Lavoiser, aka The Rap Terrorist, is an MC/radio host/hip hop critic I greatly respect. His new Grow the Heck Up site is one you definitely want to add to your blog roll and check frequently.
The question I recently posed about whether or not Von Won's "Legal Money" track would get the same embrace and support that Sho Baraka's "We Can Be More" did from the Christian hip hop community seemed like one Vois himself would ask.
So I hit him up via e-mail and got this knowledge dropped on my Inbox last night. With his permission, I'll share it with you here.
I often wonder if people who criticize and dismiss music and songs like this do so because of how disassociated they are with the criminal element and those who struggle with crime.Thank you Vois.
Many in the church don't often understand how prevalent of a stronghold "crime" is in some communities. Particularly the low-income black community. And for Von Won to be a dude with a college degree??? (Or at least on his way-not sure), what a witness!! They don't know what it means for certain people to see and hear that kind of living epistle.
Much like a successful Wall Street executive, might site his financial accomplishments when sharing his testimony because he's aware that money is what the world esteems. We're biased. We don't know how to judge justly. The testimony of the song is that there are people (and an enemy) who would like to see me getting money the wrong way, but I'm not. I'm going to do it the right way. How could one look at the reading, job, pregnancy, abortion, crime and income statistics of Black America and ever have a problem with that message?? It's bugged to me sometimes.
Jesus' principles and "way" of life is the blueprint, not his life itself. To say "You didn't see Jesus trying to cross over to the mainstream", not only is it untrue, but its a bad comparison. I didn't see Jesus trying to get married and have kids either. So his "every move" can't be the basis (in that way) for how we live our lives.
But to publicly speak with a woman of ill-repute, of another nationally for whom it was not customary to speak with, tell her everything about herself, KNOWING she was the one to talk to that would blab it all to the whole town, I ABSOLUTELY see Jesus as intentionally trying to reach the masses and make everyone aware of who God is.
I think that dudes truly believe they're right when they criticize these things, but have a bad understanding of how to contextualize the bible for today. They don't realize that working for Pharaoh, king of Egypt as Joseph did could be the equivalent of working for an MTV or a BET. Or how serving an organization who's totally against your belief system could be the equivalent of Daniel serving the king in Babylon.
Now that's not to say I "understand" it all, but there are some things in the Word of God and in our written code that are not as easily explained away as people make them. They are not versed in scripture. On Wade-O's show, if my memory serves me correctly, Sho Baraka actually spoke about being intentional about reaching across that wall to reach the un-churched. So you know...those are my thoughts : )
BTW, here's a sample of Lavoiser's own take on the cash flow topic from his "Rap Terrorist" mixtape (which you can download for free) where he flips 50 Cent's "I Get Money" track on its head.