A few days ago, history was made. The first ever Christian Hip Hop Documentary, Mic Drop: The Culture of Christian Hip Hop, was released on November 14, 2023. This film was seven years in the making.
Directed by Darius West and featuring several of the CHH pioneers, including Stephen Wiley, Sup the Chemist, Fred Lynch (of PID), Dynamic Twins, End Time Warriors, Disciples of Christ and many more.
Throughout the film you’ll hear how artists like Stephen Wiley and Sup the Chemist got their start in Christian rap. How companies like Forefront and Frontline discovered artists such as the End Time Warriors, JC and the Boyz, and DC Talk pushing the Christian Hip Hop style forward. You’ll hear how hip hop was shunned in the church and how race played a part in the Christian Hip Hop Culture. My favorite part was hearing about the meetings at the GMA Dove Awards. Even though most hip hop artists never won, they still used the opportunity to gather together and encourage one another. I won’t give the whole thing away, so I’ll say that there are lots of cool stories included in this film.
The film’s focal point was highlighting the stories of Christian Hip Hop pioneers and their stories, but there were several times the film strayed away from this point. For example, three of the interviewees were, Christian artists, Knowdaverbs, Out of Eden, and Pettidee. All artists that most wouldn’t Christian Hip Hop pioneers. Which would be fine if the origin of CHH was actually the topic of their conversation. Knowdaverbs mostly stayed on topic when speaking of seeing Sup the Chemist in a backyard concert and early Christian rap inspiring his own career. He did stray a few times. Out of Eden started off okay when speaking about TobyMac starting Gotee Records and TobyMac is considered a pioneer. However they go into talking about their relationship with Knowdaverbs who is not. His debut album was released in 1999. As for Pettidee, he only talked about himself. His debut album was also released in 1999, 15 years after the first Christian rap record was released. No disrespect to any of these artists, each one of them has music that I enjoy. I just don’t think they were being asked the right questions.
The part of the film that bothered me the most were the many performance clips. Several scenes were used to feature songs from artists Street Hymns, Adrion Butler, and Shyspeaks. These performances were filmed in 2016. None of these artists were interviewed on the subject of the film and once again none of these artists were pioneers nor had any connection to the early stages of Christian rap. These performances were inserted throughout the film somewhat randomly. What I really don’t understand about this is that Mic Drop actually had at least two promotional concerts featuring SFC, PID, DOC, Dynamic Twins and Chille Baby of Gospel Gangstaz. It was a great concert but not one of these clips were featured in the film. It just seemed there were multiple times when the documentary was about the making of the documentary and not the topic at hand.
I’ve been looking forward to Mic Drop for a while now and there are those who have been waiting even longer than I have. I have to admit that the first time I watched this I was a bit underwhelmed. Now that I’ve seen this a second time, I have slightly changed my perspective. I’ve been listening to CHH for almost a decade now and when it comes to music I’m a bit of a nerd. I watched a lot of interviews, I’ve listened to a lot of music, I’ve read a lot of blogs and Wikipedia pages, I’ve read a lot of CD booklets, I even read Sup the Chemist’s autobiography Through My Windows. Needless to say, I’ve absorbed quite a bit of information. There wasn’t very much in the documentary I didn’t already know. I had to remember that the average person doesn’t necessarily know what I know. And for a person who is fairly new to CHH, Mic Drop is almost perfect. I do still wish I could have a little more background on how life was for the artists after their music careers ended and what their up to now. Even if it was just a few slides at the end before the credits. I guess I wish I could’ve heard just a few more stories.
Anyway, I don’t want to be too harsh on Mic Drop because overall it is pretty decent. A documentary about CHH is long overdue. I know that documentaries or projects of this scale aren’t easy to execute. Getting people to even participate is challenging enough on its own. I don’t want to take away from the fact that history was made when Mic Drop was released. I know this will open the doors for even more people to hear and tell the story of Christian Hip Hop and that to me is amazing.