Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Vid: Braille discusses his personal life & marriage

Late yesterday the homie Braille released this video blog in which he discusses recent struggles in his personal life and marriage.

It should go without saying to keep him and his fam in prayer.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

2010 Dove Award nominees

It’s that time of year again, you know, when the Dove Awards are announced and people complain about the list of hip hop nominees.

Those honored with a nod for this year’s event include:

Rap/Hip Hop Album of the Year:

KJ-52’s “Five Two Television”
B.Reith’s “Now Is Not Forever”
Grits’ “Reiterate”
Da’ T.R.U.T.H.’s “Big Picture”
• And Mr. Del’s “Thrilla”

Rap/Hip Hop Song of the Year nominees include:

• “End of My Rope” by KJ-52
• “Go On” by B.Reith
• “Lost” by Da’ T.R.U.T.H.
• “Movin’” by Group 1 Crew
• And “America” by Tracy Edmond?

The 2010 awards will be handed out April 21, 2010, at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee.

Vid: "Crawl" Christian guitar remix

Trevor Lee is back with a remix of Chris Brown's "Crawl."

If you're like me you may not be as familiar with this track as "Forever" (which got a gazillion spins during the NBA's All-Star weekend) so here's a link to the original for reference.

I also appreciate the blog shout out at the front of the clip.


Monday, February 15, 2010

Vid: "Forever" Christian guitar remix

It may not mean nuthin' to y'all... but my man Trevor Lee just hit me off with the first of what he says will be a series of "Christian guitar remixes" of secular rap songs.

(And no, he's not implying that the instrument can make/has made Jesus his Savior.)

Normally, I'm not a fan of the "Christian remake," but I'll give Trev some props for giving it an additional twist with the acoustic guitar.

Peep the video below and let him know what you think.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

The New Yorker magazine profiles Tonex and discusses the gay culture in gospel music


Last night I ran across this lengthy article in The New Yorker magazine about Tonex and the gay culture that exists within the gospel music industry.

It's quite interesting and even provided a lot of historical background that educated me. The mainstream, literary magazine is sold at most bookstores.

You can read a brief abstract of the piece here.

They've also posted a 16 minute audio podcast interviewing the article's author and adding in various sound clips for additional context. You can stream it for free here.

Friday, February 12, 2010

5 Reasons I Love Ruslan's "Right Out Loud"


Ruslan of theBREAX dropped this FREE mixtape gem a while back and I absolutely love it. Here are 5 reasons why.

1. It uses a real DJ.

How many "mixtapes" have you heard that are nothing more than an iTunes playlist? No host, no cuts, no blends. Bump that!

Right Out Loud features DJ Rek (one of the biggest secular producers from San Diego that has started the transition into doing Christian Hip Hop) who handles all of that with ease. It's such a breath of fresh air. Fans of "Anchorman" will love his Ron Burgundy (also from SD) drops too.

2. Remakes don't dominate.

Believe me, I love a good remake and know that's what a decent portion of the mixtape genre is about (see Chamillionaire's successful Mixtape Messiah series,) still, you can feel bogged down after a while, especially if it just mimics a mindless radio playlist.

Here, Rus switches between mainstream remakes ("Transform You," "How Low," "Forever,") original songs ("Nothing in Particular" and "I Can Dig It") and even some Christian hip hop retakes (DJ Official's "Show Off," Washington Projects' "Zepher Wings," and R-Swift's "Chased.")

The variety is much appreciated.

3. He actually says something.

While this joint has punchlines, it's also got lines that punch.

Peep Rus' breakdown of the state of the church/CHH on "How Low," why he thinks the criticism of The Black Eyed Peas as a pop-sell-out is misguided (on the brilliant "All In / I Got a Feeling" mashup,) or the blessings of marriage ("Greener.")

It's nice to have a mixtape that's about something more than promoting a project or showcasing skills. This one gives you meat.

4. Ruslan's a true MC.

Ruslan's never been a swag cat or one looking to ride the next trend to radio spins. He's an MC that can rock a mic.

Catch the storytelling on "Whose Bed Is This?," the modern-day spin on the Joseph/Potipher's Wife story in "Zypher Wings," or his confident recitation on "Kind of a Big Deal" for proof.

5. I mentioned it's being offered for FREE right?

Download your copy here.

I also hear that a Rus' other crew, Gallery Drive, is dropping a fresh mixtape this Valentine's Day. Keep an eye on for details.

Monday, February 8, 2010

SXSW 2010’s Presents "The Life in Hip Hop" Stage Performers Announced


Houston, TX – February 8, 2010 – South by Southwest (SXSW), the premier Austin-based company dedicated to building and delivering conference and festival events for entertainment and related media industry professionals, has invited back several Houstonians to organize the Christian hip hop showcase at this year’s affair.

Taking place Saturday, March 20 at Austin’s George Washington Carver Museum and Cultural Center, presents The Life in Hip Hop will showcase performances from some of gospel hip hop’s most polished performers.

Houston’s Bobby “Tre9” Herring, Jimmie McDowell, and Jason “Sketch the Journalist” Bellini were personally offered the opportunity by Matt Sonzala, a respected independent rap promoter who is the official hip hop booker for SXSW, and asked to help organize this unique platform.

“Last year’s event was such a smashing success that we packed out the venue and even had to turn away over 100 fans,” Tre9 said.

“This year we’re going to continue to build our roster and are excited to offer live web streaming video for those that cannot attend.”

Photo by Sketch the Journalist

This year’s performers for the Presents The Life in Hip Hop stage include:

  • Tedashii – (Dallas, TX – Reach Records)
  • FLAME - (St. Louis, MO - Cross Movement Records)
  • k-Drama - (Cincinnati, Ohio)
  • D-Maub - (Cincinnati, Ohio)
  • big Al - (Monroe, Louisianna)
  • Dre’ Murray - (Oklahoma)
  • Tre9 - (Houston, TX)
  • The WARRIORS ATX (Austin, TX)
  • S.OM. (Soldiers On A Mission) – (Houston, TX)
  • Von Won – (Houston, TX) –
  • Gifted Da Flamethrowa – (Houston, TX) –
  • Bizzle - (Houston, TX) -
Additional performers will be announced at a later date. Admission to all parts of this distinctive stage will be free of charge and open to the community.

A few sponsorship opportunities and performance slots are still available. Inquires should be directed to

“This is a huge opportunity for gospel rap as a whole and we plan to represent our genre, and most of all, our Lord, to the fullest,” Sketch the Journalist said.

For more information visit: or

Related: 2009 SXSW Photo Recap

Friday, February 5, 2010

Recap: Enock Benefit (10/27/09)

As I mentioned yesterday, I'm catching up on some of my photo recap blogs. Here are some flicks and info from the Enock Memorial Benefit Concert held in October at the Hip Hop Hope Tuesdays at The Prince Complex in Houston's 5th Ward.

CY noted that Enock often inspired him to up his rap game and then performed their collab cut "Back Home" and rapped Juan's verses in the third person. He tweaked them where appropriate to note that Enock was now indeed in his heavenly home.

Praise 92.1's DJ Wiz and Soulfruit's Ty were in the building. Soulfruit member Tobe was the initial producer for Enock's AWEthentic album.

HHHT mainstay DJ Primo scratched Scripture and video for a short message.

Gifted da Flamethrowa, SOM's Twin, and Stikk aka Stephan Oran were there as well. Stikk was the beatmaker/producer behind the final version of Enock's AWEthentic album.

In a tear-jerking moment, Enock's widow, Natalie James, took the mic to thank everyone for their prayers and support and encouraged the crowd to reinforce the message of Christ and seek God with our whole heart.

Hip hop dads IBC and Noe Ortiz aka DJ Millhouse were there.

The night ended with a great moment of worship and prayer from Colcutz's WE group. Cutz reminded us that Enock wasn't fake and wanted us to live the Christian life with the same sort of raw honesty he was known for. "Don't live life with a mask," he said.

Others in attendance included:
  • Ganksta Loc
  • Bless'T
  • NuLife
  • SOM
  • Jesus Boyz
In all, the night raised over $900 for the James' family.

Vidz: Strill Trill Christians on 106 & Park

For those that missed it, Houston's Still Trill Christians have been killin' it recently with two appearances on BET's flagship 106 & Park show. (The real one, not that fake gospel version they tried to pass off last year.)

First, it was STC's performance of their radio-ready "No Sex" single.


The brilliance of this track is that sounds EXACTLY like the sexually blatant and innuendo-laced rap&B songs (think Young Money's "Bed Rock") that carry a message this one rejects. Lovely.

Then, STC member AJ McQueen was invited back to tell his personal story of escaping a gangland lifestyle on a 106 & Park episode dedicated to combating youth violence.


I'll keep it 100 and say that I haven't always been a Still Trill fan, but gotta tip my hat to the boys and say they definitely made me (and Christian hip hop as a whole) proud with these spots.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Recap: Holy Hip Hop 4 Hunger (9/11/09)

I was going through my notes recently and realized I'm behind on a few photo recaps.

So here are some pics and details from the Holy Hip Hop 4 Hunger event organized by Von Won that took place on 9/11/09 at the prestigious Rice University in Houston, Texas.

SXE's Trevor Lee started things off with his brand of acoustic rap and worship.

DJ Wiz from Praise 92.1 FM held down the mixing board.

The Holy Hot Boyz brought some (gulp) "Crunk & Praise."

S.O.M. fought sound problems to perform "Fiyah Starter" and Chizzle reminded us that this event was meant to combat both physical and spiritual hunger.

Tre9 rocked out with the band Southerland and did a couple of live throwback joints like "The Godfather."

Yessir, Bushwick Bill was in the house and somewhat freestyled his set with the band. He spit "Takin' It Back" and "Spiritual Warfare" from his Testimony of Redemption Christian rap album (available now here) and kicked a verse acapella.

Von presented a "Local Servant" award to Pastor Sam Harris (aka J Xavier's father/manager.)

J Xavier brought some of his Christian remakes to mainstream songs like "Always Strapped," "Best I Ever Had" and "Rhythm Nation."

Tre9 was spotted with a custom Ginosko tee.

The W.A.R.R.I.O.R.S. came down from Austin to push their "For Christ I live / For Christ I die" anthem.

Gifted da Flamethrowa did a stellar rendition of "Want Some/Get Some" with punk rockers The Shiny Darks.

Von Won's set with The Shiny Darks even brought out some masked krump dancers.

Big Al got us all clappin' to hits like "Get Low," "Get High," and "Rest of My Days."

Al showing off his "Big Boy Dance."

That night, Von debuted the video for and performed his touching "I Missed That Day" song. Watch the final version here.

Afterward, everyone headed downstairs for meet-n-greets and to turn in their canned food donations.

Holy Hip Hop 4 Hunger brought in the goods for the needy.

This was Von's 3rd HHH4H event. It looked to be a success and something he'll organize again in 2010.

UPDATE: I just found this video of Still Trill Christians performing their "No Sex" anthem (you might have seen on BET's 106 & Park). Enjoy.

Vid: Lil Raskull & Vince Young

My man Ras (aka Lil Raskull) recently got it in with Tennessee Titans' QB and University of Texas legend Vince Young. Peep the message.

You can keep up with Ras at his community site: