Christian rap’s mostly unknown trailblazers and historical landmarks were celebrated on June 21 in Houston, Texas.
Although members of the hip hop culture have been spreading the Gospel through their music and art for over two decades, many of its newer members remain ignorant of their own past. As a result, the All Eyes On Me Achievement Awards (formerly known as the Texas Holy Hip Hop Awards) decided to mark its national expansion by dissolving competitive recognition categories and devoting this year’s entire ceremony to honoring its veterans.
Where are all the Christian rap critics? Where are those of us bold enough to say an album, at least creatively, really ain’t hitting? By the same token, where are the artists tough enough to accept negative criticism of their project?
Let’s be honest, we’ve all heard gospel rap music that is sub-par. Maybe it’s the wordplay, the beats, or the artwork - you know that it just doesn’t compare to the best of mainstream, or even Christian, hip hop.
FLAME has recently released his new album "Our World Redeemed" on March 4th 2008.
I was eager to see the new Soundscan sales chart to see how well the album sold, which I knew would do a good debut. The sales chart for Christian Hip Hop for the week ending March 9th was released Wednesday (yes, it takes time for Soundscan to gather all the numbers), well today Rapzilla just updated the TOP 20 Sales Chart page and FLAME debuts at the #1 spot!
This morning Rapzilla received a press release from FLAME's Public Relations firm. Expecting to see the title "Flame Our World Redeemed debuts at #1", instead the news release was titled "FLAME's Our World Redeemed Goes #1!", okay that's still similiar right?
Wrong! If you read the news release it says: "The critically acclaimed album jumped an amazing 41 chart positions in one week to hit the #1 position in its second week on the CMTA R&B/Hip Hop Chart." That's great news but it would mean the album debuted at #42 and not #1 as the sales chart declared. We went searching and found that on the previous sales chart (the Week ending March 2nd), before the album was ever released it was at the #42 spot. How is this so? Very simple some stores sold it before the release date (that's not fair indeed!) which allowed it to be on the sales chart early.
We asked the PR (Public Relations firm of FLAME) if their quote meant the album debuted at #42, their answer was simply: "It debuted at #42..."
Want to know how many early copies were sold to bring it at #42 before the release date? 53, nothing to be proud of.
This is really no big deal, FLAME really debuts in my books at #1 and not #42. This was a plain mistake, but who's mistake? The early buyers? The stores? Soundscan? The PR? That's up to you to decide.
“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the Door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” (Rev. 3:20) God is right there, right now… knocking. He wants to come in and be a part of our everyday life in a real way. But, we have a choice to leave that door closed, or to open it to him.
Christmas has come and gone, it’s now 2008. The hustle and bustle of shopping and family times have wound down and by now we’re all transitioning back into the routine of work or school (maybe a few pounds heavier though). Although the season has passed, I feel a little obliged to tell a personal Christmas story. And, although it deals with a difficult subject, I find it completely necessary to discuss. The reason is simple. I will take every opportunity I can, as I believe all people of faith should, to speak out against, discredit, and fight injustice and ignorance.
U2’s Bono nailed the sentiment. In over 20 years of listening to holy hip hop (First purchase: 1986 / Stephen Wiley’s “Bible Break” single – on tape!), I have yet to run across The Perfect Christian Rap Album.
On December 17th, 1991, Judge Kevin Thomas of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York issued an injunction against Warner Bros. Records that changed the direction of Hip Hop music forever. The case was, of course, over sampling and copyright infringement. Biz Markie, a signed artist of Warner Bros. Records (and inventor of the slang “Oh, Snap!”) used a sample from the song “Alone Again (Naturally)” by singer-songwriter Gilbert O’Sullivan. The case set a precedent for the music industry and created a wave of legal woes still felt by Hip Hop producers to this day. It was ruled that 100% of all samples must be cleared first by the original copyright owners before any third party use.