Christian Hip Hop Albums that turn 20 in 2019
It is amazing to see how Christian Hip Hop has changed since the ’90s. Twenty years ago, CHH was still only a chosen few, pioneering the genre, and yet closing out the 90s with hope. 1999 had some dope projects that deserve respect from every rap fan.
Below are five projects from some of Christian Hip-Hop’s most influential albums that turn 20 this year. Let us know in the comments what your favorite album from 1999 is.
Braille – Lifefirst: Half the Battle
At just 17-years-old Braille released his debut record Lifefirst: Half the Battle. While he wasn’t as polished and exceptional at rapping as he is now, the signs of what he’d become was there. Despite this, the release showcased the skill of a veteran who would go on to influence a whole generation of emcees.
Notable Tracks: “I Am Who I Hate” and “Half the Battle.”
E-Roc – Avalanche
E-Roc brought together early 00s the dream team with his 1999 release Avalanche. The album had features, production, writing and recording credits with Playdough and Blake Knight of Ill Harmonics, Tim and Steve Trudeau of Sackcloth Fashion, B. Knight, and Freddie Bruno to name a few.
Notable Tracks: “Rockstar” and “Ear to the Track.”
Sackcloth Fashion – Something For Everyone to Hate
Sackcloth Fashion was doing things in the late 90s that many CHH artists get praised for now. They were getting placements in TV and movies and trailblazing the way independent Christian artist made moves behind the scenes. With that being said, this record digs deep into emotional and dark anguish plaguing a generation.
Notable Tracks: “Liquid Demon” and “Pulling a Fast One.”
Knowdaverbs – The Syllabus
Knowdaverbs aka Verbs, dropped his debut album The Syllabus. He was part of some of the classic Christian rap being dropped on Gotee Records in the late 90s. The album was executive produced by TobyMac, Joey Elwood, and Todd Collins, the label’s founders. This record was the start of a solid nearly 10-year-run for the emcee.
Notable Track: “The Syllabus”
K2S – Better Dayz
K2S was a 90s hip-hop duo and later trio that switched between hard-hitting verses and soulful melodic tracks. They were on Metro One Records for this album, the label founded by Crystal Lewis. K2S inspired a lot of artists who came after them and even have a fan in wrestler AJ Styles from when they were on Grape Tree.
Notable Tracks: “Better Dayz” and “How Deep is Your Love.”
GRITS – Grammatical Revolution…
Another hip-hop act signed to Gotee Records, GRITS are CHH legends at this point. The crew of Bonafide and Coffee continued their upward trajectory with Grammatical Revolution…Their single “All Fall Down” was huge, and won the pair a Dove Award in 2000. This is no doubt, the album that drew in the above mentioned AJ Styles s a fan. When he was wrestling with TNA in the mid-2000s, he had GRITS do his entrance music.
Notable Tracks: “They All Fall Down”
The Cross Movement – House of Representatives
The Ambassador, Cruz Cordero, EarthQuake, Enock, Phanatik, Tru-Life, and Tonic were holding down The Cross Movement for House of Representatives. This was the group’s second album and would help them cement their legacy as some of the most influential and Biblically sound emcees to grace CHH. Even today, TCM is basically the elder statesmen of Christian rap with them chiming in on important matters to the genre.
Notable Tracks: “House of Representatives” and “I Am That I Am.”
L.A. Symphony – Composition No.1
L.A. Symphony as a collective is dope. If you break up the group into parts, they are also some of the most well-known collaborators in early 2000s Christian rap. Composition No. 1 was the group’s first foray into the genre as a collective. At this point, they had 10 members in the group. Later on, they would sign to Gotee Records and cut the group to five. This, however, was a carefully orchestrated start.
Notable Tracks: “Composition No. 1” and “Little Shirts.”
Gospel Gangstaz – I Can See Clearly Now
This record was huge! I Can See Clearly Now saw the Gospel Gangstaz get nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Gospel Rock album. Yes, this was how out of touch the Grammy’s were with Christian music…then they gave the award to Rebecca St. James…Regardless, G.G. had been grinding for years already and this album was a commercial breakthrough that had them place on three Billboard charts – 25 on the Top Heatseekers, 11 on the Top Christian Albums and 3 on the Top Gospel Albums.
Notable Tracks: “I’ll Be Good” and “Once was Blind.”
Sevin – All or None
Sevin finally called it quits in 2018. It only seems appropriate that 1999 is when he got his start. The street minister dropped his debut All or None which was eventually re-released in 2001. The record was a look into the beginnings of everything Sevin would become and stand for in the remainder of his career.
Notable Tracks: “Every Knee” and “Represent.”