USA Today Sports

At UFC Fight Night 43, every mixed martial artist who stepped into the octagon as Christian hip hop sounded throughout the arena won their fight.

James Te Huna, ranked the No. 14 UFC contender to light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, entered the main event a 20-37 favorite against Nate Marquardt. Te Huna, a native of New Zealand where the event took place, got creative with his walkout for the home crowd. He arrived as warriors wielding spears danced and chanted.
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Spoken-word artist Micah Bournes only released his third solo album Alive & Ill on June 25th because of a disease.

Bournes, a student at Moody Bible Institute, had mapped out his future in pen. After graduation, he would fight for international justice as a Peace Corps volunteer. But his health intruded.

“Whatever,” Bournes thought as he looked down at blood in the toilet. “I must have eaten something funny.”

What he perceived as one poorly prepared meal turned into a week’s worth. Using the toilet became synonymous with pain, but he remained confident that he could shake off whatever bug had bitten him. Besides, he had always been athletic.

Only after a month of suffering did the Los Angeles native fly home for a colonoscopy.

Doctors diagnosed him with ulcerative colitis—an incurable immune disease that, if untreated, causes internal bleeding in the large intestine. Bournes’ condition required advanced treatment and multiple surgeries, dashing his dreams and sending him back to the drawing board.

He rushed to pen a new game plan, graduate school. Oxford, NYU, Northwestern and more rejected his application, closing yet another door.

Ulcerative colitis limited Bournes’ future, but it forced him to live in the present. He stopped mapping out what he would do and just did what he could do.

“I realized that God is not going to be impressed with what I had on my life’s to-do list,” he said.

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Th3 Saga (left) battles Notic Da Boss at Battle Another Rapper Showcase. Th3 Saga has been battling since 2012 on multiple stages including URL.

Luis Daniel Lebron is a rapper/singer/songwriter who is originally from and grew up in Brooklyn with his two brothers, mother, and father. Luis, who goes by Th3 Saga, isn’t your typical rapper. He is a battle rapper, but not just any battle rapper. Th3 Saga openly rhymes about his relationship with God and his faith in Jesus.

Th3 Saga began battling in 2012 at the Battle Another Rapper Showcase, and has since then rapped in 5 battles. He has competed on world famous stages like the Ultimate Rap League battling some of the most skilled emcees in the world. Don’t be fooled. Th3 Saga is no corny Christian on the mic. In the 5 battles he has competed in he is sitting with a record of 5-0.
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“A man’s gift makes room for him, and brings him before great men”
- Proverbs 18:16

From the outside looking in, Christian Hip Hop seems to be a world where theology is often used to critique the so-called legitimacy or illegitimacy of “Christian rappers”. Often times, it seems as though there is a quota that has been given to “Christian rappers” which requires them to mention Jesus, or your favorite theological terminology, a specific number of times per minute. This is a very interesting phenomenon to me because theology is simply how we understand God and His plan for our lives. Theology is similar (key word; similar) to reading a book or taking a class about women in order to better understand them, yet, no book or class about women comes close to actually knowing a woman, talking to a woman, and/or spending time with a woman. One’s personal experience with God or view of God will not necessarily line up with another’s personal experience with God.
Read more ... staff picked around 20 of the new up and comers on the scene and narrowed the list down to the 10 new kids on the block to look out for this year.

The Criteria: The main qualifier that Rapzilla staff utilized was that the artists could not have more than one official release. If an artist has had two official albums released, that would be referred to as their sophomore album. So an artist that has released several mixtapes and been a feature on other albums, yet only released 1 official album, is a freshman by definition, not talent. So lets jump into it...
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“I was facing 43 years in prison for attempted murder due to gang violence...I thought my life was over.” With matter of fact articulation and brutal honesty, Curt Kennedy isn’t shy about telling his testimony. The artist has been through more in his lifetime than would typically fit in one sitting. Born in D.C. and immersed in the street lifestyle, his lingo and slang quickly morphed to match his surroundings. After a broad daylight gang shooting resulting in the death of his friend, Curt’s life was close to ending. “I was in the courtroom waiting for the judge”, he told Rapzilla in an exclusive interview. “And my lawyer told me I would do at least 10 years.” Facing such bleak circumstances, Curt had a God-ordained realization. “I turned around and looked in the courtroom and it was empty,” he explained. “The Lord used that to show me that everyone who I stood for was gone and none of them were there. The judge dropped all the felony charges against me. I went from 43 years in prison to serving less than 4 months.”
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In commemoration of the unofficial Unashamed Holiday yesterday (1/16), Rapzilla has compiled 16 of the best 116 anthems by Reach Records. The list includes both old and new, modern and vintage tracks from one of Christian music's most impacting, barrier-breaking labels.
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After weeks of time, effort, and debate from the staff at Rapzilla, we bring to you our nominations for who we chose as leading in a specific category as it relates to doing music.

To qualify to be nominated, the producers must have produced a song belonging to an official full length album, or EP available at retail outlets with a release date between December 2012 and November 2013. We will be following up and posting the winners by reader votes as well as Rapzilla's Best of 2013 picks. Voting ends January 20th 2014. Feel free to spread the word and support your vote by sharing the images below on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, or by email/text with your friends and family.
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Rio 24K The Beauty of Freedom
Pre-order on iTunes