The Rev. Jomo K. Johnson is calling for a boycott of Meek Mill, one of Philly’s most popular hip-hop artists, after being offended by the lyrics of Mill’s new single.
The song’s title? “Amen.”
The song, which also features Canadian rap superstar Drake, is blasphemous because it thanks God for what many would consider rather ungodly things, says Johnson: freewheeling sex, money, violence. And that, Johnson says, is going to send Mill straight to hell.
Such pronouncements might be predictable if Johnson were one of the usual suspects in the culture wars: some old fart who didn’t understand hip-hop or the environment about which Mill sings. But that’s not the case. Johnson is practically the same age as Mill, and he grew up listening to much of the same music and having many of the same influences as Mill did. Johnson’s church, moreover, the Philly Open Air Church on Germantown Avenue, isn’t far from where Mill — born Robert Williams — grew up.
“I’m a hip-hop fan. But I believe there is a need to really call him out and say enough is enough,” said Johnson, who founded his nondenominational evangelical Christian church two years ago. “He seems to really be using the church as a backdrop and a parallel for some of the sinful things that he does.”
Johnson, who first called for a boycott of Mill on his blog, deadestrapperalive.com, has also self-published a book he wrote on the subject called No Amen: Why Boycotting Meek Mill Will Help Save Hip Hop.
“As a hip-hop fan, I want to encourage every rap fan in Philadelphia who is a believer in Jesus Christ, to boycott Meek Mill until he acknowledges this blatant disrespect,” Johnson wrote on his blog. “And being resident of North Philadelphia and pastor, I revoke Meek’s ‘hood pass’ until this happens.”
Though a representative, Mill declined to comment on Johnson’s call for a boycott.
So what in Johnson’s mind is so sacrilegious about Mill’s song?
After all, “Amen” starts off innocuously enough, as Mill sings:
“I just wanna thank God/For all the pretty women he let into my life/ All the Benjamins he let me count …” But then the song takes a turn makes a turn, becoming darker, as Mill starts going on about killing people, having sex and drinking alcohol until he overdoses.
“Now it’s a lot of bad b—— in the building (Ooh, Amen)
A couple real n—– in the building (Amen)