Christian Hip Hop (better known as CHH) has been around for a nice little minute. One of the things I love most about it besides the music itself, are the stories of how people first came to discover it. It’s interesting becasue a lot of artists who were involved when the genre first started, thought they were the first to do it. If you ask 10 different people how they came to be involved with CHH, you will get about 10 different responses. I have my own story about my first encounter with CHH. “Wanna hear it? Here it go.”
I have been listening to Christian Hip hop since 2001 and I’ve been a huge fan of it since then. I was listening to CHH before I ever really listened to mainstream hip hop, which I know is strange since most people start the other way around. In the summer of 2001, I was living in Florida but I was spending the summer in Indiana with one of my mother’s cousins and her son. My little brother was along with me since my cousin’s son was about the same age, which was around 10. I was in the 9th or 10th grade at the time and I was mostly into Relient K, I had never even heard of Christian Hip Hop. I’ll never understand how or why but my 9 or 10 year old cousin had this CD he was playing and that mug went hard. Mostly we like the crow noises and other strange noises we heard on the album, but the beats were banging. What album were these young kids bumping? It was T-Bone’s “The Last Street Preacha.” We played that album so much during the summer that we started to memorize the lyrics, you couldn’t tell us nothing. I especially loved how Bone wove between the languages of English and Spanish so fluidly, it was almost unbelievable to me.
As my brother and I returned to Jacksonville, Florida the music still rung in my ears. I had to beg my mom to buy me that CD from the Family Christian Book Store. She finally relented and did it though her and my father were still very cynical. Whenever we rode in the car and I got to pick the music, it was always “The Last Street Preacha.” At the time one of my aunts had bought me a subscription to the young boys Christian magazine ‘Breakaway’ (remember those magazines?) and they mentioned Christian Rap, which had me geeked. I guess the Family Christian Bookstore and Breakaway magazine co-sign convinced my mother that the music was “safe.” I was a T-Bone fan for the longest time copping all of his albums from “The Last Street Preacha” (2001), “Gospel Alpha Mega Funky Boogie Disco Music” (2002), “Bone-A-Fide” (2005), and finally “Bone-Appetit: Serving Up Tha Hits” (2007). I know for the CHH purist that I’m missing “Reedemed Hoodlum” (1993), “The Life of A Hoodlum” (1995), and “The Hoodlum’s Testimony” (1996), but “The Last Street Preacha” was my first introduction to the artists known as T-Bone.
T-Bone was the artist who put me on my 15 year journey with CHH. His music and movie appearances will always hold a special place in my heart. It was just him and KJ-52 in my Walkman CD player for the longest time as well as Da T.R.U.T.H. To see where CHH has come from since 2001 is nothing short of amazing to me. While some worry about it’s futeure, I am confident that there are those who have a heart for God, speak the native tongue of hip hop and will never allow this movement to die.
How did you first encounter Christian Hip Hop? Leave a comment and let us know about your story!