Top 25 Christian Hip Hop Songs in Wade-O Radio History
Last Friday, we released the 250th Episode of The Wade-O Radio Show. Started five and a half years ago in November of 2006 during the MySpace era, our initial goal in launching the show was to share music, interviews and testimonies from artists who have helped us grow in our relationship with Jesus Christ.
As our ministry has continued to grow, our mission has evolved into producing original content that still achieves this same mission of helping those we are connected with grow in their relationship with Jesus Christ. While we’ve sought to stay relevant by playing many of the newest songs out, our focus has always been ministry first.
Be clear. While this list includes several hit records, this list DOES NOT represent the Top 25 Christian Hip Hop songs of All-Time. Instead, this list is our attempt at recognizing the songs and artists who we feel best embody what we have been about during our first 250 Episodes.
These 25 songs are near and dear to us for a variety of reasons. Some were the first Christian Hip Hop songs we heard. Some helped us thru difficult times. While others represented significant milestones on the show are in the industry as a whole.
As you continue down the list, we hope that our anecdotes about each song, help you recall beautiful memories in your own life. Feel free to share them in the comments section as your story or testimony can help inspire and encourage others.
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25. “Let’s Work” – R-Swift and Young Joshua
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“Awesome God” is probably the R-Swift song that got the most spins on the show. But, this is the record that embodies R-Swift to me.
Originally a bonus track on Cross Movement’s reissue of the classic, ‘Revolutionary Theme Music, “Let’s Work was aggressive, east coast, gritty and featured a member of the Rhyme Council.
Though Josh isn’t with RC anymore, the two of them were inseparable for many years. Both were early friends of the show and super supportive of what we did before we even had a following.
24. “Trumpet Sound (Tee-Wyla and DJ Ynot Remix)” – Tye Tribbett
How dope is this record? I did a show in North Carolina that Tye Tribbett headlined back in May. I played this right after he finished his hour long set and was on his way back to the dressing room.
When I dropped this, Tye and his band ran back out and staged dived into the crowd. Everyone went nuts. He literarily led a praise party praised until the trumpet sounded. Or was it the janitorial crew shutting down the power?
23. “More Than Music” – Redeemed Thought feat. J.R.
This song actually came out 2-3 years before we started the show. My good friend Oppose gave me Redeemed Thought’s CD after we started it and this song just rocked me. It embodies everything that we have strived to make the show over the years.
Plus, J.R. is my wife’s favorite artist, so this song has always had a spot on the playlist.
The funny thing is, I came up with the slogan before I ever heard the song.
22. “Price Tag” – Da T.R.U.T.H. feat. Trip Lee
Truth has many songs that we could have put on this list, but this is one of the first I think of when it comes to Wade-O Radio. He and Trip did a great job of articulating why it cost something to follow Christ and in the process took a controversial stand for holiness.
Many tough conversations and debates were sparked from this record. Should Christian Producers produce songs for non-Christians? Is it OK for me to wear clothes made by Jay-Z and Diddy? Could I work for someone like Howard Stern?
21. “Gimme Dat” – The Ambassador
When I first heard the song on The Wade-O Radio Show, I was like ‘What is he talking about? Gimme dat? Give you what?’ But when I actually took time to listen. The lyrics are awesome! ‘Gimme dat fresh wind, gimme dat rain/ gimme dat freedom, you can have the chains/ gimme dat God who can give me all things.’ If we don’t want God, what do we really want? Ambassador really hit the nail on the head with this one.
20. “Tuck My Chain” – Oppose
[Download] Click Here to Download ‘”Tuck My Chain” [/Download]
You have to be a bit of an old school Wade-O Show listener to know this one. In the early days of the podcast Wade recruited a college buddy (the O-P-P-O-S-E) to record a theme song that kicked off each episode.
I was never one to rock a blinged-out Jesus piece, but this was a track that could remind and inspire you not to hide your light under a bushel (or your long white tee.)
I had to virtually beg O to rap over this beat. At the time, Jim Jones’ “Ballin'” was the hottest song in the clubs and on radio. From Oppose’ perspective, rapping on this beat had the chance of causing someone to stumble. From my perspective, this would show people who didn’t have a positive view of Christian Hip Hop that Christians could rap.
Looking back, there was merit in both arguments. I’m glad he gave in though. This was a great intro song for the first 50 or so episodes of the show.
19. “Steez” – Rhema Soul
I sincerely believe Rhema Soul owes me car speakers. I definitely blew a speaker with this song on.
I also believe I need to repent because I was definitely feeling myself riding with the windows down, shades on, laid back in the Florida sun.
Steez was swag before swag was swag! Only Rhema Soul could do that. ‘I got steez homie/ you ain’t gotta worry bout it, breath homie/hot like 100 degrees homie’.
18. “So Professional” – D-Maub & “Solar Powered” – Brinson feat. D-Maub
I almost always played these songs back to back in my mixes. I can’t think of one without the other.
“So Professional” – D-Maub
Who’s idea was it to put the oriental music at the beginning of and throughout the song? It definitely made you stop to say ‘Who’s this?’ D-Maub’s flow is so sick. I can’t even front. He makes me want to spit a few bars! You can tell he’s having fun using his gift for the Lord. This song will never get old to me. I actually put this song on repeat before an interview. ‘I’m gon work it like a pro’.
“Solar Powered” – Brinson feat. D-Maub
The 1st Christian Hip Hop song I ever heard was ‘Solar Powered’ in the summer of 2008. After I purged my iTunes library of all secular music, I ran across this song which introduced me to CHH. Huge shout out to Brinson and all of the GodChaserz family! I’ve had the pleasure of working with this awesome team. Check out Brinson’s ‘No Other Heroes’ dropping in August, 2012!
17. “Blessed Man” – Braille
This was Braille’s first collaboration with S1 (Same guy who did Power for Kanye West). I first heard Braille perform this at Flavor Fest in 2007 and about had a heart attack. I begged him to give me the exclusive up until the album came out. I knew this record would be big.
The genius of this song was that the content was relatable to everyone. What Christian couldn’t look at his/her life, regardless of the circumstances and say “I’m a Blessed Man or Woman?” Our listeners requested this song consistently for nearly a year after its release.
16. “I Just Wanna Go Home” – Theory Hazit
I remember when Wade-O played this track and proclaimed his love for Theory Hazit’s “Extra Credit” project – one of my personal favorite Christian hip hop albums. It boasts one of the most artistic music videos in our genre and offered a welcome shift from the theologically-heavy Cross Movement/Lampmode and Reach records than can often dominate the playlist.
It’s a beautiful, heartfelt song that can surely make even the hardest street dude melt a little on the inside. Well done Theo, well done.
15. “Passion Art” – theBreax feat. DJ Wade-O
This songs reminds me of why I love hip-hop. It’s a beautiful song created from passion and a love for the art. And it’s one of my favorite songs.
We shot this video during a five-hour window at various spots in New York City during the spring of 2011. We’d shoot for an 30-45 minutes, hop on the train and go the next spot. The shoot was such a fun time. Beleaf and I tried to make sure we were never in the same scene wearing our matching coats.
14. “Radio On Drugs” – Thi’sl
There’s no emotional ties or special events tied to this song for me. I just love it! This song always gets me hype. It’s a great record and will always be on my basketball playlist.
This record explains why we do what we do. Much of the music on mainstream hip hop radio directly opposes God. To counter that, we play music that exaults God.
One of the highlights of my DJ career was DJing for Thi’sl when he performed this song at the Reach Records SXSW showcase. The energy in the building was insane. Shout to Street Symphony. He put his foot in this beat.
13. “Philistine” – Kristine Alicia feat. Papa San
This is one of the first big Caribbean Gospel records that we played on the show. This song was popular enough to garner spins outside of the Dancehall Pick of the Week segment. The use of metaphor in the song went over very well with the Hip Hop Lovers. Plus, Papa San’s verse went hard too. I knew this song was a smash when people ripped it from one of our show downloads and uploaded it to YouTube.
12. “Follow the Leader” – Nigel Lewis
Nigel released the original version of this song nearly 15 years ago. Follow the Leader has since become one of the biggest tunes in Soca History. When Nigel got saved he remade this record along with “Jump” and a few his other pre-salvation hits.
Follow the Leader is like the Caribbean Electric Slide. Whenever I put it on, especially in New York, New Jersey, Washington, DC or Florida, people dance along. The energy translates well on radio too. I’ve had hardcore hip hop DJs ask me to send them this tune.
11. “5 Seconds” – Canton Jones
One of the livest songs on the planet! If you are ever in a room with a bunch of hype Christians, put this song on, and it’s an instant party! I’ve seen a mosh pit, line dances, dance battles all happen to this song. I’ve been at a Christian campus party once and the place just exploded when this record came on. Canton definitely did it again. This song makes it ok to go just a little crazy in the name of Jesus. Lol
10. “Bible in Da Air” – TP
When we first debuted this on the show, my email and Facebook went crazy. Everyone wanted to hear this song again. Bible in the Air is the ultimate party starter.
It’s one of the few songs that I can throw on at an event and get an instant reaction even from people who have never heard the song before.
It probably helped that TP never officially released the song and initially, I was one of the first DJs in the states to have it. When Black Knight released his version earlier this year, the controversy brought new light to this classic record. TP repped hard for the UK with this one.
9. “Can’t Break Us” – DJ Morph feat. Frontlynaz
The first time I heard this song was on the Wade-O Radio Show. At that time I was pretty much only listening to Reach, Lampmode and Cross Movement. This song played a big factor in me opening up to other CHH artists.
“Can’t Break Us”, along with Viktory’s “On Fire” video were two of the first Hi-Definition Christian Hip Hop videos. This record also came out when G-Styles was one of the premier producers in our genre. His drums along with the Frontlynaz rhymes and swag made this another record that always drew a reaction at events even with people who never heard the song before.
8. “Pump Up the Bass” – Frontlynaz
Late 80’s Miami bass rap? Yep.
A pre-Hell’s Paradise Wit behind the boards? Yep.
And an early warning shot* in the recently-revived “Christian rapper” vs. “Rapper who is a Christian” debate? Yep.
It’s a blazin’ summer jam from the Lynaz crew that now appears to be a perplexing, ahead-of-its-time throwback.
Note: Peep Wize’s Lyrics: “Some say that they all about the truth, but they all about the loot. Please don’t confuse the two. / And I am not triple-H, please don’t confuse the two. / If you see a lot of fakers, homie, I am
7. “We Can Be More” – Sho Baraka and J.R.
Sho was definitely nervous about how this record would be received. When he sent me this record prior to Valentines Day, 2010, he sent it with one caveat: “make sure when you premier this, you tell the people my aim is to provide a Biblical view of relationships.”
At the time, Reach released primary theological songs that focused on some direct aspect of Christ and/or Christianity. This was one of the first songs from their camp that just spoke to a real life issue.
When I listened, I knew it was a hit right away though. The subject matter was relatable, Cheese Beats aka The Kraken provided flawless production and the always reliable J.R. bodied the hook. Looking back, its obvious now, that this record definitely helped pave the way for a project like Church Clothes to be supported wholeheartedly by the body of Christ.
6. “Don’t Pack a Matic” – Dwayne Tryumf
Dwayne’s voice meshed so well with the music. He transformed the beat into a song where you literally can’t imagine anyone else rapping on it. I know, because Dwayne organized a remix contest for this track. While many very talented artists entered the contest, their contributions couldn’t match the original. This was also, the first really big UK record on the show. Don’t Pack a Matic helped open our listeners up to the S.O.s, E-Tizz’s, Vicktizzle’s and even TP’s of the world.
5. “Invasion” – Trip Lee and Jai
Did you see the video for this thing? Just wow! I loved the concept of this song. My favorite line ‘Because You’re my Hero, You always save the day!’ I also had the opportunity of seeing Trip Lee perform this on 1 of the Unashamed Tour stops in 2010, and it was an awesome worship experience. Thank you Trip and Jai for reminding us just who Jesus is in our daily lives.
4. “Air Jordan” – K-Drama, “Kobe Bryant on ‘Em” – Sho Baraka, “Shane Battier on ‘Em” – Sketch
What can you say about this monster? Frequent Wade-O Radio spins and a Sho Baraka remix launched a trend never before seen in Christian hip hop.
The formula was simple: Take Drama’s instrumental and hook, insert a famous sports figure in the title, and you’ve got an instant viral hit.
Jordan the G.O.A.T. kicked things off followed by Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, D-Wade, and Ric Flair. Heck, I even got in on the action and recorded “Shane Battier On ‘Em” when I lost a bet with DJ Wade-O about the Houston Rockets/LA Lakers playoff series. (Sorry you guys had to hear that btw.)
All in all, it proved that it’s still okay to have fun in Christian hip hop. It was definitely a highpoint for the culture if you ask me.
Sho made the remix craze popular, but the Frontlynaz were actually the first to hop on the record.
[BONUS] WATCH: K-Drama Talks About the “Air Jordan” Craze
3. “Jesus Muzik” – Lecrae feat. Trip Lee
This was the first song that I heard from Lecrae. I had only been listening to CHH for a few weeks and was struggling, I wanted to go back to secular hip-hop. But “Jesus Muzik” helped me realize that I never had to go back: Christian Hip Hop had all the great music I needed.
The record is a big reason we started the show. When I bought After The Music Stops, I quickly realized that many of my saved and unsaved friends had never heard of Lecrae, Da T.R.U.T.H. or any other Christian Rapper.
Podcasting was a new concept at the time, but it afforded me the opportunity to have creative control over the content.
As a result, Jesus Muzik was one of the initial songs we played on that first Episode.
2. “Joyful Noise” – Flame feat. Lecrae and John Reilly
On the cool, I didn’t like this song much at first. Both FLAME and Lecrae get a lil’ Wayne with their verses and the beat was too snap happy for my tastes.
But the joint grows on you after repeat listens and provides a fantastic worship experience in concert.
Regardless of how it tickles your own ear, you gotta believe that a crowd of thousands raising their hands to collectively sing this song’s words of praise to the King of Kings is “Joyful Noise” to the great I AM.
According to Flame, this record almost never saw the light of day. This was the last record he recorded for Our World Redeemed and he wasn’t sure what to do with the beat. Da T.R.U.T.H. actually wrote the hook to this song and suggested that John Reilly sing the hook.
I remember DJing for Flame outside of Pittsburg, Pennsylvania one summer and him performing this song in full three times in a row. Each time the crowd was more energized and rapped Lecrae’s entire verse in his absence.
1. “Don’t Waste Your Life” – Lecrae feat. Dwayne Tryumf and Cam
DWYL was when I realized not only how big Lecrae had become, but how big he could be. This song just exploded. I heard it at pretty much every Christian event I was at. It changed CHH and took it to a new level.
Not sure a Christian Hip Hop song has been so big that a 25-City Tour was launched off the heals of it being released. Now granted, John Piper and Desiring God played a key role in making this happen, but still.
The passion Lecrae showed on this record was unmatched. He made you want to love the gospel even if you weren’t a believer.
Best of the Rest
- “Walk It Like I’m Changed – Fedel
- “On Fire” – Victory
- “Half A Dream” – Mr. J Medieros
- “High” – Lecrae
- “Brand New” – Tedashii
- “Divine Maths” – DJ Nicholas and Jason Mighty
- “Fool’s Gold” – Andy Mineo feat. Sho Baraka
- “My Lane” – Dre Murray
- “Put On” – Flame feat. Andy Mineo
- “Since I Found Christ” – Kierra Sheard
- “Zone Out” – KB feat. Chris. Lee Cobbins
- “No Sex” – Still Trill Christians
- “Hate You” – Mali Music
- “Clear the Air” – Pro feat. Lecrae
- “Goodness” – Soul P feat. Lisa Kimmey
- “Intercession” – Mark J feat. Japhia Life and 4th Ave Jones
- “Do Wut It Do” – Richie Righteous
- “Repent” – Jason Mighty
What song(s) would you have included in our Top 25 List.