My mom asked me the other day to list my “Top 5”. That is, my Top 5 favorite artists right now. I actually had to think. I feel like my tastes have really shifted lately – I’m much more in-tune with the Christian hip-hop scene than I was a year ago. The Reach Records empire – representing HUGE acts like Lecrae, Trip Lee, Tedashii, Andy Mineo, KB, etc, has completely changed my life. I guess it all started when I went to a Lecrae/Trip Lee/Tedashii/Canon/Andy Mineo concert last October. It was at Bogart’s in Cincy – kind of ghetto, if you know the area. At that concert, I hardly knew any Christian rap songs. I knew Lecrae’s hits – “Don’t Waste Your Life”, “High”, “Rebel Intro”, and Trip Lee’s “The Invasion”, but that was pretty much my extent of my knowledge. At that concert, I was blown away by the passion of the rappers. After every song, they had the audience chanting “JE-SUS!” instead of clapping for them. It diverted the glory to God. It was amazing. Between songs, the guys spoke with confidence and passion of the way Jesus changed their lives. They spoke with authority. The highlight of the night for me was singing to Lecrae’s Background together as an audience. You could hear the crowd yelling so loudly
I can play the background/I can play the background/Cause I know sometimes I get in the way/So won’t you take the lead, lead, me/Lead, lead me and I can play the background, background/
It was an earnest cry to let God be first, to let ourselves and our egos shrink to playing the background to a show God’s headlining.
Long story short, I left the concert that night inspired and uplifted in my faith. I started getting REALLY into Christian rap – we bought Lecrae’s Rehab: the Overdose album (now I know every song nearly by heart), Trip Lee’s “The Good Life” album, Tedashii gave me a copy of his “Blacklight” album, I got Andy Mineo’s “Formerly Known” for free on Noisetrade, and I just recently purchased KB’s amazing debut album “Weight and Glory”, and preordered Lecrae’s highly anticpated “Gravity” album, due out September 4th. I can’t wait. After that concert, I actually got so into rap I started rapping myself – doing covers of the Reach Records’ guys verses in my youth group, Epic. I jokingly called myself “Lil’ Ang”, but then it caught on and I had no way to squelch it.
So my top artists right now.
After listening to the KB album, he’s got to place somewhere on my top 5…
1. Lecrae – the pioneer of Christian hip-hop. He has completely blown up and now is getting hit up by the secular hip-hop world. He’s just that talented. Favorite song – “Church Clothes” off the Church Clothes mixtape.
2. Andy Mineo and KB. I can’t choose just one. Andy has a very signature sound, and so does KB – they both hit hard lyrically and write awesome hooks. Favorite songs – Andy Mineo – “Young”, off Formerly Known, KB – “Open Letter”, off Weight and Glory.
3. Hillsong United – every worship song you love that exists out there probably boils down to these guys. If it doesn’t, it’s a rarity. Talent just oozes out of these guys – they also have the rare ability to inspire any crowd to worship. They bring people into the presence of God. Favorite song – “Like an Avalanche” – off their Aftermath record.
4. Tenth Avenue North – with lead singer Mike Donehey giving unbelievably insightful parables in between heartfelt songs that correlate perfectly with the teenage heart, Tenth Ave is a unique blend of passion and relatability. Short story is – I love their music. Favorite song – “Satisfy”, off their Over and Underneath (debut) record.
5. Sanctus Real – I know these guys personally; they’ve been a blessing to me and to just about everyone they come in contact with. I’m a really big fan of their old school sound – stuff from their earlier records that rocks a lot harder than the mellow stuff they’re producing now. Their hearts are genuine and definitely in the right place. I know they’re working on a new album now – all I want is a grittier sound. Favorite song – “I’m Not Alright” off The Face of Love album.
Check these artists out if you haven’t yet. Your life will be exponentially better afterwards.