Snoop Dogg has some strong words for people who throw shade at his recent foray into Gospel music. The gangsta rap legend released a 32-track opus called Bible of Love that featured gospel heavyweights like Tye Tribbett, Fred Hammond, and B. Slade (formerly known as Tonex)–now the #1 Gospel album on the Billboard charts.
Although Bible of Love snuck up on us, the gospel greats that joined Snoop to produce the project have vouched for the rapper, saying that the work is coming from a real place. Snoop also has church roots: i.e. his mother, Beverly Broadus, is an evangelist who travels and preaches. So, while Bible of Love, is a surprise for many of us. For Snoop, the project is a “return home,” a phrase he uses several times in a recent interview.
Even so, some people are having trouble welcoming the Doggfather into the fold. Snoop sets the record straight on his motivations for the project and what critics can do with their opinions. “I thought church was supposed to welcome sinners,” Snoop says to TV One after his performance at this year’s Stellar Awards. He continues:[lborder]
If the church was full of saints it wouldn’t be right. So if you find someone trying to find their way back home, the natural thing to do is to be warm welcoming, open your arms and say “Brother, we accept you for who you are and what you’re going through. Come as you are. We know you’ve been doing wrong and you want to get right and we want to help you get right.” We’re not gonna’ throw stones on you when you’re trying to get right and walking back into the church house. That’s what’s running people out the church right now as we speak.[/lborder]
His theology isn’t pristine but he’s not wrong either.
Sure. There is something to be said about the necessary consequences of salvation: that is, growth in holiness. And Paul has some advice about new believers not getting into leadership in the body of Christ too quickly (1 Timothy 3:6).
But then there’s also all of Jesus’ teachings and parables about religious know-it-alls and nitpickers who are so obsessed with pointing out the sins of their neighbors that they don’t even realize that they–themselves–are not entering the kingdom (Luke 18:9-14). Snoop’s words also remind other Christians not to be the proverbial “older brother” in Jesus’ Prodigal Son parable.
The rap icon says that if the architects of the genre don’t have a problem with him reppin’ for the Lord then no one else should. “And if you do what’s happenin?” he asks rhetorically, but his body language says “You can catch these hands if you got’ sum’n say.”
At the end of the day, Snoop joins a long tradition of black artists who have muddied the boundaries between the sacred and the secular, including Sam Cooke, Al Green, and Ray Charles. But he also joins a long line of complicated biblical men: like the Apostle Paul who had been a terrorist before writing most of the New Testament, or King David–a man that God forbade from building the temple because he had too much blood on his hands (1 Chronicles 28:3).
As one of our writers, Mai Perkins, said in her coverage of Snoop’s album, “Bible of Love challenges Christians to check their judgments at the door. At the end of the day, whether you love or hate the idea of him making a gospel album, Snoop is praying for you.”
is managing editor at RELEVANT Media Group. He holds a B.A. in Practical Theology and an M.A. in Theology with an emphasis in Biblical Languages. He's passionate about music, faith, racial justice, and social change. You can find him on Twitter @andrehenry, and more of his writing at http://andrerhenry.com