Let’s get a few details out of the way. I was born in 1987. I grew up on 1990’s hip-hop and R&B. Once I got saved and truly turned everything in my life over to Christ I knew I’d have to give those forms of music up. Most R&B music since the 90s glorifies fornication and infidelity. Most of the hip-hop glorifies drugs, violence, and degrading women. Not the mention the amount of profanity that fills the lyrics.
So this begs the question, can Christians listen to secular music at all? Before I attempt to answer this question a couple of distinctions must be made.
Secular Music and Sacred Music
There are generally two types of music, sacred music and secular music. Sacred music is music that is used for religious purposes. That does not mean that all sacred music is Christian music. Islamic music is considered sacred music, so are Buddhists chants. Secular music is simply music that is not affiliated with any religious practice or tradition.
Non-Christian and Un-Christian Music
Another distinction that must be made is the difference between non-Christian music and un-Christian music. Non-Christian music is music that doesn’t convey a message that the Bible opposes. For example, my daughter and I love “Isn’t She Lovely” by Stevie Wonder. This isn’t a Christian song and Stevie Wonder isn’t a Christian musician, but this song doesn’t push a message that contrary to God’s word.
Un-Christian music pushes a message that conflicts with what the Bible teaches. Cardi B’s song “W.A.P” is basically audio pornography. It glorifies fornication and the video displays homosexual imagery. This is clearly un-Christian.
What's the Answer?
The answer to this question requires discernment. Romans 12:2 tells us not to be conformed to the things of the world. In full, the verse reads:
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (ESV)
Focus on the phrase “discern what is the will of God,” we know what the will of God is and it’s definitely not being spoken in any Carbi B or Lil Nas X songs.
Secular music does not mean sinful music. Most of the music I make is non-Christian. But we should steer clear of un-Christian music. We are to guard our hearts and minds and focus on things that are above and not in earth.
If you do love hip-hop music and you are looking Christian hip-hop this playlist is a great place to start.