By: Natacha Andrews
Redemption; Redeem, Refresh, Save, Deliver. All words that describe the everlasting and unmerited gift bestowed upon each of Christ’s children. We do nothing to earn this blessing and yet, the gift has been freely given. Last night, what started out as a mad dash to make it to an afterwork concert, turned into a double portion of redemption, a redeeming of both soul and spirit. At Redemption Church in Tempe,
Arizona, I was blessed by an unexpected treat. What was most unexpected about this evening was not the quality of the performance, the feeling of joy, the filling nature of praise and worship or even the makeup of the crowd. What was most unexpected was the fact that talented Christian Hip Hop artists, the likes of J. Givens, Swoope and Propaganda, played their hearts out to a crowd of only about 50 people.
I am relatively new to the CHH scene, a newbie who is still learning the difference between, LaCrea and Tripp Lee, but even in my hip-hop infancy, I can hear and feel talent. Last night was no exception. Already a fan of both the genre and artists, I was touched by the energy and conviction with which these disciples poured out their art and message of Christ’s love. Though thoroughly entertaining, the message never veered from the fundamental idea that Christ was both the reason for the gathering and the savior for the fold. What made this message of salvation unique was it’s ability to not only welcome non-believers and new believers to the kingdom, but for lovers of the the art form, it provided a different kind of redemption. For so long what has been missing from the CHH scene has been a level of quality, that always lived beneath the surface, but did not quite stand out with a strong identity. Today’s CHH music rivals the best of its secular counterpart and finally offers an alternative that not only provides entertainment, but pure spiritual joy.
The performances of Prop, Swoope and J, Givens did not fall short. With thought provoking and carefully ministered lyrics, these artists, challenged their audience to boldly embrace their Christianity. Propaganda’s ministry included a charge to recognize God as the source of strength, while Swoope denounced the idea that to be good, Christian Hip Hop had to dilute the message of Jesus Christ. Both J. Givens and his DJ, kept the crowd moving throughout the performances and despite a small showing, the artists, kept the show going and proclaimed that God’s message would not be thwarted by the number of tickets sold.
For those of us fortunate and insightful enough to have bought our tickets in advance we were treated to the intimacy of a private show with the high energy of a top notch God centered Hop-Hop revival. For those that missed out, do not fret, redemption is all about second chances and plans are already in the works for these artists to return to the Valley before year’s end. As for the artists themselves, the record label says it all. Humble Beast artists, graced the stage with a humble heart and a ferocious talent. I was blessed to be there and although I may have been the oldest person in the crowd last night, it was well worth the sleep deprivation and extra cup of coffee this morning. Propaganda’s Crimson Chord tour is a must see and a must buy.