Has Christian Hip-Hop arrived? This question asked to 10 different people may warrant 10 uniquely different responses, but it was the first question Nicola Menzie of the Christian Post asked Chad Horton, co-owner of Rapzilla, and Timothy Trudeau of SyntaxCreative, in an interview on Monday. Most may disagree that Christian hip-hop (CHH) has truly arrived but it is undeniable that it has succeeded greatly amongst Christian and mainstream audiences.
The core Christian fan base has indeed pushed record sales and ticket sales through the roof, making it almost impossible for others within the hip-hop community to neglect CHH artists any longer.
“Ultimately, because just recently in the last few years has their approach been, publicity-wise, to go toward the mainstream hip-hop audience. That coverage really started coming when the sales ... when he [Lecrae] started selling 100,000 albums, then the mainstream hip-hop audience said, "Wow, who is this guy selling 100,000 albums that we've never heard of?" So obviously, that's where it's starting out”, said Horton.
Lecrae has now won a multitude of awards including Grammy and Dove awards, while other artists within the genre continue to climb towards the top of national music charts. Andy Mineo of Reach Records reached number 2 on the Billboard rap albums chart with his latest project ‘Never Land’, while Humble Beast artist Propaganda claimed the number 8 spot on the very same chart with his latest project ‘Crimson Cord’.
Lecrae and Mineo have also made several appearances on MTV, BET’s 106th and Park, and Sirius XM’s Sway in the Morning, which is heard by audiences that reach hundreds of thousands of people.
Additionally, with increasingly successful CHH rappers featuring fellow artists on their own solo projects it only seems predictable that more people will be exposed to the overwhelming talent contained within the CHH genre.
Aside from records sales, Christian hip-hop has also created its own organized marketplace filled with well-developed radio stations, concert circuits, and venues where the product can be shared and distributed on a level never seen before.
“I think the major difference is there's actually an organized scene and economy for it now, whereas back in the '90s and 2000s, it was the Wild West. There was no economy. […] By doing that, now there's a circuit that people can tour and venues are created, radio stations are created. So none of that stuff was in existence at one point and then now there's a lot more of it. I think now it's viable”, said Trudeau.
Although many people may have a hard time accepting the notion that Christian hip-hop has “arrived”, one thing we can agree on unanimously is that it is now impacting more people than ever before.
“It is definitely at a point where it's impacting on a higher level, the mainstream hip hop audience a lot more and the Christian audience as well”, said Chad Horton of Rapzilla.
Artists are now stepping onto bigger stages, speaking to bigger audiences, and selling more records than ever. Both Christian audiences and others are now experiencing the grace and mercy of God spoken on a beat on a level like never before.
Read the full article, interview and watch the video version on ChristianPost.com
Austin is a junior at the University of Missouri – Columbia school of journalism. Journalism and Christian Hip-Hop are two of Austin's strong passions, and his long-term aspirations are to pursue radio broadcast journalism and eventually create the first Christian Hip-Hop radio station in his hometown of Kansas City. Follow Austin on Twitter