Christian Rap/Hip Hop

Renaissance Movement Music – Lions in Suits

Renaissance Movement Music Lions in Suits (release date: February 26, 2016) Available digitally By Bob Marovich On the fifteen-selection Lions in Suits, Christian hip hop collective Renaissance Movement Music (RMM) joins forces with a handful of special guests to deliver a parcel of messages.  The messages are mostly about the life-giving and life-saving power of faith in God, but they also contain pointed commentary on society’s propensity to stereotype, typecast, put people in boxes, and throw shade on anything and anybody different. RMM is comprised of Sinai, Mike Bell, and Legin. The album title appears to refer to the group’s ...

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Christon Gray – The Glory Album

Christon Gray The Glory Album Fo Yo Soul Recordings / RCA (release date: March 11, 2016) By Bob Marovich Christian hip hop artist Christon Gray announces that he’s “spittin’ the real, not the auto tune” on The Glory Album, the major label follow-up to his solo independent release and Billboard-charting School of Roses.  He’s right, and he has a lot of real to spit. As Gray shared with JGM, The Glory Album takes up where Roses left off. The sequel finds Gray trying to make sense of the often incomprehensible strands of life with which everybody grapples, such as family, love, relationships, spirituality, the responsibility ...

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Christon Gray Has a Lot to Say

By Bob Marovich A lot can happen in two years. Just ask Christon Gray. In 2014, the Christian artist released his solo debut album, School of Roses. It caught the attention of Kirk Franklin, who signed Gray to his Fo Yo Soul Recordings/RCA label. On Friday, March 11, 2016, The Glory Album, Christon’s second solo album and first for his new label, hit the streets. “The album is doing well,” Gray told the Journal of Gospel Music. “Kirk Franklin told me to be myself, to have the freedom to do what I want to do. His validation was very encouraging. ...

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Lecrae – Church Clothes 3

Lecrae Church Clothes 3 Reach Records www.lecrae.com By Bob Marovich Leave it to Lecrae to put out a mixtape as a place holder—or an appetite whetter—until his new album is released, and it soars to the top of the Billboard chart. That demonstrates his crossover appeal in a hip hop market that knows no subgenre boundaries: if it’s good, it’s good. If it’s relevant, even better. Church Clothes 3 is good and relevant. It’s first three selections, in fact, are engaging kaleidoscopes of incisive rails against inequality and injustice in all of its forms. Lecrae points the finger at everyone ...

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Truth Be Told – Voorhies Hanniboheez

Voorhies Hanniboheez Truth Be Told (2015) www.voorhieshanniboheez.com By Bob Marovich When Voorhies Hanniboheez spits rhymes about the G, he’s referencing God, not a gangsta. Actually, listening to the award-winning Detroit hip hop artist’s debut project, Truth Be Told, one might conclude accurately that Hanniboheez is God’s gangsta.  He fights the devil and his crew with the power of his incisive vocalization and take-no-prisoners lyrics.  On more than a few tracks, Hanniboheez explicitly states that he would rather flame with rhyme than use guns on those who have fallen. He shoots with rhymes, not bullets, with the ultimate goal of bringing them ...

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Howard Ziwa – Dawn

Howard Ziwa Dawn – Volume 1 www.ziwamusic.com By Bob Marovich Howard Ziwa’s Dawn—I’m tempted to call it an EP because it has eight tracks and weighs in at under thirty minutes—has its high points and low points. Let’s start with the high points. The EP’s finest selections, “Alele” and “Let It Be,” are fueled by the brisk polyrhythms, vertical praise lyrics, and instrumental sensibilities of the gospel music from Ziwa’s native Africa (he was born in Kampala, Uganda). Those familiar with African gospel music know that it is often ignited by insistent drums and an ostinato riff on keyboard or ...

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Freestyling for the Father: “The Anointed Bible Spitta” Voorhies Hanniboheez

By Bob Marovich In July, Voorhies Hanniboheez of Detroit received the 2015 Rhythm of Gospel Award for Best Performance by a Christian Hip Hop Artist. It was his first public honor and confirmation of a journey that has taken a decade to crystallize. “[This award] means everything to me,” Voorhies told JGM. “I never really saw myself as a performer. I knew I would end up with a beautiful album, because I truly did it for God. No connections, no help. But this tells me that God wants me to perform in front of His people.” Voorhies—“my first name is ...

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Finding a Way: Pastor Robert McCloud of Detroit

By Bob Marovich Ask today’s Christian hip hop artists about their inspirations, and they will talk about artists such as Lecrae, Trip Lee, and Sho Baraka. But Pastor Robert McCloud is old school.  Coming of age during rap’s emergence as a popular entertainment form, his inspirations include Run DMC and LL Cool J.  Nevertheless, he is primed to join today’s Christian rap community. The path between the rapper’s early days in Detroit and the present has taken many angular turns. Anticipating the forthcoming release of his full-length debut, The McCloud Project, on his own label (Concrete Records), Pastor McCloud spoke with ...

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“Find a Way to Love” – Mr. McCloud

“Find a Way to Love” Mr. McCloud Concrete Records Available on iTunes starting July 1, 2015 On “Find a Way to Love,” Detroit Pastor Robert McCloud puts his estimable hip hop experience to work in the service of good. He offers a general apology to all those he has hurt in the past, and in song and rap asks God to help him “love a little bit more.” Specifically, McCloud wants to leave and stay out of a world full of falsehood and hate and find his way to a world full of love, where he has a family, children, ...

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