I like to call Christian rap “lyrical theology.”
So much music in today’s world rely on catchy hooks and a beat you can bounce to, but they lack sustenance or meaning. For many years, Christian rap was the total opposite. Artists’ produced songs with meaningful messages, but the production and quality failed to reach the ears of the hip-hop nation. This year’s crop of Christian hip-hop and rap artists have finally put it all together.
Here are the nominees for this year’s Dove Awards for Rap/Hip-Hop album and song of the year:
Rap/Hip-Hop Album of the Year
Manafest – Fighter
Fighter is the Canadian rapper’s sixth full-length album. If you like rap or hard rock, you will enjoy Fighter. I wasn’t really impressed with this album, but it is very encouraging and loud album for when you need a “wake me up.” The album is more rock then rap, laced with screaming, guitar and electronic sounds. Rap rock isn’t represented well in Christian music, so mad props to Manafest on this album.
KJ-52 – Dangerous
KJ-52 has been in the game for a long time and is arguably the most polarizing figure in Christian rap. Dangerous is a mixture of different styles and techniques from rock-rap to electro-pop and traditional hip-hop sounds. KJ-52 uses his quirky and self-deprecating sense of humor, combining his personality with his particular style of evangelism in Dangerous, which is sure to please hip-hop fans alike.
Andy Mineo – Heroes For Sale
This is one of my favorite album titles, and the album goes along with it. Mineo is a rapper who embraces many genres without sounding cheesy, and he makes it work in Heroes For Sale. The album in infused with good storytelling and great production.
Trip Lee – The Good Life
Trip is one of the best rappers you’ve never heard of, and this is his best album yet. The Good Life actually features other Christian artists’ such as Lecrae and Andy Mineo. The album is mixed with high-energy songs and low tempo vibes. Lee branches out addressing diverse topics with messages listeners are sure to remember.
Who will win?
Andy Mineo’s Heroes for Sale gives listeners an intimate look into his life. The storytelling in the songs send you on an emotional roller coaster that most people can appreciate and relate to with high quality production.
Who should win?
I can make an argument for Trip Lee’s The Good Life, but my vote goes to Heroes for Sale. The album just spoke to me more with lyrics I can relate to. It was the only album nominated this year that I didn’t have to skip around to find a good song.
Rap/Hip-Hop song of the Year
Andy Mineo feat. for King & Country – “Caught Dreaming”
Great song, but it’s more of a for King & Country song than Andy Mineo’s. There is only one verse that Mineo raps on, but the hooks and bridge are very smooth – making this song easy to listen to.
Group1Crew – “Dangerous”
“Dangerous” is a fun song with great transitions between sounds and members with powerful beats and lyrics. This song delivers with a catchy hook and rhythm you can rock to.
Da T.R.U.T.H feat. Thi’sl, Flame and Trip Lee – “Hope”
“Hope” is the only song in this category that is all raps. The song is strong with a hard beat that will make you want to bounce. The rappers smoothly transition into their verses making this song one of the best collaborations in Christian hip-hop today.
Lecrae feat. Mali Music – “Tell The World”
Lecrae is back at it again. “Tell the World” showcases Lacrae’s God-given talent to rap, but Mali Music makes this song great. The piano playing in the background and Mali Music’s unique accent makes this song a hit and favorite to win Rap/HipHop song of the year.
Who will win?
This one’s easy. “Tell The World” by Lecrae featuring Mali Music will win. Lecrae is the biggest name in Christian rap and sometimes that’s enough to win. Don’t get me wrong – this is a good song and it deserves strong consideration to win.
Who Should Win?
“Hope” is is the only song nominated that has the traditional hip-hop sound. I thought it was well produced and each rapper went hard while delivering a great message. This song deserves a Dove Award.