Saturday, January 31, 2009

KJ-52 rocks The Woodlands (again!)

It's the S.O.I. / Worldwide realize

Tweezy was in town once again last night to rock The Fellowship of The Woodlands church and film concert performance footage for the video to his "Keep Shining" track off The Missing Pages album. Yep, that's the one that reunites him with former Sons of Intellect rhyme partner Goldinchild (who also does a guest feature on "I Won't Ever Stop" from the original Yearbook album.)

The event was an exclusive youth-only joint with very heavy security so I didn't get to see the show.

[Side Note #1: The security was for the kids - not KJ. He don't roll with an ego like that.]

[Side Note #2: We overheard that there were over 1,100 fifth and sixth graders there and they were trying to get a count on the number of seventh and eight graders. Sheesh!]

Still, my wife and I were able to swing by before he hit the stage to say hello and give KJ a few copies of the new Tha Message magazine with my cover story on him.

[Side Note #3: Shameless plug - Get your copy right 'chere.]

We also got an autograph for a 9-year old little girl who is enrolled in our LearningRx business and who was supposed to be headed to the show. Earlier in the day she told my wife that she was going to see "KJ-54" so Jonah indulged us with a signature and a playful shot of this new moniker.


As always, KJ has a lot going on with some special stuff I'll detail in another post. For now, I just wanted to share a little behind-the-scenes info of one of CHH's hardest working men.

Oh yeah, and I'm kicking myself for not taking a photo of the special KJ-52 Smart car the church had on stage for him at the show. It was killer.

Let's salute DJ Primo

Worst photo background ever? We met up halfway between each of our offices and asked a stranger to snap the flick. What can you do?

This was one of those Christian hip-hop-packed weeks for me. It's been a while, but I love it.

First up - on Monday I finally got to link up with DJ Primo to accept the war-flown flag he brought back from his last tour of duty in Afghanistan.

You might remember similar flags he's given to Tre9 and the 116 Clique.

Primo is a true blood who has proudly served this country via the United States Army Reserves. During his last TOD I tried to do my best to shoot him a care package or note every now and then.

I'm honored to accept this flag and just wanted to give him a big shout and some love here. Next time you see him, please do the same.

And if you wanna check out the King of Christian Chopped & Screw - grab his most recent efforts for Rawsrvnt or on the Chopped Up Volume 1 comp by Truvine and friends.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Vidz: Lego "White & Nerdy"

Sorry for the lack of posts lately. All week I've been deployed to a client's site for the day job and don't have web access there and very little time with it when I get home.

I went to the Canton Jones concert last night and loved it. Photos and blog to come. KJ-52 is tonight (possibly.)

Anyway, I just ran across this clip and had to share. You know how I love the Legos. Add with my favorite music parodist, hip-hop, and a Houston connection how could I NOT post this joker.


The Lego Weird Al version

The original Weird Al version
White and Nerdy

The original Chamillionaire version
(WARNING: Contains some cussin')

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Why doesn't BET play Tye Tribbet's "Good in the Hood" on 106 & Park?

This is an outstanding song and video. My question is why isn't BET running it on 106 & Park?

I don't mean their Generation Gospel show either. It's already been there (well, at least the first minute a half.) I'm talking about the "real" 106 & Park.

It's professional.

It's uplifting.

It's a message that needs to reinforced.

Tye's already a part of the BET family via the GenGospel show.

And Obama is now president. (Alright, so that's not AS pertinent, but there does seem to be a general air of hope and positivity now, right?)

Here's my fear and frustration with the GenGospel show - that stuff like this will be relegated to the Christian kiddie table and never get to sit with the big boys. How do we prevent that?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Vidz: Canton Jones "G.O.D."

CaJeezy (a name mentioned in the YouTube credits to the side and an image that immediately popped into my mind when I saw this) has released a nice looking clip for the "G.O.D." song that's been blazing on Wade-O Radio lately. Check it below.

And if you wanna see the dude live and live in the Houston-area, drive on up to Huntsville next Thursday night (January 29) for a free show. Details here.

What do you think of this video? A good representation of G.O.D. or too flashy?

Tre9 questions "Yes We Can" politics

You might have already seen this on,,, The Christian Manifesto, Vessel Vibe or somewhere else, but since I wrote it, it ain't really late. :)
"Obama Wins!" "Things are Changing!" "Yes, We Can!" / But in God I put my trust, and not man / Gonna hold onto my God's unchanging hand / As he, as he leads me along" – "Yes We Can" (Tre9)

While the nation is justifiably excited about the inauguration of the first African-American President of the United States, gospel rapper Tre9 cautions that Barack Obama is simply a man – not a Messiah.

In "Yes We Can," a song recorded exclusively for the Beat Lab 7's free, downloadable "Music Meets the Truth 2009" album, Bobby "Tre9" Herring presents an argument for cautious support of elected officials.

"We have to remember politicians are men who fall short of God's glory, just like everyone else. And far too often, their words don't match their actions, and our expectations go unfulfilled," Herring said.

"It's especially important that Christian voters and politicians hold themselves to higher standards and value their heavenly citizenship over their national one."


And despite the title chant and "Abomination, disregard Obama-nation" line (a phrase he remembered from a photo of a protest sign at a gay-rights rally), Tre9 says this is not an anti-Barack track or partisan in any way. It's simply a Christian song about modern government in the vein of Derek Webb's "A Savior On Capitol Hill."

"It's definitely more political than anything I've ever put on wax," Tre9 said. "But it's an honest expression of thoughts and feelings that have been marinating inside of me for several years. I hope people can really see where I'm coming from on this."

Tre9's next album, "The Farmer," is being distributed by Infinity/Central South and hits stores on March 31, 2009.

For more information on Tre9 please visit

To listen to Yes We Can, download your FREE copy of Beat Lab 7's "Music Meets The Truth 2009" visit

Monday, January 19, 2009

CY encourages “Obedience” on Rap Fest Presents Vol. II feature

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother”’ – which is the first commandment with a promise – “that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on earth.” – Ephesians 6:1 (NIV)

When was the last time you heard a rap song encouraging you to obey a command besides “Put your hands up!” and to follow the direction and correction of your parents?

Possibly never.

To fill that void gospel emcee CY tenders his track, “Obedience - Godparents” on the Rap Fest Presents Volume II that was offered as a free download on December 23.

The song not only reinforces Biblical calls for obedience, but provides a relatable subject matter for even the youngest Christian rap fan.

“Sometimes the little kids get forgotten, even in holy hip hop,” CY said. “They often hear mature content because we’ve got guys spittin’ raw and they can get exposed to issues and topics they shouldn’t have to deal with at their age.”

He said he specifically wanted to reach out to children with this song so that when they go to concerts and buy CDs they’ll have something that speaks to them.

“The subject matter of the song also relates to adults as well,” CY said. “I was fortunate to have good parents growing up, and to this day, I can still hear their words echoing in my head about things I should and should not do.

“It's still up to me, even now, to obey what I was taught as a child and live by that wisdom. Those who had the luxury of having good parents who feared the Lord know what I'm talking about."

Photo by Sketch the Journalist

CY was invited to be on the compilation by Bert Bocachica of Rap Fest Inc. after establishing a relationship with him through the New York-based annual ministry event of the same name and follow-up contact.

Rap Fest organized this second volume of Christian rap songs with various producers and recording artists. The album has 38 tracks and received nearly 5,000 complete downloads from within the first two weeks.

Bocachica said the digital delivery method allows Rap Fest to reduce production costs and provides them with an easy way to share the Gospel free of charge. The ministry also openly encourages fans to copy and share the album with others so undoubtedly the message music is reaching more ears than can be reasonably accounted for from a single distribution outlet.

The song’s beat was produced by Rolando “3D Remedy” Remedios of Evolution Musik from Staten Island, NY. CY recorded it in Houston, Texas with featured verses from Much Luvv’s Von Won and additional vocals by his wife Gina.

Bocachica commended the song’s level of musical and spiritual integrity, saying it “can only be applauded by other ministers of the Gospel, not just in hip hop, but everywhere.” He also talked about the relevance of the subject matter.

“What if we were all obedient to our parents and, more importantly, to God? What a better world this would be. Obedience is one aspect in life ‘we’ have total control over. We either obey or not and face the consequences and or benefits accordingly,” Bocachica said.

“I can only wish and hope that everyone would take heed to the words and message of the song. Trust me, I am a parent of three teenagers… obedience is always a concern.”

CY said he also wanted to use the last verse of the song to provide evidence of God’s truth to non-believers.

Playing off the homonyms “sun” and “Son” (referring to Jesus as God’s child), CY uses an analogy of a plant that needs the sun to grow and live, much like we need the Son to do the same.

“God is truly our parent. He’s the one that created us and provided, not only His word, but means through Creation to teach us His ways,” CY said.

Download your free copy of Rap Fest Presents Volume II here.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Video Premiere: KJ-52 "Stuck in the 80's"

KJ-52's "Stuck in the 80's" video will premiere tonight (1/16/09) at midnight on Set your alarm clocks or catch it manana. Either way, if it's half as fun as his last one, it should be dope.

Also catch tons of behind-the-scenes footage of this jawn on KJ's YouTube page.

And peep the details on his "Remix the Remix" contest where you can win guest verses and beats from Tweezy. And if you ain't all that on the mic or boards, at least you'll get some free acapellas and instrumentals.

Pray for The Elements Church

Brother E from Rap Fest passes along this prayer request. Please lift them in your regular communication with our Father.

Hi folks.
This is just a quick email to ask you for prayer for the Elements. We have been in negotiations with a realtor and owner of a building for a 3,000 square foot spot.

It looks like we'll have it by February 1st. So please keep us in prayer as we look to move forward with whatever the Lord has for The Elements church. Once we sign the lease I'll let you know the exact address and all that.

Thank you for your prayers already! Much luv,


Free DL: Kaboose "Bits & Pieces" mixtape

Syntax is celebrating Kaboose's recent success (reviews and articles in The Source & appearances on by offering this lil treat.

Enjoy your FREE download here.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Vidz: Brinson "We Need the Savior"

New performance clip from God Chaserz' Brinson.

Syntax Records sponsors UFC fighter

Syntax Records appears to be sponsoring fellow San Diegoan (?) Dan Lister in the Ultimate Fighting Championship promotion. Check the flick to see the SR logo on his shorts. says it also appeared on his entrance tee and on his banner.

Promo: Canton Jones comes to Texas


Hurricane Ike ruined the first attempt, so Canton Jones is trying to visit the Houston-type area again on Thursday, January 29.

It's a free gig, so if you don't mind the drive and dig CaJo hit it up.

Bonus: Huntsville is the home of my alma mater - Sam Houston State University. So if you wanna visit the campus where your boy got schooled in journalism, arrive early and take a tour.

Here's the church's website and directions.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Vidz: Scribbling Idiots "Almost Famous"

I just discovered the SI crew dropped a video for the song "Almost Famous." It' s not the dopest clip on the Net, but it's good to see these guys get a little sumpin' sumpin' on YouTube.

I reviewed the full album for back in March. Click here to read.

Friday, January 9, 2009

BET's 106 & Park Presents: Generation Gospel

This should be interesting. Set your DVR's to record the debut of BET's 106 & Park spin-off called "Generation Gospel."

It airs this Sunday, January 12 at noon ET/PT.

This can be either really good for Christian hip hop or really bad. Let's pray it's the former.

iROCC is supposed to be their rap correspondent and the first show appears to have Mary Mary, Kirk, and Da' T.R.U.T.H. rocking their collab joint. Wonder if the David Banner feature came up at all backstage?

Also, if you're in the south Houston area this Saturday, be sure to hit up my man Truvine's release party for his "Chopped Up" compilation with DJ Primo.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Sketch article: KJ-52 in Tha Message Magazine

The next issue of Tha Message Mag drops next week and features my cover story with KJ-52. We talked a few days before he was filming his "Stuck in the 80's" video and got in some good convo about why he maintains so many connection points with his fans and what he's planning for his next album.

Here's your teaser:
KJ-52 has a lot on his mind.

On the night we spoke, he had spent most of the day on the phone doing publicity and coordination for the coming weekend’s “Stuck in the 80’s” album release party/concert/video shoot.

Apparently re-creating the look and feel of the “Me First” decade of cheese is a lot of work.

In addition to scavenging thrift-stores and eBay for classic British Knights and bag phone props, he’s also heading to a Seattle studio with super-producer Aaron Sprinkle to craft the next KJ album and planning for upcoming tour dates with The Newsboys.

Oh yeah, KJ’s also cataloging almost all of this via a multitude of web-based fan connection outlets. YouTube. Twitter. Weekly podcasts. Video devotion blogs. Dude does it all. But how?
Order your copy at

Monday, January 5, 2009

Clearing the Air: Behind the DJ D-Lite / HCR Split

Sketch & Vic @ the 2006 Texas Holy Hip Hop Achievement Awards

DJ D-Lite @ the 2007 Texas Holy Hip Hop Achievement Awards

Business separations are a reality - even between Christian brothers.

Just before the Christmas break there was split between DJ D-Lite and Holy Culture Radio. I've spent some time with both guys (Vic "DJ MVP" Padilla - the founder of HCR) and hated to see this divide. But in talking with them shortly afterward, we seemed to all be in agreement that the facts behind the issues should be fairly and accurately presented to their respective audiences so that gossip could be squashed and cats could learn.

The article was sent to as many CHH websites and media outlets as I know. It hit their Inboxes at the same time and it was their prerogative whether or not to publish it.

Here are links to the story on the principal players' websites (in alphabetical order). Take your pick and let me know what you think. The text is the same, but obviously each site has different community members that have provided their own comments.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Promo: Chopped Up release party - Jan 10


Truvine and DJ Primo's "Chopped Up" album is now complete and you can get your hands on it at two release party concerts.

The first will be held on Saturday, January 10 at Life 4 Square Church in Angleton, Texas. The second will be during Von Won's 4th Fridays Fellowship in Pasadena on February 27. (Look for my photo blog recap from whichever one I can get to.)

Truvine tells me it's the spiritual successor to the Slow Lane Chronicles project that a grip of H-town boys got together on several years ago and that was chopped and screwed by Paul Wall before our city blew up nationally.

This one has contributions from cats like Vine, Tre9, and Pettidee and was throwed by CHH's top notch chop master DJ Primo.

And I know a lot of y'all have moved on to that Auto-Tune sound, but here in HustleTown we're still jammin the screw. It was never a fad to us - it's in our blood.

Photo: Ras in the studio

Tuesday (Dec 30) I was at 4930 Studios with s/ave working on The Fence documentary. We just walked in from a great talk lunch at Chilis and caught the legendary Lil' Ras in the booth recording a track for Much Luvv's upcoming sports-themed album.

This was my first pic on the new iPhone so I was doubly geeked.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Top 10 CHH Stories of 2008

With 2008 coming a close, I figured I’d do my best to rank and recap the biggest Christian rap stories of the year. Now I know everybody and their blogging little brother has some sort of Top 10 list already out there, but hang on, cuz “This is something Sketch the Journalist says you need to hear…”

Number 10: Da’ T.R.U.T.H. is featured on MTV’s “Super Sweet 16” reality show.

Airing on January 1, this one made me throw up in my mouth a little. Then again, most of that stuff on MTV makes me do that these days.

A rich preacher’s kid from Cleveland got the spoiled brat treatment with a twist. The budget was supposed to be significantly reduced to $10,000 (which apparently is nothing compared to most episodes) and kids from nearby low-income neighborhoods were invited to the party along with gospel rap minister Da’ T.R.U.T.H. as the special guest.

In typical MTV fashion, they clowned him by playing cricket sounds when he hit the stage and showing clips of many kids saying they didn’t know who he was.

I don’t blame Manny for giving it a shot, but I imagine it’s probably not something he would do a second time.

Number 9: CY has a message for T-Pain.

I actually helped write this press release so I obviously have some vested interest in the piece.

My H-town brother worked hard to create his circus-themed album and concert and feared it was going to be overshadowed by the Auto-Tune Boy Wonder’s bigger budget project along the same vein.

Our goal was simply to point out that CY was working this angle first and not biting a successful mainstream artist as too many in our genre have done in the past.

And if you heard his passionate interview on The Wade-O Radio Show, then I’m sure you saw his heart.

Number 8: CCM Magazine goes out of print

In January we learned that CCM (Christian Contemporary Music) Magazine's parent company, Salem Publications, decided to stop production on the print version of the Nashville-based rag to focus on the development of its web-based incarnation.

What was shocking for those of us in the holy hip hop community was that this wasn’t just another gospel rap mag calling it quits (and we’ve seen our share of those come and go).

CCM covered it all from Tooth & Nail hard rock to Jeremy Camp pop to Third Day worship. I mean – they had Michael W. Smith money! And they still couldn’t make it?!?

This was also disturbing because the mag was finally starting to cover more Christian Hip Hop artists and news.

They carried on some of that via their website and with reprints of articles from, but it still wasn’t the same and an important bridge to the mainstream CCM Christian bookstore culture was lost.

Number 7: Wade-O Radio hits the NYC airwaves

Y’all already know how big this was for our man Wade. Christian hip hop’s most authoritative podcast got a broader audience on November 1st with syndication on the Bridge FM to the Greater New York City Metro Area.

God has rewarded Wade for his faithfulness and expanded his territory. May Daddy continue to bless Mr. Ohio State and this ministry.

Number 6: Dive in to the Holy Culture Radio record pool

I believe it was in March when I heard about this joint. Record pools have been an invaluable part of the mainstream scene for years. It’s how DJs (the backbone of hip hop) get fed new music and how new artists get heard. Now Christian rap was catching up.

While probably not the first and certainly not the only, it was still a big step for our brothers at the HCR network to initiate such an undertaking. Now it resides with DJ D-Lite under the name Kingdom Affiliates.

And if you ain't in the pool and want to be, check out Come on in, the water's warm!

Number 5: Christian rap goes digital

Add a few more nails in the coffin that contains the compact disc.

Christian rappers everyone seemed to be acknowledging the shifting music consumption patterns of their audiences and for once, seemed ahead, or at least with, current trends.

Deepspace5’s Manchild set up a subscription service for his digitally delivered raps and KJ-52 re-released his “Yearbook” project with “The Missing Pages” that was only available via download. Elsewhere, sites like The Bus Shop jumped on the mp3 bandwagon for getting your goods.

Number 4: The All Eyes On Me Achievement Awards Honors Christian Rap Pioneers

In June, Houston hosted many of Christian rap’s pioneering acts including Stephen Wiley, Apocalypse, A1-Swift, Fred Lynch and the Gospel Gangstaz. In addition, we held guys like Syntax Records, Lil’ Ras, Elle Roc, Pettidee, and Corey Red in high esteem for holding down the genre’s golden age.

There were also performances from guys like Sean Slaughter, RedCloud, Whuteva, iRocc, k-Drama, Sparky D, and the one and only Bushwick Bill.

Despite a needlessly controversial name change from the Texas Holy Hip Hop Achievement Awards, the bar was raised for an event that honors its own. And to get a better perspective on the weekend from founder Tre9, track down his interview with Wade-O on episode 69.

Number 3: Rest in Peace Beatmart and Gotee Records

As I wrote about in issue #11 of S.O.U.L. Magazine, is seems as though both Beatmart and Gotee Records, once two Christian hip hop power-houses, are no longer.

Beatmart’s Troy Collins told me, “I don’t think you have to have a degree from MIT to figure out that the sun is clearly setting on us as a traditional record label.”

Later, he claimed it was a symptomatic condition of where the music business is right now and promised that Beatmart was still very much in business, just not in the tradition that consumers normally perceive it.

Gotee seemed to be in a similar state – shedding its roster of many of the acts (including Grits) that helped establish it as an early home for modern urban gospel artists. Now, the only rap-like names left are two white guys (John Reuben and B. Reith) who are best described as “alternative” musicians with some hip hop elements.

There are many reasons offered for the existence of these two new tombstones that are better explained in my full story. But bottom line: the business of selling Christian rap music ain’t no cake walk.

Number 2: gets resurrected

Now it’s not like holy hip hop is lacking online community and news websites. We’ve got Illspot, Rapzilla, and Sphereofhiphop holding it down right?

Still, the relaunch of has special resonance – not the least of which for me is that 1) it was initially founded by my good friend s/ave, 2) its original coverage base was of my Third Coast brethren, and 3) it’s been bombly re-created by Bezworks’ Zee.

As of late just a vibrant message board, the new site has all kinds of dope multi-media features, streaming radio (including The Wade-O Show), a video channel, gets frequent updates on an near daily basis, and has become a revived destination hub for all things gospel rap.

I knew it was coming and was still blown away by the new site. And if you haven’t pointed your browser that way you’re doing yourself a serious disserve. Do it now – You won’t be disappointed.

Number 1: Lecrae’s (rebel) album breaks records

Anyone who bought Lecrae’s album “After the Music Stops” (and there were tons) no doubt had high expectations for (rebel). But 10,000 plus units in the first week? Bananas!

On release day the project hit #3 on iTunes Hip Hop/Rap Chart (#15 overall) and ultimately made it to numero uno on Billboard’s Top Gospel Album chart. Singles like “Don’t Waste Your Life” and “Got Paper” further propelled sales and put the Message in many more ears.

Hopefully this will help outsiders take notice and take hold.

That such a talented rapper with some beastly tracks also had so much depth and quality content was such a blessing. I honestly don’t think it could happen to a better dude than Lecrae and immensely respect his integrity as a minister of the Gospel.

Please continue to rep us, and ultimately Him, well Mr. Moore.

So that’s it – the Top 10 Christian Rap Stories of 2008 as told by Sketch the Journalist. Agree? Disagree?

And I’d be remiss if I didn’t express my gratitude to you, my loyal readers, for all the kind feedback and support you’ve given me these past 365 days as an opinionated voice in Christian hip hop. I’m honored to have the platform and love that my words resonate with so many of you.

Thank you for the reading and may our Father bless us both as we continue his work in 2009.