The first time I was ever exposed to Christian Hip Hop was by watching Terrance Richmond perform one of his songs from his upcoming album at a summer retreat camp with my family where he was ministering as a pastor. My first impression was "WHAT?!" A pastor and a Hip Hop Artist? NOW that's what I'm talking about! It allowed for many people outside of our camp to connect and have less barriers to the message behind the sound. It was infectious in the best possible way!
I was so excited to be able to listen to a genre of music that I have loved since I was a kid, carry such a strong unapologetic message of love, faith and hope through his lyrics. Its message isn't just for Christians although it is clearly based on his strong Christian Faith. For a few years I've had a hard time being able to blast Hip Hop in my house or car that my whole family could enjoy that doesn't have tons of swearing,drug use and sexual references that aren't appropriate for all ages or that isn't enriching my mind either. It's become a shallow and narcissistic culture showcasing values that I can't resonate with nor do I feel benefits a young impressionable generation that is desperate for guidance that is heavily distracted with messages of materialism and lust.
Hip Hop was born to embody empowerment from a grounded sense of self that positively impacted the listener through rhythm and poetry. It's keeping it real and having fun without compromising a level of true integrity. That has been diluted and is no longer something I hear being played in the mainstream music world and as I found out it's even hard to find in the Christian Hip Hop scene as well.
THIRSTY is the second single released from Terrance Richmond's upcoming album "That Love" featuring his good friend and Christian Hip Hop artist MISSION. This is a song that definitely caught my attention. My first response was to CRANK IT UP because the beat is FIRE! It was when I started to closely listen to the message that it made me want to play it over and over again because it's very relative to today's music scene in general, not just the Christian music scene. The sound of it appeals to an audience that like that street banger sound and that will keep them hooked in to the important message.
I wanted to get to know the real meaning, story and context behind Thirsty. There are layers to this song that reveal his commitment to keeping his faith in God a priority over just reaching fame and fortune.
Verses like "Yo I got what I need/ I'm well and I'm pleased/Don't need your record label and your disease/ Yea greed" and "Don't try so hard to make it to the top/Work on your character/ Get planted on the rock" make it very clear that there is no way that he is going to compromise his relationship to Christ nor his values in order to cut a deal and make money. The collaboration with Mission is based on a long standing friendship that stands on the same core values and is not just a feature for features sake.
Temptations have unfortunately plagued the mentality of Christian artists today which seek the quick and easy way to success rather than remain in integrity while building rooted character so when opportunity arises they know how to remain in God's lane and discern what His path is for them. It's common nowadays for artists to seek to feature the names of other more "famous" artists instead of staying authentic and supporting the Christian music community. They essentially become Thirsty.
This pattern is very obvious in secular music because the foundation isn't based on the same principles. People compromise all the the time to reach that fame and fortune and most of the time it's to the artist's own demise. We see it everyday all over media, it ain't hard to tell when the cookie starts to crumble!
As Christian artists who are often seen as a beacon of light in an often dark and fake world of the entertainment industry, when these perils seep in it casts a shadow on the Christian music scene and to artists who truly seek God first in all that they do.
Terrance speaks from a place of understanding and knowing what being thirsty is all about. This isn't a song about judgement or pointing the finger to haters, it's a true message of having personal experience of feeling that thirst and never having it quenched when seeking his own will above God's, because God was leading him to His everlasting Well.
Our society and culture tells us that our happiness can come from material possessions, partying, having a good reputation, having a good career, having the right connections and anything else that keeps our minds distracted from having a personal relationship to God. There's nothing wrong with living a life of abundance because God wants His children to flourish, but there is absolutely nothing of this world that can quench and satisfy the thirst we all have as human beings for love that comes from having that personal connection to God. Insecurity and fear often shifts us away from wanting to accept that truth. Seeking Him first in my own personal experience has always proven that whatever I needed or wanted was always exceeded beyond my own expectations because my intention was to always point glory to Jesus and not to myself. These are blessings that fulfil the soul and spirit, leaves no feeling of lack and completely overflows when one walks in alignment to our Divine Design in Christ.
Greed truly leads to more greed, and lust to more lust. It's a voracious and vacuous void that is never satisfied and always hungers for more.The dangers of this are important to share openly in today's world that is filled with the consequences we are now facing from this mentality. People need to be and want to be given a REAL sense of hope for the future of their lives and the future of this world collectively.
Oakland, California is a quintessential example of a city that requires and thirsts for love, peace and hope after many years of brokenness and violence. Terrance grew up here and went back to shoot the video for this single right on his childhood block. Amidst the tension in the air and the energy from all that was currently happening with the racial injustices, an opportunity came up to be in the presence on God and be a vessel of love and peace to a group of people that were hurting and grieving the loss of several family members. Right in the middle of shooting the video, they all came together and prayed for healing and restoration of the family and neighbourhood. People noticed and felt the difference in what they were doing compared to most hood shoots they see. Love was tangibly present where it was needed most.
There is beautiful footage of this and of the whole shoot with the families and local community coming together on the behind the scenes video that gives you a glimpse of the process and connections made during filming.
God is so good that way and always knows where and when to plant seeds when we are just open and available to receive and give to others.
Sharing light wherever he goes makes what Terrance does more than just making music to rise his own selfish agenda, and this album THAT LOVE is all about sharing how when each one of us has That Love of our father within us, not ego, religion, fear or insecurities, we are capable of breaking chains, healing pain. We carry true love, peace and joy within us to shine unto people longing for it.
His eclectic musical range and talent is clear in this album and has the ability to reach listeners of all different backgrounds and will certainly ignite anyone listening! It's time to get grounded in love and faith without compromise and recognise the true fountain of life, one that quenches all thirst.
The following verse from the Bible was one of the main inspirations behind Thirsty and is a beautiful truth that we can always go back to.
Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness:for they shall be filled'