Christian Rap/Hip Hop ResourcesPosted by doloto on September 16, 2013 Blog | | No comments
Today I received a message from someone on Facebook. A person writes,
“A kid in our youth group who was adopted from Russia by an American couple and is going through the stage or listening to only rap right now, but with bad lyrics. His mom is asking for help if there are any Christian song writers out there. So I was wondering if u have a CD or a link I can reference your music.”
So instead of writing her a detailed message specifically to her, I figured to put it all in a blog that way it can be useful for many others.
First of all, it’s good that this mother is aware and is concerned about this for her child and that she is trying to find out about an alternative. I relate to that kid. When I was in middle school in the late 90′s and high school in the early 2000′s I listened to some very obscene, morally degrading, and wicked rap music, and I LOVED it. It was my escape during those tough adolescent years. My parents knew that I listened to rap music and they didn’t like it, but being native Russian speakers they understood very little or if any of the lyrics, I used it to my benefit. If they only knew how bad the content was then they would destroy every single electronic device and CD that I had. Today I’m absolutely clueless what’s going on in the mainstream rap music world. I could only imagine that it’s a lot worse. I find out more about the mainstream stuff through my friends overseas in Ukraine and Russia than I do myself when I live here. Sometimes I turn on the local Bay Area rap stations and a few minutes of is enough for me. It’s around mid-high-school that I accidentally came across Christian Hip Hop at a Christian bookstore, and it rocked my world with the game changer albums by Lojique “Language Arts,” Sev Statik “Speaks Life,” Deepspace 5 “The Night We Called It A Day,” and BPM “Ambidextrous.” Those were the fist 4 Christian Hip Hop CD’s that I bought, and since then, that’s all I’ve been buying and is mostly what I listen to when I’m in my car.
In short the answer is YES! There are TONS of good Christian Rap & Hip Hop artists, and resources where you can get more of it. Most of the following links are either record labels, crews, or collectives. I suggest going through their artist rosters and check them out on Spotify or GrooveShark where you can listen much of their music for free. Before you read on I ask you to please share this with others as most of us exist and expand by you spreading the word about our music ministries, and I along with all others are more than thankful for you doing that.
Humble Beast – humblebeast.com
Don’t let the name scare you. It’s for being Humble in character and Beasts on stage. I personally met some of them and I can tell you that they are all hands-down followers of Jesus with amazing music. I’ve been listening to and following Braille ever since my first Christian Hip Hop CD. I’d say he’s my most favorite Christian Hip Hop artist. But him and all of other artists on this label are very intentional in challenging you in your Christianity and delivering the truth of the Gospel in it. You can download their music for free at humblebeast.com/downloads
And check out their YouTube where they have a lot of exclusive material available that’s not on their website.
LampMode Records – lampmode.com
I think this is the BEST and most spiritually nourishing and sanctifying Christian Hip Hop that I know of. Much of their music is densely packed with good sound theology and doctrine yet contextualized for the urban context. They’re like some of the best sermons that you’ve ever heard preached, yet packaged in songs. For a long time I owned a few albums by one of their Artist’s Shai Line, but it’s only recently within the last 2 years that my brotha Maks of THEOLyrics told me about them and was in disbelief that I’ve been following Christian Hip Hop for so long and never heard some of these artists. I’ve been buying all of their music ever since. No album that you’d buy from them should leave you disappointed. Most of their music is not freely available to download, but they do have some freebies available on their site at, www.lampmode.com/freebies. You can listen to many of them for free on Spotify as well.
Apart form music videos, they have very good content on their YouTube as well.
Reach Records – reachrecords.com
These guys give you more of that mainstream southern sound. Although their music style is not my preference of choice I still listen to them every now and then. I notice that they’re much more well known than any of the artists are mentioned above. Their record label head Lacrae is probably one of the most well-known Christian artists right now. They have no freebies on their site. But a lot of them have a lot of free mixtape albums available at a few websites I’ll mention bellow.
Cross Movement Records – crossmovement.com
This a record label that was started by a Christian Hip Hop Crew named Cross Movement. Although Christian hip hop has excited a long time, late 80′s as far as I know, these guys are probably the most widely recognized early pioneers of this music. Without the influence of Cross Movement in their ministry, many of the Artists and Labels mentioned above would not even exist. I’ve heard of them a long time ago but never listened to them. Just recently within the last half a year I started listening to their music on Spotify, and love it a lot. I have yet to purchase their music inventory.
War Tour Crew – wartourhiphop.com,
These are brothers in Christ that I’ve collaborated with for a while. Together we are in a Christian hip hop collective known as War Tour Hip Hop. Even though we haven’t toured much lately, most of us are active in recording solo projects. A lot of their music is available as Free Downloads as well at wartourhiphop.com/category/downloads
Check out their music videos on their YouTube
THEOLyrics – dolotohiphop.com
Yes we are still active. We are slowly working it. So far it’s been just writing lyrics and hope to start recording in the near future. Yes, all future THEOLyrics material will be available as free downloads. For now you can get most of my (Doloto’s) music that’s from 2009 and up at dolotohiphop.com/category/music
OTHER CHRISTIAN HIP HOP AND URBAN RESOURCES
Sphere Of Hip Hop – sphereofhiphop.com
Sphere Of Hip Hop is the longest lasting Christian Hip Hop website. They’ve been around since the late 90′s, That’s 16 years of commitment to date ran by a guy name Josh Niemyjski. I encourage you to read their About Us page that tells you about their active history since 1997. I give them much props for doing what they do. It’s an online Christian Hip Hop Magazine, Community, and Store.
That’s right they get 2 paragraphs They have TONS of free music available on their site, sphereofhiphop.com/rap/audio/albums/ you can track back older posts for daaaaayz worth of music. They have monthly Podcasts on their site or iTunes, and daily downloads. Anyways, many artists have been made known to the world through their platform. They are super supportive of new artists. I’ve been following them from mid-2000s and discovered many new artists through them. It was a dream for me to have my music hosted there alongside with many artists that I admired. Little did I expect it but it became a reality, and I’m super thankful to them for that. I am and will be supporting them till the end. I strongly encourage you to support them by subscribing to their email lists, subscribe to them onYouTube, liking them on Facebook, following them on Twitter, Buying music and merch through them at their Online Store, financially supporting them, and praying for them.
Rapzilla – rapzilla.com
Another well known online Christian Hip Hop portal, with many articles, album reviews, news , and much more stuff to mention. When it comes to free music I’m talking about TONS of free music that I can’t even keep up with. Any fresh news that happens within the Christian Rap/Hip Hop Community, these guys are on top of it! They have new content for you practically every day. So it’s a great place that blesses so many of us.
Legacy Movement – legacymovement.org
I will further talk about them in another blog, but in brief, Legacy Movement is an annual Conference that is held in Chicago with a strong emphasis on making disciples and maturing those who are already followers of Jesus. A lot of the previously mentioned artists are involved with Legacy yearly by doing seminars, workshops, preaching, concerts when the event is held. All this is for the purpose of taking the biblical truth and contextualizing it and applying it within the urban context. On their YouTube page they interview a lot of these artists, and it is very encouraging, insightful, and spiritually uplifting to watch as these artists share their testimonies and stuff. I would strongly suggest check out more info about them or even think about going to the conference as well.
Streetlights – streetlightsbible.com
With the problem of so many kids who live in the urban context and being illiterate, these guys from Streetlights made and Urban Audio Bible that’s overlaid over beats that they can listen to. Faith comes from hearing the truth proclaimed which is found in the word of God. What they do is amazing and I strongly encourage you to check them out and share this great resource for the youth you know.
Lies Hip Hop Told Me – colebrownpdx.com
This is a book written by Pastor Cole Brown of Emmaus Church in Portland, Oregon. He writes is a very insightful book for the youngster or and older person that listens to mainstream rap music. This is NOT an anti-hip-hop book. He takes famous rap cliché quotes that pretty much lie to us and addresses them with the truth in the light of the Gospel.
Gerry Breshears, a Proffessor of Theology at Western Seminary says the following about this book on Cole Brown’s website
“Whether you know Hip Hop culture or not, the biblical insights here are profound. If you are ignorant of that culture, as I am, you will find Cole’s wrestling a great introduction. Beyond that, his wrestlings will help you shake lies where ever you were infected.” — Gerry Breshears,
If you’re the parent of the child or youth leaders of that child, this is a book that you’ll find interesting yourself. I hope it brings you great insight and blesses you richly.
FOR MY RUSSIAN-AMERICAN PEOPLE
Bellow are some links of Russian and Russian-American friends and acquaintances that I’ve gotten to know over the years, including my own stuff. Some of these resources are in Russian and some are in English.
THEOLyrics/War Tour Hip Hop
As I mentioned above, you can download my albums from 2009 and up at the two following places, dolotohiphop.com, wartourhiphop.com.
Along with that, THEOLyrics got some cool video blog Spoken Word pieces by Max G that those in the Slavic community will understand very well as it deals with many of those cultural issues.
For those of you who want my very first Russian EP Mixtape “Мысли Вслух” – “Thoughts Aloud” back from 2006 along with two of my brothers. You can download it here.
theBreax – thebreax.com / ruslankd.com
I found about this San Diego based hip hop back in either 2007 or 2008 when I came across them on MySpace. As soon as I heard some their music, it instantly grabbed my attention. Their lead rapper Ruslan is half Russian half Armenian who came to America as a political refugee from Armenia. His songs took me back through the vivid memory lanes of my past from Georgia Republic, Russia, and early days of the States as an immigrant that moved to here with my family under a refugee status as well. I hit him up that same day I found out about them telling him how personally impacting his music was to me. I kept in contact ever since and I knew that I had to get him on a song with me as so much of our past is similar. It worked out, and you can catch Ruslan’s feature on the Why Hip Hop song from the Foreign Recipes Domestically Made album.
Not all their music is available on their website since they pulled it down, but they have a bunch of Free Mixtapes available for download on Sphere Of Hip Hop, but I just figured to list them bellow to make it easier for you.
Gospel People – gpministry.info
I would say that what Cross Movement was to the U.S. as a catalyst for many future artists, Gospel People are the same thing but in the former Soviet Republics. They’re based in Ukraine but are known all over for Soviet countries. I personally met people who were saved through repentance and fath into the Lord Jesus Christ because of their music ministry. It’s a long story how I got connected with them, but I’ve gotten to know 4JL from Gospel People very well over the years. As I mentioned earlier, he’s the one that tells me the mainstream music news of the States that I’m so clueless about when living here. Most of the Russian Christian Hip Hop is not good; in a childish state but slowly maturing .To be honest, I think I’d probably wouldn’t listen to most of 4JL’s and Gospel People’s music if I did not personally know the guy. But I do, and do share it with many people as well. Since they are the center of attention of the soviet Christian Rap community they recently started featuring downloads other artists on their page. I think that is amazing that they serve others by using their platform for exposure of the current and future up-and-comers. All their music is available for free here, gpministry.info/media
There are soooo many other artists that I would of love to have mentioned, but it’s 3:07 at night and I need to go to sleep so I can work tomorrow. I hope that this is a starting point for you.
May the Lord bless you richly with His grace.