With death seemingly lying dormant beneath the surface of Hip-Hop, is there any hope in sight for the victims that lay in the aftermath of its wake? The answer, for Hip-Hop artists at least, would appear to be yes. Immortalized by lyrics that stereotypically glorify death, we all but deify our cultural martyrs. And while respect is due for the talents of the slain, can it go too far?
Perhaps in an attempt to ease our grief, somewhere along the line we’ve rationalized that the tragic conditions lived (or very well depicted) by the likes of Biggie and Pac somehow grants them a free pass into heaven. In doing so, while we’ve managed to honor their memories, we simultaneously disregard and downplay the only hope of a heavenly afterlife.
But wait! Before you stone me for daring to suggest that those we’ve lost didn’t make it to heaven or being so bold as to talk about religion in Hip Hop, ask yourself this: how ritual has Hip Hop become to us? Is it not a movement that empowers the downtrodden – seen as a savior for the lives of those that cross over into its success? Is it not studied by zealots as a religious temple and revered as a platform to speak and act against social class imbalances and injustice – just as the Baptist Church was the center of the civil rights movement back in the 50’s?
Even with these similarities, we must not confuse ourselves by entertaining the soulful preservation of those who’ve been murdered in the cause. Let us not forget the history of violence that has been in the world before Hip Hop and will remain forever after; and in doing so, let us not forget that its unfounded association to our culture of music doesn’t merit God’s acceptance of those that have suffered because of it. For the heroes of Hip Hop, heaven’s gates open the same way as it does for us: through the Son of God. Otherwise, we’re all walking around with wool over our eyes in an attempt to absorb the tears that have been shed for our fallen.
“If Hip-Hop Had a Heaven”
If Hip-Hop let thugs in heaven,
Would Kristoff St. John open the gates
for its young and restless –
Would gun possession be exorcised and extradited?
Would pitchin’ rocks from drug professions
Be forgotten since this option
was left from smug oppression?…
Since the government let it in –
would they set the chips aside to tithe it?!!
If Hip Hop had layovers in heaven,
Would ‘Jay Hova’ be
a less unpleasant ref’rence?
Would Holy Hip Hop be more
prevalent in modern day rap?
Would a collar on Run seem as irreverent?
Could self-martyrdom from Nas’ gun
have been more effective?…
What if Jay resurrected –
could rap be saved if this star came back?
Would there be a difference
between ‘god’ and ‘dun?’
What about Nastrodamus’
depiction as God’s son?!!
Was it all in fun – or was this part
of a grander scheme?
As outlandish as this may seem to folks,
I’ve seen patterns of a meaner joke
In something we promote in
homage to gangsta leans.
Though rap today has a few numero unos
The price they pay plays to the tune of funerals.
Eulogy beats are the usual
for their deadwood dogma.
To gain green funds in large profits,
The mainstream floods in false prophets…
Spreading gangrene in uncut doctrine –
deposited in coffins of
embellished hood mantras.
But what if Hip-Hop
echoed heaven on earth?
Would New Jerus’ peruse
ghetto havens first?
Could its save and reverse
its romanticized condition?
Would it release the populace
or keep it enslaved
With the greed of coppin’ chips,
cheese and chains?…
Or is it too ashamed for how far
we’ve franchised our position?
With heaven’s common
grounds on our premises
Would we continue to walk around
as our most powerful nemesis?
If we could break out of the syndicate,
would its synthesis surely break down?
Would rap keep recruitin’ legions
of shootin’ demons?
If so, would it be so bad that it
harbors a slew of heathens?!!…
Would Jews still lead in
recoupin’ green endz
with the Pearly Gates around?
If Hip-Hop had heaven
harnessed for a new season
Would Common Be the
constant gardener of New Eden?
Such honest guardians are few and far
in between my brothers’ keep.
After all, at The Roots of
our Black Stars’ depths,
Too few truly acknowledge
their talents’ charged debt…
Despite immaculate concepts,
they challenge God
with plundering feats.
Too busy in hell’s kitchen bakin’ up
fake stunts to bail out,
Hip-Hop’s been placed on a hellmouth.
Even if heaven replaced it,
Ma$e would still be a sellout,
to say the least.
Without unleaded gas
to fuel its head of steam,
Would rap exhume its unleavened recipe?…
Or is it too consumed by the commune
of an un-heavenly destiny of wasted yeast?
Will Hip-Hop’s soul ever rise
to the occasion again –
where were you the day it died?
Is it too early to mourn –
at its wake will we Rize?
Or will it be too late to realize
as we writhe in the pain of its loss?
Since its souls been sold to
the devil’s embezzled team,
Would Hip-Hop even make it
to heaven’s mezzanine?!!…
Will we wake from the hellish scene
of this unsettled dream to take up its cross?
If heaven was a mile away and
Hip-Hop a close shaven second,
Which one would host the most
of our jaded brethren?
Would Ghostface be a reverend
to cajole the Supreme Being’s clientele?
Would the Three 6 Mafia be revealed
as the mark of the beast
Or merely a market of street beefs?…
Would we finally take off its leash? –
only time will tell.
If cops sprayed the booth with Eminem in it,
Since he made it in Hip Hop,
could he pay Proof an eminent visit –
Or were his sentiments too vivid
for the annals of Hip-Hop’s preserved?
Would cats get placed in purgatory
For the graphic way they word a story
Even if it cracked the pavement and
earned them glory on Hip-Hop’s curve?
If Hip-Hop had a mansion in heaven
Can you imagine who
would staff its residence?
Big, Pac and Scott La Rock would jam
its expansive measurements
with a host of others.
It’d be agreed that certain sistas thought
of as passionate and heaven sent
Would have fixed spots
like stanchions of benevolence…
As Lisa and Aaliyah would have an
outstanding presence sensed
like the ghosts of southerners.
From A to Z, martyrs for
the cause who lay perished
Are amazingly fostered to
belong to the same parish –
Cats like Eazy-E and Freaky Tah
remain cherished like stained wood.
From Jam Master J Dilla
to Big L’s insane Puns,
From Marley to a modern day
marvel slain as Gaye’s son…
If music could save one –
then these artists merited sainthood.
Tantalized as injured mourners,
We’ve canonized these performers.
We fantasize them reserved
for the Lord since their lives
weren’t crystal stairs.
Yet behind random lines
lies a bigger picture.
Every time we glamorize lives,
we scandalize the grand design
of Christian vigor…
Without standardizing Christ
as their risen center –
their lives are wisps of air.
Though they live on in lyrical chapters,
They’re eternally scorned
from a spiritual fracture.
Without Christ, their hereafter’s
trapped in ethereal infernos.
Like blasphemy against God,
No Christ in an absentee’s heart
Is like battling against Nas –
as their souls forever burn slow.
But if they knew Christ
as their personal Savior,
No amount of ice could give
them more versatile savor.
Despite terminal vapors –
they can breathe new heir with new nostrils!
Despite the hearse and a few favors,
Despite the nicest words from eulogy prayers…
No verse renews greater than
the Good News of the Gospel!
© Reggie Legend 2006
Steel Waters, Inc.