For the past few years we as a #HipHopEd community virtually come together and make suggestions of Hip-Hop songs that were released in the current year that we felt were “thought provoking.” We purposely don’t use terms like “educational” or “positive” because these terms can be extremely subjective and limit the creativity and critical thinking skills that are inherent in every true Hip-Hop Educator. “Thought Provoking” is a term that speaks to the collaborative effort between the musical work and the educator to facilitate a teachable moment and or discussion through the analysis and evaluation of the musical work and the issues brought up through the overall interpretation. We strive to not make this a mere popularity contest or a selection of favorites based on aesthetics that negate the creativity and originality of modern day voices in our culture.
It is our hope that this list will be a provocative one that you will find useful for your listening and continued development as an educator. There are some challenges to the process such as the number of followers an individual making a song selection has and the notoriety or lack thereof of the artist being suggested; but its imperfections still capture the human element that makes the list a living document that may look different if the suggestions were reviewed and agreed upon by a panel of “experts.” We simply counted the number (retweets) and (likes) for song suggestions from 9:00 pm Tuesday 12/19/17 to 3:00 pm Wednesday 12/20/17 EST.
I want to thank one of our #HipHopEd collaborators, Joquetta Johnson for creating the play list once the data was compiled. Follow Joquetta on Twitter @accordin2jo
I’ve been listening and talking about Jay-Z’s latest album 4:44 for a few days now and with so many thoughts swirling in my head I was unsure where to begin in expressing my views on the album and its subject matter. I am a lot of things but most important to me is who I am in the eyes of God and that is a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I then figured why not begin where Jay begins with the first track of the album, “Kill Jay-Z.” “Lyrics and Scriptures” is an approach to developing and enhancing one’s “spiritual media literacy” through the analysis, evaluation and subsequent discussions where lyrics from songs are aligned with scriptures from the bible based on themes and or direct quotes.
The simple premise of the song is a reflection on the war that takes place within us as we go through and begin to have shift in perspectives and values. Here are five scriptures that come to mind when listening to “Kill Jay-Z” along with the lyrics from the song that align with the scripture that can be meditated upon as you go through your own war of growing up and becoming more aware of what is important and lasting in your life.
2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
“Kill Jay Z, they’ll never love you. You’ll never be enough, let’s just keep it real, Jay Z”
The result off asking Christ into your heart and to be your Lord and Savior is the death of the sinful you that existed in darkness because you hadn’t been introduced to the marvelous light of Jesus Christ. The new creation based on the song would be Sean Carter and the old things that need to pass away are the thoughts, actions and sins of Jay-Z.
1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
“Cry Jay-Z we know the pain is real. But you can’t heal what you never reveal”
Jay-Z speaks about his past transgressions in this song just as we should confess our sins to God believing that He will not only forgive us of our sins but cleanse us so that we don’t return to our sinful ways. We cannot be righteous within our natural selves because the self-serving desires of our flesh are too strong.
Luke 6:42 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me remove the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the plank that is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck that is in your brother’s eye.
“But this f&^% everybody attitude ain’t natural. But you ain’t a saint this isn’t kumbaye”
The flow of “Kill Jay-Z” Jay-Z addresses some of his issues before commenting on his brother Kanye West. For us to see our brother’s actions clearly to bring correction in love we must judge and seek correction for our own actions first.
Ephesians 6:12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
“Let go your ego over your right shoulder. Your left is sayin’, “Finish your breakfast”
Jay-Z speaks about having a sense of good and evil over his right and left shoulder. This is a portrayal of the battle that we must fight and the fight is not with people it is a spiritual battle that the scriptures explain throughout Ephesians 6 how we ought to fight.
Proverbs 1:8 My son, hear the instruction of your father, And do not forsake the law of your mother;
“But you gotta do better boy, you owe it to Blue”
“What up Jay-Z? You know you owe the truth to all the youth that fell in love with Jay-Z”
One the main reasons for killing Jay-Z is the notion that Sean Carter is the better father for his daughter Blue. Jay-Z speaks about telling the truth to the youth that fell in love with Jay-Z. Throughout the rest of the album there are references to his role as a father and husband. This scripture is the beginning of instructions to us to shun evil counsel. The lyrics expressed throughout the career of Jay-Z can be looked upon as being filled with evil counsel to the youth that he must now admit for their benefit.
Be on the lookout for morewritings based on “4:44” and other works by Timothy Jones. If you would like more information about “Lyrics and Scriptures” and or “HipHopEd” please contact Timothy Jones on Twitter @tdj6899 or via email at email@example.com