Jesus and Jigga:
Where Hip Hop Meets Scripture
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Frequently Asked Questions.......What is this book about?
This book demonstrates a better approach that Christians can use to address rap lyrics. Too many Christian leaders and too much Christian media focuses almost exclusively on the negative aspects of Hip-Hop Culture and rap music. Jesus and Jigga does not ignore the anti-Christian messages. No Christian writing about rap lyrics could. Whatís different about this book is that it goes on to explore the positive messages also. By examining both sides, I share biblical perspectives that either counter the immoral messages or illustrate truthful messages when found in rap lyrics.
Isnít it crazy to put Jesus along side Jay-Z/Jigga in the title? How are they connected?
The Bible touches all aspects of life. If the Holy Scriptures cannot answer the questions and issues raised by artists within the Hip-Hop Culture, Christianity couldnít be a universal truth. However the Bible does contain the life-changing words of God with the power to affect people from all walks of lifeÖ no exceptions.
So this book is pretty much written for the rap and hip-hop crowd, right?
Yes and no. Jesus and Jigga is for anyone who is searching for a way to understand biblical applications outside of the four walls of a church. The Christian faith is rich with teachings and stories that people can relate to in everyday life. This book is for the skeptical rap fan that wonders if the bible is still relevant today. Itís for the Christian whoís not sure how to relate to rap lyrics (specifically Jay-Z) because they ďcanít find it in the BibleĒ. Jesus and Jigga is for people who are looking for a way to connect the truth of the Scriptures with modern-day culture and ideas. See The Problem for further detailsÖ
Is there a biblical basis for this book?
Definitely. Paulís address at Mars Hill (The Areopagus) has given us the blueprint for relating to culture and in particular the arts. Check out The Concept for further detailsÖ
Are you a pastor or ex-rapper or something? What makes you the expert?
Iím none of the above. Iím a Christian and Iíve listened to rap music all my life. So the book is in part, born my struggle to reconcile the two in my personal life. Beyond this, I donít present myself as an expert. However, I offer Jesus and Jigga as a conversation piece. The Christian will find standard, orthodox bible teaching that respects the historical beliefs of the faith. The hip-hop fan will find reasonably and fair interpretation of hip-hop lyrics. I invite all fair scrutiny.
So why did you write this book?
I wrote Jesus and Jigga because, as a Christian familiar with rap music, I believe that the church has painted a picture of rap and rap artists with a rolling pin instead of a paintbrush. The accusations against rappers and their lyrics are often justified. But at the same time, the overall view of Hip-Hop culture in the Church is lop-sided. I rarely, if ever, see evidence of church leaders making sincere efforts to seriously engage with hip-hop artists outside of staged events, music venues, or youth related activities. Since the majority of the interaction is adversarial, I took the Ambassador Approach.
So hopefully, this book will blaze the trail for more meaningful interaction that takes creative opportunities to affect society with the love of God and the truth of the scriptures. This needs to happen between the Church and hip-hop artistsÖ and all aspects of culture as well. Read The Difference for more details.
How can you put so-called ďworldlyĒ people together with bible-believing Christians?
This isnít my idea. Itís what Christ commands us to do. I think that one of the main problems Christians have had is that we have viewed many of the popular stars in film, music, tv, etc. as the enemy. We in the Church have spent a lot of time attacking those groups as if they were intentionally taking the youth or the culture down what we as Christians believe to be the wrong path. What we have failed to consider is the possibility that they at times deceive because they are deceived themselves. They are human beings who have different views on God and life than Christians do. This is normal. But this is why Jesus gave us the Great Commission and emphasized teaching. Western culture is more and more ignorant of the Bible with each generation. Itís the Churchís job to be used by the Holy Spirit to win souls for Christ by teaching the truth of God with words and through our lifestyle. In order to do that, you have to interact with people from all kinds of perspectives. Itís not comfortable or easy, but thereís no other option. Ultimately, discipleship is The Only Answer.
This book sounds interesting. Was there anything specific that sparked the idea to write it? How did you get the idea to write it?
I would have to trace it back to the Blueprint album that Jay-Z put out in 2001 (coincidentally on September 11th). I would play the song ďRenegadeĒ over and over for weeks. Iíll leave the details for the book, but I basically interpreted the song as a challenge to rap critics to either help the youth with their problems in constructive ways or to shut up. Although I donít consider myself a rap critic, Jesus and Jigga comes out of a desire to answer the challenge from a Christian perspective.
Is that why you chose Jay-Z?
Basically. I was already convinced by his wordplay that Jay-Z was a good rapper. But after hearing the Blueprint album as a whole, I started listening to his earlier work more carefully. Since everyone had pegged him as nothing but a materialistic rapper who disrespects women, I was stunned at the depth of thought and feeling that I found in several of his songs. Over time, the book started writing itself in my head. These days, itís clear that Jay-Z is no ordinary hip-hop Artist.