Ignored by the record companies, and sometimes treated with suspicion by the Church, a wave of British rappers and hip-hop groups are currently taking ground for Christ. Tony Cummings reports.
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The Blessed Man
Emerging from the underground to touch the mainstream is THE BLESSED MAN. Tony Cummings reports.
His two EPs 'Bless The Nation' and 'Represent What Is Nice' have both gained enthusiastic reviews in Cross Rhythms and he's even been featured in America's Billboard magazine. So how did Steven Emory, better known as The Blessed Man, get involved in rapping? "Through my going to G.I.F.T.E.D.'s church and through my giving my life to God, then God was able to say to me, 'Steve! Blessed Man, I want to use you now because you have now given your life to me.' What happened, one day I went to see G.I.F.T.E.D. at a concert he was doing. G.I.F.T.E.D. was on stage by himself. As I was watching him I just felt God was really saying to me, 'You need to be involved in this.' Before I became a Christian I was in a dance group and I used to do a lot of dancing. As G.I.F.T.E.D. was rapping I just felt that God was saying to me, 'You need to be behind him dancing and being a part of what he is doing.' So I got involved with G.I.F.T.E.D. and in due season from dancing I began to grab the mic and from grabbing the microphone I began to rap.
It's going from strength to strength now and from glory to glory. God is just doing something major through that little step of faith that I had taken to become a Christian."
Steve is far from the educated-on-the-streets rapper. He has a degree in biochemistry. But it's his African-flavoured rapping which has found favour with both the underground and the over-ground. He spoke about his first EP, '"Bless The Nation' got good airplays here in London. A lot of people heard of The Blessed Man and the ministry through 'Bless The Nation'. You probably know that we did a video as well and that's been shown on The God Channel, Inspirational Channel and went as far as MTV. 'Bless The Nation' was really the eye opener if you like as to what God is really wanting to do through the music.
"After that is the current EP 'Represent What Is Nice' and as the title suggests it is representing what is nice - that is Jesus Christ. We represent Jesus Christ. Cuts on the EP include 'Ain't Going Out Like That'. Basically what that track talks about is the current situation with young people getting involved with drugs, crime, stealing, getting sent to prison. As a Christian looking at that, I'm saying, 'I'm not going out like that because there's more to life. The Word of God in John 10:10 says that the enemy is out to steal and to kill and to destroy but Christ has come to give us life in abundance so I've no reason to go out like that."
What about the other tracks? "Following on is a track called 'Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha'. Yesterday that track was played on Choice FM and the DJs that were playing it went mad in the studio, man! They were singing along. That track talks about the joy of the Lord. II Corinthians 3:17 says that the Lord is the Spirit and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty and there is freedom. All I'm saying is, 'Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha'. It's the hallelujah flow.The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.