Gospel Rap

Screen Shot 2013-10-25 at 6.59.34 AMChristian hip hop (originally Gospel rap, also known as Christian rapGospel hip hop, or holy hip hop) is hip hop musiccharacterized by a Christian worldview, with the general purposes of evangelization (Christian mission work), edifying some members of the church and/or simply entertaining. The first commercially released and distributed Gospel rap album was MC Sweet’s 1982 album The Gospel Beat: Jesus-Christ, distributed by PolyGram Record, Inc..[1][2] And the second is Stephen Wiley‘s 1985 album Bible Break, distributed by Benson Music Group.[3][4][5] In the same year by David Guzman founded JC & The Boyz. Some of America’s premiere Christian rappers, such as: Michael Peace, SFC, Dynamic TwinsMC Peace, and T-Bone came out of this crew. More commercially successful was the crew known asP.I.D. (Preachers in Disguise) who released five recordings. Michael Peace is an American rapper and one of Christian rap’s first solo artists. In the late 1980s, other crews emerged, including dc Talk and S.F.C. (Soldiers for Christ). S.F.C. was led by Chris Cooper who originally rapped as Super C (short for Super Chris / Super Christian) and later became Sup the Chemist and then finally Soup the Chemist. Christian emcee Danny “D-Boy” Rodriguez was another well-known early Gospel rap artist, but was murdered in 1990 in Texas.[6] The 1990s saw the continuing trend of funky rap artists blending faith and rap, such as D.O.C. (Disciples of Christ) who emerged out of Oklahoma as well as the Gospel Gangstazfrom Compton and South Central Los Angeles, California. In 1991, JC Crew emerged spawning the careers of Maximillian (West Coast beat box champion) and T-Bone. Additional artists made a considerable impact on the Christian hip hop scene. Such artists that contributed were Dynamic Twins, Freedom of Soul, IDOL King, Apocalypse and both 12th Tribe and Holy Alliance who were produced by Scott Blackwell of MYX Records. S.F.C.’s (Sup, QP, DJ Dove) 1992 album Phase III was DJed and produced by DJ Dove, whose credits also include the Gang Affiliated, Gospel Gangstas’ 1993 debut album. Around the same time as Phase III, Dynamic Twins (Robbie and Noel) came out with their 1993 album No Room To Breathe. Freedom Of Soul (MC Peace, DJ Cartoon) followed with their second album, The Second Coming (Caught in a Land of Time was their first), also their last album as a group. One of the major influences in the genre came with the formation of Gotee Records in 1994, co-founded by dc Talk member Toby McKeehan, better known as TobyMac, making it the first record label marketed explicitly for Christian hip hop and R&B that was backed by a major label. The label was among the first to market the Contemporary Christian musicmarket through distribution at Christian bookstores and playing on Christian radio. This trend continued with other labels such as Tooth & Nail‘s Uprok Records and others that gave an outlet to hip hop artists who identified themselves as Christian and wanted a broader market. However, much of the sales of these Christian record labels was purchased by people brought up in the church, 70-80% of them being white.[7] Recently, a number of artists and labels such as End Of Earth Records, Rezurrected MuzicCross Movement Records,Grapetree RecordsSyntax RecordsDeepspace5 Records, Universal Funk Records, Illect Recordings, and The New Unstoppable Records have purposely tried to market more to people who did not grow up in church as well as more to urban markets.[8] In addition, many major Gospel stars were getting in on the hip hop & rap genre. Kirk Franklin joined with the 1 Nation Crew in the album Kirk Franklin Presents 1NC. Another element of the hip hop culture is the disc jockey, aka “deejay” or “DJ”. In September 2009, the Higherground Record Pool (HGRP) and One Accord DJ Alliance (OADA) held their first Gospel DJ Conference at the Crowne Plaza, Queens, NY. The first known Gospel DJs were honored at the event. Kingdom Affiliates Record Pool (HGRP) also was represented at the conference. The next conference is planned for September 2011 in Atlanta, GA.[9]      

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