I come from a day and age where rap was first making its appearance on the scene. I admit that I enjoyed Run DMC, Kool Moe Dee, Will Smith (back then Fresh Prince), and Kid N Play as much as the next guy or probably more. However, the lyrics of those rap artists are a far cry from the violent and vulgar lyrics of many of today's artists. Today if I want to listen to rap music I will listen to Christian rappers KJ-52, T-Bone, or the eclectic styles of Toby Mac. Yes, there is such a thing as Christian rap music and many of the artists are trying to impact their more worldly brethren. Take for instance KJ-52 and his numerous letters and even songs reaching out to Eminem.
Reaching out to explicit rap artists seems to be paying some dividends. Jason Bellini, aka "Sketch the journalist," is a freelance hip-hop writer from Texas who has been writing letters to rappers behind bars. And, he is encouraging other Christians to do the same. He has had some success as apparently "Lo Life" of the "5th Ward Boyz" has been converted and is now doing Christian concerts behind bars for the other inmates while spreading a positive message. He has even changed his handle to "New Life."
Let us hope that "New Life" really has found a new life and turned over a new leaf. It is certainly not unheard of. Just check the guys from my day and time. If you want to listen to Run DMC now - well, they have went Christian as well. And while rap may not be your thing, and it usually isn't mine, it is an influential type of music. Rap music has the ability to reach a great number of people that more traditional types of music would never be able to. I for one am all for sending a positive message no matter what the medium used to do it. The Bible says to "sing a new song." Maybe, just maybe rapping a new song will work just as well or better.
If you should decide to write a letter of encouragement to a rapper behind bars, Jason Bellini has provided a list of addresses and names in this linked article.