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Christian recording artist TobyMac’s blend of rap, hip-hop, rock and soul raced up the charts last year and shattered many stereotypes along the way.

“Toby blows everybody’s perception of what Christian or gospel music is because Toby makes Jesus look cool,” Billboard Magazine’s Deborah Evans Price told the PBS program “Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly.”

TobyMac’s album “Eye on It,” which was released last August, was the first Christian album since 1997 to debut at No. 1 on Billboard’s all-genre chart, and only the third Christian album ever to do so.

“I definitely have my ear to the ground as far as sonically what is happening,” TobyMac said. “I’ve always been a pop artist, you know. I rap, I sing, I scream, whatever gets the point across.”

Many experts say thanks to artists like TobyMac, the contemporary Christian music industry is experiencing a revival, with strong sales, record-breaking tours, and new success in the mainstream charts.

For three consecutive weeks last fall, the Billboard 200 chart included Christian albums that debuted in the Top Ten. And that success is continuing in 2013. In mid-January, Christian artist Chris Tomlin’s new album “Burning Lights” opened at No. 1.

“It shows the power of the Christian music consumer,” said Price, who has covered Christian music for Billboard for almost 20 years.

“For people who tend to want to relegate Christian gospel music to the basement, when an act like Chris, or TobyMac comes in at No. 1, you have to give that music its due.”

According to the Nielsen Company, in 2012, nearly 23 million albums were sold in the Christian/gospel market, which also saw substantial increases in digital album sales.

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article courtesy of Charismanews.com

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