10 Years ago we lost Pop Icon Michael Jackson, swore in the 44th President of the United States Barack Obama, and witnessed the Steelers beat the Cardinals in Super Bowl XLIII. In the Christian Rap world, we saw a budding market begin to explode with talented artists and albums that made waves. CHH was hitting a different level of acceptance than it had ever previously known. Here are 12 albums that dropped 10 years ago.
Swoope – The Zoo
Coming right out of the gate with a classic, Ohio native and CHH vet Swoope dropped a gem with his first project The Zoo. 10 Years before the Two for One EP, Swoope’s project The Zoo would help push him and his label into the spotlight of CHH.
Notable Tracks: “The Call”, “1 Peter 5:8”, and “Look and Live”.
Da T.R.U.T.H. – The Big Picture
The Big Picture enjoyed award success being nominated for a Dove Award and a Grammy Award for Best Rock or Rap Gospel Album. It also peaked at No. 110 on the Billboard 200, No. 4 on the Billboard Christian Albums chart, and No. 2 on the Gospel Albums chart. It spent 52 weeks on the latter chart.
Notable Tracks: “Lost,” “You Made” and “Legend”
Thi’sl – Chronicles Of an X-Hustler
Longtime member of CHH, former 116 member, and a figure in his St. Louis community, Chronicles of an X-Hustler is a journey through the grit of This’l’s life and past. Thi’sl pulls no punches and tells the hard reality of life from the hood. The album features powerful and emotional throughout.
Notable Tracks: “I Hate You (crack),” “Picture on a Shirt,” and “Windows Down”
Andy Mineo fka. C-Lite – Sin is Wack
Before he made waves with Magic & Bird or signed to Reach Records, the artist fka C-Lite dropped a mixtape called Sin is Wack Vol.1 (we’re still waiting on Vol. 2). Check out the project which featured sermon jams and theologically heavy bars.
Notable Tracks: “New Creation” and “Night of the Livin Dead”
Peace586 – heAr
If you know the impact the Tunnel Rats had on Christian hip-hop then you’ll want to “heAr” this. The album features sample-heavy production that takes you back to the underground and doesn’t disappoint. Features from former TR’z members include Propaganda, Jurny Big, and Zane One, as well as others.
Notable Tracks: “Tree Trunx,” “heAr,” and “Wonderland”
R-Swift – Anthem
Another heavyweight in the modern CHH world, Swift’s fifth studio-album, Anthem, solidified his status as a contributor to Christian rap. If you were listening to CHH in 2009 the song “Our God” was no doubt in your playlist.
Notable Tracks: “That Girl” and “Anthem”
KJ-52 – Five-Two Television
For his 6th studio album KJ-52 went against the grain, including influences from rock groups Kutless and Thousand Foot Crutch. His genre-bending efforts paid off with a Dove win as he took home the 2010 Rap Album of the Year award.
Notable Tracks: “Fuego” and “Firestarter”
Tedashii – Identity Crisis
Before Reach Records founding member “Jumped Out the Whip,” he dropped Identity Crisis, an album that added steam to the growing Christian hip-hop giant 116 Clique. Some of the accolades include #137 on the U.S. the Billboard 200, #2 U.S. Billboard Top Gospel Albums, #10 on the Billboard Top Christian Albums charts, 10 on the Billboard Top Christian & Gospel Albums chart, 19 U.S. Billboard Top Independent Albums chart. You Could say it did okay.
Notable Tracks: “26’s,” “I’m Believer,” “Community,” and “Gotta Believe”
Braille & S1 (Symbolic One) – Cloudninteen
Before he and Odd Thomas were creating a new lane of worship-centric indie hip-hop, Braille’s sound was deeply underground, dropping heavy doses of battle-ready bars. Praised by Christian and secular hip hop heads alike, Braille and S1 dropped an album that was true to pre-Humble Beast Braille form and features dope cuts from S1. Symbolic One has since become one of mainstream hip-hop’s heavy hitters after co-producing POWER for Kanye the year after, he now has Beyonce, JAY Z, Lecrae, Eminem, Drake and many more on his resume.
Notable Tracks: “Megaphone Phonics,” “Fill it In,” and “Hardrock”
Sojourn – Sojournalism: The Summer Article
Another member of the underground collective Tunnel Rats, as well as the equally important Future Shock, San Diego Sojourn dropped a jewel in Sojournalism that allows his spoken word rap style to come through.
Notable Tracks: “All Things Considered,” “Road Less Traveled,” “Definitely Special,” and “The Craving”
Sareem Poems – Black and Read All Over
Member of west coast collective L.A. Symphony, Sareem (aka Sharlok) Poems’ album features production by Ohio native Theory Hazit and Oddisee for what is a sonic collage of jazz, hip-hop, blues, and other eclectic sounds. Black and Read All Over is a lot of things, but conventional is far from it.
Notable Tracks: “More than Seen,” “Impossible,” and “See What Happens”
Hazakim – Theophanies
Theologically dense and heavy on the hip-hop, it’s not every day you come across an album that uses rap like a dissertation to build the case for its subject matter, but if you’ve heard anything by Lamp Mode Records or a Shai Linne verse this won’t come as a surprise (this album has both). The premise ‘that Jesus of Nazareth is the ultimate revelation of God to man’ is broken down and explained in a way that is simple to understand and nod your head to. This is considered a classic that did well critically.
Notable Tracks: “Shamiyah of God,” “Heavy Laden,” “Salvation Plan”