started off with those two words “Just stop!” There was something pathetic about the thought of someone going to all that trouble to insult me. It exuded a pathology endemic to postmodernity: getting off on the brilliance of your sarcasm.

Continue reading


Kayal ta-arog (Psalm 42 in hip-hop)

Kayal ta-arog al afike mayim is how you write “As the deer panteth for the water” phonetically in Hebrew. That familiar heartwarming hymn has its place to be sure, but if you read the remainder of Psalm 42 from which it draws the first line, then you see that its tone is off. The psalmist says tears have been his food and his enemies’ taunts are crushing his bones. Those sorts of images call for a hip-hop song rather than a churchy sounding hymn. I’m preaching on this psalm this weekend. I will be rapping my own adaptation of it too. Lyrics are below. Here’s the recording: Continue reading

If I were to make a Christian hip-hop/electronica album…

Then my artist name would be εξουθενημενος and my album would be בן בלי שם (both of these words roughly translate to “The Nobody” because God refines my art by making people ignore it). I used to have a rock band seven years ago called the Junior Varsity Superheroes. I learned how to navigate the local rock scene and we did pretty well. Hip-hop is very much a second language to me; I learned how to rap because I was a youth pastor. I have little interest in mainstream hip-hop. I’m more interested in pursuing what it was originally: a genre geared to social critique (KRS-1, Tribe Called Quest, Public Enemy, etc). The 16 tracks I have shared below may appeal to the micro-constituency of people who are trying to recover from the phenomenon known as evangelical Christianity.

Our Father
Jesus Come Back
Jesus Is My Candidate
Jesus Save the World from Me
Kayal Ta-arog (Psalm 42)
The Script
Isaiah 6
The Lord Is My Shepherd
Star Spangled Banner
This Is My Father’s World
1 John