As you probably already know by now, I am a Hip-Hop head and I particularly love Christian Hip-Hip (AKA CHH). Out of all the Christian rappers out there, there is only one that tops my list, and that is the one and the only Amisho Baraka Lewis popularly known as Sho Baraka. As I wrote last week, Sho Baraka is coming to Malawi courtesy of Flood Church, Fresh Impressions and Letswai, the concert takes place on the 16th of December in Lilongwe and in Blantyre on the 17th. To prepare you for the show, I compiled this list of the 10 songs by Sho Baraka I think you should know, these are my favourite songs by him, I hope you listen to them and prepare yourself for the concert. To some extent, this is a hard list to compile because one has to reconcile the old Sho with the new one, but I try but best, so in no particular order here is my top 10;
- Shut us Down ft Lecrae & After Edmund. Album; Lions & Liars. This song captures the essence of Sho Baraka as a ‘prophetic’ rapper, often times God has used him to be a voice for the future. You listen to this song that was released in 2010, and one would think it’s addressing the current state of CHH. In addition, this song is just a classic anthem, it has the feel of a perfect concert song.
- We can be more ft JR. Album; Lions & Liars. This song is a classic CHH love song, I don’t know if there is a more iconic Christian rap love song. In fact, if anyone wants to propose to their girlfriend, I suggest you do it at the concert to this song.
- Ali ft Ali. Album; The Talented 10th. In my humble opinion, this is probably the best song on Sho’s best album. This song is a soulful motivational anthem for the hustle, I love how he addresses the subject of having ambition and dreams as a Christian, working hard towards your goals for the glory of God.
- Nicodemus Ft Diamone. Album; The Talented 10th. This song is a perfect rap worship song; he brings the gospel down to a practical level where we start to see ourselves as sinners who need God’s grace. One of the most impactful lines in this song is “We get the saviour from a prostitute’s offspring/This shows that there is grace in your offering”. My favourite part of the song is toward the end, where he makes all these contrasts of the beginning (the fall) and heaven, all the things that God will redeem and make new.
- Here Ft Lecrae & Ekemini Uwan. Album; The Narrative. I won’t lie I fell in love with this song because of Ekemini Uwan (my love for Ekemini runs deep, I think she is my WCE lol!), it features Lecrae on it and it was their first collaboration in years (since gravity I think). The thing I appreciate the most about Sho is how he comforts your worldview, but still makes songs that you can vibe to. This song carries a pretty serious message, but its also a song you can just enjoy.
- I see the Lord (Remix). Album; Lions & Liars. This is another worship song from Sho, this is such a beautiful song that truly every believer can relate to. It celebrates the beauty of being redeemed to worship God, I don’t doubt that it would be beautiful to see it live.
- Word. Album; Lions & Liars. This song goes ways back to when Sho used to make songs for youth groups (an inside joke only true Sho Baraka fans will understand lol!). A throwback song for all the old school CHH fans, it celebrates being a believer and having the word. I love this song because of the chorus, makes on just want to hit a Dougie you know!
- Maybe Both. Album; The Narrative. I love this song because I think it captures the essence of the new direction he took with making more socially conscious music. The last verse in this song explains why a Christian addressing social issues is not at odds with the gospel. “the Lord who hated sin showed grace to the thief Saved the lonely prostitute from being stoned in the street He was holy, but he hung with the sinful Drove out the wicked by flipping over tables in the temple He took a wrongful death, yet he remained silent But, he said he coming back, and he is bringing violence Many people isolate him just to make him fit their cause Never too involved in a greater context at all So, are there two Christs totally unrelated Or, maybe there’s one Christ, and he’s pretty complicated Huh? Pretty complicated Or, maybe it is both”
- Excellent. Album; The Narrative. He describes this song as “trap jazz’, once you listen to it, you understand why it has that trap vibe but with the deep content, we love Sho for and not forgetting the smart witty bars. One of the lines from this song that stayed with me is “Fight for justice from creation to the tomb I know Black lives matter, and they should matter in the womb”
- 30 & Up Feat Courtney Orlando. Album; The Narrative. This song is according to Sho “We can be more part 2”, featured on it is the legendary Courtney Orlando, don’t know who that is? You might recognize him from his former name J.R. These two make grown folk vibes together (HiSoc anyone?), and this song is the epitome of the grown-up vibe.
- Kanye Feat. Jackie Hill Perry. Album; The Narrative.
- Profhet. Album; The Narrative.
- Famous. Album; Lions & Liars.
And there you go guys, that is my top 10/13 songs by Sho Baraka, I am a HUGE fan, and I am super sad that I am not able to make it to the show. I know you will have a ton of fun; I want to give one of you a chance to attend the concert. To win a ticket, go to the “iamnotagoddess” facebook page and find the giveaway post! Have fun!