Discovering and falling in love with rap music can be both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, it is a great genre of music where the artists write lyrics that are personal and honest (sometimes brutally honest). But, on the other hand, almost every mainstream rap album comes with a parental warning for explicit lyrics.
So, what is one to do if one loves rap music, but also wants to live out one’s Catholic faith? Have no fear! There is a growing number of Catholic rappers who are putting out quality music to both entertain and evangelize. Below are 10 rappers who can be a gateway to this great sub-genre
1. Fr. Stan Fortuna, CFR
One of the eight original members of the Community of Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, Fr. Stan Fortuna was ordained in 1990. Three years prior to that he founded Francesco Productions. The proceeds from his albums go towards his orders’ efforts in the Bronx. Fr. Stan is not only a pioneer in the Catholic rap sub-genre, but also an accomplished jazz musician.
2. Fr. Pontifex
Fr. Claude “Dusty” Burns began rapping at age 17 with a group called the Agape Crew. He was ordained a priest for diocese of Evansville in 2002. Nine years later, his debut rap album, Ordained, was released. His second album, The Symphony and the Static, came out in the fall of 2013. His next album, The Invincibles, is due out May 19.
Also known as Matt Klassen, paradox (Yes, his rap name is meant to be uncapitalized) is a theology teacher from Denver, Colorado. His debut album, Hiatus, was released in 2006 with Called to Mind and Mending following in 2009 and 2011 respectively, the latter being a collaboration with DJ Sean P. He has also released two albums as a member of the Drop Sci. Giants.
4. Yung PK
Chicago-based rapper Yung PK (AKA Nikolai Medow) discovered rap at age 10. He began gaining recognition for his rapping abilities in college when he won a talent show and a battle of the bands on campus. In 2009, he was chosen by fans to rap LIFEST. His debut album, Positive Returns, was released in December of 2009, and a second album, Who I’ll Be, was released in 2012.
Hailing from Atlanta, Georgia, MANchild (AKA Gregory Lamar Owens) is best known as being one-half of MarsILL, but has also rapped with the Move Merchants and Deepspace5. He has also collaborated with rappers Playdough, Heath McNease, RedCloud, and Cookbook for a freestyle/improvisation show called “Whose Rhyme is it Anyway?”.
Those are not the only Catholic rappers out there. To find more hiphop artists like Max Haben or Sammy Blaze, check out these four sources for finding quality Catholic rap music:
1. The FoundNation Family
FoundNation was founded by El Padrecito (AKA Fr. Masseo Gonzales). This group of Catholics use hiphop to entertain and evangelize all across the country. Members include C2Six (Carlos Zamora), Dy-Verse (Nick Torres), Separate M1nd (Alfonso Pedroza), John Levi (AKA John Davidson), Val Mural (AKA Valerio Muralles), Ela Loveisall (AKA Daniela Ruiz de Somocurcio).
Phatmass.com has an online forum for discussing Catholicism and hiphop. They also help produce albums for Catholic rap artists. They also have some pretty nifty t-shirts for sale.
3. AMDG Movement
The AMDG movement is a website that promotes the glory of God through rap music, as well as their blog and radio show (which is temporarily on hiatus).
4. The Catholic Rap Facebook Group
On Facebook, you can join a group dedicated to Catholic HipHop/Rap. “The Catholic Hip Hop Forum” can be found at https://www.facebook.com/groups/Catholic.Rap/.