Friday, April 24, 2009

2009 GMA Winners - No surprises (again)

Photo by KJ-52's iPhone via Twitter

Again, no real surprises with the winners here. Although this year's nominees certainly seemed a little more in tune with the genre.

Rap/Hip Hop Recorded Song of the Year:
"Do Yo Thang" by KJ-52

Rap / Hip Hop Album of the Year:
Ordinary Dreamers, Group 1 Crew

Check out all the winners here.

Lecrae also Tweeted from the show. Read his message here along with a pic of him and wifey at the awards.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The W.A.R.R.I.O.R.S. audio interview by Sketch about Rap-A-Lot Outreach

Victorious & Sketch @ Hip Hop Hope Family Fun Day

My audio interview with Victorious & Proof from Austin's The W.A.R.R.I.O.R.S. about the Rap-A-Lot / Much Luvv Records 5th Ward Easter outreach event is now online exclusively at

I was impressed that these fellas drove over three hours (one way) just to be a part.

Listen in here while you view a slideshow of my images from that day.

We also got some pub on Isiah Carey's (Fox 26) Insite blog. Check that here. Thanks IC.

The Complaint: Flimsy File Names

Off top, let me say thank you to any and everyone that’s provided a free digital download of their mixtape or album. I love how there’s so much good music right at my fingertips.

But…. and you know there had to be a “but” didn’t you? But can you PLEASE take a moment to attach the proper meta-data to your files?

I’m talking artist names, cover art, genre and the like.

I hate when I get all excited about a new digital album, import it into iTunes and then see song titles like Track 03, 06, or Final Mix. It’s quite a pain to have to search for this and rename them all for my library and it’s easy to lose hope and just delete the batch.

Now I know this comes off as whiny and lazy, but as a dude that gets a lot of music and loves a lot of music, I’m just asking that you make this process a little easier.

I’m a guy that actually likes to read liner notes and know song titles and artist names. It helps me publicize and tell others about your work too.

So please, take the extra time to prep your digital download and I promise your listeners will thank you.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Vidz: deepspace5 "Raps"

This clip made my day. I believe DJ Dust is behind the lens. Dude is mad talented.

Just check the film quality, the wardrobe, the album cover stuff... this is a crew that knows how to make art.

Look for more DJ Dust clips at:

UPDATE (05/06/09): I later saw a thread on the Sphere of Hip Hop message board by Freddie Bruno that indicated this video wasn't an authorized release and was something they were holding back until the group had formal arrangements in place for their next album.

My apologies to the crew if I contributed to this leak in any way. I was under the impression the release had been blessed.

As always, I'm looking forward to new ds5 material and will keep you posted on what I know.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Recap: Rap-A-Lot/Much Luvv Records Outreach

All photos and text by Sketch the Journalist

“This place used to be junkyard,” Uncle Lloyd said. “But here we are ten years later and, not only is it a place for recreation, but we also believe it is a place for re-creation.”

Lloyd Prince was talking about the Prince Complex, the non-profit youth center he co-founded over a decade ago with Rap-A-Lot Records CEO James J. Prince.

Tre9 presents Uncle Lloyd & Mrs. Prince with a token of appreciation

Located in the heart of the infamous 5th Ward Houston neighborhood he once called home, the organization is designed to be a safe haven for “at-risk” youth and offers after-school basketball and boxing activities along with various community outreach programs for students and seniors.

The complex was celebrated on April 11, 2009 with a Hip Hop Hope Family Fun Day. The event was co-sponsored by Rap-A-Lot and Much Luvv Records along with Copperfield Church and several other service organizations. Its afternoon featured performances by Christian hip hop artists, grocery distribution, inflatable games, basketball skill competitions, free food, and special appearances by well known rappers Gravy (aka Jamal Woolard from the Notorious B.I.G. biopic) and Bun B (of UGK).

On stage, Gravy told the crowd he was there to hang out all day, sign autographs, take pics, and talk to people about anything

Bun B gets interviewed by former 5th Ward Boy (and new Christian MC) 007

Approximately 400 people attended the event between the hours of noon and 4pm. Five pallets of food from Target Hunger resulted in bags of groceries for more than 250 needy families and 19 people received free HIV tests from organizations like FUUSA (Families Under Urban & Social Attack.)

Christian rappers The W.A.R.R.I.O.R.S. drove over three hours from Austin just to perform a ten minute set and participate in the outreach.

Early morning setup for the grocery distribution

Victorious (The W.A.R.R.I.O.R.S.), Gifted (Much Luvv Records), 007 (5th Ward Boyz), & DJ D-Lite ( Radio)

“More people need to begin to show the love of God [in ways like this],” group member Victorious said. “The simple fact of the matter is we’ve got prophesying down, we’ve got preaching down, we’ve got taking offerings down… but this love thing is something we’re really suffering with and not enough people are walking in the true ‘agape’ love of God.

“Jesus said you will know my disciples, my followers, by the love they have for one another. So that’s why when a guy like [Much Luvv CEO] Tre9 calls and invites us out, we’re there to support.”

The slam dunk contest was pretty ill.

Bun either really didn't like a dunk or saw me with the camera and decided to play along.

Neither Gravy nor Bun B performed at the event, but both did take the microphone to encourage attendees and play “celebrity judge” during the slam dunk competition held in the Prince Complex gymnasium.

The fact that this day fell on Easter weekend held special significance for many of the Christians in attendance.

Volunteers from Copperfield Church did a variety of jobs, including face (and hand) painting.

The Prince Complex provided the chairs and venue.

“We will always recognize God’s place in our lives and that Jesus’ resurrection makes all of this possible,” Uncle Lloyd said from the stage. “Our family name of Prince may be on the building, but we set out to make an impact in the name of the Prince of Peace.”

The inaugural Hip Hop Hope Family Fun Day began and ended with a group prayer led by Much Luvv’s Bobby “Tre9” Herring. He spearheaded the partnership with Rap-A-Lot and expressed his appreciation for the support of all of the event’s sponsors.

Colcutz & WE brought their "Worship Experience" to the event.

White tees for the volunteers also commemorated the day.

“I think we’ve opened a door to a great relationship with the Prince Complex and its 5th Ward community,” Herring said. “I look forward to doing more outreaches with them throughout the year and starting a weekly Bible study there this summer.”

Additional photos:

007, Von Won, & Tre9 perform "Rise to the Top"

Bun B takes in the final presentations and prayer.

J Xavier in a fresh "Run DC" Barak Obama tee.

The crowd gathers for the 3-point and slam dunk competitions. was an event sponsor.

Issac White kilt (with a "t") the dunk comp. Vince Carter arm-in-the-hoop and errythang.

The M5 Mobile Ministry truck provided the stage & sound.

Houston holy hip hop mainstays Ras & Soulfruit

The W.A.R.R.I.O.R.S. drove down from Austin to be involved.

Videographer Orlando Briones, Gravy, & Sketch

Free DL: Mixtapes & Mashups

Three free mixtapes I didn't get a chance to tell y'all about yet.

DJ X - "This Is the Remix Mixtape"
Download it here.

Here X (Tweezy's regular tour DJ) has collected the finalists from KJ's "Remix the Remix" contest along with some new virtual collabs. Check for his girl Jubilee on several nice cuts.

The W.A.R.R.I.O.R.S - "In the Beginning Was the Mixtape"
Download it here.

NOTE: You'll need to be a member of the community in order to download this mixtape. Both the membership and DL are FREE.

The fellas have been handing out this mix at shows like SXSW & the 5th Ward outreach. On it they're flippin' mainstream tracks from guys like Kanye, Lil Keke, and Luda.

I would have left those AutoTune numbers alone, but there are some decent remakes on here that I can appreciate from a free mixtape/marketing standpoint.

And really, who can front on that "Swagga Like Us" beat?

DJ Primo - "The Best Reggaeton Mash Ups - hosted by J-Blaze"
Download it here.

I actually haven't had a chance to listen to this one yet, but I ALWAYS check for Primo's stuff and know his mash-ups are some of the best in the biz.

Official: 106 & Gone

I found a more official death certificate for BET's "106 & Gospel."

Read it here.

If you're interested in trying CPR, you can sign the online petition here.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Audio: Sketch interview on Much Luvv Radio

Last month I mentioned my trip to 4930 Studios to record an interview with Von Won & DJ Primo for Much Luvv Radio.

It's now edited and posted for all your listening glory.

Check in as we chop up my history with Christian hip hop, my beef with Tre9, how your boy got his start as a gospel rap journalist and more.
  • Download it here.
  • Stream it here.
  • Subscribe to the podcast via iTunes here.

The vultures are swirling...

Although the show is still listed on the BET website, other sources (besides me) are now reporting that 106 & Gospel is gone.

Read it here.

I shot an e-mail to their ticket address a few weeks ago and never received a response. Again, not a positive sign.

The Wade-O Radio Show Goes International

Like the name of DJ Morph’s last mixtape, The Wade-O Radio Show is going “International.”

Starting Friday, April 17 the Christian hip hop show known for its “more than Music… It’s Ministry” focus will be aired on iPowerFM, a Canada-based internet station. Two weeks later, the show “crosses the pond” to the United Kingdom where it will air on G-Force Radio’s web outlet found at

“God gets all the glory in this broadening and elevation of this music ministry,” DJ Wade-O said.

“We’re so grateful to our on-demand, press-and-play partners at and HeadzUp-FM along with our over-the-air team at The Bridge FM here on the East Coast.

By adding these international, time-slot affiliates to our portfolio, we are able to see two more ways that Christ is providing us a new audience to serve with His message.”

In addition to the two overseas markets, The Wade-O Radio Show will also expand to a five-day schedule via Texas-based Zoe Radio’s internet feed. Starting on May 4, Zoe will broadcast The Wade-O Show Monday through Friday with the most recent episode airing on the first day of the week and then a reverse order cycle of previous episodes over the next four days.

Finally, the Nia Radio Network, based in South Carolina, will be adding The Wade-O Radio Show schedule right after DJ I Rock Jesus’ broadcast.

What all this means is that devoted Wade-O Show fans will now be able to hear the debut of new episodes a day earlier (by listening to the UK feed) and new Wade-O Show listeners will be able to catch up on previous spots by getting it in with Zoe Radio’s Tuesday-Friday flashbacks.

Station: iPowerFM
Start date: April 17
Schedule: Fridays (10pm – 12am EST)

Station: Nia Radio Network
Start date: April 18
Schedule: Saturdays (3pm – 5pm EST)

Station: G-Force Radio
Start date: May 1
Schedule: Fridays (9pm – 11pm GMT)

Station: Zoe Radio
Start date: May 4
Schedule: Mon-Fri (4pm – 6pm CST)

For more information on DJ Wade-O and The Wade-O Radio Show please visit

Vidz: Lecrae & Kaboose from SXSW found these two YouTube interviews of Lecrae & Kaboose from last month's SXSW "The Life in Hip Hop" stage.

Check 'em out below. To see/read my photo recap of the day, click hurrr.

Rapper/Singer Von Won signs with Much Luvv

Houston-based rapper/singer Von Won is now an official recording artist with Much Luvv Records. The contract signing ceremony took place alongside Von’s family after a recent ministry concert at The Fellowship of The Woodlands church.

Prior to his Christian conversion in 2007, Von Won was a member of the mainstream Playboy Click rap group with a solo album, Money Already Made, that featured high-profile guest appearances from the likes of Lil Keke and former Geto Boy Bushwick Bill. But a near-death police tazing incident shortly before that release caused him to re-evaluate his life and relationship with Jesus.

A friendship with Much Luvv CEO Bobby “Tre9” Herring eventually led to further discipleship and spots on frequent ministry stages. It later resulted in Rise to the Top, Von Won’s self-released first album as a sold-out believer, and then the recording contract with Much Luvv Records.

The journey to this point wasn’t always so smooth though. New Christians often struggle to match their heart’s desire with their attitude’s old ways. Tre9 even mentioned that the week leading up the signing ceremony was one of the hardest and most emotional he had been through with his new artist. Still, the two worked out their differences and are looking ahead to a bright partnership.

“I’m extremely grateful that Tre never shut the door on me and continued to believe in what I was doing,” Von Won said. “I’m very happy to be a member of the well-respected Much Luvv family.”

A Rice University graduate, Von Won is an entrepreneur with a label of his own. SXE (Southern Xposure Entertainment) will also produce and release street music from a Christian perspective by artists like Sheep in Wolves’ Clothing, Trevor Lee, and RBS.

But first, Von Won will focus on putting the final touches on his next album, Answering the Call, that will hit stores on September 15, 2009. The project will carry a post-tour, voice mail response concept and relate the story of Von’s experience in becoming a devoted follower of Jesus. Look for it to continue to the R&B, rap, and reggae sound Von is known for with guest features from the likes of Corey Red, Gifted, and the Much Luvv Family.

For a sneak preview, listen for Von Won’s special appearances on the songs “Movin’ Up to the Suburbs,” “Won't Stop,” and “Rise to the Top,” from Tre9’s new album The Farmer.

For more information, please visit

Listen to and watch Von Won in the “Rise to the Top” video from Tre9’s album The Farmer:

Friday, April 10, 2009

It's only Friday... But Sunday's Coming

Again, delayed blog entries due to deadlines at the day job (I'm even working on some stuff today), but I wanted to share this dope video I found at The Christian Manifesto.

Enjoy the hope we have in the power of this day.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Vidz: DWYL Tour spots

Two more Don't Waste Your Life Tour promos from Reach Records.

The "Rap Exploits" is particularly well done and show us how topics that would make us shudder when presented plain appear to get us amped when there's a beat behind them.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Photo recap: Braille & S1 Cloud 19 Tour

S1 (brown shirt) & Braille (tan shirt) brought the Cloud Nineteen Tour to Houston on 03/23/09

Still playing blog catchup, but here are some flix and commentary from Braille & S1's Houston stop on the "Cloud Nineteen" tour at Fulcher Mission near downtown.

This was just two days after SXSW and the final show on this tour so they were both understandably beat. Still, both Braille and Symbolyc One really showed their hearts and shared their time and story with the small crowd of teens.

A small crowd & sound system ain't a problem for the down-to-earth Braille

Braille Brizzy performed tracks like "For Life," "Fill It In," and "Blessed Man."

H-town representatives in da building.

From left to right: Sketch, DJ Millhouse aka Noe (Fulcher Mission director), dogfight! (The 832 Movement), Enock (formerly of Cross Movement/Much Luvv), Felix (Coffee Pickers), and Pastor Jason.

S1 played hypeman to his silky smooth "Cloud Nineteen" beats

Braille rappin' hard on one leg

Noe getting the kiddies hype.

That's his daugher Mia in the pink & silver and Enock's daughter Jana in the pink & white.

Pastor Jason Hess closed the night with a message about God's grace when you encounter "Big Stuff."

As they've been doing at EVERY SINGLE show on the tour, Braille and S1 gave out FREE copies of their "Cloud Nineteen" album.


So far, Braille & S1 have given out almost 5,000 copies of the album.

Their goal is 30,000 and Braille told me they almost have enough donations for another print run of 10,000. They're giving these out at tour stops at churches, youth centers, prisons, and community events.

If you'd like to donate to the cause (like I did) and keep up with this movement, log onto

Friday, April 3, 2009

Photo Recap: SXSW - The Life in Hip Hop

B.L.U.E kicked off the day with a great set has my full recap and photo album, but here's your teaser, link, and some of the choicest flix.

Christian hip hop explored new territory on March 21, 2009 with the first ever gospel rap showcase at the SXSW Festival in Austin, Texas.

South by Southwest (SXSW) is the premier Austin-based company dedicated to building and delivering conference and festival events for entertainment and related media industry professionals. Each March it draws nearly 12,000 registrants from all over the globe.

This year Much Luvv Records’ Bobby “Tre9” Herring and Jason “Sketch the Journalist” Bellini were personally offered the opportunity to create the urban gospel stage by Matt Sonzala, a respected independent rap promoter who is the official hip hop booker for SXSW.

Sonzala offered the George Washington Carver Museum and Cultural Center for the venue and specifically requested that rappers Dooney da Priest (Dallas, TX) and Lecrae (Memphis, TN) be a part of the program. The rest of the show’s details were left up to Tre9 and Sketch.
Read the rest.

You can also find a lot of my instant reactions via Twitter.

Side note:
My wife took most of the best shots with my friend's killer cam.

Texas' Capitol City was the locale.

Tre9 (white shirt) & Jimmie McDowell (black shirt w/ paper) handle the pre-event meeting with all the artists

Dooney & his crew told the audience to "Pull Yo' Pants Up!"

Austin's The W.A.R.R.I.O.R.S brought their people and the heat

The Carver Theater was small (and steep) but we packed it out

Kaboose got the crowd movin'. My favorite quote of the day came during his performance when I heard a cat in the crowd tell his boy: “Those Texas boys just rap! That’s a true MC right there!”

Braille & S1 came with the full "Cloud Nineteen" set AND gave everyone in the place a FREE copy of the new album.

Syntax Records (and fellow Texan) DJ Promote kept things live in between sets. This dude is so much fun and so full of heart.

This was a cool moment when event host DJ D-Lite took time out to call Special K to the stage and honor him for his pioneering efforts in getting gospel rap played on the radio in Austin.

Former 5th Ward Boy 007 looking fierce as he shared his testimony of Christian life-change through some new lyrics.

Gifted & Von Won having fun with a tag-team set.

Von Won is all about the kids.

My wife and I thought this stage tech looked a lot like Dwight Schrute from "The Office."

CY brought the whole "Circus" theme to his set.

One of CY's crumpin' clowns.

A moment when I wasn't Tweeting or takin' pics - otherwise known as "A Journalist on His Job."

Up close & personal with S.O.M.'s Chizzle. I think I see his fillings.

Tre9 & the Much Luvv Fam asking for a hollaback

Tre busted out several songs with rock group Laden. A live band adds SO MUCH to a show.

Here's a moment when the crowd had to be re-adjusted. The place was packed and people actually had to be turned away at the door. Thankfully, they relented just before the Much Luvv & Lecrae performances and allowed more people into the building and right in front of the stage.

Lecrae definitely brought the heat through song and Word. People were mos def feelin' the "Jesus Muzik."

Lecrae was specifically requested by SXSW for this event and we were so glad he was able to make it.

The crowd got in some worship during Much Luvv & Laden's performance of "Closer" and at other points throughout the day.

Lecrae even stepped over to kick off the After Party since he heard many people couldn't get into the Carver Theater to see all the sets.

One half of S.O.M. chilling at the After Party

DJs Promote & D-Lite setting up at the After Party

CY's restrained After Party Circus show

I got to meet the big homie XL who wants you to pick up his new "This Is Then Now" project.

My first time meeting Kaboose as well. The dude made it down from Minnesota and was super-cool. So glad to have him with us for the first SXSW jump-off too.