I was inspired to write this commentary after watching a Facebook video that I was tagged in by an “up and coming” Alabama rapper, Thay Beavers AKA Yung Toolz. Yung Toolz created a modest buzz for himself with his smash hit single, “Nigga Way,” a collaboration with Alabama native, JReedy. When I clicked the video, I assumed that I was going to see Beavers performing one of his latest singles. To my surprise, this is what I saw in his video: click the link below to watch.
After watching the video, my mind began to reflect on the possibilities of street rappers “unconsciously” drawing fans to God. Being at a number of concerts with Birmingham rapper, Q Dot Davis, I notice that he and his LOE squad always came together for a moment a prayer before they hit the stage.
When I speak with various Birmingham rappers, one thing that I found consistent is that each appeared to reference a relationship with God as the underpinnings of who they really are. I believe that Atlanta rapper, Jeezy, said it best in his new album, “Church In These Streetz”
Nearly a decade ago, I went to a FUBU fashion show in Greenbriar Mall to film an interview with popular New Orleans based rapper, Awood “Mr. Magic” Johnson. Known for his hits with the 504 Boyz, Mr. Magic shared his words of advice to“up and coming” artists. Mr. Magic’s heartfelt response, “I believe,” reflects the sentiments of many rappers in “The Magic City.”
“Get a personal relationship with God, FIRST!” ~ Mr. Magic
Mr. Magic Youtube Video LINK
I’m sure there are going to be some that read this story and say, “How can the lives of street rappers glorify God when their music glamorizes drugs, violence, sex and more? I believe as perplexing as it may sound, rappers are in a complex position trying to have a personal relationship with God, while simultaneously trying to preserve their hardcore, provocative images for the sake of record sales.
Mr. Magic could not have foreseen that his words would potentially be used a muse for an aspiring rapper to find God. In less than two years of posting the video, over 7,000 people visited my YouTube channel to view it; with one percent of the population indicating they liked his comment. Although a small number, I wonder if the one percent who indicated they liked his comment, may have found Christ as a result?
I think that the public has this preconceived notion that street rappers can’t be saved, or believe in God.I think many people look at street rappers through their hardcore, provocative lyrics. Most may never conceptualize that the true source of their success may be a result of their faith in God. Many people won’t publicly say what I’m writing, BUT will reflect it in private conversation.
The point I’m trying to make is,
“Maybe we shouldn’t prejudge rappers and assume that God isn’t involved in their lives based on their music. It seems as if we live in an era where more people are hearing about God in the streets instead of in our churches!”
Andre J. Thomas is a 5x Award Winning Producer and Entertainment Blogger based out of Birmingham, Alabama. He can be heard every Saturday on the hit radio show, Joe Lockett Show. The Joe Lockett Show airs on 101.1 FM & 1260 AM (Metro Birmingham) every Saturday from 4pm to 7pm CST. You can also read articles written by Andre in The Birmingham Times, Black Moguls Magazine, and on andrejthomas.com.