What’s in a Name? Christian Rap Artists Who Underwent a Rebrand
I was riding in a car with my former youth pastor a little under a decade ago. A song came on the radio – noticeably Lecrae. As the chorus began to play, I began to think, “Wow, this sounds just like Andy Mineo.” I looked a the back of the CD case (yeah…dinosaur-era stuff). The song was “Background” by Lecrae feat. C-Lite. C-Lite? Who is that?
That was such an innocent question I asked it out loud. My youth pastor laughed and told me it was Andy Mineo. He then revealed to me that Andy Mineo was in fact formerly known as C-Lite – hence the name of his first album with Reach Records (also a double entendre of sorts). He had done a rebrand during his career, and I hadn’t even realized it.
Christian rap is littered with these rebranded artists. There are so many artists who took to a bit of rebranding in hopes of…well, in hopes of something. Some did it to signify an image change while some did it to increase the market value of their brand. Some did it for personal reasons. Let’s take a look at some of the most notable rebranding and name changes in the CHH community. Perhaps, this will be the first of a few lists!
C-Lite => Andy Mineo
C-lite got signed by Reach Records in 2011. With this move came a new name. Andy Mineo is now one of the most prolific names in CHH. Check out some throwback C-Lite tunes below:
PRO => Derek Minor
PRo had a very valuable career in Christian rap. Signed by Reach Records in the early days of the label, PRo released several projects, not the least of which was the highly esteemed project Dying to Live. PRo rebranded in 2012, becoming Derek Minor. Later, he took his own label (RMG) and became full-time there, parting ways with Reach. He explains his name change here. After you read that, check out some of PRo’s work:
Dorian Gray => Joey Jewish => Joey Vantes
Joey took on several personas in a reasonably short amount of time. One of the most well-known independent artists in Christian rap, Joey Vantes made a couple of different rebrands across his career. Dorian Gray became Joey Jewish. Joey Jewish had plenty of music before the second rebrand – Beautiful Solitude becoming one of the staples of this era. Over the course of a three-part project series, Joey became Joey Vantes. Check out some nostalgic bars from the former Joey Jewish:
Suzy Rock => Natalie Lauren
Now a person who dabbles in all facets of creativity, Suzy Rock was all over the sub-genre, not the least of which was a feature the song “High” on Lecrae’s Rehab. Suzy Rock was a 2012 Rapzilla Freshman and released her album Vanity Suxx. Suzy Rock rebranded and became Natalie Lauren in 2013, signaling a career move for her as an artist. Here’s a sample of the former Suzy Rock:
Black Knight => BrvndonP
Black Knight broke onto the Christian rap scene around 2010-2011. With his big hit song “Bible in the Air,” he made a name for himself. in 2014, his collective #RPSMG released a mixtape. In 2016, Black Knight decided to change his name to BrvndonP. Since then, he’s been producing music under this name. He still uses Black Knight as his producer tag, though. Here’s a look back at his big song “Bibles in the Air:”
This isn’t the complete list. Other famous name changes include, but are not limited to:
- Brothatone => Tony Tillman
- Conviction => Chad Jones
- Future KiD => 1k Phew
- G-Styles => GAWVI
- K-Nuff => Konata Small
- KYNG => Byron Juane
- Illtalian => Thomas Iannucci
This certainly isn’t the whole list, and remember that another one could be on the way, next time with WHATUPRG:
New Hollywood will be my last project as WHATUPRG
— RAUL (@WHATUPRG) February 15, 2020
Let us know who’s rebrand we missed in the comments below.