G. Craige Lewis gets real about the Rap and Hip-Hop subculture in the world.
The devil is trying to erase lines that divide holiness from godlessness – and he’s using hip hop to do it. So says G. Craige Lewis, founder of EX Ministries. Lewis is shouting from the rooftops about Satan’s strategy to infiltrate the Church of Jesus Christ with hip hop beats that are nothing less than demonic.
Lewis has produced DVD series including, “The Truth Behind Hip Hop” that he says is corrupting praise and worship in the Church and “What Every Church Needs to Know About Hip Hop.” He’s also produced DVDs that expose, “The Truth Behind Abortion” and “The Truth Behind Rock and Roll.”
The Voice magazine caught up with Lewis to draw from his 15 years of reaching out to those that have been led astray by our cultures embracing of evil and perversions and also to attack the enemy’s invasion of the media and music.
THE VOICE: What is the root of hip hop music and why is it so wicked?
G. Craige Lewis: If you trace Hip Hop back to it’s conception, you will see that it has never been a music genre. Most people are surprised to learn that more than a music art form, hip-hop is a way of life. As one of its founders says, “Rap is what you do, hip-hop is what you live.” Hip Hop is wicked because it is a subculture influenced by false religious beliefs from the Universal Zulu Nation, Nation of Islam, 5 Percent Nation of Gods and Earths, Rastafarianism, and other religions, and believes that the Black man is god and denies the supremacy of Jesus Christ as the only way to eternal life. Of course, we know that this mixture is in error, because Jesus said He alone is the way, the truth and the life, and know one comes to the Father, except through Him. (John 14:6). To Hip Hop’s founders, Jesus Christ is either one of many gods, or is just a prophet, or is just the White man’s God used to oppress Black people, not the Son of God.
Like all subcultures, Hip Hop tears away or deconstructs mainstream culture. This subculture that was birthed out of lack and oppression began to express those feelings more and more, essentially becoming the sounding board or platform for elicit speech and anti-establishment teachings against American society. Hip Hop celebrated being distinctly different from society, and saw rejection of the mainstream as a vehicle to obtaining a street credibility to earn the right to speak or be a voice for the “hood.” Rap music was a genre and the art of rapping was basically rhyming to a beat with a poetic flow. However, Hip Hop is a street subculture that used rap to convey a language, a lifestyle, and a total street related way of thinking and behaving.
Before long, Hip Hop’s spiritually mixed, self absorbed, self-empowerment “positive” message changed. As the streets became wicked and the heart of those in the streets became full of violence and rejection, so did Hip Hop. Rap music began to change and take on the characteristics of the subculture of Hip Hop, thus, the rappers began to celebrate street life and their lack became their prize. In other words, when rap became about Hip Hop, then rap music began to promote the evils of the street, (pimping, hustling, cussing, slanging crack, etc.). It became a good thing to be a product of the streets and the street life began to be portrayed as the desired “way of life” because the music promoted it. This is a subculture and not a true culture because it takes the ideals of the parent culture of America and deconstructs them to form a group of people that are in America, but have a modified understanding and interpretation of the language, dress, and behaviors of American citizens that seeks to be set apart and have its own distinct identity. And because Hip Hop encompasses the street language and the negativity of deconstructed ideals, it becomes dangerous to those that buy into it. Sure, the leaders of every subculture profit because they are the leaders of a following, however, those that are not leading suffer the consequences of being separated from the American culture. As a result, they are rejected by mainstream society when it comes to making the grade, getting a job, and fitting into the mold that is deemed “acceptable” by American society. For example, well known hip hop artist that have black racist philosophies, sagging pants and tattoos are paid to look the way they do, but their followers who emulate them will not make it in society. You see, the devil makes the leaders rich, to keep the followers rejected by society, unable to function in the mainstream society and impoverished.
THE VOICE: How did you get this revelation about hip hop?
G. Craige Lewis: God revealed this stuff to me in a vision many years ago. I saw it all happening just as it is happening now. I talk about it in depth in my first video and I still share the vision on my website and when I speak. It was a powerful vision because we wrote it all down almost 20 years before it ever happened.
THE VOICE: So all hip hop is bad, then, right, no matter what the lyrics say?
G. Craige Lewis: Hip Hop has no lyrics. Hip Hop is not music, instead, it’s a subculture that uses rap music to spread its ideologies. If you listen to any real Hip Hopper, they will tell you that Hip Hop is not music, it’s a way of life. They say that rap is something we do, but Hip Hop is something we live. And if it’s a way of life, then it is self expression. If it’s self expression then it is a way to convey a message through a lifestyle. Isn’t that essentially what Christ is, or rather, what Christianity is suppose to be? The other subgoup in a culture, is a counterculture, and Christianity is a counterculture which transforms us so that we don’t have to express ourselves; Rather, we express Christ. The church doesn’t have to model a street thug, gangster, or even have street credibility at all. We model Christ. So, your question about Hip Hop must be answered like this: Rap is just a form of conveying a message like singing. Nothing is wrong with that. But Hip Hop is a lifestyle expressing one’s self through a street subculture that was birthed out of lack and a deficit in the home. There was something wrong with it from the beginning. In Hip Hop’s inception, people were poor, so they celebrated lack to feel better about poverty. It’s like eating pig feet. Let me explain.
My race of people, African Americans, as slaves, were once forced to eat pig feet because that was the worst of the pig. Even today, many people eat pig feet. Does that make pig’s feet good for you? NO. It’s still as bad as when it was only food for slaves. The popularity of it does not change the fact that it is terrible for your body and has no nutritional value. You see, it’s the same with Hip Hop. It was created in the streets as a way to celebrate lack and having a deficit in life. Children without fathers in the home and those that lived in severe poverty would get together on the streets and have rap battles and such. The clothes they wore, (dickie’s and handed down attire) became the “in” thing to wear because that’s all they had. way they spoke (broken English and slang) became their language because they didn’t obtain quality education. The way they behaved, walked, and carried themselves became their identity, because they didn’t have fathers to mold them or model, so they used the streets as their guide. Now, we want to take what the streets taught them and bring it into arenas where there are better examples of living, better language and communication skills to be learned, and better role models to follow and ignore the fact that Hip Hop is a street subculture? Why not end Hip Hop once you leave the streets? Why not forsake what the streets taught you when there is a better way? We must realize that music is just a vehicle being used by those that prosper off this subculture to forward their money-making agenda. So, Hip Hop is just like pig’s feet. No matter how popular eating it gets, it’s still slave’s food and terrible for you.
THE VOICE: Is it the beats, the culture, what is the issue?
G. Craige Lewis: The issue is the consequence of buying into a subculture that hinders your forward progress in society. When you submit yourself to the ideal of a subculture that has set itself against the establishment, you heap pain and discouragement upon your life and immobilize yourself from being prosperous in the parent culture. You see, If the parent culture views saggin, grillz, broken English, earrings, cornrolls, etc. as deviant behaviors, then you are labeled by the parent culture as a deviant. And because the American culture has the jobs and the Hip Hop subculture only prospers the leaders, then your average Hip Hop subcultural “wanna be” is without hope. When you are labeled deviant, you are judged by your appearance, language, and demeanor and left out from achieving any real success in the parent culture. In Hip Hop’s worldview, the only way to “make it,” is to engage in behavior which the dominant culture deems illegal or illicit: sell drugs, or escape reality by endulging in sex and drugs. As a result, while hip hop artists may rap about these things, their followers are led by these pied pipers to the only place where sagging, tattoos, black racists philosophies and cornrolls are embraced: Prison.
THE VOICE: What would you say to proponents of so-called ‘holy hip hop’ who would argue this music reaches our youth in the name of Christ?
G. Craige Lewis: Music reaches everyone. It’s not a surprise that a gangster for God will have an audience just like a gangster for the streets will have followers. Mass murderers in prison have cult followers and many of them believe it’s a godly following, but does that make it valid? The validity of it has to come from the Word of God and in my bible music was never used by God as a tool to spread the gospel message. Music has the power of coercion and can influence a person to feel changed when they are not. This is dangerous because people have emotional experiences and believe they are spiritual experiences. Music can make you feel good, bad, happy, sad, and people take this for God’s power when in essence, it’s just a feeling. This is why in the bible music was only used to bring Glory to God and never to win a soul. When a soul is drawn to music, it is soulish and fleshly. A person cannot make a valid choice for God under the influence of music because they are making a decision at that point based on feeling rather than a knowledgeable, informed decision with their mind and heart versus their emotions. Emotional decisions blow with the wind, but informed heart and mind decisions are based upon understanding and last longer.
God does not take subcultures and make them holy, he takes people. He takes prostitutes everyday and saves them, sets them free and makes them holy! He takes drug addicts and crack addicts everyday, saves them, and makes them holy. Those that belong to the red-light subculture, the goth subculture, the drug subculture, the hippy subculture, the gay/lesbian subculture, and the streetwalking subculture are saved, set free and delivered, never returning to the way of life they were delivered from. But when he makes them holy, are they still what they once were? Are the prostitutes “Holy Hoe’s?” Are the drug addicts “Holy Crack Heads?” Are Hindus, “Holy Hindus?” Or are they new creations? They will be new creations that will not resemble their old ways, and are ex-pimps, ex- gangsters and ex- hip-hoppers. Once they have been transformed by the renewing of their mind, they no longer think, act or desire to look like what they were delivered from. It is called repentance, (see Acts 3:19)! Once God has changed our minds, we change our ways, and turn the opposite direction. Gospel Gangsta’s, Preachin Pimps, and Holy Hip-hoppers are not new creations, but they are spiritual mutations that retain portions of who they were and thus, are flawed. They are not new, but just amended. They are not hot, but luke warm, a mixture of hot and cold. This is exactly what God said he will spew out of His mouth: Those that desire the world and God, (Revelation 3:16).
The roots of hip-hop subculture are demonic, and are similar to other subcultures with an antiestablishment, “Down with the man” mentality. Fatherless-ness, rebellion, oppression, anguish, poverty, violence, and other negative influences created this subculture. Zulu customs, Black Muslim teachings and other false religions established the so-called “positive” aspects of hiphop. Thugs, gangs, drugs, sexual promiscuity and prison life make up the other overtly dark facets of hip-hop. You must realize that God did not play a part in the creation, establishing, or foundation of hip-hop, so how can we drag him into it at this late stage? When KRS-ONE and Afrika Bambaata say they were visited by a spirit and the spirit influenced them to accept their callings into hip-hop, how can we embrace this subculture when it’s origins are evil, demonic and destructive to society?
THE VOICE: Is there anything positive about so-called holy hip hop?
G. Craige Lewis: I believe that most holy hip hoppers want to do good, but they also want to hold on to the world and what they rode through their own personal storms with them. Most of them didn’t have fathers in the home growing up, so they gravitated to Hip Hop for identity, purpose, and fulfillment. This became a father like figure, so when they turned to Christ, they wanted to bring their “father” into knowledge of Christ with them. This is why they want to sanctify Hip Hop and make it holy because it’s the only father many of them know. That is the biggest problem we face as black people: the lack of fathers. If there is no earthly father in the home, children have a harder time receiving the heavenly father once they come to the knowledge of him. So, they want God to be mamma instead of father. Mamma will allow things that father won’t because of the emotional nature of a women. This causes many of these rappers to figure God will allow certain things, even though they are not scripture, because of their love and desire for these things. That’s a “mamma god” mentality. Momma will allow it in many cases when fathers won’t because of her emotional sensitivity to the child. But just because they want it, and because many desire it, it does not make any of it right. Hip Hop is a street subculture that has no place in God’s church.
THE VOICE: Just to be clear for our readers, is Gospel rap and holy hip hop the same thing? Or is there room for rapped lyrics in some instances?
G. Craige Lewis: Rap is an artform that is comprised of rhythm and poetry. Preachers have done it for years. Children have learned fundamentals from it for years. It’s a way of conveying large amounts of lyrics in short times for memory purposes and enjoyment. That is not essentially a bad thing. But Hip Hop is not rap. I believe a person can rap a song about Jesus and entertain others without it being Hip Hop, so long as they don’t emulate hip hop lifestyles or images or attempt to emulate leaders within the subculture. The problem I see is that many Holy Hip Hoppers will never be content with calling themselves Gospel Rappers. Unfortunately, they need and desire the validation of Hip Hop to feel legit and have street credibility. You see, if you are subject to the streets by being apart of the subculture, then you need the streets validation, right? They can’t just rap for Jesus. They have to look the look, walk the walk, talk the talk, and do what the real hip hoppers do. Hip Hop must be their way of life. What they don’t understand is that you don’t change hip hop, hip hop only changes you!
THE VOICE: I’ve heard you say hip hop causes youth to worship the devil. Can you expound upon that?
G. Craige Lewis: Knowledge of self. Hip Hop rest upon the teachings of it’s original founders who submit to the doctrine of the Zulu Nation and the 5% nation which teaches false god doctrine. KRS-ONE, and others teach these things and Hip Hoppers consider him the true prophet of Hip Hop. Even Holy Hip Hoppers pay tribute to the founders and consider them leaders and moguls. False god worship is devil worship.
THE VOICE: Why and in what ways does music have so much power?
G. Craige Lewis: Music can do what regular speaking cannot. It can bypass the frontal lobe of your mind and enter your brain without your consent. It bypasses your “guardian,” so to speak, and influences you without your knowledge or your permission. That’s why you remember so many TV jingles, and marketing companies know this and spend millions on them to influence what you buy. Because music can affect your subconscious without your permission, it gives music crazy power and makes it a dangerous thing in the wrong hands. That’s why we should glorify God in our music and never use music to bring glory to ourselves. Music that glorifies God draws us to Him; unfortunately, music that glorifies self draws people to you and makes them worshippers of you. This is why we have people with celebrity mindsets even in the church. They are doing exactly what Lucifer did in heaven and that is making fans and followers that chase their talent rather than follow the God that they sing about. The bible says that their mouths draw close, but their hearts are far from Him, (Isaiah 29:13). This same principal can also refer to how you can sing God’s praises and yet draw people to yourself. When music is used in this manner it’s dangerous.
THE VOICE: How has the devil managed to infiltrate the church with concepts like ‘holy hip hop’? Where’s the deception? Where’s the cracks?
G. Craige Lewis: Well, the devil just made the church folks worldly. Years ago, you didn’t have to worry about anything like Holy Hip Hop coming into the church because people practiced sanctification from the world and didn’t desire to bring the world into the church. But when Kirk Franklin came on the scene, he brought the club dances and worldliness into the church and made it okay to dance, party, and gyrate sexually without rebuke. Then you bring in bishops like TD Jakes who put on megafest and other conferences, with the worldly artists and performers headlining, and you have turned what was once deemed worldly into something that is now necessary to draw crowds and sell product. These 2 men, I feel, are responsible for the downfall of worship in the black church as a whole. Kirk destroyed Gospel Music as we knew it and made songs with secular overtones and worldly dances the norm, while TD Jakes turned preaching into an artform and totally removed the anointed call of God from the resume of black pastors all over. They both made it okay to be in the world and of the world. They crept in unaware and have removed the sacred landmarks of God’s word and now the world looks at the church as a money making, powerless, group of folks that desire pleasure as much as they do. Those are the 2 cracks that Hip hop and every other worldly movement crept in through.
THE VOICE: What’s the hidden message in the hip hop culture?
G. Craige Lewis: Hip Hop doesn’t hide anything. The message is clear in the behavior, the music, and the appearance of Hip Hoppers. Love yourself and do what you want. Don’t let the church, God, or man stop you. Do what you feel and do what makes you feel good. That’s Hip hop’s theme and the current that drives our millennium youth that are apart of it.
THE VOICE: What does hip hop music ultimately lead to?
G. Craige Lewis: Self worship. People that suffer for lack of validation and desire to be seen and known can find what they are looking for in Hip Hop because it causes you to practice self absorption all day, everyday. The beats satisfy your flesh. The lyrics lead and guide you to flesh gratification. The artists give you fleshly fashions and things to mimic so that you can get the looks and attention that they posess, while all along they are getting paid and the people that mimic them are lowering their chance of success. Since Hip Hop came on the scene in 1980, black men went from having 180,000 imprisoned to now over 1million black men imprisoned. Also, our crime rate has tripled. 50% of all black teens have genital herpes now. 1,400 abortions occur everyday in the black community. Our young black boys have a 75% drop out rate. And this is what is supposed to reach our youth, Hip Hop? Before there ever was Hip Hop, we were better. Hip Hop is a pied piper that led a generation into sexual immorality, false god religions, death and hell.
THE VOICE: How can parents get through to their kids about this?
G. Craige Lewis: Research. Get informed on what these folks are saying and doing. Don’t just sit back and allow a Gangsta for God rap show to happen at your church or youth function but research it and don’t tolerate it. Most of the youth pastor’s that are bringing these Holy Hip Hoppers to their churches are uninformed, or they are fans. But a father or mother that is raising their child to be successful in America cannot afford to allow a street subculture to influence their child. Don’t let anyone force you to allow this, but take action and fight against it.
If it’s allowed at your church then that speaks volumes about the leadership that you serve under. I can’t think of any real man that would want the streets to be celebrated in his ministry or church. The church is supposed to get the streets out of people and get them in position to progress, not regress. How can you take care of your family and be an upstanding man, when you are carrying yourself like a street thug and gangster? You can’t. Parents, wake up!
THE VOICE: How can we conquer this demonic weapon that’s infiltrated the Church?
G. Craige Lewis: If church folks would stand up and say “no more,” then weak youth pastors and worldly pastors as a whole would reconsider supporting this movement. It’s a money movement and when the money is not there, the movement stops. If you stop buying the cd’s, the folks will stop making them. If you stop supporting the movement, the folks will find something else to move to. Plain and simple, the only way to stop Hip Hop is to shut it down financially.
When secular Hip Hop is dead, guess what happens to Holy Hip Hop! That’s why God is never relevant, but always absolute. He never chases the world’s ideals, but he always creates his own. Why? Because the grass withereth, and the flower fadeth, but the Word of God will always stand, (Isaiah 40:8). The word is never contingent upon what the world is doing, but it always counters the world. We must follow God and not the world because the world will change, but God stays the same.