Holyculture.net speaks with Author/Pastor Jomo K. Johnson, on his new book “The Deadest Rapper Alive” which aims to shed light on the 21st century pop-culture phenomenon known as “Lil Wayne”.
Shine: Pastor Jomo, Thank you for taking this time out to speak with Holy Culture. Why don’t you open up by giving us a little of your background?
Pastor Jomo: Well, I am a great sinner who has a Great Savior.
I am the Founder and Pastor of Philly Open Air Church in North Philadelphia and am a licensed minister in the Presbyterian Church of America. I am originally from Columbus, GA. I came to Philadelphia to work on my Masters of Divinity Degree from Westminster Theological Seminary, where I serve as President of the WTS Preaching Club. I have a B.A. in Biblical Studies from Beacon University. I’m also a Recording Musician that has recorded two Gospel Music Albums, “Never Forsaken” and “D.R.A – the Soundtrack to Deadest Rapper Alive”
After seeing my mother shot by my father at the age of 7, I lived without a strong male figure for most of my life during my father’s incarceration. This led me to fight, use drugs, rebel against authority, and live a dangerous street life. At the age of 17, I was arrested for aggravated assault and sentenced to serve time in jail. It was in this experience that God begin to draw me to himself. After attending a Bible study in jail, I learned that Jesus died to pay for his sins. I placed my faith in Christ and was dramatically changed. After serving a total of 4 years incarcerated, I sensed the call into ministry. It was at the age of 24, that I devoted myself into the full-time study of the Word of God and future pastoral work.
So my heart is for youth and the broken (people like myself.) Those are some of the things that motivated this book.
Shine: Your book opens by stating that you believe Lil Wayne is “The most dangerous threat to urban culture in the 21st century…” History has proven that when a secular artist reaches a certain level of popularity (such as Elvis or Michael Jackson) the church deems them this title. What differs with Lil Wayne?
Pastor Jomo: All art reflects a certain philosophy. Whether music, paintings, or fashion. So when we come in contact with any art – it’s important to consider the philosophy from which it finds its roots. The church has at times, branded certain artists with negative stigmas. At times, this was warranted, at other times, it wasn’t. Sometimes it was warranted but done in a way that was improper. But what I seek to do with this book, is truly break down the philosophy that Lil’ Wayne is expounding. (And history has shown that this is the most dangerous philosophy that one can adhere to.) Another danger about the music of Lil’ Wayne is not simply his philosophy, but who the philosophy is being directed against: urban youth. These are the most vulnerable citizens in the country. Unlike suburban white Americans, or even middle to lower class black Americans in the 60 and 70s, today’s youth are at the most vulnerable state of influence and depravity. So, when you have an artist who is promoting the most dangerous philosophy at the most dangerous time (in urban youth’s history) then a book like this should serve as a strong wake-up call for Christians in America. (And please take in mind – I’m about the same age as Lil’ Wayne, so there is no generational gap condemnation.)
Shine: Explain “Amoral Philosophy“?
Pastor Jomo: Amoral Philosophy or “Moral Nihilism” is the teaching that there is no such thing as moral standards. Morality, to the Amoral Philosopher, is a man-made set of rules that does not actually exist. So someone who practices amoralism would say “killing isn’t wrong or right, because there is no such thing as wrong or right.” This philosophy was made popular by German Philosopher Fredrick Nietzsche during the mid-19th century. He wrote things like, “God is dead” while concluding that mankind would only become fully “human” when they cast off restraints of morality and religion. Adolf Hitler concluded that Nietzsche was a great fighter for the German people and adhered to much of his philosophy. Hitler in part, used this philosophy to create “Hitler Youth”, a group that had no morals whatsoever. (I don’t have to speak about the atrocities of Hitler or Hitler Youth.) So, the seed of this philosophy allows the one who follows it to reject and mock all morals, right and wrong, ethics, and religion, while doing what famous Satanist Aleister Crowley stated in his book, Thelema ‘Do What You Will’ this is the entire law.” And we are just beginning to see the effects of this philosophy in the lives of urban youth. This is extremely dangerous.
Pastor Jomo: Wayne and other black rappers who fall into the same category of caricature are modern-day blackfaces in the eyes of mainstream media. Blackface was a primitive and crude theatrical form of satire that began during the 19th century, in which white actors would paint their faces dark black and personify racist stereotypes of African-Americans. These types of performances helped to spread racist propaganda while portraying the Blacks as ignorant, happy-go-lucky, lazy, superstitious, cowardly, lustful, and deceptive.
This is what most black rappers are personifying to corporate and white America. While portraying themselves as ignorant, hypersexual, violent, and misogynistic may be very profitable in their line of work – these artist are embedding in young urban black males the felt-need to do the same. And although this type of parody of the black person may do well on B.E.T. or World Star Hip Hop, in corporate America or the real world of life, it doesn’t bid well. I claim in the book, Lil’ Wayne’s popularity and success have more to do with the American culture of race and society than with his talent and musical ability. I propose this mainly because if corporate America did not see an ignorant, tattooed, misogynistic, drug-abusing, threat-making, black male as profitable, then Wayne’s talent for lyrical wordplay and delivery would go unrecognized.
Shine: Your book mentions that Lil Wayne has recorded enough times to where his music could be listened to 11 days straight. Can you explain?
Pastor Jomo: People may not know this, but Lil’ Wayne is the most prolific rap artist of all time. It is believed that he has recorded an estimated 4,000 songs. If this is true, no other artist, including Tupac Shakur, has come close to that prolificacy. What Wayne has done is to flood the mixtape circuit, the underground Hip Hop scene, and mainstream media with his music.
Let’s imagine that each song Wayne has recorded is 4 minutes long. That is 16,000 minutes of recorded material in which Wayne is constantly speaking. There are 1,440 minutes in a day which means that you could listen to Lil’ Wayne speak for 11 straight days without interruption. Please understand this. Wayne has recorded enough material to be heard for 11 straight days. Eleven days of pure moral malice. Eleven days of menacing misogyny. Eleven days of vulgar violence. Eleven days of overt obscenities. And this is what our children are getting a steady stream of. The most amoral rapper in the history of rap music is also the most lyrically dexterous. His words have tremendous powers that are being used for a totally negative purpose.
Shine: What are some other statistics on how Lil Wayne’s music has directly effected todays urban youth?
Pastor Jomo: The main stats that I’ve produced are concerning young girls (especially urban). These stats focus on the last 10 years – which focus on the years of Lil’ Wayne’s rise in popularity and attention in mainstream media. Take these things into mind: There has been a rampant increase in sexual promiscuity and abuse amongst young women in the last 10 years. Nationally, nearly one million young women under age 20 become pregnant each year. That means close to 2,800 teens get pregnant each day. One out of four teen girls has a sexually transmitted disease. Twenty-five percent of all teen pregnancies end in abortion. In Washington, D.C., and Memphis, there have been increased reports of girl-on-girl lesbian rapes among high school students. Forty-one percent of young girls said that, on at least one occasion, they had sex when they didn’t want to. Fifty-eight percent of rape victims report being assaulted between the ages of 12–24.
One out of four violent episodes is perpetrated by a teen girl, up from just a generation ago when it was one female fight for every ten male fights. One in four high school girls in the nation reported they had fought at least once during a one-year period. And according to the latest statistics, arrests of teen girls for assault are off the charts.
The Book of Second Timothy holds an amazing modern-day prophecy. The Apostle Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, wrote “that men in the last days will creep into houses and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lust. Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (Please consider that this prophecy was written 2000 years ago during the first century.) The prophecy suggests that certain men by their flatteries of speech and deceptions of persuasion would make prisoners of unlearned women. This foretelling in the Bible is being fulfilled today. In no other time in history have we seen such an increased number of children being born out of wedlock, unwed cohabiting relationships, and single-parent homes in the urban society. One such reason that this is happening is because of the deceptive nature of amoral philosophy embedded in the music of Lil’ Wayne and others like him.
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Shine: In your book you made a reference to “Craig Lewis” whose ministry has become popular by calling out such artist. Are you in anyway affiliated with him or support his teachings?
Pastor Jomo: I am not affiliated with G. Craig Lewis. I do appreciate certain aspects of his ministry, but I don’t support the idea that Hip Hop is not of God. I believe that all cultural phenomenons are spiritual at their core – and therefore I believe that Hip Hop is a gift of God’s common grace to know him. (I devote an entire chapter to this in the book.) This knowing him comes through transcendence of experience, expression of culture, and unity of community. Amazingly, these are the three aspects of worship in which we partake in God, who is greater than ourselves and incomprehensible, we are unified in the community of other believers, and are also able to worship God in unique cultural ways. In the book, I propose that what Hip Hop is seeking to do is to feel after God. (Acts 17:27)
So again, while I do appreciate the ministry of Rev. Lewis, I do support Christ-centered Rap music and even some forms of secular Rap music that does not glorify sin.
Shine: On your website you made a very big prediction regarding 3 major artists for 2012 if they didn’t repent. Can you share that with our readers and why?
Pastor Jomo: The Bible (in my understanding) refers to Blasphemy as the sin of death. (1 John 5:16) This seems to be in line with what Jesus said about “no forgiveness for the one who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit.” But what I recognized in popular Rap music’s history is that whenever there has been a major rap death: blasphemy against Christ preceded that death.
I give more examples of this in the book, but here are are few. In 1996 Tupac Shakur released his infamous “Makaveli” album cover depicting himself as the Lord Jesus crucified on a cross. He would soon after be killed in a Las Vegas shoot-out. Mega-star Kanye West, similar to Tupac, actually posed as blood-soaked Jesus Christ, on the cover of Rolling Stone Magazine. The headline was titled, “The Passion of Kanye West.” Sadly a year later, West’s mother would die suddenly as a result of cosmetic surgery complications. Rapper Big L released his infamous song, “Devil’s Son” in which he fantasizes about murdering Jesus. He later would be murdered (being shot 7 times in the head) at the rise of his career. Popular Rapper O.D.B. of the Wu Tang Clan was planning to change his stage name to ‘Big Baby Jesus’ before he suddenly died of a drug overdose in 2004. Popular Latino Rapper Big Pun recorded in his song “Super Lyrical”, “I’m battlin’ Jesus if he passes through my label I’m snatchin’ his halo…Just call me Baby Jesus cuz lady n*ggaz be praisin’ me.” The rapper would die of respiratory failure at the tender age of 28 years-old. And it was Notorious B.I.G. that penned some of the darkest lyrics in popular Hip Hop’s history. Before his death in 1997, he recorded a song titled, “All Men Are Dogs” (I’m not going to even attempt to recopy the lyrics for this website: but it was the most blasphemous rap lyrics up to that point.)” The rapper would meet a violent end when he was murdered on March 9th, 1997.
So there are three artists that have personified blasphemy to the current, past, and will do (if they does not cease) to the future generation. And I believe that based upon history and based upon personal revelation, that if these 3 particular artists do cease, they will meet a visible judgment of God. (I say this sadly recognizing that I myself am a wretched sinner saved by grace alone.) But I speak this with sober and somber confidence. I believe that God is going to wake up the Hip Hop generation and urban culture with the revelation of his Holiness. (I do not believe secular Hip Hop can become anymore deplorable than it already is. Similar to the Amorite Culture in the Bible: Genesis 15:16)
Shine: What do you hope to accomplish with this book?
Pastor Jomo: I hope this book does three things: serves as a warning to Parents, Christians Leaders, and Teens concerning the danger of Amoral Philosophy. The Philadelphia News Paper might be (Lord willing) running a story on the book soon and I sent them an Op-Ed about Philadelphia’s rise in violence this year. (We’ve had 20 murders in the first 15 days of the month. Many of the murders are youth.) I make one suggestion to the city: “Turn the music down and the violence will do the same.” This philosophy is just something that we talk about – it’s real. The Bible says, “Life and death are in the power of the tongue.” God is not lying. So much of the crime, murders, rapes, are a result of this Philosophy being embedded in music. (Remember the story of the Trojan horse.)
I want to equip parents and Christian leaders to know what this philosophy is and how to counter it. I want to encourage all Christians to first read the book and hold Neighborhood Book Studies with this book, opening up their homes and churches to neighborhood youth to talk about the allure of an artist like Wayne while discussing the dangers involved. I want to see cities enact their obscenity laws (most states have them but rarely apply them to music) and prohibit explicit and obscene music from being blasted out of cars, stores, and other businesses.
But more so, I recognize that this is a spiritual war. Therefore prayer is necessarily along with preaching the Lordship of Christ. Amoral Philosophy is a demonic philosophy that says there is no standard. Christ is the standard and judge, and men should know that we will all have to give an account to Him. And finally, I hope Lil’ Wayne reads this book, falls to his knees and calls upon the name of Christ for salvation and deliverance.
Shine: How can “The Deadest Rapper Alive” be purchased?
Pastor Jomo: You can visit the website: www.deadestrapperalive.com. The book is available in Paperback, Audio, and E-Copy. There is a Kindle Version on Amazon.com. Also you can contact Philly Open Air Church at (215) 486-3412 if you want to mail payment. The Audio Book and the Music Soundtrack is included with all E-Copy purchases. I included all 100 sources in the book so it makes a good study guide – and I would really encourage people to use this book to host Neighborhood Book Studies.
Proceeds from this book go to Philly Open Air Church (PhillyOpenAirChurch.com) – a very young Church Plant in North Philadelphia. (Founded 10/1/2010) We have 75% youth who are under the age of 18 that come. Supporting this book will support them.
Shine: Thank you for taking this time out with Holyculture.net
Pastor Jomo: Thank you. I really appreciate the opportunity.
For more information on Pastor Jomo and his book “The Deadest Rapper Alive” visit: http://www.deadestrapperalive.com
Written by Shine | Follow: www.twitter.com/shines140
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