Flashback Friday: Gospel Gangstaz – One Time
1994 Myx Records
Recently we highlighted S.F.C. and their brand-launching powers with a song that featured the then unknown group, “Alliance Of Light”. Later this group became known as the Original Gospel Gangstas… The O double Gs… Gospel Gangstaz… and what have you.
The short and sweet version (really all Flashback Friday’s are short and sweet in hopes that you will roll up your sleeves, do some homework, and learn your own history) is that DJ Dove who was part of S.F.C. ventured off to start a label called “Holy Terra”.
At this point, Holy Terra was really just an idea, not a label. So… like most labels starting out, Dove partnered with an already established label to plug into their infrastructure and distribution. The inaugural Holy Terra release came out on Myx Records, an imprint of Frontline (remember them?) headed by Scott Blackwell (another dude to lookup if you want to wrinkle your Christian hip-hop brains).
It didn’t take long for DJ Dove to get his very own distribution deal with the largest independent distributor at the time, Diamante Music Group, after ‘Gang Affiliated’ sold like hotcakes at the local IHOP. This was the first Christian hip-hop album, and one of the few to ever sell more than 100,000 albums.
There were many factors that played into this. Perhaps three of them was providential timing: the album was authentically street, the abrasive but necessary social commentary. All of which would have been refreshing for a thought-starved generation oppressed by a timid Church. Hip Hop has deep roots in social commentary, but it wasn’t until songs like “F### Tha Police” by N.W.A. (1988) or “Cop Killer” by Ice-T (yes, Law & Order’s Ice-T for some of you) fronted Body Count (1992), that the cultural mainstream and elected officials started to notice hip-hop’s incredible ability to assemble and create a platform.
Love it or hate it, these songs were documenting the tension that existed between law enforcement and the people they claimed to protect and serve. So how did the Church respond? Sadly… To look the other way, spiritualize it away, or pretend the problem didn’t exist.
Which brings us to our song this Flashback Friday. “One Time” is the Gospel Gangstaz attempt to address the 90s elephant living within urban living rooms, racial profiling… or even worse, police brutality.
Post a comment below and let us know how you think they did!