Compton, Calif. rap group Keno Camp never saw themselves going as far as to tour the United States.
Under record label Joshua Generation Music Group (JGMG), Keno Camp has beat the odds in serving the community by sharing the salvation of Jesus Christ through hip hop.
The idea of starting a Christian hip-hop group came from sitting down at home, “writing rhymes” with each other. The growth experienced by the group since its humble beginnings, has led to their tour with Grammy-nominated, Christian hip-hop pioneers Gospel Gangstaz this coming August.
“[Gospel Gangstaz] knew our videos. It was kind of scary how they were so familiar with us,” laughed Keno Camp producer William “Bill” Wilson.
Wilson felt led to contact the rap group on Facebook in May. After a three-hour phone conversation later that month, the tour was set.
According to Wilson, Gospel Gangstaz stated during their conversation that there weren’t really any other groups on the West Coast worth touring with.
Keno Camp was founded in January 2010. The group originally began under the name Kenosis, a Greek term meaning “to empty” or “make empty” which is identified in the Bible passage Philippians 2:7. The passage states “he (Christ) emptied himself.”
The ministry began under one of the founders and Keno Camp rapper Joel Polk, Pastor Jonathan Polk, Jr. of Abundant Grace Ministries in Los Angeles, producer William “Bill” Wilson and rappers Terrell “T’ Sales, Jermaine “Jerk” Paul, Gabriel “Gabe” Taylor and Mario “Escort” Herrera.
In June 2010, the group signed with the record label JGMG and has flourished since.
In the midst of using their talents for ministry, Keno Camp has grown as a family.
“We come together and pray and chop up the word of God,” said Keno Camp rapper Ronald “Moonshine” Robinson. “We talk to each other about our lives, [there are] no secrets. I look at them as my family, even though we are not blood.”
The members of Keno Camp were brought together through different circumstances – being released from jail, rapping for other groups, being scouted, and prayer meetings – and have since used their talents to glorify God.
“Being an artist with Keno Camp has taught me a whole new lifestyle… [We] share the same heart that we had before. All for God’s glory. Humble beginnings,” said Keno Camp rapper Jesus “Lowser” Herrera.
The group remains accountable for each other and holds a real, genuine love for one another. And since its humble beginnings in 2010, the group has never lost sight of their goal: getting people to see Jesus and Christian rap when they think of Compton.