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Top 10 Christian Hip Hop Stories of 2014

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The year 2014 in Christian hip hop had its highs, lows, and in-betweens. Here is Wade-O Radio team member Sketch the Journalist‘s top 10 stories from our scene in the last 365 days.

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10. Ma$e leaves the church and returns to rap

Former Bad Boy Ma$e aka Pastor Mason Betha formally left his position as pastor of the multi-site congregation, El Elyon International Church, to focus on his rap career full time.

The news is not much of a surprise to anyone who has followed Ma$e’s recent moves including verses and videos with a decidedly mainstream bent and a divorce from his wife that included a battle for custody of their children.

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9. City of Houston proclaims official “Tre9 Day” after his rap retirement

Although he will remain active in hip hop missions, this summer the man who founded Much Luvv Records, the Texas Holy Hip Hop Achievement Awards, Feed a Friend, Hip Hop Hope Tuesdays, and co-owned DaSouth.com, vowed to never record another solo album again. As a highlight, July 12, 2014 was officially declared “Tre9 Day” by the City of Houston.

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8. Natalie Lauren reveals she penned platinum-selling hit for pop-rap superstar Iggy Azeala

Natalie Lauren fka Suzy Rock, who wrote lyrics for Iggy Azeala under her given name of Natalie Sims, posted on her Facebook page that “The first song we finished was ‘Work.’ Regardless of whether or not you like the content, the song told Iggy’s true story of struggle, sacrifice, and hard work as an artist. Today ‘Work’ was certified Platinum.”

The track does include some vulgarities and Sims name has also been attached to songs like “Bounce” that some have called a “twerk anthem.” The story didn’t raise a huge stink, but does bring about questions about the lines Christians should and shouldn’t cross when working with and for secular artists.

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7. Christian rap’s rush into the film industry

Within a single month we saw Lecrae get a cameo in the Christian culture satire Believe Me, Propaganda star at the narrator of the short film, and Heath McNease write, shoot, edit, and release his semi-autobiographical Fort Wayne 43-minute flick.

Definitely cool to see these artists expanding their craft beyond vocal recordings.

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6. Bizzle’s big year

The God Over Money head honcho gained attention from major media outlets with his “Same Love” response to Macklemore’s gay rights anthem that yielded threats against his personal safety. He also signed rapper Datin to his roster of artists, and dropped a Well Wishes compilation that will give 100% of its profits to help bring clean water to countries in Africa.

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Sketch the Journalist is a freelance hiphop writer living in the thriving country metropolis of Cut-N-Shoot, Texas. Down with gospel rap since Stephen Wiley’s “Bible Break” in 1986, he has chewed, reviewed, and interviewed most of Christian hiphop’s major players. Sketch holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from Sam Houston State University and was once an intern at the New York Times Houston Bureau. You can follow Sketch on Twitter @Sketchthej or log-on to sketchthejournalist.com.

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