Christian rap began around the same time that mainstream hip-hop started making waves, yet it’s sometimes difficult to trace the timeline back to the pioneers of the genre. 1990 was a monumental year for a few legendary Christian hip-hop artists. It’s crazy to think that all of this happened 30 years ago.
D-Boy – The Lyrical Strength Of One Street Poet
This was an album that put Christian Rap on the map. The large use of sampling and the subject matter made it hard to neglect D-Boy as a true emcee. Tragically, this was the last album that D-Boy released, as he was martyred in late 1990. His memory still lives on.
Notable Tracks: Drop The Mic, Flow Time, The Boy Don’t Play
Mc Ge Gee – I’m For Real
D-Boy’s sister could really spit as well. Christian Hip-Hop’s first signed female rapper dropped I’m For Real in 1990. At the time it pushed a lot of boundaries for female artists in the church, and it still holds up pretty well as a landmark album for CHH.
Notable Tracks: I’m For Real, Go Ge Gee, Let’s Fight Back
SFC – A Saved Man In The Jungle
Sup C, QP, and DJ Dove. Sup The Chemist is probably the biggest name in 1990s Christian Rap, and one of the most impacting CHH artists of all time. This album is quintessential old school hip-hop. These emcees can really rock a mic and DJ Dove’s scratching and sampling is really dope.
Notable Tracks: 2 Much Chemistry, The Bomb, Suplex 2 Mind
MC RG – In Jesus Name
Like a lot of the music at the time, this project was heavily influenced by jazz and funk music. There isn’t much information on MC RG available to me that I can find, but there is a lot to say about his producers. In Jesus Name was produced by Bernard Wright & Tim Miner, who both had brushes with greatness in their under-the-radar yet impressive careers. Bernard’s samples from his music, as well as his own performances, have been featured with artists such as Snoop Dogg, Miles Davis, Doug E. Fresh Marcus Miller, and various others, adding MC RG to a pretty great list. Tim Miner went on to record at Motown Records and has produced for a plethora of CCM artists as well as Dionne Warwick and Al Green among others.
Dc Talk – Nu Thang
You can’t have early 90s Christian Music without mentioning the impact of Dc Talk. Nu Thang was completely hip-hop through and through and was also their first album to see huge success. This album actually won them a Dove Award that year, an award that upon receiving they said belonged to D-Boy Rodriguez.
Notable Tracks: I Luv Rap Music, No More, Things Of This World
Michael Peace – Loud N’ Clear
This NY rapper was a pioneer not only in CHH, but also when it came to outreach and working with inner-city youth as he was on the frontlines and has been for years. Loud N Clear was his 4th album, and it actually features a few of his singles from his past releases.
Notable Tracks: JESUS, RRRock It Right, Vigilante Of Rhyme
Stephen Wiley – Rhythm & Poetry
One of the first Christian Rap cassette tapes I really wore out, and probably Stephen’s best and most complete album he released. There were a lot of sounds from the time that he included in his music and sampling. There were some big beats, but also a lot of samples from pop culture as well as some shredding electric guitars throughout.
Notable Tracks: Attitude, Love God Hate Sin, The Devil’s Case
Original Dynamite – The Only Way
This was a hidden gem for me that I just recently found. Original Dynamite was an emcee from New York and is really locked in and tight with the flow. The loops used are very familiar, and this features samples of James Brown, Cymande, and other funk acts you hear regularly in hip-hop.
Fros’T – Beats That Can Reach
King’s Crew – Kickin’ That Beast
Do you remember any of these Christian rap classics? Who did we miss? Drop a comment.