John Piper’s Unexpected Career in Hip-Hop

Holy hip-hop or Christian rap has been on my mind lately. While I still feel like a complete poser when a listen to such music, I can’t deny that I quite enjoy it (as my wife would be glad to testify with a roll of her pretty eyes; she isn’t much of a fan). As I’ve been exploring this genre, which is still rather new to me, I have come across an interesting and unexpected influence on these artists: none other than John Piper. Sometimes he is the one who has inspired the song and, even more often, he actually appears within the song. Let me give you some examples.

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Let’s get started with what is probably the most notable and most popular of these Piper references. Don’t Waste Your Life by Lecrae may not actually feature Piper’s voice, but it is named after one of his most popular books.

Next up is Make War by Tedashii which begins with John Piper’s battlecry of “Make War!”

From Tedashii we go to Shai Linne who begins his song All-Consuming Fire with a great quote from Piper.

We’re just getting started. Here is Json with Who He Is, a song that features Lecrae. And John Piper.

Let’s not forget Voice (aka Curtis Allen) who was the first person ever to rap at Bethlehem Baptist Church and who subsequently wrote a song titled Desiring God.

Timothy Brindle is also in on this John Piper thing, using a Piper sermon to introduce his song Sanctification.

And here comes Swoope with Actions Speak Louder. You’ll need to wait to the end to hear Piper’s bit.

We’ll go back to Tedashii and his song This Song’s For You, which is meant to honor true preachers. “So this song’s for the true shepherds / who prove selfless / whose aim is to aid the true helpless / I mean brothers like Spurgeon and Piper, Tom Nelson, John Edwards, / brothers who make disciples / Those who because of Ezekiel 34 shepherd the flocks / as a true pastor of the Lord.”

And back to Shai Linne with My Portion who gets Piper involves right off the top.

Once I began looking, I found quite a few more Piper quotes and references from artists who are not quite as well-known, but I guess I’ve made the point. Even here I am sure I haven’t exhausted all of the references from the more popular artists. Feel free to leave a comment and tell me what I’ve missed!


Here are some bonus videos:

It is not just rappers who use Piper’s sermons. Matt Papa includes John Piper in his song The Glory of God.

The Joy Eternal has a whole album based on the work of Piper. The title of the album is A Sweet & Bitter Providence. Here is their song The Best Is Yet to Come.

And to wrap it up, here is John Piper interviewing Lecrae:


(Note: I’ve linked to YouTube videos, some of which are official and some of which are not. I am not too sure of the moralities and legalities of all of this, so do tell me if it’s wrong to link to non-official videos.)