A typical strategy for all musicians to expand their audience is to tour. This summer, Humble Beast artist Propaganda has taken full advantage of that strategy. Not only did he headline his own tour based off the Crimson Cord album released in April, but he has played quite a few events with popular Hip Hop acts ranging from Wu-Tang Clan’s Raekwon to Southern Rap legend Bun B.
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This month, less than two years after he penned an anthem about selling crack, Houston rapper PyRexx released the mixtape Workflo Vol. 1 with lyrics so Christian that the Grammy Awards would call it gospel music.

“You better stop running ‘cause God is coming/Better be sober, God is coming,” says PyRexx on track number 2, “Sober,” which for much of the past 15 years only described him in prison.

Known as Joseph McSweeney to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, 29-year-old PyRexx has collected five convictions for a total of six-and-a-half years behind bars. This hasn’t stopped Christians in Houston’s hip-hop scene from endorsing him, though.
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Chris Cooper is the founding member of the legendary Hip Hop group SFC, which stands for Soldiers For Christ. Although, he has gone by several different stage names over the years, most of them are simply a variation of Super C. However, he is most often referred to as Sup, which is pronounced Soup.
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In 2008, before Drake signed with Young Money Entertainment, he was featured on the same song as Gemstones: “Stay in Your Place” by TreaZon. Gemstones didn’t know Drake would become a platinum-selling, Grammy Award-winning artist, but Gemstones sensed that Drake had the “it factor” to be special—the same “it factor” he sees in Brother 3, an unsigned Christian rapper from Chicago.
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Thi’sl and his pastor Kenny Petty identify with the frustration in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson by protesters who demand justice for Michael Brown.

After a police officer shot and killed the unarmed 18-year-old Brown on Saturday, Petty told a group of Ferguson pastors how one of his best friends had died under similar circumstances 21 years ago. According to Petty, who serves at a church in St. Louis, cops shot his unarmed friend five times in the back and twice in the back of the head as they fled the scene of a gang altercation.
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Kareem Manuel and T.J. “Decipha” Morrissette of the Christian hip-hop duo CTZN plan on traveling to Iraq for a mission trip next summer. The country’s recent increase in violence has forced CTZN (pronounced “citizen”) to reconsider, but the group still expects to go.

“It’s really scary, but they need Jesus, man,” Manuel told Rapzilla. “You’ve got to go where the gospel is needed. The light shines the brightest in the darkness. If they’re going to open the doors, let us rap and share our faith on tour, we’ve got to at least explore the opportunity.”
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Baltimore hasn’t always been kind to Brandon “B-Doe” Thomas, but it was on July 28th.

Coast 2 Coast LIVE, a national hip-hop event that features an artist showcase, came to town and B-Doe won first place. He was the only Christian who performed.

“I couldn’t believe [I won],” B-Doe laughed.
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Swoope cemented himself as one of the most celebrated lyricists in Christian hip hop after Wake Up dropped in 2012.

“Swoope’s album the Wake Up woke me up,” Lecrae told Rapzilla. “That album just slapped me man. This dude is raising the bar.”

When an album is so excellent it shocks a future Grammy Award-winner, certain expectations are created. But as Swoope prepared to write his next solo album, Sinema, he suffered from a condition that jeopardized his reputation—writer’s block.
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How do you inspire a record label with over 120 gold and platinum records and 20 Grammy Awards to try something new?

Ask Reach Records.

Two years ago, Lecrae and Ben Washer’s independent label moved Brad O’Donnell, SVP A&R at Capitol Christian Music Group, to pursue a hip-hop artist.

“They were the ones who showed the Christian—and general market, by the way—that there was an audience hungry for music like this,” O’Donnell told Rapzilla. “It was not only with the music, but I was impressed with the artists as people and what they stood for.”
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“Don’t be in a hurry to go to court. For what will you do in the end if your neighbor deals you a shameful defeat?” – Proverbs 25:8

By now, and if you are reading this article, you are probably aware of the biggest news to hit the Christian Hip Hop airwaves in a long time: the lawsuit filed by Flame against Katy Perry in which he alleges that she infringed the copyright for his song, “Joyful Noise”. While not much else has been reported regarding the pending lawsuit, there has been a swarm of commentary surrounding it. The comments have ranged from incredulity that Flame would sue an artist as big as Katy Perry to disdain that a Christian is filing a lawsuit, but regardless of what side of the spectrum an individual may lie, one question invariably finds itself into all discussions: “Should Christians sue?”
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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.
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Nate Marquardt prayed for James Te Huna before fighting him at UFC Fight Night 43.

“Please protect this guy so he doesn’t get too hurt,” said Marquardt.

He didn’t believe oddsmakers, who labeled him an 8-5 underdog. Despite losing his last three fights, Marquardt expected to win easily.

His confidence wasn’t rooted in pride. It was rooted in God.

Marquardt is a professing Christian. His faith, and the Christian hip-hop song he used for entrance music, gave him peace against Te Huna. But the last few years, Marquardt failed to prioritize his faith over his career.

Pride did influence that.
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The Rapzilla.com 16 Bar Challenge is back for the 2nd year in a row at the Legacy Conference in Chicago! Last year, recent CTF Records signee Los (of HGA) took home the winnings. This year we are giving Los the opportunity to defend his title, however we opened up submissions and received 185 of them. We narrowed down the list to 20 and will now leave it up to you to pick the final 7 rappers to be selected by your votes. The final 7 will be invited to compete in a bracket challenge with single elimination at the 2014 Legacy Conference to win $2,000 in cash and prizes! The 16 Bar Challenge videos with the most votes will be contacted to verify the ability and capability to make it to the Legacy Conference. In the case one of the final 7 aren't able to make it, we will contact the next in line by votes. Remember, this is not an emcee battle, rather a display of the hottest 16 bar verse. Without further delay, watch the submissions and cast your votes!
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USA Today Sports

At UFC Fight Night 43, every mixed martial artist who stepped into the octagon as Christian hip hop sounded throughout the arena won their fight.

James Te Huna, ranked the No. 14 UFC contender to light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, entered the main event a 20-37 favorite against Nate Marquardt. Te Huna, a native of New Zealand where the event took place, got creative with his walkout for the home crowd. He arrived as warriors wielding spears danced and chanted.
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Spoken-word artist Micah Bournes only released his third solo album Alive & Ill on June 25th because of a disease.

Bournes, a student at Moody Bible Institute, had mapped out his future in pen. After graduation, he would fight for international justice as a Peace Corps volunteer. But his health intruded.

“Whatever,” Bournes thought as he looked down at blood in the toilet. “I must have eaten something funny.”

What he perceived as one poorly prepared meal turned into a week’s worth. Using the toilet became synonymous with pain, but he remained confident that he could shake off whatever bug had bitten him. Besides, he had always been athletic.

Only after a month of suffering did the Los Angeles native fly home for a colonoscopy.

Doctors diagnosed him with ulcerative colitis—an incurable immune disease that, if untreated, causes internal bleeding in the large intestine. Bournes’ condition required advanced treatment and multiple surgeries, dashing his dreams and sending him back to the drawing board.

He rushed to pen a new game plan, graduate school. Oxford, NYU, Northwestern and more rejected his application, closing yet another door.

Ulcerative colitis limited Bournes’ future, but it forced him to live in the present. He stopped mapping out what he would do and just did what he could do.

“I realized that God is not going to be impressed with what I had on my life’s to-do list,” he said.

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Th3 Saga (left) battles Notic Da Boss at Battle Another Rapper Showcase. Th3 Saga has been battling since 2012 on multiple stages including URL.

Luis Daniel Lebron is a rapper/singer/songwriter who is originally from and grew up in Brooklyn with his two brothers, mother, and father. Luis, who goes by Th3 Saga, isn’t your typical rapper. He is a battle rapper, but not just any battle rapper. Th3 Saga openly rhymes about his relationship with God and his faith in Jesus.

Th3 Saga began battling in 2012 at the Battle Another Rapper Showcase, and has since then rapped in 5 battles. He has competed on world famous stages like the Ultimate Rap League battling some of the most skilled emcees in the world. Don’t be fooled. Th3 Saga is no corny Christian on the mic. In the 5 battles he has competed in he is sitting with a record of 5-0.
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“A man’s gift makes room for him, and brings him before great men”
- Proverbs 18:16


From the outside looking in, Christian Hip Hop seems to be a world where theology is often used to critique the so-called legitimacy or illegitimacy of “Christian rappers”. Often times, it seems as though there is a quota that has been given to “Christian rappers” which requires them to mention Jesus, or your favorite theological terminology, a specific number of times per minute. This is a very interesting phenomenon to me because theology is simply how we understand God and His plan for our lives. Theology is similar (key word; similar) to reading a book or taking a class about women in order to better understand them, yet, no book or class about women comes close to actually knowing a woman, talking to a woman, and/or spending time with a woman. One’s personal experience with God or view of God will not necessarily line up with another’s personal experience with God.
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Rapzilla.com staff picked around 20 of the new up and comers on the scene and narrowed the list down to the 10 new kids on the block to look out for this year.

The Criteria: The main qualifier that Rapzilla staff utilized was that the artists could not have more than one official release. If an artist has had two official albums released, that would be referred to as their sophomore album. So an artist that has released several mixtapes and been a feature on other albums, yet only released 1 official album, is a freshman by definition, not talent. So lets jump into it...
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“I was facing 43 years in prison for attempted murder due to gang violence...I thought my life was over.” With matter of fact articulation and brutal honesty, Curt Kennedy isn’t shy about telling his testimony. The artist has been through more in his lifetime than would typically fit in one sitting. Born in D.C. and immersed in the street lifestyle, his lingo and slang quickly morphed to match his surroundings. After a broad daylight gang shooting resulting in the death of his friend, Curt’s life was close to ending. “I was in the courtroom waiting for the judge”, he told Rapzilla in an exclusive interview. “And my lawyer told me I would do at least 10 years.” Facing such bleak circumstances, Curt had a God-ordained realization. “I turned around and looked in the courtroom and it was empty,” he explained. “The Lord used that to show me that everyone who I stood for was gone and none of them were there. The judge dropped all the felony charges against me. I went from 43 years in prison to serving less than 4 months.”
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In commemoration of the unofficial Unashamed Holiday yesterday (1/16), Rapzilla has compiled 16 of the best 116 anthems by Reach Records. The list includes both old and new, modern and vintage tracks from one of Christian music's most impacting, barrier-breaking labels.
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After weeks of time, effort, and debate from the staff at Rapzilla, we bring to you our nominations for who we chose as leading in a specific category as it relates to doing music.

To qualify to be nominated, the producers must have produced a song belonging to an official full length album, or EP available at retail outlets with a release date between December 2012 and November 2013. We will be following up and posting the winners by reader votes as well as Rapzilla's Best of 2013 picks. Voting ends January 20th 2014. Feel free to spread the word and support your vote by sharing the images below on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, or by email/text with your friends and family.
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Stereotypes would have this young Korean woman doing manicures and pedicures in her local nail shop, or because she is a wife and mother have her at home doing dishes and reading 50 Shades of Grey, or even high on a corner somewhere turning tricks because she grew up not knowing her biological parents.  But Heesun Lee is breaking all those stereotypes and reppin’ hard for her God.  Check out her testimony and hear snippets from her upcoming album 'Stereotypes' out January 21, 2014.
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