David Long’s story

I literally grew up on Christian hip hop. I was brought up in a Christian household with my mom who had just become saved and engulfed in the love of and for God.

One day, she came home with a record — yes, a record — of one of the first Christian hip-hop emcees: Mike Peace. I played it until I couldn’t anymore. In my youth, while gospel music was okay, I didn’t relate because, to me, it was about hip hop.

From there, I kept cassette tapes on deck in my shoe box full of Christian hip hop — Stephen Wiley, D-Boy, MC Ge Gee, Gospel Gangstaz and even Say What? Yes, that Fresh Fish album from Say What? was even in there, too.

Christian hip hop changed my life because, when I was off in the world and listened to the worldly hip hop, I still kept true to my Christian hip-hop roots. When I was in high school, I often put my music toe-to-toe with what everyone else would be listening. It became my witnessing tool even though I really didn’t know fully about witnessing and planting seeds.

Christian hip hop kept me grounded. It taught me Bible verses. It motivated me, and it is still, after 41 years, playing in my phone, my ride, my iPad … wherever, today.

From someone who has listened to Christian hip hop from the very beginning, I am so proud of the leaps and bounds it has made. To go from the legends of people who were brave enough to take on the new world of Christian hip hop, to the West Coast pioneers and with the East Coast sound to the level that it is at today and still climbing, I have loved it all. I probably will be 60 years old and still listening to Christian hip hop.