I had occasion to DJ a dance for the Junior High Kids at our Church last week. It’s getting decidedly harder to put together three hours of Church-acceptable dance music nowadays. Of the top ten songs in the country right now, there are maybe three that I’d figure are straight and narrow enough to play at Church. I’m pretty liberal about what I let my daughter listen to — I figure it’s better to engage her in a dialogue about the meanings of the various songs than keep her from them. And hey, I like Nelly and Outkast too, but I can’t play that stuff at Church. It’s a higher standard.
So I decided to go all Christian. Three hours of Christian dance music. The kind they don’t play on the local Christian station. Audio Adrenaline, Switchfoot, Scott Blackwell, Andy Hunter, World Wide Message Tribe, Delirious, KJ-52, John Rueben. And T-Bone. The kids seemed not to mind. The positive comments outnumbered the complaints two to one.
Anyway, I used this occasion to update my selection. I needed a coupla CDs to put together enough music to last the night. That’s how I found T-Bone. I rembered him as one of the bright spots of the dismal movie The Fighting Temptations so I picked up a CD of his.
I have about as much cred for reviewing hip-hop as I would for reviewing, say, nineteenth century French literature, but I know what I like. And ever since DC Talk decided they weren’t a rap group anymore, I’ve been looking for a favorite Christian rap act. T-Bone may be it.
His rhymes are crisp. Beats are satisfying. A bit too much stuff about street life in his lyrics in the name of “keeping it real.” I’d like a little more message and less playa posing, but at least I can listen to T-Bone and get a quality hip-hop fix without supporting the misogynistic, exploitative, and violent parts of the hip-hop ethos.