'My sins have already been forgiven'
'God makes no mistakes'
'My knees will bow only to Jesus'
These are some of the words that can be found in the songs of a Korean rapper named BewhY, who recently took first place in the fifth season of a Korean rap competition show called 'Show Me the Money.'
BewhY, whose skill as a rapper has been acknowledged by other mainstream Korean rappers (such as Simon D., one of his mentors in the show, and Tablo, the rapper of Epik High who publicly lauded BewhY's skills), has also garnered the attention of many due to his unabashed confessions of faith through his songs.
For example, in a song called 'The Time Goes On,' BewhY shares his internal thought process in trying to achieve his dreams. Throughout much of the song, he discusses the encouragement he receives from God, and that his life is for God, such as in this portion (translated from Korean):
"My life is a featuring in the art masterpiece God is creating /
My weakness is used in God's symphony /
A great history is being written through me /
Maybe all of this is not mine but His story"
"The reason people can't criticize him [BewhY] and his religious expressions is his overwhelming skill," said Young Hoon Yoon from a ministry called 'Big Puzzle Creative Community.' "With long and stable breaths he pours out an incredible amount of lyrics, with no mistakes. His rhymes and flow are brilliant. On top of all of that, his style is unique, and has charisma on stage. All of this makes him stand out from his competitors. And because of that, BewhY's faith confessions are attractive even to non-Christians."
At a press conference with the winning team of Show Me the Money on July 19, BewhY said he didn't necessarily intend to write religious music, but that the religious expressions came out as he simply tried to express himself in hs music.
"The religious aspect is one that I believe to be the most important as I live out my life," said BewhY. "I wanted to write about my faith, my story, in music. Some may feel uncomfortable with the religious content, but it was something that I did want to express, so I tried my best to try to find the middle ground."
"I am a person who believes in Jesus," he added. "When I compare my before and after believing in Jesus, my happiness, my thoughts, just so many things are different ... Everything that he taught me about my life are so precious."
"BewhY writes lyrics regarding his faith, but I think he has his own type of swag. People brag about money, brag about cars, and other things, but I think this shows his own swag," said Simon D. at the press conference. "The lyrics make his music 'nice hip hop,' something we haven't heard in a while. This is also the reason people like it. It can move people's hearts without being offensive or explicit."
BewhY's music has repeatedly come in either first or in the top 10 in many of Korea's music sites over the past few weeks, including 'Day Day,' and 'Forever,' and his popularity as a Christian rapper amongst the mainstream Korean community has been an aspect that people have been noting as unique.
One Korean blogger, whose username translates to 'the Reading Lion,' wrote that BewhY, despite his being Christian, is actually becoming even more beloved because of his faith.
"The mainstream (especially young people) have already turned their backs to Christianity in our country a long time ago," the blogger noted, "yet they still like BewhY, the 'Christian.'"
"Whether Christian or not, we all know with our hearts. Whether a person is real or fake," he continued. "When confessions are made by a 'fake' person, it's initially offensive or uncomfortable, but when those confessions are made by a 'real' person, like Zion.T said, it becomes 'really holy.'"