Daily Wire co-founder and conservative commentator Ben Shapiro is the number one rapper in America this week – an interesting twist for someone who doesn’t even consider rap to qualify as music at all. 

Teaming up with Canada’s Tom MacDonald, a rapper himself, as well as a former wrestler, the “song” is called “Facts,” and it’s being hailed by commentators as a clever and unapologetic anti-woke message. 

 Wearing a hoodie with his popular catchphrase, “Facts don’t care about your feelings” emblazoned across its front, the rap begins: 

 They call me offensive, controversial, There’s only two genders, boys and girls, They can’t cancel my message … I don’t wanna talk to folks who don’t get it, Go work, go broke, nope it’s pathetic. 

Historians trace the origin of “Hip Hop Music” back fifty-one years to 1520 Sedgwick Avenue, a high-rise building located in a low-income neighborhood in the Bronx, one of New York City’s five boroughs. It was there that a local DJ going by the name of “Kool Herc” is credited with birthing the genre at a party.  

For many of us, this music is nearly as foreign as a Tibetan mountain village, but the facts – to carry on the Shapiro theme – suggest our unfamiliarity or even disdain doesn’t diminish its enormous reach. Rap’s penchant towards the vulgar didn’t begin till the 1980s, but once the line was crossed, the industry seemed eager to profit from the profane. 

It’s estimated that nearly two billion people listen to rap music worldwide, and nearly 100 million right here in the United States. Christian hip hop music dates to the 1980s, most notably dc Talk, a group formed by students at Liberty University.  

Ben Shapiro’s top-ranked offering is neither Christian nor obscene, but it is grabbing headlines and starting conversations.  

The popular rapper Nikki Minaj surprised many when she congratulated Shapiro on X this past weekend. 

“I just listened to it @benshapiro not bad,” Minaj wrote on Saturday. “Congrats on #1. But it def sounds like Roman’s Revenge when the beat first came in…idk,” she noted, a reference to one of her own songs. 

Christians understandably talk a lot about “engaging culture” – a sentiment that many people echo, including leadership at groups like Focus on the Family. Despite what many critics may suggest, we’re eager to meet people where they are, and welcome candid conversations when it comes to controversial subjects.  

We may be happy to meet people where they are – but we’re not satisfied to leave them there, especially since eternity is hanging in the balance.   

Perhaps less defined, however, is what that “engagement” looks like – especially since it can manifest very differently depending upon the person and the circumstance. 

As a devout Jew, Ben Shapiro is not proselytizing – but he is stirring the pot. He’s doing it in an unconventional way for conservatives, but he’s challenging the conventional wisdom of the age. This is a good thing. Shapiro may be communicating in a style and tone that departs from many of our tastes – but he’s unquestionably reaching people in a way that more staid engagement never will.

This situation reminds me how one of the great thrills and fascinations of our faith is how the Lord uses all kinds of people, circumstances, and methods to reach people.  

How might He want to use you in your current season of life? How might you engage culture in unconventional and even surprising ways? 

Back in 2019, Focus on the Family broadcast a live ultrasound in New York City’s Times Square. We believe the Holy Spirit planted the idea – and the Lord opened all kinds of doors to help make it happen.

Yet, witnessing doesn’t have to be on a big screen, and it rarely is. We influence and preach through our casual conversations over the fence or in the supermarket checkout line. We generate interest by showing interest in other people. We can also make an impression by surprising others – and, like Shapiro, co-opting a genre for good. 

You may or may not want to listen to Ben Shapiro’s hit song, but you should have an appetite to use the gifts and talents God has given you to reach as many people as you can, even in unconventional ways.


Image credit: Tom MacDonald