This week, in the midst of things, two items, which are very different but oddly similar, peaked my interest. The first was this,
I watched a few back episodes of TheResurgence.com’s vodcast (I guess, I was trying to catch up to a degree) and I watched an interview with Eric Mason, pastor of Epiphany Fellowship in Philadelphia. It was a great interview that challenged me to think about context of the place where I live, Prague, and how I do ministry, but more over way I do ministry. Eric talked about hip hop culture, doing church in the city and much more. I’m totally simplifying it, need less to say you should watch it!
What was interesting was that same morning I read an article about hip hop here in the Czech Republic, Hip Hop Hunger Rises in the East. I’ve posted about hip hop on my blog before, because I’ll be honest day in day out, I see American hip hop’s affects on the youth culture of the Czech Republic. This article really peaked my interest. Combine with Mason’s interview, it’s making me ask questions like:
- How does this change the way I do things, especially amongst my young guys?
- How do I engage this redemptively in the capacity that I’m in now?
- How can the Church engage youth in this area?
- And more….
So here are some portions of the article that peaked my interest. I would love to share my thoughts, but I will save that, mostly because I might fall asleep at my computer. Needless to say, this all is making me go “hmmmm” and makes me want to lay some beats down. Ok, not really, but maybe encourage others to lay some amazing beats!
When comparing Czech rap to European hip hop from other countries, Abraham said French or Polish rappers were more socially conscious and “a lot braver.” When Czechs rap, it is “more an occasion to express something funny, or something poetic than some sort of ideas or their own ideology,” he said. Marysko agreed that more politically aware rhymes are missing from the Czech scene, something he’d like to see more of. With an increase of wealth in the Czech Republic – from deep recession in the late 1990s to rapid economic growth now – the subject matter of rap is changing, he said.
As the Czech hip hop community grows beyond an initial tight knit group of devotees, it has also fragmented. “If you read what people say on the Internet, I have so many haters,” said Marysko. His eyes narrowed as he recounted malicious threats to him and his family for putting radio-ready rappers like Mike Jones on BBaRak’s cover and including gossip of feuds, called “beef” in its reports. “Czechs are always jealous. I am not Jesus but I am putting out my magazine and living what we dreamed together. What’s the problem?”
As much as hip hop has arrived in this unlikely hub, it may not attract fans and participants forever. “I don’t think hip hop is going to die,” said Marysko. “I’ve had goose bumps hearing kids cheer at shows. But I just know it’s not going to be the hottest thing forever.”