When Christian hip hop artist William Lee Barefield III, better known as "Trip Lee," began composing lyrics as a 12-year-old boy, he dreamed of becoming a celebrity. When he gave his life to Jesus Christ as a 14-year-old, however, his worldview began changing, and he eventually decided to use his talents to glorify God instead of himself. In his recently released debut book, The Good Life, Lee shares how living "the good life" isn't dependent on money, sex, or fame, but rather on a right relationship with our Creator.
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CP: When people think of "the good life" they often think of living in luxury, what is your definition of the good life?
Lee: I think if you were to ask me when I was much younger what my definition of the good life was, I think it would have sounded a lot like what most people would say - a life with all the things you want and everything you think you need to make you happy, and these sorts of things. But the way I've tried to redefine the good life in my book is, instead of it being all about what you have or all about the things you achieve, I think the good life is living by faith in a good God. And what I mean by that is, instead of living by faith in whatever lies we've been told about what the good life is, instead of that we believe God. And when we follow God, then He's going to lead us to the good life.
CP: Obviously you already have a fan-following from your rap career, and the book is written in a way that is simple, but it's very theological. There are a lot of foundational truths that you address, so who is this book written for? What was your target audience?
Lee: I wanted to write a book specifically aimed toward young people. I wanted to write a book that anybody can read and enjoy, but I did want to aim it at young people and, even more specifically, urban young people...Also, I think there's a need for even young people to grasp and get truth, so I wanted to take time and kind of point to that.
And I want people who don't read a lot to enjoy it, so that's why I tried to write it in a simple and engaging way, for a lot of people who don't read a lot or who don't really like reading. And so that's been probably one of my favorite feedbacks that I've gotten from people: "I never read, I don't like to read, but I read your book and it was helpful for me." That's probably the best feedback I can get.
CP: On the very first page of the book you address the idea that foul language isn't the only problem you see with today's rap, and then you go on to talk about how the worldview is an issue as well. What kind of cautions would you give to parents or even to kids about the rap music that they're listening to today?
Lee: What I don't want to do is make this divide - here's the kind of music you may listen to, here's the kind of music you may never listen to. I don't want to make that divide...but I do want to caution people...whether it be music or any kind of media, just to be really cautious about the kind of worldview that we're hearing, the worldview that is influencing ours.
I know when I was growing up, a lot of the views I was listening to, it was a worldview that was not helpful. The world even sold me a false idea of what the good life was, and I wish that people would have helped me to think better about how to interact with that worldview.
I think that would be the main caution I would give to parents or to anybody...be cautious of the worldview that you're hearing. Don't just take in stuff and take on the worldviews, because that's the very thing that I did. But if you are going to listen to music that has a worldview that's contrary to what God says, to interact and think about the way that God would have us feel.
SOURCE: Jeff Schapiro