Hip-hop has never been the most reverent place for God, but while rappers brazenly boast about merking foes and popping bottles, few will openly admit to not loving the Lord, or Allah, or whatever spiritual being they serve.
It seems like the Man Upstairs is as ingrained in hip-hop as hot 16s, so it’s only fitting that rappers would call on the familiar twang of the church organ or use the powerful backing of a choir in their songs. Look at MC Hammer’s “Pray,” which was so acceptable in many Christian circles it got played in the church itself, or Yeezy’s “Jesus Walks,” which made it cool to talk about God on the radio. In light of those more “acceptable” (to some) odes to Elohim, Meek Mill and Drake released their offering “Amen.”
When I first saw the title of the song I thought Meek Mills was giving us a peek into his spiritual side. But when I finally watched the video, it was clear the title had very, very little to go with God.
As soon as I heard Meek Mills’ opening for “Amen” in which he says, “I just want to thank God for all the pretty women he let into my life. All the Benjamins he let me count,” I knew this wasn’t going to be the next church-friendly rap song. For the next four minutes Mills and Drake continue thanking the Creator for every material thing you can imagine, from fast cars and pretty girls, to the ability to “ball on these n—gas.”
While I wasn’t especially offended (that’s between Meek and his god), one Philadelphia pastor wasn’t having it. Although he’s a self-described hip -op fan, Pastor Jomo K. Johnson says he finds Meek Mills’ “Amen” to be blasphemous and he’s decided to boycott.
“I’m a hip-hop fan. But I believe there is a need to really call him out and say enough is enough,” Rev. Johnson told reporters. “He seems to really be using the church as a backdrop and a parallel for some of the sinful things that he does.”
Even though I sympathize with Pastor Johnson’s sentiments, I’m afraid Meek Mills’ “Amen” will probably be one of this summer’s bangers and will have young folks everywhere thanking God for all manner of not-so-holy things.