Chance the Rapper is making people think twice about what it means to be a Christian musician.

LA Weekly describes two types of Christian hip-hop: a trendy pastor using hip-hop to appeal to young people, or the Christian rapper by way of the school of hard knocks using “gospel to share his love of hip-hop.”

However, Chance the Rapper is neither of those. Chance collaborates with gospel artists and leans into “celebratory Christian themes” catered to black Christians.

Chance the Rapper challenges the traditional “Christian hip-hop” genre.

According to veteran emcee and spoken-word artist Propaganda, Chance the Rapper is making people think twice about what Christian music is and who is a Christian artist. Propaganda says while all other genres are defined by the kind of sound the music makes, Christian music is an exception in that it is defined by its theme. By this logic, Propaganda insists there should be no question about whether or not Chance the Rapper is a Christian artist.

DJ Wade-O, a DJ and Christian hip-hop tastemaker, says the criticism Chance the Rapper is facing could be stemming out of jealousy. He says there are many Christian artists who have been trying to gain success for years, but have been unsuccessful. Naturally then when an artist who has a number of un-Christian elements in his music such as swearing rises to fame, it is bound to anger fellow artists.

Amidst the criticism and the praises, Chance the Rapper is still considered to be a true representative of millennial Christians. Here are three reasons why experts think so:

  • His refusal to sign up with any labels and to stand alone chimes well with millennials who themselves are going away from traditional churches and are less likely to attach themselves to any religious organization.
  • His use of swear words while rapping is another thing connects him with a generation that has less inhibitions when it comes to using profane words. However, the use of profane words today have less to do with the meaning as it is to do with the stress the user wants to place on what is said.
  • His raps have a sense of urgency. Urgency is something that is very characteristic of millennials who are used to technology that gives them results immediately.

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