What if Hip Hop Had a Heaven?

With death seemingly lying dormant beneath the surface of Hip-Hop, is there any hope in sight for the victims that lay in the aftermath of its wake? The answer, for Hip-Hop artists at least, would appear to be yes. Immortalized by lyrics that stereotypically glorify death, we all but deify our cultural martyrs. And while […]

With death seemingly lying dormant beneath the surface of Hip-Hop, is there any hope in sight for the victims that lay in the aftermath of its wake? The answer, for Hip-Hop artists at least, would appear to be yes. Immortalized by lyrics that stereotypically glorify death, we all but deify our cultural martyrs. And while respect is due for the talents of the slain, can it go too far?

Perhaps in an attempt to ease our grief, somewhere along the line we’ve rationalized that the tragic conditions lived (or very well depicted) by the likes of Biggie and Pac somehow grants them a free pass into heaven. In doing so, while we’ve managed to honor their memories, we simultaneously disregard and downplay the only hope of a heavenly afterlife.

But wait! Before you stone me for daring to suggest that those we’ve lost didn’t make it to heaven or being so bold as to talk about religion in Hip Hop, ask yourself this: how ritual has Hip Hop become to us? Is it not a movement that empowers the downtrodden – seen as a savior for the lives of those that cross over into its success? Is it not studied by zealots as a religious temple and revered as a platform to speak and act against social class imbalances and injustice – just as the Baptist Church was the center of the civil rights movement back in the 50’s?

Even with these similarities, we must not confuse ourselves by entertaining the soulful preservation of those who’ve been murdered in the cause. Let us not forget the history of violence that has been in the world before Hip Hop and will remain forever after; and in doing so, let us not forget that its unfounded association to our culture of music doesn’t merit God’s acceptance of those that have suffered because of it. For the heroes of Hip Hop, heaven’s gates open the same way as it does for us: through the Son of God. Otherwise, we’re all walking around with wool over our eyes in an attempt to absorb the tears that have been shed for our fallen.

“If Hip-Hop Had a Heaven”

If Hip-Hop let thugs in heaven,

Would Kristoff St. John open the gates

for its young and restless –

Would gun possession be exorcised and extradited?

Would pitchin’ rocks from drug professions

Be forgotten since this option

was left from smug oppression?…

Since the government let it in –

would they set the chips aside to tithe it?!!

If Hip Hop had layovers in heaven,

Would ‘Jay Hova’ be

a less unpleasant ref’rence?

Would Holy Hip Hop be more

prevalent in modern day rap?

Would a collar on Run seem as irreverent?

Could self-martyrdom from Nas’ gun

have been more effective?…

What if Jay resurrected –

could rap be saved if this star came back?

Would there be a difference

between ‘god’ and ‘dun?’

What about Nastrodamus’

depiction as God’s son?!!

Was it all in fun – or was this part

of a grander scheme?

As outlandish as this may seem to folks,

I’ve seen patterns of a meaner joke

In something we promote in

homage to gangsta leans.

Though rap today has a few numero unos

The price they pay plays to the tune of funerals.

Eulogy beats are the usual

for their deadwood dogma.

To gain green funds in large profits,

The mainstream floods in false prophets…

Spreading gangrene in uncut doctrine –

deposited in coffins of

embellished hood mantras.

But what if Hip-Hop

echoed heaven on earth?

Would New Jerus’ peruse

ghetto havens first?

Could its save and reverse

its romanticized condition?

Would it release the populace

or keep it enslaved

With the greed of coppin’ chips,

cheese and chains?…

Or is it too ashamed for how far

we’ve franchised our position?

With heaven’s common

grounds on our premises

Would we continue to walk around

as our most powerful nemesis?

If we could break out of the syndicate,

would its synthesis surely break down?

Would rap keep recruitin’ legions

of shootin’ demons?

If so, would it be so bad that it

harbors a slew of heathens?!!…

Would Jews still lead in

recoupin’ green endz

with the Pearly Gates around?

If Hip-Hop had heaven

harnessed for a new season

Would Common Be the

constant gardener of New Eden?

Such honest guardians are few and far

in between my brothers’ keep.

After all, at The Roots of

our Black Stars’ depths,

Too few truly acknowledge

their talents’ charged debt…

Despite immaculate concepts,

they challenge God

with plundering feats.

Too busy in hell’s kitchen bakin’ up

fake stunts to bail out,

Hip-Hop’s been placed on a hellmouth.

Even if heaven replaced it,

Ma$e would still be a sellout,

to say the least.

Without unleaded gas

to fuel its head of steam,

Would rap exhume its unleavened recipe?…

Or is it too consumed by the commune

of an un-heavenly destiny of wasted yeast?

Will Hip-Hop’s soul ever rise

to the occasion again –

where were you the day it died?

Is it too early to mourn –

at its wake will we Rize?

Or will it be too late to realize

as we writhe in the pain of its loss?

Since its souls been sold to

the devil’s embezzled team,

Would Hip-Hop even make it

to heaven’s mezzanine?!!…

Will we wake from the hellish scene

of this unsettled dream to take up its cross?

If heaven was a mile away and

Hip-Hop a close shaven second,

Which one would host the most

of our jaded brethren?

Would Ghostface be a reverend

to cajole the Supreme Being’s clientele?

Would the Three 6 Mafia be revealed

as the mark of the beast

Or merely a market of street beefs?…

Would we finally take off its leash? –

only time will tell.

If cops sprayed the booth with Eminem in it,

Since he made it in Hip Hop,

could he pay Proof an eminent visit –

Or were his sentiments too vivid

for the annals of Hip-Hop’s preserved?

Would cats get placed in purgatory

For the graphic way they word a story

Even if it cracked the pavement and

earned them glory on Hip-Hop’s curve?

If Hip-Hop had a mansion in heaven

Can you imagine who

would staff its residence?

Big, Pac and Scott La Rock would jam

its expansive measurements

with a host of others.

It’d be agreed that certain sistas thought

of as passionate and heaven sent

Would have fixed spots

like stanchions of benevolence…

As Lisa and Aaliyah would have an

outstanding presence sensed

like the ghosts of southerners.

From A to Z, martyrs for

the cause who lay perished

Are amazingly fostered to

belong to the same parish –

Cats like Eazy-E and Freaky Tah

remain cherished like stained wood.

From Jam Master J Dilla

to Big L’s insane Puns,

From Marley to a modern day

marvel slain as Gaye’s son…

If music could save one –

then these artists merited sainthood.

Tantalized as injured mourners,

We’ve canonized these performers.

We fantasize them reserved

for the Lord since their lives

weren’t crystal stairs.

Yet behind random lines

lies a bigger picture.

Every time we glamorize lives,

we scandalize the grand design

of Christian vigor…

Without standardizing Christ

as their risen center –

their lives are wisps of air.

Though they live on in lyrical chapters,

They’re eternally scorned

from a spiritual fracture.

Without Christ, their hereafter’s

trapped in ethereal infernos.

Like blasphemy against God,

No Christ in an absentee’s heart

Is like battling against Nas –

as their souls forever burn slow.

But if they knew Christ

as their personal Savior,

No amount of ice could give

them more versatile savor.

Despite terminal vapors –

they can breathe new heir with new nostrils!

Despite the hearse and a few favors,

Despite the nicest words from eulogy prayers…

No verse renews greater than

the Good News of the Gospel!

© Reggie Legend 2006

Steel Waters, Inc.