Top 10 Christian Rap Albums of All-Time
Rapzilla, a Christian Hip Hop online website, recently asked the question: What 10 Christian Hip Hop Albums Impacted Your Life The Most? This question took me down the Nostalgia Road of my youth and I’ve been thinking about these Urban Missionaries and their impact on my life.
I thought back to the time when I met a dude named Rick Rice. He moved from Dallas, Texas to Port Huron, Michigan (my home back then) and was a fish out of water. I was 14 and he was 18. Rick was a bi-racial teenager and was passionate about music, especially a new genre to the Christian music scene: Christian Hip Hop.
My first experience with hip hop was in 1983, when breakdancing was blowing up. The older kids would bring card board boxes to school (with their boom box too of course) and would pump out the sounds of Newcleus’ “Jam On It”.
I was hooked from the beginning. However, hip hop metamorphosed into something called Rap.
If you’re reading this and think Hip hop is the same as rap, you would be mistaken.
Rap, or gangsta rap, crept onto the music scene in the late 80’s and blew up in the 90’s with N.W.A., Ghetto Boys, Dr. Dre, Snoop Dog, etc.
As a young Christian teenager, I knew listening to secular rap didn’t conform to the image of Christ, but I was having a hard time finding Christian hip hop artists.
Enter Rick Rice.
My homie Rick showed me a plethora of Christian men and women who were kicking out some outstanding albums. My friendship with Rick took me down a Christian Hip Hop road that I’ve been traveling down for the past 26 or 27 years.
So here it is…the Top Ten Christian Hip Hop Albums that have impacted my life the most.
I’ve also included a Youtube video…if I could find one!
10. Church Clothes-Lecrae
This one changed the Christian hip hop game. I’ve listened to this album a million times. Or close to it!
9. Modern Heart Exhibit-Ill Harmonics
This one may surprise most people, but Ill Harmonics put out a hip hop worship album. It blends rapping with slow, peaceful beats. This is my go to album when I want to relax.
8. The Art of Translation-Grits
I was a student at Liberty University when this one came out. They would play this song (album) before football and basketball games and the crowd would go nuts. This was a game changing album in the 90’s for Christian Hip Hop.
7. Elevator Music: Othello
Othello is one of the most gifted Christian hip hop artists out there today. He commands lyrics like few others. As the album name states, this is like hip hop elevator music. #enjoy
6. The Thesis: The Ambassador
One of my all-time greatest albums. I found this dude when I was living in Chicago back in the early 2000’s. Ambassador was was part of The Cross Movement (one of the greatest Christian Hip Hop groups). I had a Technics cd turntable and would blast The Thesis day and night!
5. Real Talk-Lecrae
I discovered some new hip hop artist by the name of Lecrae when I lived in Chicago. I would spend hours going through the local Christian book stores CD collection (they weren’t organized by genre). Because I loved music so much, I would take gambles on albums that I never heard of before…for you younger kids, this was before iTunes!
Lecrae is the only artist on this countdown more than once…and there’s a reason. He’s the greatest Christian hip hop artists (IMO). Real Talk elevated the CHH game by leaps and bounds. The only reason this isn’t number one on my list is because I discovered Lecrae after other Christian hip hop artists changed me and brought into this movement.
4. Free at Last-DC Talk
I was a junior in high school when this album came out. The tour DC Talk did for this album was my first Christian hip hop concert. I would listen to this album on repeat. This album drove me to desiring a Christian college education. I didn’t know it until after I made my decision, but DC Talk went to Liberty University (my alma matter).
3. Word 2 The Wize-Dynamic Twins
My first couple of years of high school, musically speaking, was mixed with Crucified (Christian Heavy Metal) and the next three albums…including DT. This song, Fantasy, was dope! I wore this tape out…and had to buy another one.
2. Caught in a Land of Time-Freedom of Soul
My first Christian hip hop album I remember buying. This tape was in my walkman, boom box, family stereo, our cars and any other place I could play it. Freedom of Soul is responsible for drawing me closer to Jesus and cemented my love for Christian hip hop.
1. The Lyrical Strength- D Boy
The greatest Christian hip hop artist ever is D Boy (Rodriguez). He released two albums, but was murdered in 1990 by Dallas gang members. His ministry was in Dallas, Texas (where my buddy Rick Rice lived) and was passionate about getting gang members to know Jesus Christ.
There are many hip hop artists who molded my love for this genre, but these are my top ten Christian hip hop artists who impacted my life the most.