Christian Rap/Hip Hop

Jerrell Golden: J Rocks the Mic…for Jesus

By Bob Marovich Anyone who witnessed Tappahannock, Virginia, rapper J Rock during freestyle battles heard a young, hungry, and confident artist who didn’t just want to emulate Jay-Z: he wanted to be better than Jay-Z. But behind the scenes, the story looked different. “I was hooked on drugs and did a lot of bad stuff,” Christian hip hop artist Jerrell Golden told the Journal of Gospel Music. “Me and my mom, we weren’t seeing eye to eye, so she kicked me out,” he said. “And honestly, I deserved it. I went through a spell of being homeless, going from friend ...

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Hip Hop Artist Steven Malcolm Turns Earthly Loss into Heavenly Gain

By Bob Marovich Once upon a time in Grand Rapids, Michigan, life was looking pretty good for Steven Malcolm. He and his family lived in a middle-class home. Their father, Winston, a Jamaican by birth, had a decent job at General Motors. Then when Steven was about ten years old, Winston was arrested. He had been caught selling drugs. Since Winston was not a U.S. citizen, officials deported him to Jamaica. That was the last time Steven ever saw his father. “He was a great guy, a great dad, but he decided to sell drugs,” Steven told the Journal of Gospel ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: July 23, 2018

“Even Louder” Steven Malcolm feat. Leeland From the IVAV (Word Entertainment) EP The Second City, Pt. 2 (release date: June 8, 2018) www.StevenMalcolm.com By Bob Marovich “Even Louder,” written by Steven Malcolm and Leeland Mooring, blends musical understatement with Malcolm’s declarative rap about the many wonders of salvation. Its lullaby-like melody, incessant beat, atmospheric swirl of background voices (courtesy of Christian worship band Leeland), and string-laden interlude combine to create a captivating conclusion to Malcolm’s second in a four-part EP series called The Second City. From Grand Rapids, Michigan, Steven Malcolm is part Jamaican and celebrates his roots on the EP ...

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Shyne On Me – Barmonies: The Long Fall

Shyne On Me Barmonies: The Long Fall (release date: December 1, 2017) https://shyneonme.bandcamp.com/album/barmonies-the-long-fall By Bob Marovich Barmonies: The Long Fall by Shyne On Me is one of those albums best listened to in its entirety than as individual tracks. On his latest project, Washington, DC-based Christian “city soul” singer and rapper Shyne On Me shares with the listener his personal journey from darkness to light. He does not leave out the temptations, discouragements, and the harsh realities of life along the way, but he reminds us that we will make it through the grace of God. The album’s opener, “Running to You,” begins as a ...

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Hi-Lite Real: Moral Victories

Hi-Lite Real Moral Victories Hi-Lite Life Music (2016) http://hilitereal.com       By Bob Marovich Moral Victories, the latest CD by Atlanta-based Christian Hip Hop artist Hi-Lite Real (born Dwayne Dickey), is as aspirational as it is inspirational. Employing sports analogies for some of his selections, Hi-Lite Real pumps up his motivation while evangelizing to those caught between the street life and the blessed life. “Keep that Xbox,” he spits on “Number 1 Contender,” because saving souls is no game. He’s got his “eyes on the prize” and will work, even through “a torn ACL,” if need be. During “Jungle,” ...

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Mr. Del – Love Noize

Mr. Del Love Noize DMG (release date: March 16, 2016) www.mrdel.com By Bob Marovich On Love Noize, Mr. Del the Hope Dealer traffics in the one thing we need more of: love. Following faith and hope, the greatest concept is love.  It’s the theme of the Christian rapper’s latest album.  Love Noize is the third in a trilogy of albums based on 1 Corinthians 13:13; the others are Faith Walka (2013) and Hope Dealer (2014).  Love for friends, for enemies, for God, as well as God’s love for us, all are grist for Mr. Del’s rhyme mill. Sometimes love is hard, as ...

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Boo Deezy – Positive Ratchetness Vol. 1

Boo Deezy Positive Ratchetness Vol. 1 3L Records (2016) www.reverbnation.com/boodeezy904 By Bob Marovich I’ve said before that Christian hip hop artists are modern day manifestations of the early twentieth century street evangelists who took the Word out of the church and into the highways, byways, and street corners. Listening to Jacksonville, Florida, hip hop artist Boo Deezy’s mixtape, Positive Ratchetness Vol. 1, it occurs to me that some are also modern day manifestations of the Biblical prophet. Like Boo Deezy, who has the passion, the platform, the punctiliousness, and the personal experience to speak the truth about what’s happening and ...

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Nucci Reyo The King’s Kid – Mr. D.J.

Nucci Reyo The King’s Kid Mr. D.J. www.gstatedigital.com By Bob Marovich In 2000, life looked great for Nucci Reyo. The youth from New Jersey who had amassed a groundswell of attention for his charismatic rapping was signing to MCA Records. Life looked even better when he released American 21 and began working with major label celebrities such as Puff Daddy and R. Kelly. Then after appearing in a series of gospel-themed musicals, Nucci Reyo got saved, became Nucci Reyo The King’s Kid, and turned his flair for hip hop into the White Flag Movement, where his goal is to bring ...

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Nimisilla Park – Welcome to Nimisilla Park (EP)

Nimisilla Park Welcome to Nimisilla Park (EP) Coal Mine Entertainment (release date: October 7, 2016) http://nimisillapark.com By Bob Marovich Alton Hood and Michael Brown, best known as the founding members of pioneer Christian hip hop group and GRAMMY and Dove Award nominee D.O.C. (Disciples of Christ), return after a decade-long hiatus. But they are not returning as D.O.C. Making an emotional, if not entirely musical, break with the past, the duo is now known as Nimisilla Park. Welcome to Nimisilla Park is an apt title for the first eight-track EP to be released under the rebranding. The EP reflects the duo’s ...

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Hostyle Gospel – Hostyle Takeover

Hostyle Gospel Hostyle Takeover (release date: October 14, 2016) www.hostylegospel.com By Bob Marovich Hostyle Gospel, the Christian hip hop trio from Champaign, Illinois, is back with its fourth release, Hostyle Takeover. This fourteen-cut album finds the collective persistent in its quest to blot out evil, with the “takeover” being a call to overturn a world based on hierarchy, not the content of one’s character or God-given ability. If we didn’t know already, the album’s Travon Martin-themed “Skittles & Iced Tea” exposes a whole lot of contemporary evil in the guises of racism, discrimination, hatred, and murder, with African American males as ...

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