There’s been a real movement led by ministers like G. Craig Lewis of Ex-Ministries to attack hip-hop as a demonic force that destroys the lives of young people all over the world. Lewis is particularly disturbed with “Christian hip-hop” artists who try to “co-opt” hip-hop, for (as he sees it) “holiness” and “godlessness” don’t mix.

Despite Lewis’ claims and the title of this Christian Science Monitor report, the church hasn’t “co-opted” hip-hop at all. Instead, according to pioneer Kurtis Blow, hip-hop was sent by God as the paraclete, the advocate, the very manifestation of the Holy Spirit.

From this perspective, if anything, hip-hop has been co-opted by oKURTIS BLOWppressive demonic forces that seek to destroy its liberative potential. Not the other way around.

Check out this interview that Blow had with hip-hop journalist/activist/DJ extraordinnaire Davey D on Breakdown FM last month. Kurtis Blow has started a Hip-Hop Church in Harlem and is on his way to being ordained in the AME Zion Church. I’ve transcribed portions of the interview below. To listen, click the play button below. The transcribed portion begins about eight minutes in.




Davey D: With regards to hip-hop, there are some people that look at hip-hop and church and say the two can’t go together. What’s your response to people who have really gone out of their way to have criticism about that connection.

Kurtis Blow: I’d say this…those are the people who don’t know hip-hop. They don’t know the true essence of hip-hop…

They are naive to the fact that when hip-hop started, God created hip-hop….It’s just like when Moses was…getting his people out of Egypt and…saved the Jews who were in Bondage.When the Jews were in bondage in Egypt, they cried out to God….All through the Bible, God always answers the prayers of (God’s) people who are oppressed, okay. If you ask for it. If you cry out to (God), (God) answers…This is the same thing with hip-hop. Now when hip-hop started in 1972-73, New York City was broke. New York City was becoming like a war-zone up in the South Bronx, because the (apartment) building owners in the Bronx burnt all the buildings down. People were poor and they didn’t have the money (to pay rent) and the landlords couldn’t get the people to move into the buildings, so they burnt them down for the insurance money. It was a scam that happened all around New York City…

People stayed there because they didn’t have (enough) money to move out. So they stayed in these abandoned buildings, a lot of people living in this dirt, in this rubble, in this mess and there were “fired” up buildings and there were rats and roaches. Like Melle Mel’s “The Message,” “Roaches everywhere, people pissin in the stairs (like they just don’t care). It was the same way, and this was because the landlord owners were oppressing the people and the people cried out in the South Bronx, “Help us.”

We cried out to the President (of the United States) and the big headline in 1973 said “The President says no to New York.” The city was broke.

God sent us a comforter. The Holy Spirit. The energy of hip-hop. This spirit of hip-hop. First it started with the graffiti, and the people started writing on the walls and trying to paint the walls to make them look beautiful, to make things look new. We live in all this rubble. We have self expression. We live in all this “fired up” buildings this rats and roaches, we live in all this dirt, but we’re not dirt. We live in all these ruins, but we’re not ruined.

It became a self-expression, a feeling inside that you wanted to show everyone that God gave me the talent. God gave me all this stuff. And I’m a human being. I may not have money and you may be an oppressor, but I’m still here. And I’m gonna survive.