Christian Rap’s Early Pioneers Finally Get the Roses They Deserve (Mic Drop Recap)
I had the great fortune of being invited to cover the Mic Drop Film screening and concert in Dallas, Texas. The film, created by Darius West, was a labor of love that had been in the works for over five years. June 19th was the second public screening of the film, but this time around, all of the legends of CHH were invited and many would perform.
West explained in a Q & A that as a single father, sharing a bedroom with his two daughters, he’d drape a sheet over their bed as he stayed up late writing the treatment to this film. It really is a metaphor for what the founding fathers of Christian Rap endured. Throughout the day of the event, through interviews, conversations, and watching the movie, we’d learn about the unexplored wilderness that these pioneers wandered through so this generation could live freely.
Countless artists spoke about churches, promoters, venues, skipping out on paying them or skimping them on money. Others spoke about being booted from churches and there being literal fistfights over rap music and its ties to “the devil” and not a gospel tool.
These artists were also being signed to record labels or getting deals with people who knew nothing of hip-hop. The Dove Awards were giving out awards to artists who didn’t rap and nominating rappers up against rock bands. Everything was a mess and there was no infrastructure. There was also no one covering them like they’d be covered now.
The whole event was wonderfully put together by West and his team that mostly consisted of Kerrigan and his wife Icynda. It took place at the Grenada Theater and was a formal event.
It was cool to see some of the O.G.’s dressed to the nine’s in suits and walking with their significant others. I’d be willing to bet that the night of the event, they were shown more love and given more respect and fan fair than they’ve had in years. I don’t say that to throw any shade. I say that to state that much of early CHH is shrouded in mystery and not well documented. It was such a brilliant reminder of how much these men meant to the progression and foundation of the genre.
The real highlight of the night for me came when all of these pioneers sat down in front of me to do a group interview on Facebook Live. Stephen Wiley, Michael Peace, Soup the Chemist, S.F.C., P.I.D., the D.O.C., ETW, Gospel Gangstas, the Dynamic Twins, and a few others were represented. All of those mentioned with the exception of ETW also performed that night too!
In speaking to some of these legends some admitted to not having performed since 2003 and even 1996. It was shocking to hear that and you’d think watching a performance would be less than ideal, but that guess would be wrong. Once the music hit, the heart of an emcee came out in these rappers. Most of these men are grandfathers and some walked with a less than youthful pep in their step, but when the speakers bled, all bets were off.
Fred Lynch of P.I.D. was headbanging like a guitarist in a metal band. Michael Peace entertained the crowd like he was performing a play, and Stephen Wiley came out and said, “Now let’s bring it back to 1982…” which in itself is so wild. The D.O.C. killed it with their unique blend of music that still holds up, Dynamic Twins busted out some moves before hilariously grabbing a cane, and watching Chille Baby without Mr. Solo was sad, but also great to see as the Gospel Gangstaz torch was continued.
Closing out the night was the emcee of emcees, Soup the Chemist with a little help from his S.F.C. brother. At the end of his set, all the artists came out to help chant “Who’s in the house?! Holy Ghost in the house!” That moment alone was worth the trip.
It was great to see some familiar faces in the crowd as well. Rappers such as KRUM (Playdough) and Sivion were in the house. One of Christian rap’s first real journalists Sketch was present as well as new vlogger B-Plus, and fellow CHH media company HolyCulture. DaFixx Radio was also there as well!
The next installment of Mic Drop will be “Queens” which will focus on the women who helped pave the way for others and those who picked up the torch. That announcement was made by the always energetic and engaging Bri Smilez.
Overall, it was a night filled with love, support, and tribute to this amazing living and breathing culture we’re in of Christian hip-hop. There was much prayer, reflection, hope for the future, and continue to share the stories of music through faith.
Stay tuned for more content from the event.