Sunday, August 15, 2010
Houston rap label combats dirty dance craze with techno album
Seeking to fill a musical void, the creative forces at Houston’s Much Luvv Records have crafted Luvv to Dance – a 21 track “techno rap” dance album that features over 50 Christian hip hop and rock artists dropping street verses on top of club-friendly beats and hooks.
“We know we’re not the first to do it, but the pop/dance/rap subgenre is still not very established within our market,” Much Luvv Records CEO Bobby “Tre9” Herring said.
“Our aim with this project is to penetrate the hearts of kids and young adults who really vibe to that type of music. If you turn on the radio or MTV you’ll see that this is the style that dominates. Go to any church in the suburb and, unfortunately, you’ll see it’s not much different. So why not use that to our advantage to spread the gospel?”
Much Luvv Vice President & Executive Producer Jimmie A. McDowell managed the Luvv to Dance project, seeking track submissions from Christian hip hop’s top producers and then matching those beats to artists with established relationships with the label.
The result includes unique pairings like Gospel Gangstaz & 007 (formerly of the 5th Ward Boyz) with singer Martay on a bouncer called “Testify,” Dre' Murray and rock singer Spradley (formerly of Type Nine) going electro pop on "Move Me," and Sean Slaughter, The WARRIORS ATX, and Justin Michaels of The Access offering the upbeat “Your Chance to Dance.”
“I think people are going to be both surprised and impressed with the collaborations we’re able to offer on this album,” McDowell said. “I know we were.”
McDowell noted that several track submissions took a different turn than originally expected. For example, big AL chose to sing, instead of rap, his lyrics on “Party (Let’s Dance),” and many of the rock vocalists ended up sounding like natural born techno artists.
“I’m also excited about Whuteva and Ren Patrick’s ‘1-2-Many’ song about the negative effects of overindulging alcohol, Christafari and Von Won’s reggae track, and the fact that hip hop legend Kurtis Blow will be featured on this album,” McDowell said.
Part of the promotional efforts for the project’s release included a Create-A-Dance-Craze contest (think Soulja Boy Tell ‘Em's "Crank Dat Superman" or the GS Boyz "Stanky Leg") for the song “Keep On” from the album. Youth groups submitted their original routine to the label and the winner will be featured in the song’s music video and at the official CD release concert being held this weekend.
"Our Christian youth rarely have the opportunity to create their own dances, mainly due to Christian hip hop artists ignoring the need,” Herring said. “God created His children with talent and originality and now we will bring that out in them through this competition."
Undoubtedly, the simple fact that this project is being pushed as a “dance record” may raise a few eyebrows with conservative Christians who fear a worldly club influence on their kids. However, Tre9 offers assurances that Luvv to Dance will only do the opposite of encouraging sin.
“None of the content here will lead you to do anything foul,” Herring said. “In fact, it would be really hard to nasty dance in the midst of all our Jesus lyrics and not feel convicted.”
McDowell also points out that many Christian houses of worship have already transformed their youth areas into club-like atmospheres that offer a positive alternative space to those found outside the church.
“And even Scripture tells us there’s ‘a time to weep and a time to laugh / a time to mourn and a time to dance’” McDowell said quoting Ecclesiastes 3:4.
The official Luvv to Dance CD release concert takes place this Saturday, August 21 from 5pm to 9pm at Champions Community Center (1311 Bammel N Houston Rd). Admission is free.