Rapzilla executives Chad Horton and Philip Rood united with New York City Urban Project (NYCUP), an organization on the ground every day fighting human trafficking, for their newest King Kulture project, Stop the Traffic, dropping Tuesday, Aug. 27.
“We had some really divine connections for this project,” Rood told Wade-O Radio.
At last year’s Legacy Conference in Chicago, Horton discussed the upcoming King Kulture project with Reach Records artist Andy Mineo and sparks began to fly. They told Mineo that they planned to raise money for sex trafficking and the New York City native connected them with his friend Jonathan Walton, Intervarsity’s NYCUP Director. That then spurred Horton and Rood’s two-week trip to work hands-on with NYCUP.
On their journey in New York City, Horton and Rood encountered some terrifying truths.
“It was really an eye opener working on this project because I didn’t know human trafficking was such a problem,” said Rood. “It was really shocking and at times it was scary, especially being in the middle of it.”
Not only was this project an eye opener for these music execs, but also quite an educational experience for the artists working on the project.
Kidd, a 17-year-old Infiltrate Records artist grew up in Las Vegas, one of the many hot spots for trafficking.
He admitted that when asked to do a song for the project, he was forced to study up on sex trafficking. He found his research to be “insane.” What Kidd found was the mind-blowing statistics which Walton shared with Wade-O.
“The reality is that 50% of the homes in America do not have a mother or father,” said Walton. “The reality is that 800,000 kids every year are new runaways in the US.”
He added that the average age of entry into sex trafficking and labor slavery around the country is 12-14 years-old and pornography 5-9 years-old.
“One of the things I don’t think people understand is that human trafficking and the exploitation of people, things and the planet pervade everything that we do,” said Walton. “It’s something that seems far away, but when you actually start to read the statistics and you start to realize, ‘Wait. These are real people and they’re just like me, my daughter, cousin or brother-in-law.’”
Another one of the artists on Stop the Traffic, Butta P, spoke out on how Christians should approach this problem.
“I think as Christians we have a duty to bring awareness,” she told Wade-O Radio. “God has given us a calling and a purpose to help those that are in need. I don’t [even] think it’s a Christian thing more so than it is just a human thing. We need to bring awareness and take a stance for something, figure out what the situation is and how we work together as a human race to say, ‘Hey this is not something we are going to stand for.’”
The King Kulture project is a compilation album of all new, exclusive songs.
One of those exclusive songs about human trafficking and exploitation in particular hit close to home for the artist on the track. Janette…ikz (pronounced “genetics”) explained that her testimony greatly influenced her piece on the album.
“Just dealing with a lot of abuse is really what my testimony is—physical, sexual, mental, all of those different things are my history and where I’ve come from and just throughout them that God chose to prevail,” she told Wade-O Radio.
Horton explained that Janette…ikz’s spoken word piece will carry the weightiness of the album’s focus on the cruelties of human trafficking and exploitation.
Those behind this King Kulture project believe that it will not only stand out because it is bringing light to an issue that has been hidden for too long, but because it is flipping the script on commonalities of mainstream hip-hop culture. Hip-hop culture often promotes pimping, prostitution and a slew of other misogyny.
“When you give a Grammy to a song that says, ‘Its hard out here for a pimp,’ that’s pervading our culture,” said Walton.
He explained how these views on life in hip hop have twisted how listeners view themselves and others.
“The images that are perpetuated of men and women in videos and music is not helpful for kids, is not helpful for adults and the reality is, you’re extending adolescence for girls and boys because you’re not actually allowing them to mature through music, or mature through the things that they are experiencing because they don’t see sex in the right way,” he said. “They don’t see men and women in the right way and then we view each other as things that can be consumed instead of the people made in the image of a good and righteous God who loves us completely.”
King Kulture’s Stop the Traffic album seeks to go against the grain and dispel the lies that hip-hop culture promotes.