The origins of hip-hop had nothing to do with Christianity. However, time led to Christian rap gaining more popularity. Eventually, non-Christian rappers started feeling comfortable discussing their religion in their music. Today’s hip-hop scene entails much more of a religious aspect than most realize. While some Christian rappers are gaining more fame in the genre, some MCs owning the charts are infusing their music with praise and worship. It’s an exciting time for rap fans overall, especially those who are strong in their faith. Here are some rappers who are devout Christians and have no problem using their music to spread knowledge of their faith.
Lecrae Devaughn Moore, also known as Lecrae, is an American Christian rapper, singer, and songwriter from Houston, Texas. His debut recording, “Real Talk,” was released in 2004. His third solo album, “Rebel,” became the first Christian hip hop album to reach number one on the Billboard Gospel chart. Lecrae blends faith and hip-hop more than ever but doesn’t refer to himself as a Christian rapper. He says that his music is just hip-hop, though it reflects his Christian faith. Since his debut, he’s garnered several Grammys, a number one album, and an RIAA-certified recognition for gold sales.
Sir the BaptistSir William James Baptist, better known by his stage name Sir the Baptist, has worked as a producer and writer on two Grammy Award-nominated albums, two GMA Dove Award winners, on top of other accolades. Born and raised in the south side of Chicago, his father was a pastor, and his mother was a transatlantic missionary who served communities in seventeen countries. Before signing a deal with Atlantic Records, Baptist was homeless and drove for Lyft. Songs like “Almighty Dollar” and “Raise Hell” helped stabilize his fanbase. His debut album was called “PK: Preacher’s Kid.”
Andrew Mineo is a Syracuse, New York hip-hop artist. He’s an artist, producer, music executive, and video director currently based in New York City. Mineo worked as a producer in high school and joined the hip-hop group Fat Camp, signed to Syracuse University’s Marshall Street Records. After moving to New York City, Mineo realized his weak spiritual condition and rededicated his life to Christ, shutting down his production studio to restart his career. In 2009, he independently released his first mixtape, "Sin Is Wack." After releasing his sophomore album, the rapper got his first top ten accolades on the Billboard 200.
Chance the Rapper
Born in Chicago, Chancelor Bennett, also known as Chance the Rapper, released his debut mixtape "10 Day" in 2012. He started to gain mainstream recognition in 2013 after releasing his second mixtape, "Acid Rap." Then, he released his third mixtape, "Coloring Book," in 2016, which garnered critical acclaim and attention. It earned him three Grammy Awards. Coloring Book was the first streaming-only album to win a Grammy Award and peaked at number eight on the Billboard 200. His debut studio album, "The Big Day," was released in 2019. One of the highlights of Coloring Book was the inclusion of gospel and Chance’s vocalization about his faith.
Kanye West first gained recognition as a producer at Roc-A-Fella Records in the early 2000s. In 2004, West released his debut album, "College Dropout," to critical and commercial success and founded the record label GOOD Music. Kanye explored diverse musical elements like orchestral arrangements, synthesizers, and autotune. He also diversified musical styles on "The Life of Pablo." He surprised many people when he said the album would be a gospel album. Although the project, named after Paul the apostle, or San Pablo in Spanish, the album covered a wide range of artistry. Kanye’s faith was a highlight. Upon release, listeners streamed the project 250 million times within the first week of availability and helped Kanye score his seventh number one album on the Billboard 200. In 2019, West released another gospel album, "Jesus Is King."
Dee-1David Arnold Augustine, better known as Dee-1, started rapping during high school. He started performing in public while attending LSU. After graduating from LSU in 2008, he began teaching middle school math in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. By the end of 2008, he released three mixtapes and was featured in national media outlets like CNN, Billboard, and the Washington Post. His first studio album, "David and Goliath," was released in 2009. Although most people solely attach Dee-1 to the success of “Sally Mae Back,” he’s gotten a lot of attention due to his faith. Since the debut of his first album, the rapper has been open about his faith, although he doesn’t consider himself as a Christian rapper.
These musicians are a prime example of not letting your faith stop your dreams. They realize that they don’t have to give up their faith because they want to pursue music. God tells us that anything is possible if we believe in Him. He called these artists to follow rap because He wanted them to spread His word through a different avenue. Certain people may not feel comfortable going to church or joining a Bible study group to learn more about God. Listening to these rappers talk about God may bring them closer to Him in their way. Some people believe that God and rap don’t mix. However, that’s not always the case. Having devout Christian rappers shows them that God does have a place in hip-hop.