Trap Music

It’s something about Summertime that makes you wanna throw on your shades, roll your windows down, and bump some trap music as you ride through the streets! It’s a validating feeling you get when you pull up at a stop light, and check out the person in the car next to you. If it’s a Sista or Brotha, you exchange knowing glances, then speed off like you are the best thang smokin’ in your city. Your speakers are so loud everyone near you can feel the vibrations coming from your car. Yeah, you know what I’m talking about!

Personally, rap music is not about the lyrics for me. It’s about the sound. It’s about the bass. It’s about that head-bopping beat that gets me to ‘feeling myself’! Most of the time, I can’t even understand the lyrics! I mean I usually know the hook but that’s about it. Especially if I’m trying to listen to Migos….I honestly thought the hook to one of their songs said “Mama told me not to say a word”….(I had a bit of a sheltered childhood) LOL!! But that beat though! Heck, I would blast the song just because I thought the beat was ‘hard’, and for that reason alone (still do sometimes…God is not done with me yet!).

One day, I was riding in the car listening to the song “T-Shirt” by Migos, and I thought “I’m going to focus on the lyrics of the verse for a change”. So I did and I still don’t even know what they are talking about in that song! I mean I get the jist of it… it’s about trapping, but my little sheltered mind can’t grasp the metaphors they use. So I had to ask myself “why on earth are you listening to something you can’t even relate to?” Yes, I love the beat but I began to notice that I feel different when I listen to Trap Music vs. listening to something upbeat and positive like Gospel. Trap music makes me feel depressed, angry, and depending on who I am listening to at the moment, I might even be angry at my man for no apparent reason other than the guy in the song was cheating!

When I listen to Gospel music, I feel so much more invigorated and alive! I feel like I can tackle the day having filled my thoughts with positive vibes. Now, I love me some Gospel music, but sometimes I just crave that bump and thump. So, I had to find an alternative. I searched for Christian Rap on iHeart Radio and was very surprised! I found several Christian Rap artist who have some really dope lyrics.  One of the first songs I listened to was Erica Campbell’s “I luh God” and when I heard “Work It Out” by Tye Tribbett, I was like “yasssss”! It’s the best of both worlds. I can have the upbeat, positive lyrics and  the rap vibe all in one!

See rap music is simply a genre. It’s not the topics discussed in the song that determines the genre. According to Wikipedia, rap music is just music that consists of rhythmic and rhyming words that are chanted. So, why not listen to some positive “chants” that breathes life into you instead of death? The songs I have listened to so far I am still able to relate to. But rather than listening to the artist who gave into the trap life, the Christian artist speaks about how they trusted God and overcame that lifestyle even though it was all around them.

There are several Christian rap artist that give you that same feel you are used to but the lyrics will blow your mind. So, if you are looking for a positive alternative to the usual, I encourage you to check out some Christian rap artists. My personal favorites are Lecrae, Derek Minor, and Andy Mineo. I doubt you will be disappointed. Take a listen and comment your thoughts below. Happy listening!

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Side Part and A White Top

YouTube is like TV for me. In fact, I don’t even watch TV much at all anymore. My favorite types of videos are ones about natural hair and makeup. I can watch YouTube for hours!

One day I stumbled upon a lovely YouTube vlogger by the name of Heather Lindsey. And what a God-send she was! I began following her channel and I can tell my relationship with God has changed since I’ve started watching. There is one video I found particularly interesting, and it was about hearing God’s voice. This is an area I struggle with and I learned from Heather that it is because I don’t spend enough time with God, really getting to know Him.

I remember her mentioning that she would talk to God about the simplest things! She once said she even asks Him how she should wear her hair sometimes. The first time I watched this video I thought “like God really cares how I wear my hair everyday! He’s got way more important things to do than worry about which hairstyle I choose”.

Well maybe a month or so later I watched the video again. This time I started evaluating my own dialogue with God. I say my prayers most nights before bed (as long as I don’t fall asleep before I can say AMEN!), and that is usually the extent of our conversations. Sure I’ll pull my Bible out and read it every now and then, but then I get busy with life and put it down for awhile. Sound familiar? Weeks later I’ll pick it up again and try to start reading where I left off, and the cycle repeats itself. That’s why I don’t know when God is speaking to me. I am not spending enough time in dialogue with Him to even be able to decipher His voice from the enemy’s or even my own intuition!

I decided to give Heather’s advice a try. I was doing my hair today and felt I wanted a change to my usual TWA style. So I asked God how I should wear my hair! He said to me “put a side part in it”. I was like “What? Really? A side part?”. Usually I wear my TWA just like that….a TWA. Now, anyone who knows me knows my hair is never boring! It is colored in the front because I just HAVE to jazz things up a bit! But other than that, I just fluff and go, nothing extra. So, I tried the side part look and actually really loved the it! I could not stop admiring myself in the mirror. Who would have thought something so simple could revamp your whole look?

My next task was to figure out what to wear. Now all of you ladies know that is an age old question! I consulted with God about this, and I heard Him say “wear your white tank”. In my head I was like “But God, I don’t really want to wear that, I’ll just put on a t-shirt”. Y’all, I tried to wear two different t-shirts and one of them had a stain on it and the other just didn’t fit me right. So guess what I did….I put that white tank on that God told me to wear in the first place!

I learned two very important aspects about God today (well three because I could have saved time if i were being obedient). The first aspect I learned is that God actually cares enough about us to be concerned with every single detail of our lives. The second aspect is that God is always right! Point. Blank. Period. You may stray from his direction and try things on your own, but as you can see from my own experience, your way does not work.

I encourage you to develop your own running dialogue with God. It may seem trivial to talk with Him about the little things in your life, but we must crawl before we can walk. Developing a relationship with God takes time. It just doesn’t happen overnight. I guarantee if you start small, God will meet you right where you are. Be blessed!

Get Right with God or Die Trying 

I thought you were a Christian?!!! Says the person who just witnessed you struggling with (insert transgression here). I think humanity places such unrealistic expectations on Christians that they forget we are not GOD! They hear you say “I love God”, “I grew up in church”, “My dad is a Pastor”, etc. and the minute they see you doing X,Y,Z……. you are deemed a hypocrite! That’s why I never really gave Christianity a chance…. until now.

I will soon be 30 years old, but I have been saved since I was 9. I will never forget the day….I was at summer camp when this group of teenagers came offering Jesus’s salvation to me. I sat on the bleachers in this huge cold gymnasium and listened as this teenage girl (who couldn’t have been more than 17 years old herself) proclaim the gospel to me. I became emotional and began crying right there on the bleachers….in front of all my peers. NOT COOL, RIGHT?! Then she said the infamous words: “Do you confess with your mouth and believe with your heart that Jesus is your Lord and Savior”? My reply was “yes”!! So, in that moment, I was saved!

Now, the issue here is…I’m at summer camp….with a bunch of other black teens and preteens. Now mind you, my summer camp was “hood” to say the least. Just to give you an idea… for the talent show that summer, some of my friends and I performed a dance to R. Kelly’s song; “If the Shoe Fits”. Yeah….I know! So, I had to get my emotional self up from those bleachers and act like I didn’t just have a life changing experience! So from that day on, I went on about my “business as usual”.

Fast forward to my middle school years and I now find myself in a Presbyterian church (I was raised in a Baptist church most of my life, more on that later) getting baptized! The Preacher was holding a gold goblet in his hand full of water. The audience was told to bow their heads in prayer, so I followed suit. The next thing I know, the Preacher had taken a scoop full of that water and plopped it right down on my freshly permed hair!!!! Everything else that was said after that moment went out the window because all I could focus on at that point was “he just wet my hair”!!! Once again, my focus was taken from that which actually mattered. The whole reason I was being baptized in the first place was to develop a covenant with God.

Speeding up time to my late teens, early twenties, I was busy living MY life. I was hanging out with my friends, coming home when I wanted to, sexing it up with my boyfriend, sipping some alcohol….you know, trying to keep my “cool points”. All the while, if anyone were to ask me about my faith, “Oh yea, I’m a Christian”. I mean I had been saved since I was 9 years old. Growing up, I was always taught “once saved, always saved”, right?! That may be true depending on your beliefs. 

If you took a look at my life back then, God was nowhere to be found. That doesn’t mean He wasn’t there. Oh, quite the contrary! If God was not present in my life during that time, I am certain I would not be here today to share my journey. I am now in my late twenties, married, with two children. While my current journey with God isn’t perfect, I plan to “Get right with God or die trying”.

You see, you know in your own heart where you stand with God. Your story may be similar to mine, and that is fine. The Bible states: “Let he that is without sin cast the first stone”. Personally, I believe as long as you “die trying” to get your life right with God, you will be home with Him one day.

 I don’t think you ever really stop trying to get your life right with God. We all sin. Every. Single. One of us. I don’t care how Holy your pastor may seem, he has some underlying sin somewhere in his life. If we were to get saved and never sin again, that would make us Jesus, and we all know there is only ONE Jesus. So, the next time someone catches you in the act, and asks “But aren’t you a Christian”? If you are saved, you can reply “I am but God and I are still working some things out”. Or, you could go with the cliche phrase: “God is not done with me yet”!

All in all, people need to understand that we as a Christian people are still human just like everyone else. We hurt, we get angry, we get jealous, we hate but what sets us apart is that we have a Savior to back us up and catch us WHEN we fall. God didn’t create us to be perfect human beings running around acting like a Saint all the time. Being saved is a DAILY dying to your flesh, dying to your thoughts, dying to your desires and asking God for more of Him to fill the void in the areas we die to.