In the early 1980's Christian Hip-Hop burst onto the scene, only to be greeted with rounds of laughter. It was referred to by some as the "nerdy little brother" of Hip-Hop. It was the epitome of pathetic and quickly became the butt of all the music related jokes. Look no further than artists such as Carman, who produced a song titled "The Resurrection Rap" in 1993. The beat was horrible and the lyrics, while they may have been trying to send a good message, are made impossible to listen to by both their cheesiness and the terrible rapping job.
In the early 2000's, perhaps the most popular Christian Hip-Hop was being made by a man called KJ-52. He is most widely remembered for a song about his Mtn. Dew addiction. At that point in time, popular Christian artist TobyMac was just getting started, also doing Hip-Hop. He enjoyed some success as a rapper, but most of his recognition was limited to the Christian music industry. I actually regularly listened to TobyMac's Hip-Hop as a young child and recently came across one of his old CD's while cleaning my room. I decided to relive some memories and placed it in my stereo. A few minutes passed and I found that I couldn't hit "Stop" fast enough. It was so much worse than I remembered and I regretted giving it a listen. Thankfully, on May 20, 2004, the Christian Hip-Hop industry was forever changed.
That was the date that Lecrae released his first album, "Real Talk". After his debut album reached 29 on the Billboard 200 Gospel Albums chart, Lecrae co-founded ReachLife Ministries which was a spinoff of Reach Records which he also co-founded. Many would say the rest is history. Lecrae's third album "Rehab" hit 16 on the Billboard 200 chart, making it one of the highest selling Christian hip-hop albums at that point in time. On September 4, 2012, Lecrae released "Gravity". This album debuted at 3 on the Billboard 200 chart, demonstrating the continually growing popularity of Christian hip-hop.