By Christian Harvey
In a past post I said that I believe that Hip Hop is the Modern Day Psalms. Over the next twelve weeks I will be making a Modern Day Psalms Mixtape. Every Monday I will add a new song to the mixtape with an explanation of why I find it powerful. This is track 1.
In my humble opinion there is not a better band in the world, not just in hip hop, then the Roots. This song in particular I find very powerful. Hip Hop is the home of the remix, taking something, and remolding it and reworking it into a new piece of art. This song is no exception, a reworking of the folk super group (yes, such a thing exists) Monsters of Folk’s song Dear God (sincerely MOF). This is a great song in its own right, but the Roots take it and go darker. Exploring the long asked question of why God allows suffering. Here Black Thought (the Roots MC) doesn’t give us an answer but also doesn’t give up. You don’t get the feeling that God is on trial in this track, for he makes sure to say “it’s still me, one of your biggest fans…” but he has real questions. “Why’s the world ugly when you made it in your image, and why is living life such a fight to the finish…” There are no easy answers to these questions, for theologians have been struggling with this forever. My prayers often reflect this struggle, why is there so much hate in world created by the God of love? Why do God’s followers so often perpetrate this hate? I don’t listen to this song for answers to these questions, but rather to join my prayer with his.
For a bit of an extra treat, here is the Roots performing the song live on Jimmy Fallon with guest singer Jim James (Monsters of Folk, My Morning Jacket).