The Cross Movement


East Coast,Holy Hip-Hop,Bass Music

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The Cross Movement, based in Philadelphia, PA, is comprised of four solo emcees who share a common interest in communicating the Gospel message through hip-hop music. They are John Wells aka The Tonic ; William Branch aka The Ambassador; Brady Goodwin aka Phanatik; and Virgil Byrd T.R.U.–L.I.F.E., whose name summarizes one of his deepest convictions—To Rightfully Understand the Lord Is Forever Existing.

The members of The Cross Movement were originally members of other Christian rap groups who ministered up and down the east coast in the early 1990s. Their zeal for spreading the Gospel became their common thread, and in 1994, they formed The Cross Movement and Cross Movement Ministries to serve as an umbrella organization for their groups. In the years to follow, God would knit the rap artists closer together and send them other ministry-minded men who used Hip-Hop as a tool for evangelism.

Explains The Tonic, "After many nights of prayer, Bible study, and honing our craft, we knew it was clear that the Lord wanted to bring all of us together. We made a covenant to support one another as we worked together toward our common goals, and that is when we named ourselves The Cross Movement. "

Word of the group spread quickly throughout the northeast, and many labels started to take interest. But the group decided to remain focused on their vision, and produced and sold their records independently. That is when they created Cross Movement Records. They released four albums on the label: Heaven's Mentality (1997), House of Representatives (1999),  Human Emergency (2000) and Higher Definition (2004). House of Representatives and Human Emergency sold over 150,000 copies combined—a success story for a young label owned and operated by its artist.

The Cross Movement has been featured in national media including The Washington Post, The Source Magazine, and Time Magazine. Time Magazine found The Cross Movement's lyrics to be so compelling that they referred to The Ambassador's rap "Blood Spilla" as the voice to educate America on the new pop music. The Source Magazine, known in the entertainment industry as THE magazine of the Hip-Hop culture, focused on The Cross Movement for their 2001 Christian rap feature, "God Is On the Mic." FEED Magazine, the premier Christian Hip-Hop magazine, offered four different covers featuring The Cross Movement on its January 2003 issue.

Their consistent impact and growth continued to fuel the interest of other record labels, and in early 2003, Cross Movement Records partnered with Seattle-based BEC Recordings for the release of the Holy Culture.

In 2007, despite busy schedules of other duties and their respective solo careers, The Cross Movement gathered together to record HIStory: Our Place in His Story. HIStory markes the final official studio album by The Cross Movement as a collective. Although the group always planned to only release seven projects, a final project can still be a daunting task logistically, emotionally and musically.

The Tonic detailed how The Cross Movement has evolved. “I’m currently president of both Cross Movement Records and Issachar Recordings and developing a new Christian media entity. Phanatik is a Bible college graduate and is running the website T.R.U.-L.I.F.E. runs both the studio and A&R for Issachar Recordings, while The Ambassador has taken on the task of teaching pastor at a new church in Philly.”

Wells notes that HIStory signifies The Cross Movement passing on a baton that has been passed down through the centuries by that “great cloud of witnesses” cited in Hebrews 11 and 12. Goodwin puts it this way, “The subtitle is what ties it together: Our Place in His Story. If we have a place in history, it only makes sense because God is telling the story.”

Byrd reflects the sentiment, “We get to end it telling our place in His story and encouraging others in finding their place in God’s story.”

Since HIStory, all the members of The Cross Movement (save T.R.U.L.I.F.E.) have released solo albums and guested on numerous songs by other hip-hop artists.

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Album Title Year Label
Heaven's Mentality1997Cross movement Records
House Of Representatives1998Cross Movement Records
Human Emergency2000Cross Movement Records
Holy Culture2003BEC Recordings
Higher Definition2004Cross Movement Records
Chronicles: Greatest Hits, Vol. 12006Cross Movement Records
HIStory: Our Place in His Story2007Cross Movement Records





United States

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Cross Movement Records

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