Poet and Rapper Shares Message of Hope Through Faith-Based Lyrics

By Nancy Flory Published on April 27, 2017

Spoken word and rap artist Propaganda grew up in South Central LA as a minority in a neighborhood full of crime and violence. So many young men in that circumstance got caught up in a destructive lifestyle. But he didn’t. And now he’s speaking and rapping faith-based messages that inspire and give hope.

Something to Say

The son of a former Black Panther and civil rights advocate, Propaganda said he always knew he had something to say. Growing up in a rough Hispanic neighborhood as the only black kid, Propaganda said he didn’t fit in. But that doesn’t mean it was wasted time. He said he could only understand the world through a “lens that wasn’t his own” by growing up with people who didn’t look or act like him. And it is through that lens that he said he can empathize with people who come from different backgrounds and reach them with the Gospel.

As a fifth-grader readying himself for his performance in the school play, he wondered why he was the final act. “I couldn’t figure out for the life of me why the teachers made me go last,” said Propaganda in an interview with Frankly Faraci! “I was like, ‘Why do I gotta go last?’ then somebody finally told me it’s because [you’re] the headliner.” It was then that he said he “got the bug” to perform. “I knew that I could come alive on stage.”

Faith Through Rap

His new-found talent was distinctly faith-based, although he didn’t realize it at the time. He rapped what he knew, he said, and just tried “to be amazing.” “I was told later that it was faith-based,” he recalled in an interview with The Stream.

And it was amazing, since his mom and dad had only recently become Christians. While Propaganda described a “learning curve,” for their Christian knowledge, he said it was an easier transition because two uncles were “old preachers,” so there was a family culture of faith.

But the family wasn’t the only place he encountered faith.

The rappers he met wrote lyrics that were “incredibly faith-based,” although he didn’t know there was an entire market for what he was doing. “What’s Christian rap?” he remembers thinking. The rappers, said Propaganda, “…just wrote what [they] loved and believe.”

The Story of Us

One of the most important reasons Propaganda performs Christian rap is because music greatly impacts the people it touches. “I know what music means to [people],” he said. “How songs can define an era … and give you perspective at times in your life. I find excitement and joy to see that for someone. [And to] be a part of the narrative that is the story of us.”

Worth in Christ

Still, his journey hasn’t always been rosy. “I’ve had a lot of successes and failures,” he said. But, hard times “make you remember where your worth comes from. You’re someone that Christ purchas[ed]. Your worth comes from the Lord,” not so-called worldly success.

And he is spreading that message, as he described, from the “cultural mouth of the river.” Just as a river flows downstream, Propaganda said he’s “shaping culture from the fountainhead,” so that what he produces flows downstream for the common good of all. “If you have virtuous men and women at the mouth of the river of culture, then downstream — politics, music … education — all that changes down there.” He said he’s always thinking about what he can put in the river upstream so that it impacts others for good.

The G.O.S.P.E.L. Message

His message about the Good News is strong in his video G.O.S.P.E.L.:

God sent himself as Jesus to pay the cost for us

His righteousness, His death, functions as Payment

Yes. Payment

Wrote a check with his life but at the resurrection we all cheered cause that means the check cleared

Pierced feet, pierced hands, blood stained Son of Man

Fullness, forgiveness, free passage into the promise land

That same breath God breathed into us God gave up to redeem us

And anyone and everyone

And by Everyone, I mean Everyone

Who puts their faith in trust in Him and Him alone can stand in full confidence of God’s forgiveness

And here’s what the promise is

That you are guaranteed full access to return to perfect unity

By simply believing in Christ and Christ alone

You are receiving Life

Yes. Life

Propaganda’s music is reaching a new generation of people who enjoy hip-hop, rap and spoken word — perhaps some who don’t know Christ and will hear the Gospel for the first time.  

“Be Faithful”

Even with the success that he’s had so far, he said that faithfulness is key. “You know, the name of the game is diligence,” he said. “Be faithful to wherever the Lord has placed you.” Don’t make excuses, he stressed. “Faithfulness to the cause is everything. Be totally faithful.”

Propaganda doesn’t have a big ego about his role. “We can stand to be a little more honest about our shortcomings and mistakes, our failures and where we dropped the ball,” he said. We “need to be willing to say, like the scripture says, ‘I see through a glass dimly.’ I don’t have this figured out — I’m running at the Cross just like you are.”

Watch G.O.S.P.E.L:

 

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