Christian rap

Christian Rap From Philly Should No Longer be Slept On

Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love, has been holding it down in Christian Rap for years. Although it may not be the first place you think of when CHH is mentioned, the city has a long pedigree of legendary and on the rise emcees.

Here’s a list of names from Philly, some known and others unknown, but regardless, these artists crafted their rhymes in the city. We are going to highlight a few as well.

The Cross Movement, da T.R.U.T.H., Japhia Life, R-Swift, Eshon Burgundy, Stephen the Levite, Shai Linne, Timothy Brindle, Believin’ Stephen, Muze One, DJ Official, Tee-Wyla, Everyday Process, Rob Hodge, Q-Flo, Prodi da Prodigal, A-Ram, HanSoul, Rick Harmoney, Atiba Halisi, T-Coda, Doc Hero, Drew Smith, Da Un1on, Deuce B, Jay Johnson (Jay Silas), Logic da Beatman, We are the Saints, Legend, Saeso, Diomer, Mic Wise, Untidld, Chvlice, DNG, Take Flight, Syiid, and Charlie K.

Sorry if we missed any names, and we definitely did (happy to add more).

One of the dope things about Christian rap is unlike mainstream hip-hop, pockets of hip-hop aren’t dominated for years. CHH is more spread out. We know Hip-Hop started in NY but in CHH it traces its origins to NYC, Oklahoma, California, and Texas.

Right now, a majority of Christian hip-hop is located in Florida, Atlanta, and Tennesee. However, major cities such as Philly, NYC, and L.A. seem quiet now but the importance of artists that came from these cities built the foundation of Christian rap.

Obviously, The Cross Movement are the biggest artists on this list. The group paved the way for showing what it was like to be Biblically sound in theology and also make incredibly dope music. The following generation of artists from them all saw CM as an influence. Also, as the group was ending, they introduced us to many artists with two of the biggest being Lecrae and da T.R.U.T.H.

T.R.U.T.H. was a Philly native himself and perhaps more than anyone else on this list not named Cross Movement has had a very successful career that has spanned roughly 20 years. He’s got Grammy and Dove Award nominations a huge singles.

He’s transitioned into some pastoring and relocated to Atlanta, but he made his name in Philly.

DJ Official, who unfortunately is no longer with us, is one of the most important producers/DJs in Christian rap history. Not only is he responsible for much of Cross Movement’s production but eventually he became a producer for Reach Records.

When Fish passed, there was a universal outpouring of love from all of CHH with countless artists sharing anecdotes of their experiences with him.

In fact, you can hear some DJ Official beats on Stephen the Levite’s last project which was worked on when Fish was alive and released posthumously.

Perhaps more than any person in CHH ever, Shai Linne loves to weave scripture and Biblical analogies into his music. Listening to one of his albums is like taking a course in theology. He does this with such fervency and passion that regardless if you like the music or not, you appreciate the effort.

Then of course you have revered legends such as R-Swift, Japhia Life, and Eshon Burgundy. R-Swift always drops raw and real music while Eshon drops incredible wordplay in his songs with topics that’ll make you think. Japhia Life doesn’t drop as frequently but his pedigree speaks for itself.

The future of CHH in Philly is quite bright too. Just a month ago, there was a 16 Bar Challenge at the Esperanza Ministry Campus in Philly. Most of the emcees who participated were local. Aable won it against T-Coda. Q-Flo, Prodi da Prodigal, Take Flight, Mic Wise, and DNG were also in it. A-Ram was also one of the coordinators of the event. One of the judges, a legend in his own right, Tee-Wyla, was also involved.

Watch the 16 Bar Challenge Below:

All this to say that Philly is not to be slept on when it comes to Christian rap music. There are legends from there and upcoming stars in the making. Also, one thing most of these artists have in common is they “rap rap.” You’re not allowed to slouch on your rhymes when it comes to these artists.

Let us know who some of your favorites are and who if anyone is missing from this list?

 

 







Justin Sarachik

Written by Justin Sarachik

Justin is the Editor-in-Chief of Rapzilla.com. He has been a journalist for over a decade and has written or edited for Relevant, Christian Post, BREATHEcast, CCM, Broken Records Magazine, & more. He also likes to work with indie artists to develop their brands & marketing strategies. Catch him interviewing artists on Survival of the Artist Podcast.

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