“Most” Christian rappers will no longer be able to appear on the gospel Billboard charts in 2014, the website announced, after “urging” from the gospel industry for change.
For years, Christian hip hop has fought an uphill battle when it comes to gaining either hip hop or gospel media coverage. The Christian and gospel music world, as well as the church, were not accepting of the music style.
This made it a major challenge for artists to perform in churches or get their music into retail. And in a time that the internet wasn’t widely used, this made it very difficult to gain any traction at all.
The secular hip-hop world, mainly covered by magazines, was not very supportive of Christian hip-hop either.
In 1995, Billboard recognized Christian rap/hip-hop titles on both the Christian and gospel chart. Not until recent years, when overall music sales declined and Christian hip-hop sales increased, have we seen them regularly on either chart.
It is understandable that the traditional gospel music artists want a place of their own to be recognized and not encroached by Christian hip hop. The issue here is that many gospel artists with elements of hip hop in their music will still be able to appear on the rap charts, while Christian “rappers” with similar sounds are eliminated from the gospel charts.
The other issue is that “Christian” and “gospel” are not musical genres, rather labels that let a consumer know that the content in the lyrics are Christian-based.
I understand and can empathize with anyone that is opposed to Billboard’s decision to not allow “most” Christian Rap/Hip-Hop on the gospel chart. Christian hip-hop is its own subgenre, which now often outsells most top-selling gospel and Christian titles because it’s finally getting the visibility that it’s fought for all of these years.
And this isn’t welcomed, rather shunned, once again.
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