“Hip-hop is an expression of what is dearest to you,” says Christian rapper KB. “It’s coming from who I love. And who I love is Jesus.”
The religious artist’s passion was rewarded earlier this month when his most recent EP, “100,” became a minor crossover success — in part because of a special promotion that involved free devotions for fans through the YouVersion Bible app. 100 went on to hit No. 1 on Billboard’s Christian Albums chart, No. 4 on Rap Albums and No. 22 on the Billboard 200, selling more than 14,000 the first week, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
The release, about living life with love, is the latest hit for Atlanta-based Reach Records, founded in 2004 by Christian rap star Lecrae. The label is making inroads into the mainstream, much like its owner, who last year performed at Los Angeles’ Rock the Bells concert with Kendrick Lamar and Wu-Tang Clan. In addition to working with Christian hip-hop artists who are appearing on secular charts, Reach has created a more receptive environment for the genre, which a decade ago struggled to be taken seriously.
“We live under the banner of Romans 1:16, which says: ‘For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes,’ ” says Bradley Tomlinson, Reach director of marketing. “We have a fan base. They support us. People are looking for something new and outside of the typical messaging.”
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