This is my A-MOBO awards – Atheist Music of Black Origin. It’s to showcase some of the musicians I listen to that give me strength and encouragement whilst I’m driving my car around Accra. Too often the musicians performing at the real MOBO awards appear to be God focussed as evidenced in their “I want to thank God…” statements whilst receiving their recognition. Encouragingly there is an increasing diversity of other artists who are stating there is no God to thank. For those artists who are black, they also often face hostility from their own community as well as the larger society.
I don’t know if all of these musicians are atheist but their music challenges belief.
Anthony says he wrote this “after watching Pat Robertson declare that the earthquake in Haiti was because of a curse from God. After hearing a man named Rev Wiley say that he was praying for President Obama’s death during the election (the prayer didn’t work BTW). After hearing people fiddle around with the idea of a curse on Japan after their recent disaster. After hearing about Koran burnings and battles that seem to have peoples interpretations of religious texts at the foundation of them all.”
His website is here.
My first introduction to atheist rap was through LA musician Eddie Collins aka Greydon Square. He’s one of the few rappers where you’ll hear the words micro-evolution and macro-evolution set to a beat! From the biting mockery of religious belief in his first album his lyrics mellow by the 3rd album.
Born in 1981, he was raised an orphan and moved around various children’s homes. After getting involved in street gangs and arrested, law enforcement ‘encouraged’ him to join the army and a year later he ended up fighting in the Iraq War.
Returning from the war he went to study to be a pastor but left to pursue sound engineering. At 25 he formed a relationship with a fundamentalist Christian but when she said, “The reason that people in Africa are so rife with poverty and disease was because they haven’t accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour” he started to question his beliefs. His first song Xtian finally pushed his, now ex, girlfriend away.
Greydon went on to study physics and aspires to be the black Carl Sagan. Greydon has produced 3 albums – The Compton Effect, The C.P.T. Theorem and The Kardashev Scale – available here. He’s currently working on a new album, The Mandelbrot Set, due out in 2012.
The rapper Johnny Hoax is a mystery persona but I managed to elicit a few words from him: “I live in the heart of the bible belt that is Oklahoma City. My whole family is Christian, and they don’t know that I reject their beliefs. I work in accounting. I play a lot of basketball and halo, and eat a lot of cookies.”
My favourite song is Mad World which I use as my ringtone.
You can download his music here.
Another song I’ve been listening to lately is by British born rapper Christopher Mitchell aka Kinetik. In The Grace of God he talks about his conflicting feelings growing up the son of a pastor. He also tackles the hypocritical system of organised religion with some uncompromising and cutting lyrics.
He was born in 1982 to the son of a singer. His stage name was given to him at school because of his ability to “move you mentally, physically and spiritually”. From this he created the acronym Kultural Instinctiveness Nurtured Into Effectively Tackling Incorrect Koncepts. He certainly lives up to this in The Grace of God which comes from The Kinesis Thesis Vol. II.
Together with Mr. Drastick they make up Grand Central. You can listen to and download his music here.
Baba describes himself as a Canadian rap artist, writer, actor, and tree planter. He has also taken his music to the stage in his award-winning shows The Rap Canterbury Tales and The Rap Guide to Evolution, which interpret the works of Chaucer and Darwin for a modern audience. I also enjoy The Rap Guide to Human Nature.
He also does educational work and appearing at Ted conferences and performing in schools.
The Rap Guide to Evolution is critical of creationist and intelligent design theories, calling them “superstitious myths”.