Far from being in its infancy stages, Christian Hip Hop is now filled with labels and collectives of talented Gospel-centered artists. The kaleidoscope of the culture has broadly expanded from its original tiny following to a variety of lanes and styles. Co-founders Mickey Holm and Mike Luna are aiming to introduce fresh ideas, sounds and artists to the music industry with their new label, STRT TRBL music. While the name (pronounced “Straight Terrible”) may be unconventional, the meaning is much deeper than first glance.
“A little while ago, I hit this rut where everywhere I went, I felt honestly like everyone was terrible.” Holm explained in an exclusive sit down with Rapzilla. “I saw self-interest, and there were so many people who had the desire to just look out for themselves. And I felt that God was saying to me ‘that’s exactly why Jesus came.’ Without Jesus we’re, all terrible; with him we’re awesome” This is deep symbolism for any label, especially one that has the expressed goal of “have fun, make great music, and lead people to Christ.”
With the recent success of Christian Hip Hop on the charts, many will undoubtedly ask if a new collective is necessary. The Ambassador even once famously said that the genre had now graduated to “sucking up the bandwidth” of music, but Luna sees more space to be had. “Within the sub-culture of CHH, it’s not oversaturated with quality music. Even when you look at the mainstream, there’s more than enough room for great artists.”
Holm elaborated that he doesn’t consider STRT TRBL to be a “Christian label” but rather “a label with artist who share our vision. We feel that the artists we have are well-equipped to reach the secular world and get the Gospel into other people’s ears.” Those artists, rapper L9 and crooner SPZRKT, were both featured on the Rapzilla’s 13 Freshman of 2013 list and have styles that are just as unique as the label’s vision. “They’re talented and completely themselves. We’re not trying to make them fit into STRT TRBL. We’re trying to take their vision and help them accomplish that.”
What will their impact be on Christian Hip Hop? While showing excitement for upcoming projects, both men appear to be both realistic and confident. In Luna’s words, “I think there’s going to be a whole different lane that we’ll be able to carve out.” Holm added, “With the artists that we have, the talent in the camp, and the Lord’s continued blessings; I feel like it’s going to be amazing.”
Check out and download the lastest projects from these two artists, SPZRKT's 'The Loner' and L9's 'Something Reckless'. Also, check out Derek Minor's newest single "We Are (Champions)" featuring SPZRKT.