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k-Drama's hit single "Air Jordan" has been soaring with remixes, such as Frontlynaz version, k-Drama extended with special guest appearances (Thi'sl, Json, and others), Dre Marshall & Cheno Lyfe "D'Wade on Em'" version which was played in a Miami Heat game recently (and will be used more often), as well as Applejaxx who has just finished "King James" (Lebron James) which will release soon and more...
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Photo by Philip Rood

You’ve heard it said that we live in a digital age, an age where technology leads the march and we follow, almost unconsciously, wondering to ourselves what the next big thing will be.
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Flickr | darkmatter

I feel like our society is enamored with the concept of “randomness.”  TV shows and Youtube clips are full of content that feature spontaneity, with no predictable patterns, and oftentimes, without purpose.  It’s hilarious.  Even fan favorites such as The Office offer no predictability in the plot, which is what gives the show its charm. 

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In a particular scene of the Wizard of Oz, Dorothy is conversing with some eccentrics after having been propelled by a cyclone into a strange territory, a land of foreign, yet blooming earth. Dorothy, when told of the City of Emeralds where the Great Wizard is, (as he is her only hope of returning home) decides to take the leap. “How can I get there?” she asks. “You must walk”, replies the good witch, the Witch of the North. “It is a long journey through a country that is sometimes pleasant and sometimes dark and terrible.”
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Photo by Philip Rood

John 13:1-17

I’ve never liked the bumper sticker, “God is my co-pilot.” To me, it has always suggested that God is next to me as a backup plan and a helper in case of emergency, but that He’s not exactly steering my plane. Granted, we have free will as humans, but service to Jesus also requires us to submit to His plans, right? He’s in charge, we seek Him in our lives each and every day, and trust.
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A fascinating thing to look at is an artist’s album cover. You pick it up, smell it, move your fingers over the design to examine the texture, (usually plastic, respectively) and wonder what sort of thought went into the aesthetics. Then you stare at it intently, smell it again, and wonder if the layout was the musician’s idea or the one of marketing experts wearing ties at a roundtable.
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Flickr/christing-O-

It is true that in the Indonesian culture when a person has suffered or endured great misfortune, they can change their name to another. The belief is that in so doing he will confuse the evil spirits that have brought on the misfortune and things will turn to the good. And while you know this to be quite silly and perhaps superstitious, you cannot help but wonder at the implications. You wonder at the possibility of a name carrying such potential, such power.
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Flickr / borghetti

“Do not conform to the ways of this world…” - Romans 12:2

I’ve been perusing this website the past few weeks, in order to get a sense of who is on here, and what is their interest. Granted, I’ve been a fan of Rapzilla for some time, but as a guest writer, I wanted to get a bigger picture of who the regulars are on here. I’ve concluded the obvious: there are fans of music, aspiring artists, established artists, and past artists. Our common thread is that, on some level, we all participate in this niche we’ve created.
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Producers are no doubt a peculiar breed. At any hour they can be found (in their underwear) at a computer experimenting with different sounds, their wife/helpmate in the next room counting sheep or wondering what they got themselves into with this basket case. This is, in large part, how the producer communicates; he mixes together thuds and echoes and reverberations to form a composition. This is his language, his contribution to the mess that is the music pot. 

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Photo by Philip Rood

One of my favorite short story writers, Flannery O’ Connor, had this to share when asked about the lack of muscle in religious writing. Sorry writing “comes about when the writer supposes that because of his belief, he is somehow dispensed from the obligation to penetrate concrete reality.”
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Christian rap’s mostly unknown trailblazers and historical landmarks were celebrated on June 21 in Houston, Texas.  

Although members of the hip hop culture have been spreading the Gospel through their music and art for over two decades, many of its newer members remain ignorant of their own past. As a result, the All Eyes On Me Achievement Awards (formerly known as the Texas Holy Hip Hop Awards) decided to mark its national expansion by dissolving competitive recognition categories and devoting this year’s entire ceremony to honoring its veterans.

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Photo by Brian Solis

Where are all the Christian rap critics? Where are those of us bold enough to say an album, at least creatively, really ain’t hitting? By the same token, where are the artists tough enough to accept negative criticism of their project? 

Let’s be honest, we’ve all heard gospel rap music that is sub-par. Maybe it’s the wordplay, the beats, or the artwork - you know that it just doesn’t compare to the best of mainstream, or even Christian, hip hop.

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FLAME has recently released his new album "Our World Redeemed" on March 4th 2008.
I was eager to see the new Soundscan sales chart to see how well the album sold, which I knew would do a good debut.  The sales chart for Christian Hip Hop for the week ending March 9th was released Wednesday (yes, it takes time for Soundscan to gather all the numbers), well today Rapzilla just updated the TOP 20 Sales Chart page and FLAME debuts at the #1 spot!

This morning Rapzilla received a press release from FLAME's Public Relations firm.  Expecting to see the title "Flame Our World Redeemed debuts at #1", instead the news release was titled "FLAME's Our World Redeemed Goes #1!", okay that's still similiar right?

 Wrong! If you read the news release it says: "The critically acclaimed album jumped an amazing 41 chart positions in one week to hit the #1 position in its second week on the CMTA R&B/Hip Hop Chart." That's great news but it would mean the album debuted at #42 and not #1 as the sales chart declared.  We went searching and found that on the previous sales chart (the Week ending March 2nd), before the album was ever released it was at the #42 spot. How is this so? Very simple some stores sold it before the release date (that's not fair indeed!) which allowed it to be on the sales chart early.

We asked the PR (Public Relations firm of FLAME) if their quote meant the album debuted at #42, their answer was simply: "It debuted at #42..." 

Want to know how many early copies were sold to bring it at #42 before the release date? 53, nothing to be proud of. 

This is really no big deal, FLAME really debuts in my books at #1 and not #42. This was a plain mistake, but who's mistake? The early buyers? The stores? Soundscan? The PR? That's up to you to decide.

By the way if you don't have the album, I recommend it:
Buy now from MusiChristian.com

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Photo by Jonathon D. Colman

As well all know, hip hop is no stranger to war. A quick walk downtown and you face hundreds of fliers promoting hip hop “battles” of some sort or graffiti burners one-upping each other spread over the most visible areas. The top hip hop artists all have well known beefs with each other. Their songs are dedicated to it, their albums are dedicated to it, and seemingly most of the media attention in hip hop is over their beef or lyric wars. So, it’s not surprising that Holy Hip Hop is engaged in its own war. What is surprising, though, is what the war is over. It’s not a war against spiritual powers and principalities, injustice, false teachings, or any other Biblical enemies; it’s a war between the Christian artists themselves; a civil war.
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Where are all the Christian rap critics?
Sure, we have a few individuals (like myself) who write reviews and blurbs for assorted websites, blogs, and the occasional print piece. But are those really “critiques” in the proper sense?
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“Here I am!  I stand at the door and knock.  If anyone hears my voice and opens the Door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” (Rev. 3:20)  God is right there, right now… knocking.  He wants to come in and be a part of our everyday life in a real way.  But, we have a choice to leave that door closed, or to open it to him.

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  Flickr: caxo

Christmas has come and gone, it’s now 2008. The hustle and bustle of shopping and family times have wound down and by now we’re all transitioning back into the routine of work or school (maybe a few pounds heavier though). Although the season has passed, I feel a little obliged to tell a personal Christmas story. And, although it deals with a difficult subject, I find it completely necessary to discuss.  The reason is simple.  I will take every opportunity I can, as I believe all people of faith should, to speak out against, discredit, and fight injustice and ignorance. 

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Photo by Rafael Alvez

“I still haven’t found / what I’m looking for…” 

U2’s Bono nailed the sentiment. In over 20 years of listening to holy hip hop (First purchase: 1986 / Stephen Wiley’s “Bible Break” single – on tape!), I have yet to run across The Perfect Christian Rap Album.

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Photo by: s8

On December 17th, 1991, Judge Kevin Thomas of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York issued an injunction against Warner Bros. Records that changed the direction of Hip Hop music forever. The case was, of course, over sampling and copyright infringement. Biz Markie, a signed artist of Warner Bros. Records (and inventor of the slang “Oh, Snap!”) used a sample from the song “Alone Again (Naturally)” by singer-songwriter Gilbert O’Sullivan. The case set a precedent for the music industry and created a wave of legal woes still felt by Hip Hop producers to this day. It was ruled that 100% of all samples must be cleared first by the original copyright owners before any third party use.

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Photo by Paul Keleher

The days after Thanksgiving and before Christmas represent the busiest shopping season of the year. It’s shopping insanity. People getting up at 3am, waiting in long lines, arguing over the last video game system or the new Elmo…even stampedes and real fist fights. It seems each year it gets a little bit more intense and the retailers always try to push the envelope a little bit more in their marketing efforts to get us to spend more.
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Some of us reading this have visited someone behind bars before. Some of us may have even spent some time there ourselves. But all of us can at least somewhat imagine what it would be like as we’ve seen movies, TV shows, and even heard first hand descriptions about what it’s like on the inside. Getting locked up can be a badge of honor in the street. It’s often given props in hip-hop music and culture. But even still we all know it’s not good. It’s not a place we’d like to go for any amount of time. It’s ugly.

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It seems this title and this article definitely stirred up some emotion in a lot of people. Some are sad to see it die, some are happy, and some even seem to be upset that we’re just talking about it. Well… why are we talking about it? Why it is a topic of discussion?
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Will the Movement Stop? If you’re a fan of The Cross Movement, that’s the question... Click Here to read the article from CCM Magazine June 2007 issue.
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Urban D's first column article talking about some of his story and what a church service looks like at Crossover.  It also takes some quotes from his new book as well.

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Up-and-commer FLAME is living proof that redemptive hip-hop is a life changing reality. Click here to read the article from CCM Magazine (April 2007).

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