Since about the sixth-grade, music has played a major role in my life. Even now, as I think over my life, the music I have listened to plays in my head like a soundtrack. Artists and songs of the past often identify a particular time of my life, what I was thinking and doing at the time.
Though I grew up in a Christian home, it was not until my freshman year of college that my faith journey with JESUS began. Without any urging from anyone, the first thing I did was get rid of all my music. I felt like everything I was listening to was painting a picture of what I no longer wanted to be. I am not saying that people cannot listen to secular music, I’m just saying that at the time, I recognized it was not going to help me get to where I was trying to go.
Fast forward three years, and you find a twenty-one-year-old young man that had plenty of ups and downs in his faith walk (probably more downs than ups), and the music of that time of my life clearly comes to mind. This time around, things were a little different. My freshman year I felt like I was the only person on campus trying to live a godly life, but in 2005 my eyes were opened to an entire movement of college students striving to live Christ-centered lives.
I was raised by my grandparents, so when it came to Christian music, I was all about old-school gospel music. I mean, like Willie Neal Johnson and the Gospel Keynotes type of old-school gospel music. I had never really heard of Christian rap music. I did not know that the CHH subgenre existed.
Then, a friend of mine gave me a CD with the words “THA TRUTH” written on it. I received it with a questioning look on my face, and she said, “Just listen to it.” Mind you, as stated above, I had never really heard much Christian rap, and though my exposure to it was pretty much non-existent, my general consensus was that it was probably whack and/or not GOD honoring. Nevertheless, with much skepticism, I gave it a listen.
I still remember hearing, “Ladies and Gentleman, welcome. Part 2! I know the culture will…” I made it through the intro and it was cool, but I was still skeptical. I listened to the entire CD without bobbing my head once. I listened intently, waiting to hear something I did not agree with; waiting to hear whackness; waiting to hear someone trying too hard to be a popular rapper. I got all the way through the last track then got hit with a bonus track that spoke directly to everything that I battled with from 2002 to 2005. I was hooked! Christian rap could be dope and GOD honoring. I played the entire album back, but this time I was bobbing my head—unguarded, just enjoying dope music!
I did some research and found out the artist’s name was not “Tha Truth,” but rather Da’ T.R.U.T.H., and the album was “The Faith.” I immediately begin searching for other albums, and purchased “Moment of Truth.” However, there was still some skepticism. For a long time, Da’ T.R.U.T.H was the only artist I listened to and I am sure that I still did not know what I was listening to was considered CHH.
So, as I think back over my life and I hear the soundtrack playing, “The Faith” marks a pivotal season of my Christian life. That album helped me so much and it was the introduction into a genre of music that I believe GOD has used to encourage, rebuke, challenge, and entertain me.
Thank you to my friend who provided the introduction. Thank you, LORD, for CHH.
Keep it locked, as I plan to dedicate at least one more blog post to my journey with CHH.
Grace and peace.