2011 was a great year for Christian Hip Hop. There were lots of great news headlines, editorials, music and videos that came out that caused a lot of discussion, impacted the social websphere and changed the canvas of the genre forever. What were the 10 biggest stories of the year? Can you guess? Well, we've got them for you. These were the headlines that were either a mainstay throughout the year, gained major attention outside of Christian Hip Hop, or received an enormous amount of hits. Here are 10 of the biggest news stories and headlines of 2011. Thanks for making it a great year, and let's do it again in 2012!
#10 Christian Hip Hop shows its face in great numbers on Father's Day
Father's Day 2011 (June 19th) was an awesome day for Christian Hip Hop and one we will never forget! Father's and son's around the world honored each other by submitting photos of them with their families. We had over 100 submissions, including KJ-52, Braille, R-Swift, Viktory, The Ambassador, Da' T.R.U.T.H., even Chris "CP3" Paul of the Los Angeles Clippers and more! How cool is that? We put together a slideshow that everyone could see and folks fell absolutely in love with it. Check it out!
#9 Brinson goes Tebowin' with Tim Tebow and ESPN
Just before the new year, CEO and an artist on his own label GodChaserz Entertainment, Brinson made headlines at the tail end of the year with his anthem "Tebowing," honoring Denver Bronco superstar quarterback and Christian Tim Tebow. Tebow made headlines throughout most of 2011 by being unashamed to make his faith and love for Jesus Christ known. Some - even Christians - felt that Tebow needed to tone things down a bit - thinking that maybe he was offending people. Brinson was obviously feeling Tebow's stance and wanted to make a song about it. The song went viral and ESPN caught wind of it, offering "the bearded one" an exclusive interview.
Since when has making known your love and adoration for the savior been a bad thing? It's not. Period.
#8 Bizzle goes bananas by goin' in in 2011
2011 was an extremely busy year for our brother Bizzle. Everytime you turned around, he was doing something that was making noise! The boy was all over the place in 2011! Where was he not? He didn't just find himself mentioned on Christian Hip Hop media outlets either, but even on major secular hip hop sites like WorldStarHipHop.com and more. Widely known for his mixtapes, the question remained "can he put out a quality album though?" In 2011 Bizzle answered that question and silenced all of his critics with his debut project Tough Love & Parables. Upon the first week of its release, the album quickly rose within the Top 10 on the iTunes Hip Hop Album Charts - which is not easy to do. Try it. But it doesn't stop there... Bizzle aka Lavyss kicked the year off in January by droppin' The Messenger 3 mixtape, then throughout the year he put out a gang of singles, music videos, features, went on tour, signed new artists to God Over Money and much more. And you know things wouldn't be complete without a response to Jay-Z and Kanye West right? Some don't agree with this sort of thing. Us? Kanye shrug. Look at what Bizzle has been up to... and ALL this year. He went in!
#7 Christian Hip Hop Pioneer, DJ Lace, passes away
DJ Lace was a good friend and acquaintance to many within Christian Hip Hop. The list of things he accomplished for Christian Hip Hop are far too many to name. Unfortunately, on April 13, 2011 he passed away. He was still very young and had much more within the tank. Continue to keep his family in prayer.
#6 Sho Baraka parts with longtime label home Reach Records
Possibly the one of the biggest double-take moves of last year was Sho Baraka's decision to depart from longtime label home Reach Records. Initially there was a little uncertainty as to why he chose to leave, but in the end it was understood that he was wanting to take a different creative approach with his music and ministry. Sho is now a part of High Society Collective, which is also the new-found home of J.R., Suzy Rock, and Swoope. Expect big things from them in 2012.
#5 DaSouth.com co-owner, Tre9, draws national attention with homeless ministry
Truly the embodiment of what it means to be a hip hop missionary, Bobby "Tre9" Herring and his wife Amanda caught the attention of FOX News' Glenn Beck, CNN, The Huffington Post and more last year. He and his wife operate a homeless ministry called Feed-A-Friend that feeds the homeless in the Houston, TX area. Local authorities and government officials discovered what Tre9 and Amanda were doing and told them to cease from feeding the homeless. They could only continue if they acquired a permit and were operating out of an industrial restaurant-like kitchen. As a result, Feed-A-Friend could no longer go to the homeless, but now the homeless would have to come to them instead - that is, if they got a permit and found a kitchen of course. What will be next? You can't give clothes to people who need them? Yes, it is against the law to give people food prepared out of your home. Even a bagged lunch! Whack right? This did not sit right with many in America, as they felt this was more of government being too big and keeping people from doing simple things like giving to someone in need. It prohibits people from doing what the bible says, which is to "love thy neighbor."
#4 Mali Music rises to next level in mainstream, signs with Akon
Mali Music had a phenomenal year in 2011. He performed at the 2011 BET Awards, made an appearance on BET's 106 & Park with Akon, announcing his signing to Akon's KonLive label, and also put out a bangin' music video! Not to mention, he was hard on his grind doing shows around the world, and was also on one of the biggest Christian Hip Hop tours last year - Xist Music's MiSfit Tour. Not bad for one year hunh??? Now that he has linked up with Akon (who also discovered Lady Gaga) we can only imagine what 2012 will bring! Wow...
#3 The Ambassador & Da' T.R.U.T.H. return, Xist Music strongly emerges
Xist Music just came out of nowhere and took the world by storm in 2011 didn't they? You may not have known of them before, but without a doubt you do now! We had actually reported on them and what they were endeavoring to do way back in 2009. Many had wondered if The Ambassador and Da' T.R.T.U.T.H. would ever make a resurgence after the moral indiscretions they experienced - all of which they have been very vocal and transparent about this year. We all know the answer today. Xist Music signed both artists to their label and The Ambassador and Da' T.R.U.T.H. are back and better than ever! Both released new albums last year, and both have been doing very well. The promotion and level of excellence that Xist Music has provided them has been a joy to see. The promo videos, media blitz, music videos, the music and much more have all been top notch.
That's not all though... they went a step further and put on a successful MisFit Tour (sponsored by DaSouth.com we might add) that featured Da' T.R.U.T.H., The Ambassador, Mali Music, Sean Simmonds, KJ-52, B.Reith, Oraia and Pastor Chris Durso. We've heard many lots of great things about the tour, many even saying it was on the level of a Reach Records tour. That's a huge compliment for a fairly new label. We look forward to the next one!
And as if all of that was not enough, Xist Music took things a step further and signed UK hip hop sensation Jahaziel!
- NEWS (2009; when we first reported about Xist Music): Holy Hip-Hop Trying to Break Into Mainstream
- NEWS: Xist Music & 220 Entertainment Group announce new signings, The Ambassador and Da’ T.R.U.T.H.
- NEWS: Xist Music signs UK artist Jahaziel - Watch video announcement
- MUSIC VIDEO: The Ambassador - Pop Pop Pop
- MUSIC VIDEO: Da' T.R.U.T.H. "Alive"
- MUSIC VIDEO: Da' T.R.U.T.H. - The Whole Truth feat. Mia Fieldes
- MUSIC VIDEO: The Ambassador, Da' T.R.U.T.H., Sean Simmonds, Mali Music & Efrain "GO MISFiT GO!"
- MUSIC: The Ambassador "A-M" and "Up Down" feat. Charmaine
- MUSIC: Da' T.R.U.T.H. "The Whole Truth" feat. Mia Fieldes & "Alive"
- VIDEO: The Ambassador & wife talk 'An Emotional Affair' with 700 Club
- VIDEO: Kim Cash Tate speaks with Da' T.R.U.T.H. and his wife Nicole about "Cherished"
- VIDEO: The Ambassador "Stop the Funeral" EPK
- VIDEO: Da' T.R.U.T.H.'s "The Whole Truth" EPK - CD in stores 09/13/2011
- VIDEO: The Ambassador speaks on his collab with Canton Jones and more
- INTERVIEW: Da’ T.R.U.T.H. talks about being a MISFIT/outcast
- INTERVIEW: Da' T.R.U.T.H. and wife talk love-life after adultery
- INTERVIEW: The Ambassador talks about "Stop the Funeral," Xist Music and more
- INTERVIEW:(Audio): Da' T.R.U.T.H. talks 'The Whole Truth'
- INTERVIEW: Da’ T.R.U.T.H. talks about being a MISFIT/outcast
- NEWS: World Vision helps sponsor Misfit tour 2011
- INTERVIEW: Pastor Chris Durso talks about the MISFIT movment and the power of prayer
- VIDEO: B. Reith performs new song, “2 Steps Forward”, at MISFIT Tour stop in Houston
- VIDEO: B.Reith and Freddy Washington fill in for Rhema Soul on MiSFiT Tour, joining Da' T.R.U.T.H., Mali Music, The Ambassador, Sean Simmonds, Pastor Chris Durso & Oraia this fall
- NEWS: Xist and UpLift! ask “Who’s The Next MISFiT?” with launch of MISFiT Talent Search & reveal 25-City schedule
- NEWS: Xist and UpLift! unveil new MISFiT Tour online destination and announce cities, ticket sales, prizes and preparations
#2 Lecrae takes the "cross over," Reach Records does it BIG... again
The question should be "what did Lecrae NOT do in 2011?" He did just about everything that could possibly be done in our opinion. We're sure the Lord has much more in store for him this year though. The first thing Lecrae did in 2011 was drop his latest album Rehab: Overdose on the very first day of the year! As well, he dropped several quality music videos, was featured in XXL Magazine, had an awesome feature with IAmSecond, performed at the Grammy's and on BET's Sunday Best, and even participated in the critically acclaimed 2011 BET Awards Hip Hop Cypher! Once Creezy hit that Cypher, the whole Internet was buzzin', asking "who is this Christian rapper???" Lecrae even went on tour in the Motherland...smh. Boss move. But it doesn't stop there, he also took the "cross over" in other ways to mainstream by joining forces with DJ Statik Selektah on his project Population Control, featuring on a song and in a music video called "Live & Let Live."
Reach Records is doing big things each year. Last year they signed possibly one of their best acts ever - Andy Mineo (formerly known as C-Lite). If you don't have his Formerly Known mixtape, you're missing out big time. Along with putting out a few mixtapes, they released three spectacular albums - Lecrae's Rehab: Overdose, Tedashii's Blacklight, and PRo's Dying to Live - all of which had awesome promotion and climbed the charts. PRo even had a video game called Altred PRo!
One of the biggest things they did last year was their Man Up Tour, which was supported by a full length movie, an soundtrack album of the same name, a panel discussion, and of course, great music. DaSouth.com had the awesome privilege of streaming the last stop of the tour live in Houston, TX as well.
We didn't even go into everyting Lecrae, Reach Records/Life/Booking did last year. We could do one whole article on that alone.
- NEWS: Lecrae droppin' "REHAB: Overdose" 1/1/11
- VIDEO: Lecrae "Overdose" promo, available 1/11/11
- MUSIC: Lecrae "Overdose"
- NEWS: Lecrae to appear on Statik Selektah "Population Control" album
- NEWS: Statik Selektah 'Population Control' compilation (feat. Lecrae) cover & tracklist revealed
- MUSIC VIDEO: Lecrae "Just Like You" feat. J Paul
- MUSIC VIDEO: Lecrae & Statik Selektah - Live & Let Live
- MUSIC VIDEO: 116 - Man Up Anthem ft. Lecrae, KB, Trip Lee, Tedashii, PRo, Andy Mineo, and Sho Baraka
- MUSIC VIDEO: Tedashii - Dum Dum feat. Lecrae
- MUSIC VIDEO: Tedashii "Need It Daily" feat. PRo
- MUSIC VIDEO: PRo "Get It" & "Merked - Pt. 2"
- VIDEO: Andy Mineo - 'Formerly Known' album promo
- VIDEO: Lecrae tells his story on I Am Second
- MUSIC: Lecrae (& Statik Selektah) - Live & Let Live
- NEWS: Statik Selektah talks about meeting Lecrae and his feature on 'Population Control'
- VIDEO: Lecrae 2011 BET Hip Hop Awards Cypher #Lacrae
- VIDEO: BET Hip Hop Awards '11: Lyrical Exercise - featuring Lecrae and more
- VIDEO: Lecrae talks about BET Hip Hop Awards Cypher
- NEWS: Lecrae featured in July/August issue of XXL Magazine
- VIDEO: Lecrae and Andy Mineo perform "Background" on BET's Sunday Best
- MUSIC Reach Records - Music of a Movement (exclusive songs) ft. Tedashii, PRo, KB, Suzy Rock & more
- NEWS: Reach Records releases online video game Altered PRo - PLAY NOW!
- VIDEO: Reach Records introduces Andy Mineo
- NEWS: Reach Records announces signing of Andy "C-Lite" Mineo at Legacy Conference
- VIDEO: DaSouth interviews Tedashii about financial success & his future
- VIDEO: Reach Records & ReachLife Ministries present "Man Up" movie - Watch trailer
- MUSIC: Lecrae "Game On" feat. Tedashii, PRo, Jai
#1 17-year-old Christian Rapper, J Notes, murdered over Christian lyrics
Undoubtedly the saddest story of last year was one from just last month, and right before the Christmas holiday. 17-year-old Jyreffe Clark, a Christian rapper hardly any of us knew who was known as J Notes, was reported by authorities as being murdered over the Christian-themed lyrics in his music. Another teen, 17-year-old Franklin Robertson, said he killed Clark and tried to cover up the murder. He says he shot Clark in the head, drug his body 50 yards, and cleaned up the blood stains. It wasn't until a day had almost passed that the body was discovered. Two other teenagers, 17-year-old Laquan Tullis and 18-year-old Michael Thompson have also been charged with accessory to murder.
We don't know what it was about Clark's lyrics that offended his murderers, but it doesn't matter. No-one deserves to be murdered in cold blood. There is just no excuse for it. It's unfortunate, yet this was the most hit up story on DaSouth.com in 2011. In just 5 days the news story had garnered close to 60,000 hits. That's evidence that these kinds of real-life situations matter to people. It is our prayer that those of you who do Christian Hip Hop with a ministry focus will do it with all of your heart. The world desperately needs you!
#BONUS DaSouth.com continues to reach new heights and set milestones
November 4, 2011 made three years since our critically-acclaimed relaunch in 2008 (Election Day). Since then DaSouth.com has had over 10 million pageviews and over 1 Million unique visitors - not to mention a presence in nearly 300 countries! God is awesome.
Last year our annual Hip Hop Unity Conference and Life In Hip Hop Concert at SXSW was bigger and better than ever! Many artists flew in from around the United States to participate - including Gospel Gangstaz, The Ambassador, Da' T.R.U.T.H., J.R., PRo, Thi'sl, D-Maub, Ruslan of theBREAX, Gifted Da Flamethrowa, Fonzworth Bentley, Fedel, Dre Murray and many more. The concert was certainly dope, but the panel discussion was one that people have stated as being the highlight of the whole event. We can only imagine how this years SXSW event will be!
Lastly, one of the biggest editorials of last year, receiving the most hits and social media response was one titled "You don't have to be Lecrae to be used by God." Written by DaSouth.com co-owner, Zee, the piece was inspired by a Facebook message he received from an artist who was trying to determine where his "ranking" was within the genre. A great number of artists think they have to be like Lecrae to be "successful" and used by God. The article was very well received.
In 2012 we will continue to raise the bar and support the Christian Hip Hop community. We've already begun with done that with our January 1st launch of Estilo Latino, reaching out to the Spanish speaking community for Christ. And we have several other big things up our sleeve that should be launching very, very soon. It will be worth the wait!
- NEWS: DaSouth.com expands in 2012, launching Spanish sub-site Estilo Latino
- EDITORIAL: You Don't Have to be Lecrae to be Used by God
- VIDEO: DaSouth.com SXSW 2011 panel discussion with JR, Thi'sl, Da' T.R.U.T.H., The Ambassador, Fonzworth Bentley, Ruslan, PRo, D-Maub, and Gospel Gangstaz
- NEWS: Official Christian Rap @SXSW Workshops & Panel Discussion details
- NEWS: DaSouth.com Hip Hop Hope Unity Conference & The Life In Hip Hop Concert @ SXSW March 17-19, 2011
- NEWS: Recap: SXSW 2011
- VIDEO: Da' TRUTH performs "I Would Never Make It Without God" on DaSouth.com stage at SXSW
- VIDEO: INTERVIEW: Ambassador @ SXSW
- VIDEO: Bavu Blakes Tackles "Eddie Long" at SXSW
- VIDEO: DJ Wade-O & DJ Promote spin on DaSouth.com stage at SXSW 2011
- VIDEO: Dre Murray & 007 (5th Ward Boyz) Break Down "Good Times" for DaSouth.com at SXSW 2011
- VIDEO: "U Rydin" Live @ SXSW - Reconcile, Corey Paul, FOE (FRONTLINE)
- VIDEO: Frontline Movement at the Hip Hop Hope Unity Conference
- VIDEO: Kadence vs. The Grim Reaper on DaSouth.com stage at SXSW 2011
Thanks for making 2011 a great year! We wish you an abundance of God's grace, blessings, and favor in 2012!