Rapping for the Creator
A contemporary Christian group takes it to the streets
Posted on homepage: 25 February 2013 (GMT+10)
Gary Bates chats with Dave and Donovan of the rap group Destiny Lab.
As young men, Dave and Donovan1 experienced for themselves the deleterious effects of evolutionary teaching on young minds. That’s why they feel called to communicate the truth of biblical creation. But how would they get young people to listen, particularly when creation information is so widely censored in the public domain, where most perceive that evolution is true and the ‘facts’ support it?
Using their God-given talents, Dave and Donovan decided to use a popular medium to get an alternative view across. It led to the formation of a Christian hip-hop (rap) band called Destiny Lab.
Dave and Donovan made music together long before they both became Christians. Even though Dave was raised in a Christian home, he was interested in the paranormal from a young age, and was especially fascinated by the UFO phenomenon. Being keen on special effects, he moved to Hollywood and soon began to blend his youthful faith with Hollywoodistic sci-fi. The influence became so strong that he concluded that the Bible authors mistook aliens for angels. His family realized he had fallen for the assumptions of evolutionary thinking, when Dave made the comment that dinosaurs were millions of years old.2 It totally surprised his brother, who challenged Dave to investigate the matter further by reading and watching creation resources. The lights came on when Dave started to see a more sinister underbelly to the whole UFO façade, and that such beliefs were full of New-Age teaching that undermined some basic tenets of the gospel. He says of this UFO/aliens scene: “At its core, it is a belief in materialistic evolution, one that denies acknowledgement of personal sin, and promotes self-deification. This leads towards greater evolutionary enlightenment, as in, ‘You shall become as gods’ type status.”3
Donovan, like everyone else he knew, was also entrenched in evolutionary ideas. He says that although raised in an institutional church which he regularly attended with his grandmother, he was not a Christian. But, seeing the change in his friend Dave piqued his interest. Dave started to feed him creation resources. Wow! This really opened Donovan’s eyes to the truth claims of Scripture.
The road to ministry
Around this time they had been taking a break from making music together. But what better way to communicate to youth ‘street’ culture than to start a hip-hop group? So they re-united, and the group Destiny Lab was born. It’s ironic that ‘evolution’ got them back together again.
While some Christian artists have occasionally recorded songs that question evolution and openly endorse creation, for these two, this subject forms the major raison d’être for their band and its music.
Their music is sometimes comical. They occasionally dress up in ape suits, wear white lab coats and hand out monkey masks at concerts to highlight the issue. But their no-nonsense lyrics get straight to the point. For example, in their song ‘The Original Sin’ from the album of the same name, they sing “You ancient serpent, you cast your spell upon this planet with your graven images and your wishes to be worshipped.” One song is called ‘Evolve or die’ and is a critique of TV megastar Oprah Winfrey’s over-the-top endorsement of New Age guru Eckhart Tolle, whom the New York Times described as “The most popular spiritual author in the [US] nation.”4 Eckhart believes that man will need to accept the idea of evolution so he can evolve—or die. ‘True’ believers really know that God is within them, he says, and only the foolish look outside themselves for God, because transformation of the consciousness is the next stage of human evolution, when we can all become God-like.
Other Destiny Lab titles include ‘Who am I?’, ‘The Days of Noah’, ‘Natural Selection’, ‘The UFO puzzle’, ‘Born Again’, and ‘Bought by His Blood.’ They even have a song about the bacterial flagellum, a tiny electrical ‘outboard’ motor in supposedly ‘simple’ germs.5 These guys know their stuff, it seems!
Isn’t rap music bad?
Of course this is the inevitable question I had to ask, because a lot of rap music is associated with ego-centric artists who promote hateful lyrics. They responded by saying “People think hip-hop or rap is inevitably associated with a certain lifestyle, like street life, etc., but that’s not the case. It’s a music style or genre—not a package deal. What appeals to us is the particularly strong lyrical content of rap music.”
A little research indicates that the Psalms were originally chanted monophonically,6 and, probably, a capella.7 (One can definitely trace this back to the very early church, and ancient Jewish worship seems to have been much like this, too.) Rap also ‘speaks’ out its lyrics. This allows Destiny Lab (DL) to first and foremost promote the gospel message through their music. The focus on the lyrics emphasizes the biblical message of their music, through which many youth will be exposed to the Bible’s teaching for the first time. They add, “People often say they dislike rap music. But we’ve found that many folks in their 50s or 60s love our stuff too. Once they hear the lyrics they ‘get it’. We’ve found this immensely encouraging confirmation. After all, one wonders where Jesus would enter to preach the gospel. Sure, some rap has a dark side but DL is trying to shine a light in it for Christ.”
Influencing the culture
Their music has provided opportunities to meet diverse people, in particular, from New Age and occult backgrounds. They particularly wanted me to mention (so parents and churches could hear) that belief in aliens and UFOs is huge, and has a force of its own that drives popular culture. They often demonstrate the evolutionary link to life evolving on other planets8 by using quotes from CMI materials, including our book Alien Intrusion: UFOs and the Evolution Connection, in their performances and interactions. They’ve been getting a lot of correspondence from people wanting to know more. So they often send out their CDs, which open up even more opportunities to witness. They say the whole area of UFOs/New Age, etc. just presents “messages from entities that feed on the ego of mankind.”
The Internet is the main outlet for their music, which is available at major download sites like Amazon and iTunes. Physical CDs are available via their website, which also has some of their songs available for free.9 They have appeared on a myriad of radio shows and Internet broadcasts, and their videos can also be seen on YouTube. They also feature on various social networking sites.
At their live audience performances, without exception, someone always approaches them to say that the lyrics and songs have sparked a thought that needed investigation. This then allows them to forward more creation information including from creation.com. Obviously, they are not in this to make money or to be famous, but as their part in the Great Commission. Because they understand how foundational creation or evolution is to forming people’s worldviews, they focus on it in their songs.
Christianity has to be relevant if it’s the truth
Dave got quite animated, saying: “The church has really dropped the ball by not engaging the topics that can lead people astray. Evolution teaches people that they are nothing more than an animal. In one of our songs, called ‘Planet of the Apes’ we sing ‘What do we expect if the whole human race thinks they are just a mistake like the planet of the apes?’ It delves deeper, saying we should not be surprised that kids are getting into dark things if we tell them they are nothing more than an accident.”
Their passion comes from the fact they were well on their way to becoming just a couple of additions to the awful statistics that show how many youth are leaving the church today. That was, until they realized the truth about biblical creation that exposed the godless philosophy of evolution. They say:
“We have a song called ‘The good person test.’ It uses Scripture to highlight that there is no such thing, that all have fallen short of the glory of God. This is why Genesis is so foundational to the gospel. One cannot fully fathom the gospel, why we are here or where we are going to unless one understands the origin of sin [from the first man, Adam (Romans 5:12–19, 1 Corinthians 15:21–22)]. Evolution causes people to think they are good in their own eyes—just evolved—and that they are not sinners.”
Rapper nommes de plume
“Hi, I’m Dave—aka ‘Arkalogik’. My name is a spin-off from my interest in archaeology, which I think hugely supports the Bible’s history. I do the rapping and write our lyrics. Thanks to God, we have been called to glorify our Creator and expose the deception of evolution in a very unique way.”
“Hi, I’m Donovan—aka ‘Genetix’. My name is a spin-off from the study of genetics. I think this field is, and will continue to be, a huge confirmation that our Creator God is the awesome designer of all living things. I make the beats.”
Destiny Lab don’t usually give their surnames, but this is not just for the usual artistic reasons. They say, “We just want to give all the glory to God—so much of rap is about the ego and giving glory to self, and we want people to focus on our creation-based message, not us.”
From ‘The Happy Atheist’ by Destiny Lab
What exactly would you say if your child looked up at you,
And asked you about God and if He exists and if He’s true?
And wondered what would happen when someone dies, is there a heaven,
And what about that man upon the Cross, am I forgiven?
How exactly would you answer those hopeful little eyes,
When you’re college educated and convinced it’s all a lie?
Sure you went to Sunday School when you were young, but that was then.
You’re above those simple thoughts now the only God you know is man.
Are you saddened and ashamed to tell this little soul,
That you don’t believe in anything and have no reason and no hope?
Comments relating to this article were dealt with in the response Getting a bad rap. So, before commenting please read this associated article and the comments below it.
- Why only first names? See box above. Return to text.
- See creation.com/dinosaurs. Return to text.
- An allusion to Genesis 3:5, where the Tempter says to Eve that she would be “like God”. Return to text.
- McKinley., Jesse, The Wisdom of the Ages, for Now Anyway. New York Times, www.nytimes.com, 9 December, 2010. Return to text.
- See DeVowe, S., The amazing motorized germ, Creation 27(1):24–25, 2004; creation.com/flagellum. Return to text.
- “Monophony” comes from Greek for “one sound”, i.e. one melody with one sound at a time, with no accompanying harmony. Return to text.
- A vocal performance without instruments (Italian for ‘in the way of the chapel’). Return to text.
- See creation.com/lifefromplanets. Return to text.
- Free songs available by joining their mailing list at www.destinylab.com. Return to text.