So if you haven’t heard by now, apparently a pastor from Philadelphia named Jomo K. Johnson and Meek Mill got into a yelling match right on live radio. This whole situation stems from the fact that Pastor Jomo recently launched a campaign against rapper Meek, one of the hottest rappers in the game right now, calling on Phillie radio to boycott Meek’s song ‘Amen‘ ft. Drake over some lyrics that he claims are blasphemous and violent. He even released a diss song going at Rick Ross and Meek among others. When I first heard about the story, I felt like I already knew what to expect, but I was intrigued by the ‘rapping pastor’ and thought let me at least dig a little bit and see what’s at the root of this…
The stage was set when radio host Q Deezy from Phillie’s 107.9 managed to get both parties on the phone to try and work out their differences. Instead they had a rather
heated spirited debate. Throughout the argument, Meek mostly implied that Jomo is only out for fame and is all talk no action, to which Jomo rebuttal was to attack Meek lyrics and admonish him that he needs to “accept the word of Jesus Christ and repent”.
That is the moment where Jomo lost any support I was willing to give to him. Is Jomo trying to tell Meek and the rest of Hip Hop that the only way to atone for their sins is to accept the word of Jesus? That whole concept is one of the main things that drove me from religion in the first place. Who’s to say that Meek couldn’t find his salvation through Buddism? In my eyes, whatever leads you on the path to righteousness and goodwill towards your fellow man and woman, then so be it. Jesus does not have the ‘Funkmaster Flex exclusive’ on saving people from their mistakes and misdeeds. As soon as Jomo made it about Meek converting to Christianity, I was done with him. Religion can be a powerful tool for soul searching, but in the world we live in today, it is far from the only thing we need.
To be certain, when it comes to the issue of violent and misogynistic lyrics in Hip Hop, there simply is no denying the negative energy of the words that many Hip Hop artists are very comfortable using so freely. I’m constantly aware of my own internal contradiction between the aggressive content that I like in Hip Hop, and also realizing how damaging it can be for some, particularly youth, who may be perhaps less discerning about the messages they should be taking from the music. So I do acknowledge the core issue that Jomo is on the surface attempting to address.
Now before any Christians start to get offended, I’m not saying that Meek’s acceptance of Jesus couldn’t be the thing that ‘saves’ him. What I’m saying is that the gritty lyrics that Meek is rapping comes from his experiences in the environment that he grew up in; dealing with the factors that caused that environment to be the way it is is a much bigger problem than can be taken on by any single religion.
As you were.
After watching the video, I did a little more digging to see what Pastor Jomo is all about outside of his disses against Meek and arguments in defence of Jesus. I fully expected to find his website to be full of information about Christianity and all of the community initiatives that his church’s members are working to implement in order to save young black men from a life of crime. I swore I would be requested to leave behind a donation towards some fundraising campaigns, perhaps one would be to finance a new community centre.
So what did I find? Well, after locating his Twitter account, I clicked on the link to his website as indicated in his signature, which I eventually discovered, minus one ‘l’, is www.calltyronebook.com. And well… I gotta say Jomo, we don’t believe you, you’ll need more people if you’re going to try and preach to anyone but your own choir that this is not your feeble attempt at a marketing ploy for your Christian rapper aspirations. Good luck selling those books.