Saturday, April 5, 2008

April Fool's Ain't No Joke

Did you hear the one about the white geek from Florida who made silly rap songs about Mountain Dew and mullets and prayers to Eminem and helped lots and lots of youth group kids know more about Jesus?

Just kidding!!!

Oh wait, no I’m not. That’s actually KJ-52’s story and it’s one I thought about this week when I ran across Reach Records’ “April Fool’s Day” joke that they had signed an all-female rap group called Verbs: 31.

What struck me was that it didn’t seem all that funny. I mean, is it really that far-fetched to believe one of holy hip hop’s most on-point labels would be able to find a trio of females who know how to rock a mic with spiritual relevance?

Digging into the story a little deeper, I don’t honestly believe that was their intended message. However, it was the first one that popped into my mind upon just seeing the headline and press release.

I think the humor was supposed to be in the actual identities behind the pseudo group.

Apparently they were spouses and label friends of many of the Reach regulars. And if they’re anything like my wife they may not even enjoy hip hop - in which case it would be funny to see them pretend to be MCs. But that inside joke doesn’t play the same to those of us not in the know.

There was one chuckle line in the press release when a Verbs: 31 member was asked about the origin of the group’s name.

" Just like the 116 Clique has a cool scripture to use to promote their music, we wanted to communicate that God desires to see his ladies rep him in character and virtue. We wanted to use 1 Peter 3:3-4 but that doesn't really flow as well as Proverbs 31."

However, the caricature wasn’t exaggerated enough to make the parody obvious. And given that the image of a female hip hopper in mainstream culture is equal to a stripper with a microphone – wouldn’t a talented Christian alternative, particularly from a company like Reach, be a good thing? I certainly wouldn’t laugh at it.

So shouts out to ladies like Elle Roc, Tragedy, Elsie, Octavia Harris and the whole Christian Female Rap Network who are doing this thing for real and helping queens all over the country realize that being a Christian woman in the hip hop culture really ain’t no joke.

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