In spite of early attempts to stop its progression, Christian hip-hop has gained some traction over the past few decades in the Lowcountry.
In a video that received more than 2 million views on social media, local Christian rap artist Carl Blood addresses young adults and defends the Christian faith.
“A lot of us are confused,” says Blood, who’s stage name is C. Blood. “We don’t understand how to verify truth in anything. We have so much access to so much information. We actually take everything as truth, especially when it comes to the Gospel.”
Blood’s sentiment is expressed among others who, as independent Christian rap artists, use their platform to spread the Gospel to youth and discuss theological and community-based issues.
Christian rap’s early beginnings were met with opposition in the Charleston area and the genre has still struggled to gain a wide presence. Yet, the small community of artists aim to grow their foothold in the Holy City.
‘Called some devils’
More than a decade after Christian hip-hop burst onto the national scene in the mid-1980s, Charleston-area artists chartered similar paths.
Chris “Choyce” Joyce, 37, and a partner formed a duo named Peculiar who bridged the gap between Gospel and rap music with songs like “Give ’em Jesus” that played locally on Gospel and hip-hop stations.
The duo performed at Christian-based youth conferences hosted at local churches and hip-hop music festivals. They helped open a nightclub off Rivers Avenue, featuring Christian rap performances, giving youth a positive and safe venue for weekend entertainment, Joyce said.
The group also performed outside the Lowcountry on much larger stages, including The Potter’s House, a nondenominational megachurch in Dallas founded by Bishop T.D. Jakes.
Peculiar’s music gained momentum because it offered a new sound, Joyce said.
“Anytime something is new or hasn’t been heard before in this area, people just want to hear it,” Joyce said.
The music, however, drew criticism for its association with rap music, a genre that many say promotes misogyny, gang violence and drug use.
After one performance at a church, the pastor told the crowd Peculiar’s music was “not of God.” A local gospel station held a two-hour debate centered around the nightclub that hosted Christian rap parties. Callers said the Christian rap artists were “going to hell.”
“We were definitely called some devils,” Joyce said. “If you feel like you’re commissioned to do something, you just do it anyway.”
Today, the holy hip-hop scene boasts only a handful of artists who perform at poetry slams and other events hosted by local churches.
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SOURCE: The Post and Courier, Rickey Ciapha Dennis Jr.