As you know, in my introduction to CHH, a friend gave me a burnt version of Da’ T.R.U.T.H.’s “The Faith.” I had to listen to it all the way through before I could bob my head, but once it was “approved,” it became and still is one of my favorite albums.
I never was a “listen to everything” music consumer. I liked what I liked and more times than not, I only bought what I knew I would like. With CHH, all I knew and trusted was the Da’ T.R.U.T.H. From 2006-2008, TRUTH was the only artist I would listen to.
I still remember listening to “Open Book,” during the summer of 2007, in the parking lot at work. I was listening, thinking that this was the best music I had ever heard. Truth and Ambassador went bananas on “Star Struck” and the title track “Open Book” had me really thinking about how I was living my Christian life. “Click (No Regrets)” really hit home with some things I was experiencing right at that time. I was being ministered to in a tremendous way. And still, TRUTH was all I knew of CHH.
Fast forward a few months, I was in a teammate’s car and I heard, “Oh how excellent is HIS essence we reverence HIS name.” I immediately asked, “Who is this?” As you may know, it was Flame featuring on Lecrae’s “The King” track. I heard Flame before, as he was featured on “Stand,” but this verse led me to purchase my first CHH album, not by Da’ T.R.U.T.H.—”Our World Redeemed,” in the summer of 2008. This may also be the first album I purchased iTunes.
Prior to me using iTunes, I would go to Christian bookstores to find music, which led to me mostly leaving with Gospel and CCM albums. And, to be honest, there was still some skepticism about CHH (G. Craige Lewis really complicated the matter). Da’ T.R.U.T.H. was cool though, so I searched iTunes and found other songs that he was featured on. This helped me expand a little bit more.
Though I had heard Lecrae a couple of times, I did not begin to recognize who he was until “Joyful Noise.” That song was so dope! Then, a few months later, “Rebel” dropped and Lecrae sprang to the forefront of CHH. By this point in time, I was all in on CHH.
I began to cop so many other artists off the strength of features. I was introduced to Stephen The Levite on “Talk A Lot” off of Ambassador’s album “The Chop Chop.” Tedashi struck a chord with his work on “Go Hard.” Yes, most of what I listened to at the time had a Cross Movement or Reach Records influence, so my exposure still wasn’t extensive, but my love for the genre grew tremendously. I almost needed it. Almost every song I listened to challenged me to grow in CHRIST, and that is never a bad thing.
So, CHH, I encourage you to please keep the features coming, especially with up and coming artists. Sure, it’s dope that J. Cole went double platinum without a feature, but it’s also dope when you introduce a new artist to fans of the genre. Features have power. They keep the genre fresh. They helped deepen my love for CHH.
Grace and peace.