Christian hip-hop has always been the awkward middle child—not really contemporary Christian music, not really gospel, but also not a part of the mainstream hip-hop community—which often made it challenging for those artists to get their music played in churches or on the radio. Then in 1995, Billboard began recognizing Christian rap and hip-hop on both gospel and Christian charts, giving these artists the chance to become known. But it wasn’t until recently that hip-hop sales began to rise and the artists, in turn, rose to the top of the gospel charts. Success of artists like Lecrae, Trip Lee, Andy Mineo and many others have proven that Christian hip-hop is a lucrative and artistic endeavor.
But in December 2014, Billboard decided Christian hip-hop is no longer eligible to appear on the gospel charts, making the Christian charts a bit more crowded. Billboard gave this reasoning: “In an ongoing quest to make all of our charts a more meaningful and accurate reflection of the respective markets and consumers they represent, the industry urged us to reconsider eligibility for those titles on our gospel charts, and we agree that our Christian charts are the most appropriate place for these songs and albums to compete.” Only time will tell if this will have a positive or negative impact on both hip-hop and pop artists.