Gospel Rap Leaves Lasting Impression at 2011 GMWA: Gospel Rap Notes Soaring Sells in Plea for Airtime
Gospel rap took a big step forward towards being widely accepted in the traditional Gospel market that controls radio air time. For the first time Gospel rap was rewarded at the Gospel Music Workshop of America (GMWA) with its own nightly showcase. GMWA is known as an influential Gospel music conference that brings together members of the Gospel Announcers Guild (GAG).
Before the showcase, Top Rappers from several record labels held a Q & A forum with over 50 radio hosts, programers, and publications in attendance. The goal of the panel was to open up dialog that would bring the emerging genre of Gospel rap closer to receiving continuous air-time on more radio stations.
Some of the people in attendance included rappers Lecrae, Jai, Tedashii, Thi’sl, Trip Lee along with industry execs Shamael Lataillade, and Bishop Al Hobbs.
Gospel Rap (sometimes referred to as Holy Hip Hop) has the fastest growing fan-base out of all of the Gospel genres. This year rapper Lecrae had two albums in Billboards top 10. A first for Gospel rap. Rappers Trip Lee, Thi’sl, and Tadashii also made Top 10 debuts the new norm. Parents and radio announcers across the country are starting to understand that this genre will play a key role in offering a Godly alternative to it’s secular rap counter-part.
Top record execs were in attendance trying to get a feel for the heart beat of Gospel rap. Some were even actively looking for new talent.
The founder of Tyscot Records, Bishop Leonard Scott was in attendance gauging the audiences interest. As you’ll see in the accompanying video below, the crowd was in a state of pandemonium over some of their favorite rappers from the Reach Records label co-owned by Gospel rap superstar Lecrae.
The genre is a favorite by many ethnicities un-like Black Gospel and Contemporary Christian music, that sees significant differences in popularity among blacks and whites. I spoke to Bishop Leonard Scott about the equality in Gospel rap, as evident by nightly showcase that saw nearly a 50-50 split among blacks and non-blacks in attendance. Scott returned nodding his head to the music, and I smiled at the prospect of Gospel rap soaring to new levels that will impact the body of Christ.
Many radio programmers pledged immediate rotation and airtime after the forum and concert concluded. As a fan if you want more time blocks of Gospel rap, be sure to call or write-in to your local Gospel radio stations and let them know. Also, be sure to buy the music. Nothing speaks louder to industry executives the soaring record sales. Trust me, the industry is now paying attention.