In his book The Power of Music: God’s Call to Change the World One Song at a Time (Jan. 8, 2019), Michael L. Brown expounds on how music can radically transform you—for better or for worse.
In one chapter, Brown writes on how rap and hip-hop gave voice to an otherwise voiceless culture.
“Rap gave expression to the view from the hood—the view of the oppressed and beaten-down, the view from the streets where drugs were rampant and police weren’t trusted, the view that challenged the dominant culture … And it often had a point to drive home,” says Brown.
He reflects on the ideas that divide rappers and music journalists, such as Chuck D’s adage that hip-hop is “CNN for black people.” However, today’s rap may not reflect the racism, classicism and overall subjugation that its earlier artists experienced. Macklemore raps about being in favor of gay marriage. Drake, said to be one of the best-selling artists of the 21st century, has also been described as “the furthest thing from hood.” But regardless of how the genre has evolved, many rappers still carry a message of social oppression.
Brown expresses how reducing hip-hop and rap to simply a musical genre underestimates its function and impact.
“The music is both a lens and a microphone, both a reflection of what a distinct group of people is feeling and an outlet for those feelings,” he says.
Brown believes that rap, among other music genres, can play a part in inspiring the Christian faith. However, music that declares God’s Word must be created by those who are rooted in the Word.
In The Power of Music, Brown calls for readers to help further God’s plan to not just use music for good, but also to bring people to Jesus. As though to counteract the 1960s’ satanically inspired, drug-induced songs, today’s Christians can recover the power of anointed music to help usher in a global outpouring that will change the world forever.
Brown says, “Why should the Jesus revolution be lacking in world-changing songs? If the communist revolution had its songs and the counterculture revolution had its songs, why shouldn’t the Jesus revolution have more and better songs? Why shouldn’t its music burst the bonds of church buildings and Christian radio stations and flood into every corner of our society? It can! It must!”
Brown, Ph.D., is founder and president of AskDrBrown Ministries. Brown served as a leader in the Brownsville Revival from 1996 to 2000, out of which was birthed the FIRE School of Ministry, which has sent Spirit-filled missionaries around the globe. He is the host of the nationally syndicated daily talk radio show The Line of Fire— “your voice of moral, cultural and spiritual revolution”—as well as the host of shows on GOD TV, NRBTV, METV and INI TV. His syndicated columns appear on many leading websites, and his scholarly publications range from biblical commentaries to articles in Semitic journals and theological dictionaries. He has also served as a visiting or adjunct professor at seven leading seminaries.