Rap Music and Catechesis

I have greatly enjoyed reading The Ology, a children’s book on the various topics of systematic theology, with my children. There is also a companion CD available, which is a gospel-rich collection of songs that cover the whole spectrum of theological subjects in a way that is appealing to and memorable for children. Music is one of the surest ways to teach and learn theology by driving it into the heart.

The last song on the CD includes a rap section, which packs a wealth of rich theological content into a relatively short section of one song. Though I am not much of a rap fan, I enjoy listening to that song very much, and it has further impressed on me the value of rap as an art form that could potentially be very effective for catechesis.

Because rap packs so many words into a short amount of time, and because it depends on rhyme, it makes possible the communication of deep theological content, yet in a memorable fashion, through repeated listening. Though I am not a rap fan now, there was a time in my early teenage years when I was, and I could probably still today recite word-for-word the complicated lyrics to many of the songs I enjoyed. I am sad to say that many of those songs were filthy in terms of their content, and that I now look back on that period of my life as one in which I wasted a lot of time listening to worthless music.

But what if I had instead listened to rap music that was not only edifying, but catechizing? What if Shai Linne and Lecrae had been producing gospel-rich songs back in the early 1990’s, and I had had the opportunity to learn solid theology in an art form that reached my heart? I can only imagine how much good it might have done for me.

I have been inspired to begin exploring the movement of Christian rap, but not the theologically light Christian rap that was available to my generation. I am talking about rap that speaks the language of theology. I want my children to hear it, to grow to love it, and to see the truth it contains soaking into their hearts.

So, with that said, does anyone have recommendations for me? Thanks!

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One thought on “Rap Music and Catechesis

  1. I totally agree that rap is a great aid for memorisation and catechesis. The problem is that even wothin rap there is variety, and what one person likes, another may not. The most effective way of using it is to play it as a discipline, not just a preference.

    In that sense it is like the rhythmic chanting of the Jews in their memorisation of Scripture, except it is heavier on listening than speaking.

    Like

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