Ransom Posts Video Interview With DJ Promote

Ransom.com has posted yet another video testimony, this time with hip-hop artist DJ Promote.   In the interview, he outlines how he became DJ Promote, his opinions on church culture, and how his art relates to his faith. Its an awesome interview, so check it out:

Mikel Anthony Posts New Music Video

Here is the latest music video from rapper Mikel Anthony with his song “The Program”. The track appears on his latest album, entitled The Schematic. All about gettin tough fer tha Lord!

Essential Songs:Don’t Waste Your Life By Lecrae

lecrae

It is unfortunate that the world of Hip-Hop is populated by insincerity. For most people, the genre has become over run with a parody of its own devices: auto-tuned hooks, empty lyrics, and flash over substance. Even in the Christian Hip-Hop community it rare to find an artist with both depth and talent. Lecrae is not one of those people.

Deeply rooted in spiritual truth, masterfully executed, and all the while still fun to listen to, “Don’t Waste Your Life” is a warning to those who are living for the things of the world. The song is part declaration of faith, part plead to Lecrae‘s community. In fact, Lecrae felt so strongly about the message of this song that it became the central theme of his country wide tour that was deeply steeped in ministry, not fame.

In all fairness, Lecrae is very new to the game, but with songs like this one and albums like Rebel, I think we are looking at the new face of Christian Hip-Hop.

Buy this track on iTunes and Amazon MP3

Check out Lecrae’s One21 Artist Profile for more info

I know a lot of people out there scared they gone die
Couple of em thinking they’ll be livin in the sky
But while I’m here livin man I gotta ask why, what am here fo I gotta figure out
Waste my life
No I gotta make it count
If Christ is real then what am I gone do about
All of the things in Luke 12:15 down to 21
You really oughta go and check it out
Paul said if Christ ain’t resurrect then we wasted our lives
Well that implies that our life’s built around Jesus being alive
Everyday I’m living tryin show the world why
Christ is more than everything you’ll ever try
Better than pretty women and sinning and living to get a minute of any women and men that you admire
Ain’t no lie

We created for Him
Outta the dust he made us for Him
Elects us and he saves us for Him
Jesus comes and raises for Him
Magnify the Father why bother with something lesser
He made us so we could bless Him and to the world we confess him
Resurrects him
So I know I got life
Matter fact better man I know I got Christ
If you don’t’ see His ways in my days and nights
You can hit my brakes you can stop my lights
Man I lost my rights
I lost my life
Forget the money cars and toss that ice
The cost is Christ
And they could never offer me anything on the planet that’ll cost that price.

Don’t wanna waste my life

Suffer
Yeah do it for Christ if you trying to figure what to do with your life
If you making money hope you doing it right because the money is Gods you better steward it right
Stay focused if you ain’t got no ride
Your life ain’t wrapped up in what you drive
The clothes you wear the job you work
The color your skin nah we Christian first
People living life for a job
Make a lil money start living for a car
Get em a house a wife kids and a dog
When they retire they living high on the hog
But guess what they didn’t ever really live at all
To live is Christ yeah that’s Paul I recall
To die is gain so for Christ we give it all
He’s the treasure you’ll find in the mall
Your money your singleness marriage talent and time
They were loaned to you to show the world that Christ is Divine
That’s why it’s Christ in my rhymes
That’s why it’s Christ all the time
My whole world is built around him He’s the life in my lines
I refused to waste my life
He’s too true ta chase
That ice
Heres my gifts and time cause I’m constantly trying to be used to praise the Christ
If he’s truly raised to life
Then this news should change your life
And by his grace you can put your faith in place that rules your days and nights.

Don’t wanna waste my life

Free MP3 Album Download:The B.Reith EP

the b.reith ep

So I feel kind of bad for giving you a free download this week that you could only get for two days, so here is my compromise.  B.Reith is….well, B.Reith is kind a weird.  Don’t let that picture fool you, this dude is hip-hop.  Obviously not gangsta or anything, think more party rap in the vain of KJ-52 and tobyMac.  In fact tobyMac has taken this guy under his wing the last few years, and B.Reith just released a new album through Gotee earlier this week.

As far as I can tell, these tracks are pretty recent, so they will go perfectly with your recent copy of Now Is Not Forever.  This EP is a really good way to meet a new up and coming superstar…

For fans of: KJ-52, tobyMac

Now, this is AmazonMP3, so you have to download this little MP3 program from them, but dont worry, it is free, easy to use, and you can convert  the tracks over your iTunes or Zune (uck) jukeboxes with no problems.

Download The B.Reith EP

Free MP3 Album Download:Silent Words

silent-words-cover-small-2

So this week’s download is a little weird. So, the group Silent Words consists of emcees The Runaway and Qu-C. They are also brothers. Silent words is’nt a Hip-Hop group though, they are an instrumental one. That’s right, two rappers get together and make an album with no vocals on it.  But the result is beautiful, and you can just get this image in your head of these two guys to playing their heart’s out as the songs play on.  Sometimes with these free downloads you just gotta follow us, I mean nobody thought they would like (morse) either, but that album is awesome!

Download a few sample tracks (the links will take you to Mediafire):

Silent Words-Run’s Rhythm
Silent Words- Southern Country

Then get the whole album. Click on the link below, save the .ZIP file to your computer, EXTRACT ALL FILES, and sit back with some sweet instrumentals.

Download The Runaway & Qu-C are…Silent Words

The One21 Interviews Tre9

tre9

PT. 1

Pt. 2

Tre9 is this amazing dude out of Houston TX. He is a hip-hop artist, promoter, manager,and founder of both Much Luvv Records, and DASOUTH.com. At SXSW, he was responsible for the event that brought Kaboose, Braille, and Lecrae to Austin. We were lucky to get a few minutes with him. This is one of those interviews were I didn’t have to ask a lot of questions, Tre9 is a passionate dude!  In the midst of his excitement, he talks about some really serious issues in the Christian music scene, and in fact his interview in part inspired a new way for us at The One21 to approach the music we are putting on this site (read The Many Facets Of Christian Music). Even if you arn’t into hip-hop, I’m sure you will love this interview.

This is Tre9‘s video for his song “Rise To The Top”

You can buy Tre9‘s music digitally on Tre9 and Amazon MP3

You can also buy his CDs on Amazon:
Marooned
The Farmer

The One21 Interviews Rootbeer

rootbeer

Pt. 1

Pt.2

So we have talked about Rootbeer a lot on this site. Rootbeer is the musical collaboration of Flynn Adam and Pigeon John. The two are not strangers though, they both started in the quirky hip-hop mega-group LA Symphony. That group has split off into many different factions, Cook & Uno, Poems, both John and Adam have pretty solid solo careers, but the latest and most visible is Rootbeer. The duo just released their Pink Limousine EP, a cool collection of fun and bouncy songs, and have been working really hard to get the word out.  We talked about that, how they got started, and their thoughts on faith and music.

Note: I (Ian) have been listening to both of these guys for a long time. I was a little nervous, so the beginning of the interview starts off a little awkwardly. Give it a few questions, because we fell into a great groove after a bit and even more sips from our coffee cups.

Here are the boys in Rootbeer with the title track from their debut EP

and for fun, here is both Pigeon John and Flynn Adam (doing the beats) WAY BACK in the first video from LA Symphony (younger versions of Cook & Uno, Poems, and Joey The Jerk also in the clip)

You can get Rootbeer’s EP digitally on Rootbeer and Amazon MP3

Voices Of the Underground Pt.7

voicesoftheundergroundlogo-copy2

Several weeks ago One21 Music posed fifteen questions to a number of music artists in the Christian music scene, ranging from the light-hearted to the deeply spiritual. We received many responses, some very helpful, and some…. not so much. Some of the answers were short and sweet, some were extensive and eloquent. Many expressed frustrations with the current landscape of the music industry, while others were hopeful for a future of uncertainty. We heard from guys who had been performing for years, and bands that are just now starting to get their names heard. From indie rock to hip-hop, from hardcore to worship, the Christian music scene spoke back to us. Realize that these answers are by the people making the music that you are listening to, and these are un-edited and real. The opinions expressed don’t always reflect ours, but we aren’t perfect, right?

Need to catch up?
Read Pt.1: What Do You Love About Music?
Read Pt.2: What Are Some Of Your Favorite Albums/CDs?
Read Pt.3: What Is The Best Thing About Making Music?
Read Pt.4: What Is Your Opinion Of The Music Industry?
Read Pt.5: What Impact Has The Digital Age Of Music Had On The Industry?
Read Pt.6: Who Is Jesus Christ To You?

This week we explore a question that we have debated a lot on this site. In fact, this question explores what is perhaps one of the most controversial and important concepts when it comes to faith and music. For our site, we have defined what we consider Christian music, and then have even gone farther to clarify the many parts of that definition. For most people, and especially music lovers, the concept of what makes music “Christian” is a big deal. In all reality, most of us that talking about it are speaking from the outside in, so this week we ask people making the music what their definition is. As with all of our Voices Of The Underground episodes, the answers are very diverse, and most will surprise you. Alright, enough talk:

What is Christian music?

amycourts Amy Courts (independent pop/folk artist)                                         Amy Courts
I believe Christian Music is – in real terms, not industry terms – anything that flows from the hearts of the redeemed. As one who’s struggled to find a fit in both the “Christian” music world and the “Mainstream” world, I’ve become more and more convinced that being a Christian artist has less to do with how many times I mention “Jesus” in any given song, or how many songs per album are about God, church, Jesus, heaven, or the Bible. Instead, it’s about a faith that filters into and seasons everything I am, say, and do. My faith in Christ and relationship to Him is not “a” thing or even “the” thing that tops any list of priorities. It is the filter through which all priorities find their place. Because I am a Christian, in my heart, my songs will be flavored by my faith. Because Christ is my King, and His heart is for the least of these, my actions will be on behalf of of those He cherishes.

mahoganyjones Mahogany Jones (independent hip-hop artist)                                 Mahogany Jones
Music that is Christ centered. Music that the subject matter doesn’t have to be Christ, but it’s solution or resolve is Christ.
So if I write a song about relationships or about my job- the context needs to be about how I handle either in relationship to my relationship with Christ.

bryanblondstreakabandon Bryan (bass player for Forefront Records pop/rock band Abandon) Abandon
Music that glorifies our God. Plain and simple. It isn’t a fad or even a “genre” in my opinion. I believe that if you are a Christian and you are an artist, your art should reflect your love for your savior, no questions asked. He created you, so anything you create should bring him glory.

brandonsayyouwill Brandon (bass player for independent pop/rock band Say You Will)
Christian music is music that is glorifying to God in any way. Even if it doesn’t say a word about God.

the_welcome_wagon_-_0938-c Vito (half of Asthmatic Kitty indie/folk band The Welcome Wagon) The Welcome Wagon
I think this is a term that should be defined by whoever is using it at the time. It’s not a term I use, thus I do not have a working definition of it. I have terms I do use that are similar, for example, “church music.” I am the pastor of a church, and it is my duty to select music for our church to sing and hear in the context of our worship service. I have a set of criteria that I bring to that task that helps me to choose that music. So that’s a definition—“church music”—that I could give.
But “Christian music” is not a term I use, so I can’t define it.

a thousnd times repent dowd Dowd(guitar for Tribunal Records metal band A Thousand Times Repent) A Thousand Times Repent
I think it is a way to make more positive music that is based around Jesus in any genre. I don’t think any genre should be left out. I think you can do straight death metal and be a Christian band if you want. We need those options available to kids.

dewey Dewey Lybecker( independent solo singer/songwriter)                     Dewey Lybecker
I think Christian music is music that reflects life from the perspective of a person that has a personal relationship with God. The good and the bad..

brookewaggner Brooke Waggoner(solo indie/pop artist on SlowMoon Music)            Brooke Waggoner
Anything that is created from the heart of believers: CCM, indie, rock ‘n’ roll, experimental – there’s Christians in all of these places.

dirt DIRT (underground hip-hop artist and founder of Shadow Of The Locust) Dirt
I know what Christian music SHOULD be…. it should be any music that inspires you TOWARDS God.

ourproclamationfrankieinstrips1Frankie (vocalist for Infantry Records hardcore band Our Proclamation) Our Proclamation
Well, there’s a lot of debate about this. Can you be a Christian band and have songs that aren’t about God? Or do you have to sing about or praise God in everything you perform?
Honestly.. It makes no difference to me. We get lost in the title of “Christian” that we lose our relationship with Christ. I’d rather play music about Christ than Christian music.

sethinfrontendervence Seth (singer for independent hard rock band Endeverance)          Endeverance
To me I honestly don’t think there is a thing as “Christian Music”. I think there is a thing called “Worship Music” which is played in churches every week, but the rest of everything that is called “Christian Music” to me is just plain music…I mean I look at it in the way C.S. Lewis did, as Christian’s I think we should just make music, but do it a million times better than non-Christians…and just leave it at that…

johanna fellow Johanna Miller (keyboardist/singer for South Pawl pop/rock band Fellow) Fellow
Christian music should always direct our thoughts toward God and living a Christ-like life. It’s not limited to strictly church worship songs.

christaylor Chris Taylor (BEC solo artist/song writer)                                             Chris Taylor
Praising His Glorious name!

domicballi Dominic Balli (independent Reggae/hip-hop artist)                       Dominic Balli
To me, “Christian” describes who I AM. I am a Christian. I play Rock Reggae music. “Christian Music” is the only genre in Popular music that is defined not by a style of music but by lyrical content. When someone asks me, “What kind of music do you listen to?” And I say, “Christian Music.” That could mean anything from Project 86 to Mary Mary to Jeremy Camp, to Cross Movement to Fernando Ortega. So what is Christian Music? It’s music where the lyrics are Christian in content.

echocastbandwb8David (singer for independent nu-metal band Echocast)                       Echocast
My personal opinion is that “Christian Music” is music consisting of songs either about the Lord or worshiping the Lord… But at the same time, if an artist writes songs that are more or less autobiographical or are putting their personal thoughts and feelings across, and that artist is a Christian, then Christian ideas and principals are going to come through in individual songs…

So, at the end of the day, the jury is still out. Maybe we as a body of believers will never be able to solve this debate, but we will continue to seek out what the answer is in our own lives. Join us next Thursday as we talk about the Christian music industry.

The Many Facets Of Christian Music

Ever since we started The One21, we have been learning a lot. From the vast amount of  new talent we come across, to the trends in music and entertainment we have been able to identify, this company has allowed us to learn new things daily about the world of music we love so much.  We have tried to share those trends with you, and explore what the digital age of music has done for the underground music movement. We have attempted to expand the knowledge of the music out there being made by believers.  We have tried endlessly on this site to change the perception of what most people think when they hear the term “Christian music”, and bring you a whole new world of music that exists outside of the mainstream Christian industry.

It is in that last idea that we have run into the most trouble.  We feel that this website and the database of music we are building is our calling, our ministry to you, the person reading this.  We feel that we have a responsibility to give you as much information about the artists we talk about so that you can make the most informed decision on what music you allow in to your life and those around you. On the other hand, we also feel that we have a responsibility to artists we talk about. We don’t want to force any artist to label themselves as something they don’t want to labeled as.  The choices that an artists make in their career are their own, and it be irresponsible for us to (forcefully) change those decisions ( we REALLY want Kate Minor to come back to music, and I REALLY want Damien Rice to become a believer).  So how do we talk to people about music that is made by believers without forcing those artists to be pigeon-holed into a scene they want to exist outside of.

This struggle was put center stage recently as we attended SXSW. A band that we have featured on this site (I’m not going to tell you who it is, don’t ask), had a very strong reaction to us wanting to interview them and talk about it on the site. They told Chuck “well we are Christians, but we defiantly don’t make Christian music”, and were still debating this issue when I walked past them ten minutes later. Some of the members seemed upset that since we were a site that covered Christian music, that talking to us would change the perception of their band in the general public. However, all the research we had done on the band not only revealed that they were believers, but the majority of their lyrics centered around the dark picture the church paints of Christ versus what He truly is. We felt a little awkward because in a way we had tried to make them something they didn’t want to be, which is their call, not ours. The outcome is that they didn’t talk to us, even when Chuck attended their show a few nights later.

Later that same week, Chuck presented our pastor with a signed copy of a CD, from one of the hip-hop artists we interviewed, for his ten year old son who is really into hip-hop at the moment.  Our pastor thanked Chuck, but said that he needed to listen to it before his son could have it.  That seemed strange to me for a moment, but then he explained that another Christian hip-hop artist had frequently used the word “hell” (in the correct context by the way), a word that shocked and offended his young children who had been told NOT to say that word. It occurred to me that a lot of people can’t just listen to ANY artist who says that they are a Christian, even with ideologies that match up, subject matter is still an issue.

So on one side, we have believers who are making music, but do not want to be part of the Christian music world, and on the other side, we have people who need help with finding the right artist that helps them live their faith.  On the one hand we know of a lot of Christian artist who hardly ever talk directly about their faith in their music, and on the other we have a responsibility to present music that lines up with the ideologies that exist in Christianity. The dichotomy bothered me all week until we met with Tre9, a Houston hip-hop artist and founder of DaSouth.com, who spoke in our interview with him about hip hop artists being relevant to the audience that they are trying to reach.

79975“You’ve got to know as an artist who you are going to target your message to. Obviously if you want to disciple Christians then you need to make music relevant to them. Which would be music: quoting scriptures, having heavy spiritual content; but if you want to reach people that don’t have church knowledge and maybe don’t even read their Bible then you need to bring it down to their level. So, that may require you to do music that shares your life story more often, and maybe closes with the fact that you found fulfillment in Christ, but you’re not so heavily focused on making sure you get a scripture in there. Throw a Jesus here; throw a God, a Holy Spirit there. Throw the word redemption. You know sanctification; these words that the world doesn’t understand. You want to make music that is relevant to where they are at mentally and even spiritually.

When I say relevant, you’ve got groups like P.O.D. who are way into the world, but are making relevant music to their audience, and look at them, they are global. They have penetrated a market that they couldn’t penetrate when they were labeled a Christian artist. I think that’s good. A lot of people think they are sell outs because they don’t preach the gospel in their music, but for me I feel that this world needs Godly principles, they need the Bible interpenetrated in today’s language so that it’s relevant. So, if P.O.D. makes a song about ‘I feel so alive’, but they don’t say it’s because of Jesus; I think that person will eventually become a follower of P.O.D.; listening to their music, going to their website, researching and finding out “Hey, these guys are Christians. So that’s what they mean by ‘I feel so alive’.” So they don’t have to put it into a song for me. Now, a lot of people would disagree with that but, we need wholesome music. We need songs that deal with drugs, and the dangers of drugs; songs that deal with abstinence. These songs don’t have to say anything about God.  God is in that, God wants people to live an abstinent life, God wants people to avoid drugs. So, I’m ok with making music that is relevant to that market or that particular group of people. Going into public schools we can’t do Christian music, especially during school hours. You can’t just go in there preaching about Jesus. So, if you are going to make music relevant to a school; if it’s an elementary school, then you need to write some stuff elementary level. Junior high, High school…so that’s what I mean by relevant.”

I was blown away. This was a concept that had always been in the back of my mind, but I had never heard put into words.  I also realized that this line of thinking could be applied to all music, not just the world of hip-hop.  As I thought about it more, I became aware that this was how the whole scope of the Christian music scene fit together, even the artists that wanted to exists outside the borders of what is traditionally thought of as Christian music.  This is how we can talk about really good music that is being made by believers, but not really overtly spiritually, and then turn around and talk about worship music in the same breathe.  It is because in “Christian music” there are different forms of it, but all of them are written from a world-view of Christ.

In the end, I propose that all music, written from a foundation of hope and faith, that God can use to touch people’s hearts, can be divided into three categories:

The Spiritual- this is music that is made by believers, and is mainly intended for believers.  This music uses language and subjects that believers understand, and is made mainly for the purpose of worship, education, and encouragement. This music will use a lot of direct Biblical scripture, or discuss the literal concepts within the Bible. The gospel message is OBVIOUS to anyone. This music is meant to celebrate and discuss God and His teachings. This is were the majority of worship music will exist, as well as artist who talk about heavy Biblical truths.
Examples:
The Ambassador
Becoming The Archetype
Third Day
Derek Webb
Jason Upton
Shane and Shane
Enter The Worship Circle
Toby Mac
For Today
Dirt

The Message- the music in this category is evangelical in nature. It is made by believers for everyone. While it deals with strong Biblical truths, the music is made to appeal to both believers and non-believers alike.  The messages are meant to talk about address the need for Christ and the struggles that people go through before the come to know Him, and the relationship that exists afterward. Sometimes the message is obvious, sometimes it isn’t.  Most artists talk about their faith not only through their lyrics, but also from the stages that they play from (be it a church or a bar stage). This category is a musical response to the great commission.
Examples:
Switchfoot
Lecrae
August Burns Red
P.O.D.
SuperChick
Kaboose
A Plea For Purging
mewithoutYou
Project 86
Joy Whitlock

The Light- this is the category that collects all the Christians who are out their making music, but are not necessarily talking about anything that is directly Biblical. This is just music made by believers. Most of the time, the songs have a indirect message pertaining to the artists faith. The artists in this category are not trying to speak to their beliefs, but are simply trying to make music , and their faith shines through from time to time.  The artists in this category most times exist completely outside of the Christian music radar, some of them you will know, but most you have never heard of. What is important to note is that while the music in this category is not overtly faith-based, it is music that is written from a heart changed by Christ, and can be used as a catalyst  people’s life.
Examples:
Rootbeer
Anathallo
Brooke Waggoner
Paramore
Bob Dylan
Cold War Kids
Thrice
Danielson
Bodies Of Water
Buddy Miller

On our site, we are going to begin using these categories to define our artists better. You will begin to see them on our “Christian Artists To Know”, and as we build our database of artists, the categories will also be incorporated.

The idea behind these categories to allow all the many ways that music is made by believers to be viewed as a unified music scene. For the artists that sing honestly about thier life  and for the worship leader in the church, God uses all this music to touch people’s hearts.

The One21 Interviews Lecrae

lecrae

Lecrae is a hip-hop artist on Reach Records. he has been doing music for a while now, but it was 2008′s release, Rebel,  that has elevated this young emcee to one of the biggest names in Christ-centered hip-hop.  With straight up party, west coast hip-hop, Lecrae has brings a quality level to the game that is rarely seen in both the secular and Christian scenes.  We were able to sit down with Lecrae before his show at SXSW, and he was able to share his heart and his story in a very cool way. One warning, we ran out of tape towards the last question, but don’t worry because we still were rolling with our audio. Stay till the end, Lecrae has some great stuff to say.

Here is the music video for Lecrae‘s song, “Dont Waste Your Life”

You can get Lecrae‘s music digitally on Lecrae or AmazonMP3

You can also can his CDs on Amazon:
Real Talk
After the Music Stops
Rebel