Monday, April 30, 2012
Freestyle Rhyming: The Missing Power Tool of Christian Rap Ministry
A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of taking in the “Whose Rhyme Is it Anyway?” tour stop with Playdough, Heath McNease, and RedCloud on the campus of my alma mater – Sam Houston State University.
The event is a freestyle hip hop concert in the vein of the “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” TV show of improv skits and comedy. Here, the three dudes take audience suggestions for games and setups and let their off-the-top skills fill in the rest.
I have to say, it was one of the most enjoyable hip hop related sets I’ve been to lately. The only thing that may have topped it was our MC skills competition at SXSW which, coincidentally, also featured rappers performing freestyle verses and challenges.
Combine that with the fact that this tour primarily targets secular colleges and venues, and I’m led to believe that Christians in the hip hop community need to utilize this time-honored tradition and skill more often.
Too frequently, we’re accused of biting and unoriginality. When we freestyle, we showcase our creativity and can offer a unique, all-ages brand of entertainment that most people welcome and are drawn to.
The Homeless Heroes project stuff that Jerrell Johnson and his man Set do down in Tampa is another good example of the way this skill can be used to share a message of hope with people who might otherwise turn away from traditional “Christian hip hop.”
Bottom line: If you’re a faith-based rapper and are NOT utilizing some form of freestyle rap in your performance and ministry I think you’re missing a great opportunity to expand your audience - which can ultimately lead to more lives being changed through Christ.