Abby La Bianca
It is not unusual when rap music raises skeptical brows in the Christian community, even here at Messiah. It’s often associated with obscene and degrading language—Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj and Ludacris are just a few of the names that make many Christians view rap in a more negative light.
But rap certainly has a place in the Christian music world. After winning three Grammy awards, including the award for best new artist, Chance the Rapper thanked God multiple times in his acceptance speeches. His performance was a rendition of “How Great is Our God,” with a traditional gospel choir as his backup.
Christian representation for rap music is taking place on Messiah’s campus as well. First-year international business major Josh Darville performed Christian rap music in numerous Coffeehouses last year. Darville has geared his rap to focus on glorifying God and spreading the Gospel.
“In my songs, I don’t curse or anything. I just want a positive message,” Darville says. “I tell you things I struggle with, and I deal with on a personal level. God gets all the glory, so even the talent itself of me rapping is just a testimony to what God has done in my life, with the skills He’s given me and the talents He’s given me.”
Darville finds his motivation in his goal of one day ministering to people in Albania through rap. “It’s just a platform, just like basketball is a platform. I use basketball to minister. I use rapping to minister,” says Darville. “It’s just ministry. It’s just a tool God has given me to expand His kingdom. If you don’t use the gift that God gave you, what’s your purpose in life? My whole purpose is to reach the hearts of people, and if rapping is the tool that God has given me, then I’m going to use it.”
Both on and off campus, artists like Darville and Chance the Rapper are working to expand God’s kingdom through rap. They are breaking the stigmas that often surround rap music, proving that ministry comes in many different forms.