I Won an Evangelical Christian Rap Battle

Categories: Gospel Music

Chaz Kangas
Chaz Kangas in front of God Graffiti at the 2008 Gospel Hip-Hop Festival
These days I enjoy making a living writing and teaching music, but at one point not too long ago my primary source of income was battle rapping. Yes, entering tournaments and spontaneously rhyming insulting someone over a beat was how I earned a living for a number of years. Tonight, September 16th, I'm competing in the Freestyle Mondays Off-The-Head Gameshow Battle at Congregation Beth Elohim. It's a 16 MC tournament where the topic of each round is determined by a giant spinning wheel or a Plinko board. The set-up is incredibly challenging and a bit peculiar as far as rap battles go, but it's not the only unique freestyle competition I've participated in. I once entered a rap battle at a Gospel Hip-Hop Festival.

See also: Can Our Christian Rock Band Leave the God Ghetto For A Secular Career in Indie Rock?

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The Relatives Want to Save Your Psychedelic Soul

Categories: Gospel Music, WFMU

relatives-LPcover 70.jpg
The Electric Word
A swirl of gritty, psychedelic guitars and screaming fans with their hands raised to the heavens isn't what you typically think of when you hear gospel. But Dallas-bred group the Relatives have no concern about your or anyone else's preconceived notions of the Lord's music. They weren't concerned in the early '70s either when the band crossbred the funk rhythms of the times with psychedelia and injected a heavy dose of soul --as in the biblical type, into their music.

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- Norton Records Warehouse Takes Massive Hit from Sandy
- Charles Mingus' Secret Eggnog Recipe Will Knock You on Your Ass

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CMJ Day Two: Cubic Zirconia, Mux Mool, And Teen Daze Plug In At Cake Shop

Cubic Zirconia.
CMJ Day Two: Gospel Music, Cloud Nothings, Widowspeak, Cubic Zirconia, Mux Mool, Teen Daze

Better than: Walking around in the drizzle-cum-actual rain without an umbrella.

Gospel Music had the best T-shirt of the day at Cake Shop yesterday afternoon—maybe of CMJ, period: "Fuck you, I'm from Florida." Playing third on a daylong showcase for the bicoastal publicity company Terrorbird Media, the quintet sounded far more Olympia (they're on Kill Rock Stars, which was formed in Washington's capital), which means slapdash on purpose, not to mention cute and indie and pop. But there wasn't quite enough charm to stick, not even in the boy-girl duets that didn't dominate the set but are clearly the band's draw.

I missed the beginning of Cloud Nothings' set: only one editor cared that I was covering CMJ, and work is work. So maybe they blasted off and I didn't hear it, but the first two songs I heard inspired the words "squalling rave-up" and "OK, more saddos." Then the singer dedicated a song to his nephew and things picked up considerably, tempo-wise, and by the end he was moaning less and yowling more. Widowspeak, who followed, were shoegazier: guitars pretty enough, mumbled vocals less so.

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