Music is a big part of our culture, and we easily classify it into genres based on its beat, tone and style. But what’s harder to see are the subtleties of songs that may sound mainstream but is actually religious.
Bone Thugs-n-Harmony is the well-known ’90s rap group that took on the meaning of “spiritual thugs.” If you zoom into their popular song “Crossroads,” it encourages prayer as the means to get through hardships–especially when on the edge of death:
God bless you working on a plan to Heaven
Follow the Lord all 24/7 days, God is who we praise, even though the devil’s all up in my face
But he keeping me safe and in my place, say grace for the case to race with a chance to face the judge
And I betcha’ my soul won’t budge
Grudge because there’s no mercy for thugs
Oh what can I do it’s all about our family and how we roll
Can I get a witness let it unfold
We living our lives to eternal our soul aye-oh-aye-oh
Pray, and we pray and we pray, and we pray, and we pray
Everyday, everyday, everyday, everyday and we pray, and we pray, and we pray, and we pray…
More like a spiritual devotional, the song reminds us when the troubles of the world prevent us from pushing forward, that there is a path towards heaven—a place where our spirits live eternally. And through daily prayer, weaknesses are turned into strength and hope.
In “Don’t Worry,” the song touches on this hope towards a future and the present life. Sometimes it’s hard to look ahead when current situations and surroundings tell us the exact opposite. However, the lyrics of this song imply that the worries of the world can fade with faith. In the words of Rapper Layzie Bone:
…I ain’t worried bout nothing
Cause it’s a little thing I know called faith
All you need is much as a mustard seed
And the Lord will keep you safe
Whatever don’t kill you will make you stronger
I promise you that just keep on pushing
If you slip you fall and you hurt yourself
Then the Lord will provide your cushion
Determination, rules the nation whatever you facing just be a man…
There’s a biblical reference to a mustard seed which, although is among the smallest of all seeds, grows into one of the biggest of trees. Comparing the mustard seed to faith, the lyrics show that even with a small ounce of faith, all hurdles of life can be tackled with just a determination in our hearts. In turn, we can grow into a better person from little steps and efforts. Our small efforts can grow into something larger and greater.
Like many artists, the iconic rap group are here to tell us a story. Bone Thugs-n-Harmony has pushed through their obstacles with their faith in God. If there is something for us to learn, it teaches us that we must always keep going and growing wherever we may find ourselves in life.