Earlier this month, a debate long familiar within the Christian hip-hop (CHH) community resurfaced when rapper Shai Linne released "Still Jesus." Throughout the album Linne suggests that CHH musicians whose tracks focus less explicitly on Jesus and who now professionally or personally associate with secular artists could be risking the integrity of the community.
CHH musicians have the freedom to change the focus of their music, says DJ Cut No Slack, a former member of early CHH group I.D.O.L. King. For those who say, “‘Hey, I don’t want to be called Christian MC anymore.’ Okay, well why? That would be a question I’d have,” said Slack. “Why don’t you? I think there needs to be a real answer or clarification as to why you don’t want to be, especially since you came out that way, and I’ve been following you for years and now you want to switch. But guess what? You have the right to change your mind.”
Part of that means that fans must be willing to let their favorite artists change.
“On the church’s side, we have to make space for people to be who they are and change because they are not mandated in Scripture that everything you did in artistic form must proclaim the birth and resurrection of Jesus,” he said.
Slack joined assistant editor Morgan Lee and editor in chief Mark Galli to discuss the historical context of Linne’s critique, what fans and MCs owe each other, and what Christians without a public artistic presence can learn from the controversy.