Christian hip-hop has made some notable inroads in the last few years, especially in the mainstream market. Popular rapper Lecrae has won Grammy, Stellar, and Dove awards, and he, along with other Christian artists, appear regularly on networks like BET and MTV. Does this mean the movement that emerged in the early ’80s as Gospel rap has finally arrived?
The question might be especially relevant after it was reported that recording artists Flame, Lecrae, and others filed a lawsuit against pop singer Katy Perry and Capitol Records for allegedly stealing and “irreparably tarnishing” a 2008 song of theirs titled “Joyful Noise.” The rappers claim Perry’s “Dark Horse” single released in 2013, infringes on the copyright of their “Christian gospel song,” and therefore are demanding an “injunction, damages and the defendants’ profits gained from the unauthorized use of “Joyful Noise.’”
Lecrae is arguably the most popular Christian rapper in recent years who has managed to garner cross-over appeal among a mainstream audience. He and his Reach Records label have been credited with opening the doors and providing exposure and a platform for many other artists in the Christian music industry. Andy Mineo, a New York City rapper who is also on Reach Records, has been following in Lecrae’s footsteps, with outlets like BET and MTV making much of his latest album and EP releases, Heroes for Sale and Never Land, respectively.
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