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At the sound of the first few notes, the 4,000 fans packed into the Hollywood Palladium work themselves into a frenzy. The bass pounds, multicolored lights flash, and gospel rapper Trip Lee runs on stage with the rest of the 116 Clique, singing a rousing chorus about being unashamed of the gospel: “Look all I need is one sixteen, to brag on my king, Romans 1:16, We brag about Him daily ’cause He run this thing!” Fans jump and sing along as Lee raps, “I ain’t got no white collar, He made me a priest though.

“The lyrics aren’t just words: Lee, at 25 one of the most successful Christian rappers, is turning his focus from performing to pastoral ministry. That’s despite seeing his fourth album, The Good Life, hit No. 17 on the Billboard charts, the third-highest-charting Christian hip-hop album of all time. “I’m not retiring from music,” Lee says: “My desire has always been to show people God and His Word, I’m just expanding and shifting my priority into pastoral ministry.”

Another 25-year-old Christian rapper in the 116 Clique, Andy Mineo, is choosing a different route. His much-anticipated debut album, Heroes for Sale, with an April 16 release date, mixes rap with reggaeton, electric guitar riffs, and jazz, and reveals personal struggles with surprising candor. He says, “I don’t want to be a Bible preacher. I want to use my life experiences and my mistakes and the things I’ve learned from them as a means of creating common ground.”
The two 25-year-olds are part of a new wave of believers trying to reach young urban men who grew up in the culture of hip-hop, which idolizes fame, wealth, sex, violence, and drugs. They’re standing up against a culture with fatherlessness, abuse of women, and gangsters turned into role models. Through their separate journeys, Lee and Mineo are learning how God is calling them to fight, pastorally and musically.

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Christian Rappers, Trip Lee And Andy Mineo, Are On Different Paths But Continue To Bring Honor To Christ  was originally published on