They were not the first, they were not the last, but The Cross Movement is one of the most influential Hip-Hop groups to perform Christian music. The individual artists that made up this group include Phanatik, The Ambassador, Enock, and TRU LIFE. They all agreed that their work was a part of the hip hop culture, just choosing to express their beliefs in Christ in their Lyrics.
When I was growing up in New Jersey, The Cross Movement was the only Christian Rap group getting any attention around my part of the country. While I did not give them much attention myself due to the stigma many Christians put on Rap Music, when I made it south to Brewton-Parker I kept my ears open and found these guys to be worth the listening. Much like their brothers and sisters in the mainstream portion of the Christian Music scene, their songs varied on life topics, theology, and introducing scripture through Rap and Hip Hop.
For a ten year period these guys put together high energy beats(tunes), and embraced the lost from the perspective that they were just there to share their heart in a way some needed to hear it. The group itself has not released any new work in 7 years, but they have made it possible for artists like Da TRUTH and Lecrae to thrive and connect with even more hearers, who are looking for the gospel message they can hear in a way that speaks to them.
The thing I like most about the way these gentlemen brought their talents to the Christian music industry is that thy never wanted to be seen as separate from the culture they are trying to minister to. I wish this was embraced more by Christians. We can all understand the call to be different than those around us who are lost, but aside from the traits that are washed clean and redeemed, we still live daily among the fallen. It can be fairly difficult to embrace a gospel message which is sometimes presented as choosing sides in a war. Sure, that is what we are doing with reference to an eternal perspective, but in the here and now, we are just embracing the truth that is so pure.
I understand that Hip Hop might not be your kind of music, but if you are reading this blog, enjoying the gospel message put to song IS YOUR THING. Look up some more of their work if for no other reason than to be ready to reach the lost in a way they can relate to.
Be Well. – Timothy