Christian rap artist Juan G challenges anybody to "name any hip-hop artist who is selling platinum in — as Christians call it — the 'secular' arena who is also packing out church houses."
Drake? Nope. Lil' Wayne? Nawh. Kanye West? Uhh, uhh. Kanye has rapped of his Christian faith ("Jesus Walks"), but even in that, his lyrics are heavily laced with profanity.
Well, what about Jay-Z? Nicki Minaj? Nope and nope. Their music is boomin' in the club, but not appropriate for the kingdom of God.
"Pretty much, there isn't any," Juan G, 26, says. "And if so, I haven't heard about 'em."
Christian hip-hop stars such as Lecrae and The Truth could easily rival top secular artists like Lil' Wayne or Future, Juan G says, but aren't getting the exposure that Lil' Wayne gets because their music is centered on serving Christ — unlike that of their secular counterparts.
And it is because of this assessment that Juan G has founded his own music label, Chozen Few Musiq, which he's established to bridge the gap between the club and the church. The inspiration behind the label’s name was taken from Matthew 20:16 in the Bible, which says “ … for many be called, but few chosen.”
“We decided to brand ourselves Chozen Few Musiq,” Juan G says of the label. “ … There are so many people who do believe in God. Why not blow up a non-religious brand that’s not ashamed to give God glory, but at the same token, (goes against the) tradition (of losing) people who have no knowledge of God?”
Chozen Few Musiq, which Juan G and his 23-year-old rap and business partner Will Foe established last year, aims to reach the secular masses while at the same time acknowledging God. Juan G’s vision is to make music that has club-goers running to the dance floor but that also rocks in the church — music that maintains the integrity of the Gospel.
“Every song doesn’t have to be scripture this, scripture that,” Juan G explains. “ ‘Fallin’ 4 U’ is a club-banger dedicated to anybody who knows anything about love. And you can listen to that in any demographic. It’s neutral. You can play it in the church or in the club. And anybody can listen to it.
“It’s a song I wrote to her about fallin’ in love with her,” Juan G says of the song he wrote for his wife — a song on his and Will Foe’s album, PASTDUE. “Anybody who says you can’t write a love song, I ask: ‘What about all the love poetry or psalms in the Bible?’ ”
Juan G is referencing the Song of Solomon. He also wants America’s older generations to come to grips with what he calls “reality.”
“For kids, hip hop and R&B, and technology are the new religion for kids,” Juan G says. “If we like that or not, that’s reality right now. And if that is reality, who is penetrating their reality to bring them to God’s reality?”
Juan G adds: “The problem is most of the people who want to make a change don’t put forth the effort to make the change. And when they see someone trying to make the change, their actions are being judgmental instead of being supportive.
Juan G and Will Foe are waging war against the “sex (and violence) sells” mentality that has long been pushed in society by major record labels.
“These major labels have programmed our society — have trained society’s ear — to listen to a certain genre of music, which is contaminated with a lot of negativity,” Juan G says. “Their excuse is: ‘Well, sex, drugs, etc., sells.’ But they fail to realize that if a 1-year-old toddler can repeat a chorus of a song that is filled with that contamination, what are they really doing to our future? But they blame it on schools, when the reality is that kids pick up their iPods before they do a book in the morning.”
Juan G says major record labels have made money hand over fist by marketing artists who glorify illicit sex, violence, and the selling of illegal drugs.
“They don’t want a trend to come in that overshadows their deceptive messages, such as artists who speak the truth from God, like Lecrae … or TripLee, etc.,” Juan G says. “So they (record labels) brand these types of artists on a lower level than a lot of these hip hop and R&B artists that you hear on the mainstream radio stations,” Juan G explains.
“Most of these major, mainstream artists are ambassadors to these fraudulent messages put out to society these days,” Juan G says. “So, that’s the inspiration to bridge both gaps, between both realms (music produced by people who believe in God and nonbelievers).”
Donald Lee, a free-lance journalist, also is founder and pastor of Kingdom Living Christian Center in Dallas. He co-authored the book “Married to Commitment,” which is on relationships. You can order a copy of the book at http://www.xulonpress.com. Follow Lee on Twitter at @donaldj_lee. You can also e-mail him at email@example.com.
For more information about Chozen Few Musiq, call (972) 971-1019. Follow Juan G on Twitter at @juangisme. You can also follow Will Foe at @will_foe. View Chozenfewmuziq at http://youtube.com. Also, visit http://www.pastduealbum.com.
Photo: Juan G is the one on the left with the pony tail; the other young man is Will Foe.