Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Shedding Light on the Issue: The Music Collaboration the Church Wasn't 'Ready' For

Last Friday, Tasha Cobbs Leonard released her third studio album, Heart. Passion. Pursuit. I was excited for the project because I'm a fan. I, like so many other gospel music lovers, have been rocking with Tasha since her debut album, Grace. Her single "Break Every Chain" is a staple in a Christian music library. Over the past week or so though, and especially over the weekend, saints have been up-in-arms about a track on her newest album called "I'm Getting Ready" featuring rapper Nicki Minaj. On the track, Minaj, who is signed to popular rapper Lil Wayne's record label, Young Money, spits 16 bars about how she "leveled up" from food stamps to jet skis and "more ice than Gretzky" because of God's favor and in spite of her haters.

Tasha Cobbs Leonard - Heart. Passion. Pursuit. (2017) / Amazon

Before I give my opinion on this collaboration, I need to clarify: I'm not one of Nicki Minaj's "Barbz" (that's what she calls her fan base). I don't know every song of hers, but I'm also not going to pretend that I didn't ever listen to "Superbass," "Moment For Life," and "Right Through Me," because a few years ago when I was a teenager listening to secular music on a regular basis, that was what was popular. And yes, I am aware that her stage name pays homage to menage a trois...and yes, I know what that means in English. With that being said, I support Tasha's decision to include Nicki on this album. Why, you ask? Simply put, this song, those 16 bars alone, could open a door for people in the world to see something they've never seen.

The song says:

God's doin' a new thing,

Get ready for overflow!

I'm getting ready to see

Something I've never seen

Some people who have never seen Jesus, but have seen Nicki Minaj will listen to/download this song just because she's on it. Yes, she's rapping about material things, but she's also acknowledging the God Who gave them to her. It's not conventional praise, but it's praise nonetheless. Psalms 100:1-3 (NIV) reads:

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.

Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.

Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

Praise is not reserved for use only by the sanctified, holier-than-thou Christians who have been saved since they were a twinkle in their mother's eye (Don't act like you don't know what I'm talking about. We all know at least one "super-saved" Christian 🙄). ALL of the earth is supposed to praise Him. It is He who made us, all of us, even those of us who don't know Him, and even Nicki Minaj. We can't judge her praise just because it doesn't look or sound like ours. In fact, we should encourage her to praise her own way more often.

I've seen so many Christians posting 2 Corinthians 6:14 to justify why this collaboration is wrong. They all say, "Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness" (NIV)? I'd like to present John 1:5 as a counterargument: "The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it." As believers, we should be so confident of the light that shines within us that we can venture out into the dark places without fear. Going into the darkness to pull people out doesn't mean we'll get sucked in. If our faith is strong enough, we will not waver. The Church as a body needs to learn how to walk beside its brothers and sisters in the world. If we're not willing to go into the darkness in the first place, how will we ever bring more people into the light? Hear me out: I mean no disrespect to classic gospel music whatsoever. I love it, but I've been saved 17 of my 23 years. For the most part, the old-timey handclap doesn't work on my generation. We need to do something different and meet them where they are.

Nowadays, most pastors wouldn't even let a woman who dresses like Nicki Minaj into their sanctuary, and that's problematic. First of all, it's not their sanctuary, it's God's. Secondly, people who dress like Nicki Minaj are the main ones who need Jesus! If Nicki Minaj is the only one blessed by her own verse in this song, that, in itself, is major! If somebody listens to "I'm Getting Ready," downloads Heart. Passion. Pursuit., and then decides to go to church on Sunday for the first time, then Tasha Cobbs Leonard has done her job. If the people of the Church are the hands and feet of Jesus, we've just extended a huge hand to those who are still in the world. My prayer is that they grab His hand and never let go. I hope this song causes an overflow we've never seen  an overflow of souls won for the Kingdom.


  1. Very well written. I agree whole heartedly that we are to reach all masses of men, because the Lord said If I Be Lifted up I Will Draw All Men Into Me.