I remember walking into Jesus Gift and Book store on Route 1/9 in Iselin, NJ during the spring of 2003 or 2004. I was on the look out for some new music to listen to as I began to realize that the mainstream hip-hop I was still indulging in at the time wasn’t good for my Christian walk.
When I walked in the store, I immediately headed to the music section and to my surprise there was a section for hip-hop. While I had been made aware of some local Christian Rap artists by the guy who was discipling me, Osaze Murray, I had no idea that there were actually record labels who released this kind of music on a regular basis.
I browsed the bin of what was probably about 75 CD’s. I didn’t know what to buy, but I knew I needed something. Two CD’s eventually stuck out to me. One, was called Art of Translation by a group called Grits and another was Holy Culture by a group called the Cross Movement. Those two caught my attention because they had the most CD’s on the shelves in comparison to other artists. Being a business graduate and working in Corporate America at the time, I figured they must be good or at least highly anticipated if the store was carrying more of their product than anyone else.
When I got in the car, I had no idea what to expect. I can’t remember which one I listened to first, but I do remember playing both CD’s nearly every day for the next couple of weeks. I liked both for different reasons. Grits was fun and super creative and reminded me a lot of Outkast. Cross Movement was more boom bap and theological and reminded me of all the New York artists I grew up on. Eventually I began playing the Cross Movement CD more as it was more aligned with my east coast musical tastes.
Day after Day I’d listen to songs like “Cry No More”, “When I Flow”, “Closer to You” and “Forever.” These songs challenged my faith and left an unforgettable impression on me. I wanted to be a better Christian. I wanted to share my faith. I wanted to be more active in my church. I wanted God to use me.
Little did I know, that Cross Movement was already having that same type of impact on many of the artists that would go on to become major leaders in the present community of Christians who do hip-hop. So while the group hasn’t released a group CD in almost 10 years, their mark and influence can still be seen all over the genre. Many of us may not be doing Christian Rap or be a Christian in Hip Hop if it wasn’t for “CM.”
So, without further adu, here are 24 artists, groups and record labels that Cross Movement has influenced.
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