Christian Rap/Hip Hop

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. ...

Read More »

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 ...

Read More »

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 ...

Read More »

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 ...

Read More »

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 ...

Read More »

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 ...

Read More »

“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, ...

Read More »

Mr. Del Presents Holy South: Memphis in Mayhem

Mr. Del Presents Holy South: Memphis in Mayhem DMG (2015) www.noisetrade.com/holysouth/memphis-in-mayhem By Bob Marovich Quite possibly taking its title from a deliberate word play on the annual Memphis in May festival, the Memphis in Mayhem mixtape is available free of charge on Noisetrade (use the link above) by Holy South, a self-proclaimed “militia” of prayer warriors comprised of hip hop artists signed to Mr. Del’s DMG (Dedicated Music Group) label. Murk, Fro, Ty Brassel, Yung Titan, and Young Memphis join the “Hope Dealer,” Mr. Del, on the mixtape. Acknowledging the sorry state of affairs in today’s society, Holy South is ...

Read More »

Pastor McCloud Uses Hip Hop to “Find A Way to Love”

SPONSORED POST Concrete Records artist Pastor Robert McCloud, a native Detroiter, was in hip hop for thirty years. Influenced by the likes of RUN DMC, Fat Boys, KRS 1, The DOC, LL Cool J, Eric B & Rakim, and many more, McCloud once used hip hop to entertain. Now he’s using it to explain. Taking Matthew 7:15-23 for his inspiration (“Watch out for false prophets”), McCloud uses hip hop to encourage a positive outlook on life. “Hip Hop is my vehicle to express my life’s ups and downs,” McCloud says, and he does that on his single, “Find a Way ...

Read More »