Something rare happened this past weekend – we had the grace to realize the moment while we were in it.

So much of life is spent thinking ahead, worrying, being distracted – just missing it. It’s easy to do. We’re tired. Life is heavy and beautiful. We work. We have responsibilities. All of this can make it hard to zoom in and be part of what’s in front of you.

But we were just excited to be there and that made us poised to listen.

Rapzilla, in tandem with various other supports, put on the Indies Only and Light Work Showcases plus critique sessions at the MET in Atlanta as part of A3C. It was a unique blend of the best talent and sound in CHH today.

Let me tell you this: I was not prepared.

Before the shows even started we came into the end of day one of the critiques. I had never experienced these mostly because I’m not an artist, but it was still cool to be a part of. It wasn’t like someone just saying this is bad or good. The feedback was specific and helpful. I can only imagine as an artist this is such an asset for someone to be honest and help you grind down your song until it’s the best art it can be. I’ll definitely start watching the critiques to catch on to some up and comers as well as learn to listen for certain things I wouldn’t have known to listen for.

Swaizy

The winner that night was Swaizy. He got a couple of things for winning, but the best part was he got to take the stage on Saturday. The room lit up for him. (He is 17!) The joy in the room was tangible and everyone was jazzed for this young man. Swaizy has people behind him. Keep an eye out. He’s one to watch.

Next, was Indies Only. Ya’ll this was my first CHH show, and it did not disappoint. The energy was unmatched (and I’ve been to a TON of concerts). I loved the vibe for this show because we were in a penthouse at the MET and it’s like we were just in someone’s living room feeling all the music together.

There were no barriers. The artists were in the crowd just enjoying the art of their peers. It was refreshing. No one was about clout or being seen – they were just sharing the mic. It was a difference that struck me from other shows. It was the difference Christ makes. When you share Christ and know Him – you’re already confident. You know that you’re exercising the talent and gifts He gave you and sharing them to reflect His light is your work. I’m grateful I got to be part of it.

Indies Only highlights:

J. Crum killed it. His intensity and delivery were spot on.

Culture Villians were new to me. Their set was so fun. Add them to your playlist if you haven’t already. It’s what you want to hear on your way to anywhere.

Jon Keith is a favorite for me. He was just a dude in the crowd and enjoyed the show and was hype through the whole thing.

I follow this community, but there truly is something different about being up close to the people and not just listening on Spotify. There is a wealth of support, encouragement, and love. What a way to extend the Kingdom.

Lastly, was the Light Work showcase. This was outside at the MET and drew a bigger crowd. Also, everyone was ready to JUMP. Don’t think ya’ll heard me – people were ready to jump! I kept back a little because I am introvert and was in sandals, but my friend bounded in and her Vans got dusty and toes got stepped on, but she said it was worth it with a huge smile. I loved getting to see and be in a crowd of people just there and excited for the same reasons. The music was solid and God is our Father. That’s the best thing you could dance about.

Light Work Highlights:

Christian rap A3C

Aklesso brought so much energy it was crazy.

Rhema Soul was a pioneer, but new to me, and I was here for the sound. I’m excited to get educated about their work.

Aaron Cole could sing anything. The pipes are real.

Byron Juane sounds like he is smiling the whole time he is singing, aka joy hop. And he did smile though his set.

WHATUPRG was in his element and it showed.

Canon showed us where he got his name. It was rapid-fire. His speed is insane.

Canon A3C

Durning Canon’s set he looked at everyone feeling the music and said what he saw was beautiful – it was a family. It made me stop for a minute. It made me realize the moment I was in again so I could really savor it. He was right. All of these strangers bouncing around together were and are family. The truth behind that was much more than a song, or lyrics, or anyone’s talent combined. The truth that at this moment we were all singing together about God and all the many things He’s done in unique ways for us – it was a glimpse of heaven.

It doesn’t matter what it is. If God’s people are there to represent Him – He’s there. And He was. I got to see little bits of who He is reflected in this art and got to see some of His musical kids bringing Him praise with the tools He gave. I was and am grateful to be part of His Kingdom celebrating and sharing in the joy of His gifts.