Christian rappers aren't all that different from secular rappers they want to make rhymes, they want to make beats, and they want to take a crowd backstage after the show. For real.
Proverb Newsome, the 36-year-old president of Souljourn Ministries, DJ for 88.1 WAY-FM, and member of hip-hop group 1way, explains how it goes down at a Christian hip-hop gig: "We don't have a preacher. We don't have a suit and tie saying, 'You need the Lord!' and thumping a Bible. The group that's headlining will present the gospel in a way that's palatable but without compromising it." At the end of the concert, the band will "cast out a general net and say, 'Whoever wants to receive Christ, raise your hand. '" A designated person then brings willing crowd members backstage to pray. After that, it's not like concertgoers get pulled into a cult or become obligated to go to church every weekend. If anything, they're directed to an urban church service called Bow Down that Newsome says "stresses come as you are."
This Friday, Newsome has organized a concert called Proof headlined by Delaware-based act Frontlynaz. The war-paint-wearing foursome told soundclick.com, "God called us to be frontline soldiers in His army. We're ready to spit Jesus to anybody. Instead of Jay Z, Em, and 50 Cent, we give props to the hardest man alive J-Rock."
The bill also includes DJ Morphiziz, Miami's own G-Notes, Probly Pablo, and R&B singer Tony P., plus breakdancing and a graffiti expo. Christian hip-hop, Newsome says, has "the same attitude and the same style of music" as secular hip-hop, but "it doesn't degrade women, as 85 percent of rap does. There's no cussing, no profanity. It uplifts."