Christian hip hop has thrived in certain cities more than others.
In an attempt to credit the cities that have contributed to Christian Hip Hop and nurtured environments in which the genre flourished most, the Wade-O Radio team has compiled a list of the best. Numerous factors influenced which cities made the list and how they were ranked.
These factors included the quantity and quality of artists hailing from a particular city, those artists’ national and local impact, where record labels are based, average concert attendance, the local churches’ support of the sub-genre, the major Christian hip-hop conferences or festivals consistently held there, where media outlets are based, Wade-O Radio podcast downloads, and more.
After careful consideration of over two dozen cities, the Wade-O Radio team weighed these categories and agreed on the following list. Below are the honorable mentions to our list. The Top 10 starts on Page 2.
Local Legends: Grapetree Records, Heaven’s Hip Hop Magazine
Artists: The W.A.R.R.I.O.R.S ATX, J-Nice
DJ: DJ D-Lite
Events: SXSW, 4th Sundays Outreach
Radio: 3rd Coast Fiyah w/ DJ D-Lite, PraiseAustin.com (Special K)
The home of the University of Texas has made quite a few significant contributions to Christian Hip Hop over the years. One of the first powerhouse Christian Hip Hop Labels, Grapetree Records, was headquartered here for years along with the one of the premiere and long-running attempts at critical CHH journalism – the Grapetree-funded but ultimately independent Heaven’s Hip-Hop Magazine. Radio Host Special K has broadcast perhaps the longest running Christian Hip Hop radio programs in the country (20+ years). And every spring, Houston’s Tre9 and now DJ D-Lite makes sure that the Christian Hip Hop community has a presence at the South by Southwest (SXSW) music and arts festival.
Artists: Yaves, KamBino, Christon Gray, B. Moses, Trev Eaz, Armond
DJs: DJ Goldfingers, DJ Gospel Guru
Promoters/Ministries: HIStory Clothing
Label: Sling Shot Entertainment
Radio: WVKO (Gospel Fire with Big Brother Paul), Radio U
The 614 has had a very active Christian Hip Hop scene for a number years. Guys like Kambino, Armond Wakeup, DJ Goldfingers, DJ Gospel Guru and B. Moses can be seen performing at events quite frequently. Radio Stations like WVKO and Radio U routinely play Christian Hip Hop music throughout the day. Meanwhile, local leader Yaves has had quite an influence in the local secular scene via his Sunday Night talk show on Radio One’s Power 107 radio station. W.L.A.K. member Christian Gray has also helped raise the profile of Columbus as he’s become an in-demand national artist during the past year.
Local Legends: Pettidee, Bonafide from GRITS, Lisa McClendon
Artists: Brinson, C-Straight, Big Fil, Uncle Reece, Erick Dayz, T’Juan
DJs: Favorite Cuzn DJ Will, DJ Bless
Promoters/Ministries: Straight & Narrow, Space Cherry Films
Label: GodChaserz Entertainment
Radio: Pure Radio (Wade-O Radio & Unfiltered), WZAZ (DJ Will)
Jacksonville has long had an impact on the national Christian Hip Hop landscape. Pettidee, GRITS and Lisa McClendon all have roots in the city. Radio Stations WZAZ (DJ Will) and Pure Radio (Wade-O Radio & Unfiltered) have also supported the genre as each station has an entire night dedicated to Christian Hip Hop. Pure Radio’s Afternoon Drive Host Terrance Pickett even plays Christian Hip Hop during his 5 PM Afternoon Ride-Out Segment.
Mega-church The Potter’s House as well as The Murray Hill Theater have been very supportive of Christian Hip Hop as well as both routinely host concerts and promote artists. Music video supplier Space Cherry Films as well as fashion stalwart Straight & Narrow are also based in Duval County.
Local Legends: Rhema Soul, DJ Morph, Cheno Lyfe, Eddie Nigma
Artists: Rawsrvnt, Social Club, Authentik, Rey King, Joe Justiz, Giel, Probly Pablo, Bless’Ed, Dre Marshall, T Dogg, The Good Boys, The Incredible Jeff Jordan, C.H.R.O.M.E., Paul Morris, Oscar Urbina, KYMG (Keren Yishi’i Media Group)
DJs/ Producers: Gawvi, GROC, DJ Mr. E, Mashell Leroy, DJ Preacher Kid
Event(s): StandUp Tour
Labels: Good City Music, Grace and Peace Records
Radio: FNF 88.3FM- J. Blaze
South Florida has a slew of artists heating up the scene from acts that are local legends to Misfits to up-and-coming groups to artists spitting lyrics for the Lord in another language. This multicultural city is a melting pot for different cultures and is a growing one for avid christian hip hop artists and fans alike. Artists are constantly supporting one another at events and there is always one going on in the Sunshine State. From album release parties to conferences to youth gatherings, Miami artists are there and the fans are in attendance as well. As more artists get added to the scene and some promotion assistance comes in to place, Miami can be a city that steadily makes its way to our numbered list.
Local Legends: dc talk, Coffee of GRITS, Gotee Brothers, Toby Mac
Artists: Derek Minor, Tony Tillman, Beckah Shae
Labels: Reflection Music Group, Gotee Recrods, Beatmart Recordings
Radio Station: JAM the HYPE, The Jeff Adams Show
Awards: Stellar Awards
The Music City is known for Country Music and Christian Contemporary Music, but it also has some CHH artists mixed in between. Toby Mac’s Gotee Records as well as Todd Collins’ Beatmart recordings and Derek Minor’s Reflection Music Group are/were headquartered here. Artists like GRITS and Pettidee have also lived in and around Nashville for years. Jam the Hype and DaSouth.com are also based in the Music City. And every January, the city is invaded by Gospel Music’s top artists for the Stellar Awards.