My wife asked me today, as we were travelling in the car listening to Deepspace 5's 'Unique, Just Like Everyone Else', if I only listened to Christian Hip Hop now. It made me realise that actually, I do. She asked me if that was a concious decision and I answered that, yes, it mostly was.
Previous to writing this blog I started and built up another music blog about UK Hip Hop. It went on to be the biggest and most well known blog on the subject. I built up good relationships with PR people and artists themselves, but doing it almost took over my life. I felt the need to cover everything, and be the first to do so. I also put myself in a position where I felt obliged to say positive things about most releases I was sent (I had CDs in the post almost every day) although I did give short shrift to some releases that were so against my beliefs as a Christian. All the time I ran it I didn't have other contributors, mainly because I didn't want to compromise on the standard of writing or on the viewpoint from which the blog was written (my own viewpoint). I finally made the decision (partly influenced by the imminent arrival of our first child and the increasing lack of time to spend listening and writing) to hand the blog over - which I did very quickly once the decision was made. Once this had happened I almost stopped listening to Hip Hop and started picking up on other genres that I had neglected over the years - I nearly went cold turkey on Hip Hop (the fact that there was so much rubbish rap being released helped).
The other main factor that acted as a catalyst to this change was my continuing maturity as a Christian. I felt I couldn't go on supporting and championing music that came from such a different viewpoint to my own Christian stance. I also felt that letting it saturate my life so much couldn't be helpful for my own spiritual state. I realised that it could be replaced by something a bit more beneficial and began to return to some of the old Christian Hip Hop CDs I had (as a teenager I had a purge on secular Hip Hop, giving away albums such as Eminem's 'Slim Shady LP' and Dr. Dre's '2001' and replacing them with albums by John Reuben and Peace 586 amongst others). I knew that filling my life with things that pointed me towards God (Father, Son and Holy Ghost) would help to shape my life as a believer - and Christian Hip Hop was one way of doing that.
So now, whilst there are still secular tracks I like and will listen to, I am mainly listening to Christian Hip Hop. Hopefully it will provide me with decent music I can play whilst my children are around which at the same time challenges me and turns my thoughts towards God. I am not relying on it solely to minister to me but hope that it can be a part of a life which worships and enjoys God in everything I do.
For my latest review at Sphere Of Hip Hop, click here.
Edit: I am not saying this is what everyone should do, or that I will never listen to secular Hip Hop again, just at this moment in my life this is where I'm at!