Christian Rap & the Side Hustle: Coffee Entrepreneurs
One of my fondest memories of being a kid was waking up to the smell of coffee as my grandfather read his Bible and prayed every morning. Somehow, despite him being my hero, I didn’t pick up on his love for coffee. However, many in Christian rap have! In fact, some have gone as far as to create, brand, and market their own coffee. Here are just a few.
Propaganda – Terraform
Propaganda has a love affair with coffee. For him, his day is filled with bars and brews. He has a special place on his website dedicated to informing people about his top coffee picks of the week.
“Terraform: the process of changing the environment of an uninhabitable planet to make it able to support life. What if we applied this idea to the world we live in now? Prop and Onyx are coming together to encourage us all to build a livable world. This washed Ethiopia coffee is a special ORGANIC micro-lot from our longtime friends at the Hambela Estate. This is our sixth year to work with the Adinew brothers and their beautiful farm in the South Central mountain range of the Gedeo zone was uniquely sourced, roasted, and defined in partnership with Propaganda.”
Check out Propaganda here.
Bartholomew Jones – Cxffeeblack
Bartholomew Jones has a growing platform. Known predominantly as a rapper, he’s now become the face of Cxffeeblack and waking people up with fresh coffee instead of fresh rhymes.
The brand also holds significant meaning and weight:
“Cxffeeblack is primarily an entrepreneurial venture with specific social implications, started by Bartholomew Jones and Renata Henderson to reclaim the black history of coffee and remain its black future. Bartholomew says the goal is to generate a profit from apparel and events and consultations and then use those funds to provide opportunities for people of origin to create and generate inspiring work. His wife, Renata, does a lot of the graphic design through her company, @browngirllettering.
WHY THE X?
‘In math x represents the variable, and that’s what we’re all about—highlighting the variables God has placed in each person to create a better sum. The x is also what black people have historically used to replace the sugars and cream they were given as a last name during slavery. Most did this until they found a connection with their origins powerful enough to become their new family name. The x served as a fulcrum to connect them to their natural notes as humans, and that’s exactly what we wanna do as well,’ he explains.
Henderson started cxffeeblack just like he started his musical journey in college—as an experiment. ‘What would happen if cxffeeculture loved people of color as much as it loved their cash crops?’ ‘What if we cared for and celebrated single-origin people as much as we celebrated single-origin coffee?’ he asks.
‘Cxffeeblack is a social experiment interested in exploring the impact people can have when they are empowered to live with no sugar and no cream. It’s a hip-hop cypher over a cup of probably overpriced coffee between the people who grew it, the people who roasted it, and the people who consume it daily’.”
Shop Cxffeeblack along with the merch line here.
Dre Murray – Black Gold Creative
Dre Murray is an O.G. in CHH. His resume is stacked and he’s a model of consistency. Well, legends are ment to live forever, and now he’s making his mark as a coffee creator with Black Gold Creative.
For him, the brand is also a lifestyle. The coffee also encompasses a podcast of the same name that he hosts with Billy Wiginton.
As of right now, Murray has two coffee flavors:
The Misfit: The Misfit is the highest quality Tanzanian Peaberry. A very unique bean with incredible and unusual flavor notes.
Roast Profile: Medium
Notes: Tangerine, Melon, Dark Chocolate
The Loyalist: The Loyalist is the highest quality Colombian Supremo from a family farm in Tolima.
Roast Profile: Medium
Notes: Raw honey, Semi-sweet Chocolate, Pecan
Location: Tolima, Colombia
“My grandmother used to tell me that I could make friends with just about anyone. It was normal for me to see a group of kids at a park and spark up a conversation, no matter what differences that may have been seen on the surface. I knew that we were there for the same purpose, to have fun. Why not have fun together.
As I began my journey with coffee, I noticed similarities between the coffee shop and my adolescent days at the park. Slowly these similarities moved from the local coffee shop to coffee shops I would track down all over the country. Eventually, the conversation moved from the coffee shop to my own kitchen table, and ultimately to wherever I found myself at any particular time. I began to see that coffee was more than a beverage. More than a caffeine pick me up. Coffee brings people together, sparks conversations, encourages community. I’m thankful for this journey, and for those, I’ve met along the way. May the rabbit hole never end!”
Shop Black Gold Creative here.
Marcus Hollinger – Portrait Coffee
Marcus Hollinger isn’t a CHH artist, but he plays an important role in the scene. He’s the Senior VP of Marketing for Reach Records and really helps get the job done for the label. In addition to that, he’s now a business owner and co-founder of Portrait Coffee in Atlanta.
As of right now, their coffee is available on their website and in local spots in Atlanta. A brick and mortar store was scheduled for Fall 2020 but has since been pushed back to this year. One would imagine COVID-19 being the reason for the delay.
Portrait Coffee has been around for a year after a successful Kickstarter helped them get off the ground.
Here’s some more info:
“Our entire team are residents of Southwest Atlanta who are deeply invested in seeing the Historic West End continue to flourish. We’re a diverse team with unique experiences in business operations, marketing, communications, design, and community development. Portrait Coffee’s goal is to empower and equip Atlanta natives and residents with genuine career and life opportunities in the world of coffee.
Our name comes from a desire to change the picture that comes to mind when folks think of specialty coffee. Coffee, as a product, was first discovered by Africans. In discovering coffee, they had no clue this drink would become the most consumed beverage, other than water, globally. On the flip side, they also had no clue that their faces would be forgotten even though the pigment of the drink mirrored their own.
It was stories like this that got us into coffee. What was once merely a drink of necessity turned into an ode to our ancestors. After learning the history and seeing the current realities, every cup of coffee made and consumed felt like an invitation to drink purpose, meaning, fulfillment.
Our team at Portrait Coffee is comprised of coffee enthusiasts and local residents of Southwest Atlanta. We care deeply about seeing all people being able to take advantage of the new economic opportunities being presented in our corner of the city. Our hope is that Portrait Coffee is a catalyst for new representation and growth
Why The West End?
We’re located in The West End—historic Atlanta neighborhood with a rich history of black entrepreneurs and culture. It is also experiencing a rich revitalization that’s been lacking the presence of new black and brown entrepreneurs.”
Shop Portrait Coffee here.