This particular style of music came out of the gangland culture of New York city in the 1970s, when 'Block Parties' became increasingly popular, particularly among African American youth residing in the Bronx.
'Hip Hop' is a style of music used to express the views and feelings of gangland youth about the different aspects of life. Its style was developed to reflect the disenchantment and disenfranchised of these young people who live in inner areas where poverty abounded. As one writer described it:
Hip Hop oozed forth out of the crime infested ghettos of New York.
'Hip Hop' then is the music of rebellious, sinful youth! 'Hip Hop' is the expression of street gang culture!
'Holy Hip Hop' is an attempt to redeem this music culture by employing it to present the Gospel to those who come from a gangland, inner city culture, where 'Hip Hop' music is prevalent. The music style is the same but the lyrics are changed to give a Christian flavour. As one promoter, and user of 'Holy Hip Hop' music, said:
Traditional churches often are suspicious of hip-hop's sinful side, but I'm not ready to give poetry, creativity and visual expression up to the forces of evil when they can be used for God.
Since the mid 1990s 'Holy Hip Hop' had grown in use and acceptance. One organisation which promotes this style of music says:
Our Mission, since 1997, is to Take the Gospel to the Streets through the global proliferation of Spiritually-Enlightening Holy Hip Hop Ministry, Music & Entertainment Glorifying Jesus Christ.
Is this a God honouring, Scriptural way to present the Gospel? No, it most certainly isn't and can never be! How can it ever be right to employ the music of the world, styles of music that stem from a rebellious, immoral culture, to present the Gospel? You cannot 'Christiansise' that which is ungodly in its origin or nature. The Scriptures ask an important question in Job 14:4: Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? The answer is clearly given in the same verse: not one. You can't 'Christianise' ungodliness; you separate from ungodliness and repudiate it. This was the thrust of the initial comments made by the panellists before they started backtracking and apologising and they were correct as far as they went. Scripturally speaking, there is no such thing as 'Christian Hip Hop' or 'Holy Hip Hop'. All Hip Hop is worldly, fleshly and devilishly.