Kendrick Lamar, Hebrew Isrealism, Identity & Music

Kendrick Lamar, a Grammy award winning emcee, has once again stirred up conversation amongst Hip Hop heads with his latest release, ‘Damn’; a critically acclaimed album – his most successful one to date, with the highest debut for a rap song since 2010.

Having a string of social media attention and scrutiny over his last album, ‘To Pimp A Butterfly’, with its social conscious subject matter, notably on ‘Be Alright’, which speaks hope into the chaos that arose from police brutality that was widely seen through graphic images throughout social media last year.

Kendrick didn’t shy from his previously held Christian world views, exampled in ‘How Much A Dollar Cost’.

Kendrick announces his Hebrew Israelite faith, namely through his cousins voicemail interlude insert on the songs, ‘Fear’ and ‘Yah’.

In ‘Yah’, Kendrick raps;

“..I’m an Israelite, don’t call me black no mo, that word is only colour, it ain’t facts no mo..”

This didn’t go unnoticed as the popular magazine, HipHopDx reported;

 

Who or What are Black Hebrew Israelites or Hebrew Israelites and What are their theology and beliefs?

Fairly unknown to the mainstream audience, till now; this philosophy has such a strong root in the Black American context, stemming from momentum of Marcus Garvey and into the 60’s civil rights movement from which it arose.

Rasool Berry recently spoke of this in his recent interview on the Wade-O Radio show;

One thing for certain is, Hebrew Israelites claim to be the original Israelites/Hebrew people and see the current Jewish people in their varied assortments, as imposters.

One of the other staple teachings of the Hebrew Israelites movement is drawn from Deuteronomy 28, where they claim to have been the ‘cursed’ individuals taken on ships, hence they still suffer in America. There are many ‘camps’ of Hebrew Israelites.

Christian Rap community discuss and address Hebrew Israelism ideology in ‘Damn’.

What do these groups, who use the terms ‘camps’ believe and how does it compare to Biblical teaching, on important topics such as prejudice, salvation and identity?

This was addressed in an online discussion by Scott Lane, Tony Ares, Vocab Malone and Hazakim below;

Watch this insightful discussion:

Listen on the TruID Podcast:

https://truidpodcast.com/why-kendrick-lamars-cousin-is-wrong

TRACKSTARZ radio podcast team also talked widely of this album; Christians’ relation to Pop Culture and Messianic Hebrew Israelites in Christian Hip Hop circles.

It is easy to dismiss unknown knowledge and claims as far fetched, when we have set views on such topics. The relationship between the Church and the ‘Black’ community must be addressed holistically, Biblically and historically in accuracy!

For example, can we say for certain that every Jew in Israel now, who claims ancient Hebrew ancestry, is correct?

Popular YouTube channel ‘The Ask Project’ has previously posed these questions to Jews living in Israel today and the responses are fascinating, alongside many other videos they have produced.

The so called ‘conscious and woke’ people, take ground and feel justified if the church remains silent. This must be addressed and individuals equipped.

The irony though, is Hebrew Israelites’ theology is birthed from a struggle and search for identity, clarity in scripture and a tool against prejudice, but in seeking to correct this, has gone full circle in being prejudice and heretical! Its works heavily, only in the American context.

I can identify with the search for identity and rootedness in the world in an especially European celebrated climate as a person of ‘African’ descent, exposed to mostly Western teaching and influences, which at large has washed over our historical influence, identity and significance, as it pertains to both secular and Christian contexts.

Honour must be given to artists in the CHH sphere who skilfully weave these elements into the American context, like Sho Baraka and Propaganda, Shope, Swift and Jackie Hill Perry to name a few.

With his past two albums, ‘Talented 10th’ and ‘The Narrative’, Sho has spear headed and challenged the conversations and outlook of Christian rap.

Dr Carl Ellis Jr talks on Christian rap potential;

WE NEED MORE OF THIS!!

Revelation 7:9 says; We are a Body of “..out of every nation and tribes and peoples and tongues..” not the Borg!

–  A worthwhile listen: Tom Skinner – Racism and World Evangelism (1970) https://soundcloud.com/growtheheckup/racism-and-world-evangelism-tom-skinner-1970

– Rapzilla wrote a gracious response to Kendrick’s apparent new views, in light of scripture: rapzilla.com/rz/features/15497-dear-kendrick-lamar

Some good reads; 

‘How Africa shaped the Christian mind’ – Thomas Oden

‘Urban Apologetics’ – Christopher Brooks

‘Free at last?’ – Carl F. Ellis Jr

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