The “Christian rapper” label debate has been beaten like a dead horse, but that did not stop Andy Mineo from sharing his opinion on it in an interview with Syracuse.com.
“I don’t like calling it Christian rap,” he said. “Titles are so limiting. It’s hip-hop. I’m a rapper.”
What Mineo admitted has been said by others countless times, but when he admitted it—the context of denouncing “Christian rap”—is a head-scratcher.
Flame’s “#1 Spot,” a song in which the artist criticized the direction of Christian hip hop, had the subgenre again buzzing about the label debate.
Cross Movement Records rapper Phanatik told Wade-O Radio he hates when artists deny being Christian hip-hop artists. Flame also told Wade-O Radio that Lecrae—who admittedly switched his style up from a gospel-preaching, theological rapper to one which relates to the masses—inspired the downhill movement. Lecrae had denounced the “Christian rapper” label in interviews and even kicked off his “Church Clothes” mixtape by claiming, “Everybody want to put me in a box,” and Phanatik used that as a jumping point to his rant.
Even though many people counted it as a victory that these secular outlets were now accepting Lecrae, I counted it as a defeat because what victory is it if the world is telling you, “Oh, you’re willing to disassociate yourself from the Christian label? We’ll play you now.” That’s no victory at all, especially not in light of the long line of succession that have come after the Sho’s and Lecrae’s. They’re taking a step backward if acceptance is because you’re not Christian art.
Phanatik not only claimed that distancing oneself from the label is of the world, but it also hurts the credibility of one’s message in the eyes of the world.
The second you deny the title fits, you tell people, “It’s OK to treat me as generic.” What that does is not just allow people to treat you as generic, but now your message is generic. I don’t think people understand that dynamic. If you give people the right to treat you generically, they’re going to treat you and your message generically.
Lecrae told Wade-O Radio earlier this month that he regretted his campaign to remove himself from the “Christian rapper” box. The denial of the label has turned into a magnet of criticism, but Lecrae distancing himself from the debate is an even greater reason why Mineo throwing his hat into the ring of it is a head-scratcher.
Artists such as Json and D-M.A.U.B., told me in interviews earlier this year that they can’t stand the subject. They believe the label debate useless and that is only creates division.
Chris Broussard of ESPN may agree.
As one working in mainstream culture, he shed a light on what outsiders think when Christians bicker amongst themselves in an interview with Wade-O Radio earlier this week.
When the world looks at the division in the church, they say, “Pshh, that’s of God? You can’t even get along. What’s so great about your God?” I believe if we were able to unite and really work together to promote God’s kingdom rather than our own personal agenda, we would have more of an impact on culture.
Mineo doesn’t like when his music is called “Christian rap,” and dead horses continue to neigh, “Pshh, that’s of God?”