Back when my iPod was full of mainstream rappers there was one thing that really made me love hip hop. It was the motivation it made me feel and how it got my blood pumping. Songs like Lose Yourself by Eminem and Motivation by T.I. are probably at the top of the list when you think of motivational songs. I loved Kanye’s The College Dropout and Lupe’s Food and Liquor because of the way those songs made me feel. They made it seem like if you pushed hard enough anything was possible. By listening to those songs you could identify with their struggle and that it is possible to push harder.
In 2010 when God convicted me to stop listening to mainstream hip hop, it was extremely hard. One of the main reasons I found it hard was because of the lack of motivational messages in Christian hip hop. Now when I use the term motivational, I’m talking about work ethic. I do believe CHH is motivational in breaking sin, worship, and digging deeper into biblical principals. CHH has helped me numerous times to find strength in God to overcome sin and to get me through difficult times.
The one thing I feel CHH avoided was talking about work ethic. I do understand the risk, artists don’t want to be labeled as cocky or get called out as being prideful. I feel the benefits far outweigh the costs. No matter what your message is, there will always be people who will be against it. You can count on it. Ideally talking about work ethic should be equally important as making a song on battling sin.
Why is work ethic so important to me? I was raised in a Christian home and all my life it was instilled in me – whatever you do, do your best. Everything I ever did my parents would look at it and say, “Is this your best?” or “You can do better.”. They instilled in me that whatever I did, I did it for the Lord and the Lord demands my full efforts.
“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men” – Colossians 3:23
My work ethic sees highs and lows just like anything in life and sometimes you just need that extra push of motivation audibly or visually. Sometimes you need to hear or see someone else’s inspiration. The Bible talks a lot about working hard, laziness, and providing for a family. Proverbs 18:9 says, “Whoever is slack in his work is a brother to him who destroys.”. There are many examples on having a good work ethic in the Bible and when I first started listening to CHH I didn’t understand why this was missing.
It wasn’t until recently with artists like Christon Gray, Social Club, Sho Baraka and a few others who are starting to touch on the subject. F.E.R.N of Social Club says, “They say F.E.R.N why you go so hard? I tell them that I have no choice / until I have no voice.”. On Ali, Sho Baraka gives his perspective on striving for greatness. Christon Gray included the track Momentum on his last project Body Art. Gray states, “Listen you think this comes cheap? It costs everything to live this dream.”.
It is due to these artists that I believe CHH is on the verge of a new era. The quality of music is higher than ever before and people are working harder than ever to produce it. The bar keeps getting set higher and artists are sharing with us a glimpse on what it takes to actually work hard at something. They understand that making quality music is not easy and they have to put everything they possibly have into producing something special.
In our society motivational music about work ethic is needed more than ever. Too many people are sitting on the sidelines hoping for handouts or hoping their “prayers” will be answered when they do nothing on their part. As a generation we need to work harder. Working hard or getting money to support your family isn’t prideful. It’s what the Bible calls us to do.
“But if any man does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. ” – 1 Timothy 5:8
Do you think artists should include work ethic as a topic on more of their songs? Voice your take in the comments below.