The internet and sites like Rapzilla have contributed in a major way to the growth of the genre. We asked ChadHorton, one of Rapzilla’s founders, if Gospel hip hop could impact youth culture. He retorted, “The right question is ‘how does Gospel hip hop affect youth culture?’ because it has been for quite some time. If the Gospel of Christ is in it then it will change lives. God uses it to bring salvation to some and to strengthen others that are already saved.” Radio One Indianapolis mix show dj, DJ Wrekk 1 shared his thoughts on the potential of the genre, “I think it brings balance to what’s already being played on the radio. That balance can be there for not only kids but for people period. A lot of people are going through a lot of things and they look up to a lot of artists and people they hear on the radio as role models.” Will Gospel hip hop have a lasting effect on the next generation? Cory “CoCo Brother” Condrey, host of the Reach Media syndicated Gospel hip hop radio show Spirit of Hip Hop thinks so, “I think whatever you feed your soul/body is what you start to produce. If you feed more inspirational hip hop you’ll see more people wanting to be INSPIRATIONAL through hip hop.”
Of course this could all be a trend. Hip-hop movements come and go. What if Gospel hip-hop is just that? The changes in the music industry have not really allowed many firm foundations for the business. DJ Don Cannon, who hosted Lecrae’s Church Clothes mixtape, said this, “It’s always hard to tell. You can never tell what people are going to take and what’s going to disconnect. You basically gotta let it breathe and see what happens. Only time will tell.”
Jay Stevens, SVP of Programming for Radio One was enthusiastic about the possibilities, “If it’s the right song, about the right subject, at the right time, with the right beat and the right vibe, then yes it’s possible. Who would’ve thought that Mary Mary’s ‘God In Me’ would have packed the dance floor, with people with their drinks up in the air.”
Elroy Smith, Inspiration Format Director for Radio One weighs in on Gospel Hip Hop and radio airplay, “Since the inspiration format has now evolved into a true genre I would love to see Gospel Hip Hop do well in research. We recently played one of the more prominent underground Gospel Hip Hop artists on one of our big Inspiration stations and it did not, unfortunately, favor well in research.” Elroy, continues, “I remember having a conversation with a record executive about this, and they promised me that they will find that perfect commercial hip-hop inspirational song that will pave the way for this genre to get mainstream radio attention. I do not believe in saying that this will never happen, instead I am waiting for this to happen so that these passionate hip-hop inspiration artists will say that their hard work is now paying off.”
The genre just might be headed toward that right time. DJ Wrekk 1 stated, “When I listen to it now. It does not even sound like traditional Gospel music that I’m used to hearing. When I hear some of these artists now the music sounds just like a song that I would hear on the radio. It’s just got a different message.” A message that has changed countless lives. Who knows what could really be brewing in boom bap of Gospel hip-hop.
Hopefully, a message that makes a little bit more than noise.
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