Interview with Christian Hip-Hop Artist Sho Baraka

Sho Baraka shares his insights about his mission and the Don’t Waste Your Life (DWYL) Tour. DWYL is a hip-hop tour. This is no ordinary hip-hop tour; it’s a mission for the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

While growing up in California Sho Baraka was exposed to hip-hop early on. He was involved in what some might call the stereotypical view of hip-hop culture which involves gang life and violence. He started

rapping in high school until that fell apart and he experienced death and imprisonment of friends. This all took place before Jesus Christ saved him from his sins through the Gospel. Sho’s life today bares no resemblance to his past. Though still involved in the hip hop culture; part of his mission is to change the stereotypes of it. He wishes other Christians would recognize that those in this culture can be redeemed and the culture at large should not be written off.

Sho explained that what he is doing with his music is being a missionary to the hip-hop culture he grew up in. If Christians outside of this culture would take time to “evaluate the fruit” of what he is doing they would understand better what God is doing through his music. It’s not just Sho, of course, but there is a whole theological hip-hop movement going on right now. They are reaching people that traditional-minded Christians are not reaching. They are taking the Gospel from the urban areas to the rural to where ever hip-hop fans are found.

As certain Christians might struggle to understand this movement so might unbelievers struggle to accept these artists. The hip-hop culture is not one that accepts someone just because they lay down some tracks and press out an album. Sho and his fellow artists have a high level of respect for the hip-hop craft. He takes his music seriously and understands that he must work hard to produce an excellent and quality product. The only reason an unbeliever should have for rejecting his music is the content rather than the quality. Even so, Sho’s aim is to challenge the belief system of those unbelievers who might listen. His approach is poetic, done out of love and it seems to be working.

The response Sho’s gotten about his music from unbelievers has been very positive. He has even engaged in what evangelicals would call being ‘missional’ by performing in shows along side non-Christian groups. Being missional is defined by Sho going into the non-Christian world without compromising his Christian convictions so he can share the Gospel. This has allowed him to witness to people whom he might not otherwise get the chance to witness to. Even some of Sho’s unbelieving relatives appreciate his music. They love the quality and the sound; it is the content that they sometimes struggle with.

Since the quality of the music is excellent this should draw believers and unbelievers alike to DWYL. Sho sees this tour as a revival type of movement. The goal of the tour is simple; it is the same as the tour title, “Don’t Waste Your Life.” Sho explained that the hope of the tour is that the Lord would use it to reach and renew the urban culture they are targeting. Ultimately, Sho said, they want to win people to the Lord.

Sho also explained that the message of DWYL is not just for unbelievers. They are also targeting Christians just as the book Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper does from which the tour’s theme is drawn. Sho said it is a call to renewal for the believer to put their “hope in Christ.” He explained that often Christians can become slaves to their worldly possessions as they try to keep up with the Joneses. He said this tour is calling Christians to refocus on the cross and entrust their lives to Christ.

The DWYL Tour is in Atlanta this weekend on Saturday, August 29. This weekend also marks the first service of the Atlanta church plant that Sho is a part of, Blueprint Church. Sho is the Creative Arts Director of Blueprint. He asks for prayers not only that their first Sunday service goes well, but that Blueprint will not just be another “church that does nothing.” Sho requested that the readers pray that the church would be involved in the community to bring change – bringing Jesus and focusing on Him.

Along with Sho Baraka the Don’t Waste Your Life Tour features Christian hip hop artists Lecrae, Trip Lee, Tedashii with special guest Flame. If you’d like to learn more about Sho check Reach Records site for his online bio and even download his album Barakaology.

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