For many years, hip-hop artists have crossed over into other genres of music. Rappers have turned to R&B, pop and even rock, spreading their sound to the masses. Now gospel is making a splash in the hip-hop world. This year, both Kanye West and Chance the Rapper have integrated gospel into their new albums. Both rappers have enlisted gospel great Kirk Franklin and his choir on their Life of Pablo and Coloring Book projects.
But they aren’t the first artists to do this. Over the years, rappers have not only sampled gospel music, but they have also rapped about their religious beliefs in a song or two. DMX is known for praying on his albums, which is one of the reasons Diddy invited him to lead them in prayer during the Bad Boy Family Reunion Tour. Though DMX hasn’t taken the cloth, these rappers have, dedicating their lives completely to the lord.
He was Diddy’s right-hand man featured in hits like “I Need a Girl (Part One)” and “I Need a Girl (Part Two).” But in 2009, Chauncey Lamont Hawkins converted to Islam and changed his name to Amir Junaid Muhadith. He began traveling the world, preaching Islam until he was extradited to the U.S. in 2011 and sentenced to 14 years in a federal prison for longstanding drug charges.
Unlike the other rappers who found a new way of life after their music career fizzled, Mason Betha left the music game at the height of his career. After the success of his second album, “Double Up,” Mase announced that he was retiring from rap music to pursue a calling from god in a 1999 interview with Funkmaster Flex.
Welcome Back, Ma$e
Five years later, Mase returned to the music game with his single, “Welcome Back” during the summer of 2004. Later that year, he released his album of the same title and it went gold. Though he was back to doing music, he portrayed a cleaner image, dubbing himself as a “Bad Boy gone clean.” Last year, Ma$e performed in the super lounge at the Essence Music Festival and ended his show with a prayer. Today, he’s currently touring with his Bad Boy family on the Bad Boy Family Reunion Tour.