Christian Rap/Hip Hop

“Help Me” – Jerrell Golden (ft. Romane Scott)

“Help Me” Jerrell Golden (ft. Romane Scott) From Imago Dei Records CD Jerrell Golden (release date: July 30, 2017) By Robert M. Marovich Tappahannock, Virginia, holy hip hop artist Jerrell Golden preaches through his rhymes on “Help Me.” When people suffer from compassion fatigue in a world so cold that “July can be December,” giving up is a tempting option. Others want to help but they cannot. That’s because, Golden reminds the listener, “first we have to learn to follow before we can lead.” There‘s a teaching moment. Between Golden’s stanzas is Romane Scott’s pleading tenor, amplifying the feelings of ...

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Lawrence Hancock – Need of You

Lawrence Hancock Need of You (pre-orders begin April 26, 2021) By Robert M. Marovich Bishop Lawrence Hancock’s new Christian hip hop release, Need of You, emulates his summer 2020 album, Who I Am, more in musical vibe than in message. For his seventh album, Hancock focuses less on uncertainty and more on praise and gratitude. “God’s Been Good,” a praiser with a slowed-down Gap Band groove and punctuations of synare, is the single, but “First Love” is more compelling for its melody and lyrical longing to return to the initial rush of happiness that happens when one discovers Jesus. As ...

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Shyne On Me: What a Year (EP)

Shyne On Me What a Year (EP) (Release Date: November 26, 2020) https://shyneonme.bandcamp.com/ By Robert M. Marovich The year 2020 wasn’t over when DC-based Christian rapper Shyne On Me, like most sentient beings, was ready to stick a fork in it. Nor was the trouble the year wrought, as we witnessed on January 6 in the rapper’s own hometown. His EP, What a Year, encapsulates the emotional rollercoaster that was 2020 through rhymes he renders to a mix of acoustic guitar, laidback beats, and a cacophony of other voices, like friends gathered (masks on, of course) to share collective empathy. ...

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Leland Philpot – Psalms in the Midst (EP)

Leland Philpot Psalms in the Midst (EP) BabelScattered Productions (release date: October 5, 2020) By Robert M. Marovich Chicago avant-garde gospel hip-hop artist Leland Philpot draws on hip-hop, jazz, gospel, and techno wizardry for his EP Psalms in the Midst. Billed as Philpot’s testimony set to music, the EP opens with the title track, a mini-sermon that serves as a general introduction. An aggressive rapper but a disinterested singer, Philpot rhymes rapid fire, near to breathlessly, on “The Gift,” as the beats beep and burble behind him like arcade games. Minimalist beats and gushes of quick rhyming also propel “Break ...

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Mali Music – The Book of Mali

Mali Music The Book of Mali RCA Inspiration (release date: August 14, 2020) www.rcainspiration.com By Bob Marovich The Book of Mali is aptly titled. Mali Music’s fifth album, released in a partnership between his own imprint, K Approved Enterprises, and RCA Inspiration, is a study in self-awareness. Much of the album has a confessional quality, a series of private-made-public conversations between Mali and his Lord. For example, on “Let Go,” Mali dizzyingly delineates the temptations he has left behind. The hypnotic current single, “Mo Lo” (Like You),” is about getting closer to God by humbling one’s self in His presence. ...

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Lawrence Hancock – Who I Am

Lawrence Hancock Who I Am Bishop Lawrence Hancock (release date: July 24, 2020) By Bob Marovich Amid a kaleidoscope of electronic beats and mostly introspective melodies, Christian hip hop artist Bishop Lawrence Hancock tells you who He is, and who you should be—a Child of God. That’s what you discover on the hypnotic title cut of the Toledo, Ohio, native’s sixth album. Who I Am is atmospheric and vulnerable, not aggressive or extroverted. With electronic puffs like asthmatic organ pipes, “Ride,” the album’s first (and finest) selection, gives the message of “Walk Around Heaven All Day” a twenty-first-century face lift. Hancock ...

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Da’ T.R.U.T.H. – Chasing Ghosts (EP)

Da’ T.R.U.T.H. Chasing Ghosts (EP) Independent (release date: March 27, 2020) By Bob Marovich Christian hip hop artist Da’ T.R.U.T.H. drops unvarnished facts on his new three-track EP Chasing Ghosts. “Never Fail,” the single from the musical appetite whetter, is the finest and most radio-friendly of the three selections. Featuring silky R&B tenor Greg Cox, the song inadvertently captures the current zeitgeist in recognizing how people question God “in dry seasons.” “If God would fix everything,” Da’ T.R.U.T.H. rhymes, taking the point of view of a skeptic, “that would make him appealing / But since He can and he doesn’t, ...

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“Unbelief” – Stephen King

“Unbelief” Stephen King From the CD No Secrets (release date: April 28, 2018) By Bob Marovich Not the best-selling author of horror and suspense novels, this Stephen King is a Christian rap artist from Battle Creek, Michigan, who now calls New Orleans home. “Unbelief” is from King’s debut album, 2018’s No Secrets. It’s an anguished prayer for divine assistance during a time of supreme doubt. By the end, he turns the moral of faith into a message of hope for those still trapped in anguish. If you listen hard, you will hear a recurring sample from B. B. King’s classic ...

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Kanye’s Conversion Novel but Not New

By Bob Marovich In its first week, Kanye West’s spiritual album Jesus is King made record chart history by topping five charts at once, including the Billboard 200 chart and the Christian and Gospel album charts. The shift in message was a surprising move, even for the enigmatic and politically perplexing West, and it stimulated a range of responses—from cynicism to delight. But for all its novelty, Jesus is King is not the first time a pop artist has ventured into the realm of religious music. It’s not the first time an artist has left fans wondering whether the change ...

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Sir the Baptist: Everyday Music from a Sunday Knight

By Bob Marovich The sacred-secular divide in music is a uniquely modern conception, and it misses the point. In West Africa, where most enslaved Africans came from, all music was sacred and all music was secular. There was no distinction…until the music came to America during the African Diaspora and distinctions based on intent were forced upon it. This Saturday night-Sunday morning dialogue about what makes gospel gospel arises whenever a new generation of music makers blurs the applied distinctions to communicate a modern message to a contemporary community of believers and non-believers. Perhaps no artist today better represents the ...

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