Christian Rap Veterans: Where are They Now? (Antonious)
Christian Rap has continued to grow. When we look back, it seems that all we needed was a little “Jesus Music” to get the ball rolling. But long before Lecrae and Trip Lee, there were decades worth of pioneers in Christian rap that laid the groundwork for CHH to become what it is known as today.
Antonious Colts AKA Tony Colts came into the Christian Rap game not fully knowing what he’d gotten himself into. At 19 years old Antonious was part of a group called the “815 Clique.” The group consisted of a group of friends from the Chicago area, one in which went by the name “The Key.” The Key was a Jehovah’s Witness by faith but would serve as the primary influence on Antonious as a lyricist to clean up his lyrical content and to begin writing more positive content.
Antonious had seen close friends and family fall victim to the lifestyle he was also personally engulfed in, but it wasn’t until the passing of a close cousin that he’d find his way to the Church.
“After the Saviour has found me and I accepted him into my heart, a brother from my church gave me a copy of Nu-Wines album The Bloody 5th.
Hearing Nu-Wines album inspired Antonious to write his first gospel rap track titled: “Good Vs. Evil.” After recording the single, he sent it directly to Grapetree Records, which at the time was the most significant thing happening in Christian Rap music.
Grapetree offered to put the song on their next compilation album. It wasn’t long after that in which Antonious would be added to the Grapetree Roster.
While on the label Antonious always had a feeling that being labeled a CHH (HHH-Holy Hip Hop) artist would hold him and his peers back from reaching their true potential of listeners. However, during his time on Grapetree Records, Antonious released three albums. Good vs. Evil, Principalities, and This Chapter in My Life, and those three albums introduced Antonious’ music to the ears of people across the globe, being sold heavily to Christian bookstores and record stores around the country.
Antonious now releases music from time to time under the alias of “Tony Colts” with his latest single on Spotify having been released in 2017 titled “Changes.” Since the Grapetree days, he has gone back to school, received a trade license and most importantly has kept a stable relationship with God through it all. Colts is currently doing some film work in the Atlanta area and abroad, with his latest opportunity being, filming the president at his rally in Orlando, FL.
This year will have been the 20th anniversary of his first two releases on Grapetree Records, and to show his appreciation to his fans, he has been giving the albums out for free download.
When asked about his greatest personal achievement in the Christian Rap circuit, he responded with a short story:
“I will tell you this. I had an opportunity to stand on stage while Lecrae and his group performed at a concert in Orlando. When I looked out at the crowd and saw how many people came out to support God’s word I felt a great sense of achievement to know that I had something to do with influencing that awesome group of young men. To have gone through all that we did in the 90s and early 2000 and to see all that he (Lecrae) did from that seed was amazing to me so when they got their first Grammy, I felt like I was getting mine. I felt like we as a body achieved that together.”
To keep up with Antonious, & to download both his latest and classic Grapetree albums, you can find him at: www.TonyColts.com.