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TABLE OF CONTENTS Pg.07 - Editorial Pg.08 - Welcome/Map Pg.09 - Flavor Fest 12 Schedule Pg.10 - Flavor Fest 12 Speakers Pg.12 - Flavor Fest 12 Friday Workshops Pg.14 - Flavor Fest 12 Saturday Workshops Pg.16 - Flavor Fest 12 Concert Schedule Pg.20 - S.O.U.LNewz Pg.22 - Indie Spotlight Pg.24 - The Ambassador Pg.28 - Hip-Hop Hope Unity Conference Pg.30 - Rawsrvnt Pg.32 - Michelle Bonilla Pg.36 - S.O.U.LMAG is turning 20! Pg.42 - Elements in the Bronx Pg.44 - Jin Pg.48 - S.O.U.LFashion with S&N Pg.50 - The Rise of CHH Pg.52 - Dancing With Disappointment Pg.56 - Music Reviews Pg.58 - Music Video Reviews Pg.60 - S.O.U.LSignificance

THE S.O.U.L. TEAM Publisher: Tommy Kyllonen aka Urban D. Creative Director: Edward Bayonet aka Spec Contributing Writers: Sketch The Journalist, Lucy Kyllonen, Mario “Marz” Armstrong, Lans Jones, Nikeya Williams, Ryan “DJ Rhino” Flemming, Spyvey Giggles, Will “DJ Fuego” Ruiz, Brinson Review Team: Brovah Greg, Jabo, DJ Fuego, Monty G, Marz, Spy, J. Mason Photography: Carlos Espinel - carlosespinelphotography.com Design Department: iamspec.com * Printed by

IMAGEMEDIA.COM in Tarpon Springs, Florida

For information on advertising visit: www.thesoulmag.com and download the current press kit for detailed demographics, ad rates and specs. S.O.U.LMAG is published two times annually by Crossover Church. Crossover is a non-profit 501(c)3. Crossover’s mission is “To relevantly introduce the Truth of Christ to those influenced by urban/hip-hop culture as we develop worship, purpose, unity, and leadership in their lives.” S.O.U.LMAG exists to build on this mission as we take it to a global platform through print and digital media. S.O.U.L Magazine/Crossover Church Mailing Address: 8870 N. Himes Ave. #654 Tampa, Fl 33614 Physical Office Address: 1235 E. Fowler Ave. Tampa, Fl 33612

*All S.O.U.LMAG issues are now available digitally at our website: S.O.U.L | Pg6

THESOULMAG.COM | @THESOULMAG CROSSOVERCHURCH.ORG | @CROSSOVER813


“We Got Next” has been a phrase yelled out on basketball courts for many years. The young, fresh new team was waiting to jump off the bench and get in the game. They watched the other players make mistakes, miss shots and not work together. They were confident that when their squad stepped on the court that they could bring some new life into the game. All of us have had those moments when we said, “If I was in charge I would change __________.” What we filled in the blank with was a variety of things... we thought we could do better. In the urban community there has been a lack of Godly men and women to lead, disciple and mentor the next generation. There has been some leadership in our neighborhoods, but much of it has been corrupt and criminal. The urban church in many locations has been a dying, irrelevant, unengaged organization. But, for years a rumble of change has been coming as we’ve heard “We Got Next”. You’ll read in this issue about some of this movement’s history as artists and ministers started laying the foundation several decades ago. But, now many of us has “Grown up”. We are the ones stepping into leadership positions at our local churches, businesses, ministries and local

communities. Next is NOW... so what will it look like now? What will we change? What needs to remain the same? How can we live out the Biblical mandate that Christ laid for us in the most effective way? Our movement is at a pivotal point as there are still many things that we are wrestling with and fleshing out. There is much we can learn from church history, mentors and other churches... but today’s diverse urban community is a unique beast. We must be led by God’s spirit as we lead in a rapidly changing world. We don’t have to settle for reacting to the shifts in culture and technology... we can create our own lanes and help shape the future. There are several of us shaping culture and creating a movement. This issue will share stories of some of the current leaders and trendsetters in music, resources and churches in this next is now era. The 12th annual Flavor Fest Conference will be a weekend of dialoging about biblical leadership, discipleship and dreaming about what the church could be and should be.

with a whole new set of dynamics, weight and responsibilities. Leading over a thousand people in a multi-ethnic, multi-generational setting is no joke. God has taught us a lot in the past 24 months in our new location. There has been some difficult moments that make you not want to be the leader, but there has also be some supernatural moments like seeing 146 people get baptized in one day. We haven’t arrived yet... and never will, but it’s exciting to lead in a place where Next is Now! -Tommy “Urban D.” Kyllonen Publisher

Crossover Church has “Grown Up” in many people’s eyes as we now have settled into our 43,000 square foot facility. Growing up comes

Tommy is the lead pastor @ Crossover Church. He also leads the Urban Coaching Network where he has mentored over 40 urban church planters.

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Welcome to Flavor Fest 12... S.O.U.LMAG is the official magazine for the 12th annual Flavor Fest Urban Leadership Conference. The next ten pages are dedicated to all the events that are part of this one of a kind event. If you’re reading this and you’re at the Fest our Crossover Fam would like to give you a huge WELCOME! We’ve been in our new facility exactly 2 years now, If you came to our 10 year anniversary we had just received a temporary certificate of occupancy, so the building was barely finished. All the floors were still raw and uncovered and the paint was barely dry and it was dusty. In the past two years we’ve settled in as our church has doubled in size, learned a lot and have been challenged in many new ways. When you are doing what is NEXT - Now... it’s not always easy, but you learn to trust God each step of the way and watch him do lots of miracles along the journey. We have a lot of incredible things to share with you this weekend! The following pages contain the general schedule, a detailed workshop schedule, presenters bios and the concert line up and beat battle details for each night. If you need more information stop by the information area in the center of lobby or stop anyone with a Brown Fest volunteer shirt and we’ll be happy to serve you. We’re also doing a HUGE Block Party right here on our campus on Saturday afternoon. Anytime during the conference we encourage you to go to the info. table at the center of the lobby to sign up for the area you want to serve in. So get ready to Grow, Learn, Fellowship, Serve and LEAD!

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11 01. Entrance into the main lobby

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02. Registration 03. Information

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04. Main Restrooms 05. Hip-Hop Shop

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10. Kidz Wing (Media Interview Rooms during concert)

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08. Main Auditorium (General Session, Church Planting Track, Concert) 09. Gym (Artist Track - Break Dancing Event during the concert) 11. Kidz Vibe (Crossover/Women’s Track - DJ Expo during concert) 12. Activate Central (Crossover Volunteer station)

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07. Vending Machines

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13. Classroom One (UYWI Youth Ministry Track)

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14.Classroom Two (Discipleship Track) 15.Video/Audio Studios 16.Crossover Office Complex


Thursday October 4th 3:00pm 6:00pm-7:00pm 7:30pm-8:00pm 8:00pm-9:30pm 10:00pm

Friday October 5th 8:00 am 9:00am - 9:30am 9:30am - 10:15am 10:30am - 11:30am 11:45am - 12:45pm 1:00 - 2:15pm 2:30pm 3:30pm 5:30pm 6:15pm 7:00pm 11:00pm 11:30pm

Saturday October 6th 8:00am 9:00am - 9:30am 9:30am - 10:15am 10:30am - 11:30am 11:45am - 12:45pm 1:00pm - 2:00pm 2:00pm - 2:30pm 2:30pm - 5:00pm 5:30pm 6:15pm 7:00pm 11:00pm 11:30pm

Doors & Registration Open Campus Tours Worship w/ Rawsrvnt & Band Opening General Session w/ Jin Campus Closes Doors & Registration Open Worship in Main Auditorium w/ Ashley & The Reflection Band AM General Session First Breakout Workshop Sessions Second Breakout Workshop Sessions Lunch (Conference Registrants ONLY) PM General Session Campus Closes until Evening Concert Exhibitor’s Area Opens for Set up Tickets o on sale & Doors open for Concert Concert Starts Exhibitor’s area closes Campus Closes Doors & Registration Open Worship in Main Auditorium w/ Crossover’s REMIX AM General Session First Breakout Workshop Sessions Second Breakout Workshop Sessions Lunch (Conference Registrants ONLY) Instructions & Prayer for Outreach in Main Auditorium Outreach Exhibitor’s Area Opens for Set up Tickets go on sale & Doors open for Concert Concert Starts Exhibitor’s Area Closes Campus Closes

Sunday: 10/07/12

10:00am Crossover’s First “Sunday Vibe” Service 11:45am Crossover’s Second “Sunday Vibe” Service 7:00pm Crossover’s Third “Sunday Night Vibe” service

All services will feature Crossover’s “Remix” worship team, Flavor Fest Highlights and a message with Pastor Tommy “Urban D.” Kyllonen as we start our new series “LEAD – Next is Now!” looking at young leaders from the Bible. All services have children’s programing from infants up to 5th grade in our kidz wing.

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Jin Au-Yeung (@iammcjin)

Jin is a Chinese American Hip-Hop artist, songwriter and actor. Jin was the first Asian MC to be signed to a major record label (Ruff Ryders). In 2008 he committed his life to Christ and was baptized. Since then he has released several projects in English and Cantonese representing his faith. Jin has also been heavily involved in acting in Hong Kong and has become a trend-setter in Asia’s hip-hop scene.

Derwin Gray (@DerwinLGray)

Lead Pastor of Transformation Church, a multi-ethnic, multi-generational, mission-shaped community in Indian Land, South Carolina. Transformation Church was recognized as the 2nd fastest growing church by percentage in America for 2010 by Outreach magazine. He is a graduate of Southern Evangelical Seminary and the author of Hero: Unleashing God’s Power in a Man’s Heart. He’s also recognized by many as the Evangelism Linebacker.

Scott Williams (@scottwilliams)

Scott Williams previously served as a key leader and Campus Pastor for LifeChurch.tv. Currently he serves at PeoplesChurch.tv, one of the fastest growing multi-ethnic churches in America. He is the Chief Solutions Officer for Nxt Level Solutions, a consulting company he founded to help businesses, nonprofits and ministries with organizational growth. Scott is a speaker, strategist, consultant and a respected thought leader.

Tommy “Urban D.” Kyllonen (@urband813)

Tommy is the lead pastor at Crossover Church where he has served for nearly 17 years, with the first 6 years as the youth pastor. He is known for his innovation and pioneering in reaching urban culture. Under his leadership Crossover Church has become a model for many churches around the world. Tommy leads the “Urban Coaching Network” where he has coached more than 40 church planters.

Mark Deymaz (@markdeymaz)

Mark DeYmaz is the founding pastor of the Mosaic Church of Central Arkansas, multi-ethnic and economically diverse church where more than 30 nations, walk, work and worship God together as one. A recognized leader in the emerging Multi-ethnic Church Movement, he has written three books, “Building a Healthy Multi-ethnic Church”, “Ethnic Blends”, and HUP: Should Pastors Accept or Reject the Homogeneous Unit Principle?

Delia Harris (@RemixWorshipper)

Delia serves as the worship director at Crossover and oversees worship (REMIX) as well as the training of our youth Teen Remix team. Some of the artists include singers, musicians, DJ’s, rappers, poets, artists and dancers. She has worked in the church for over 35 years and is a licensed minister with a B.M. in Sacred Music and a minor in Theology.

Leigh Piatt-Gonzalez (@leighpiattg)

Leigh is a classically trained musician and writer who attended the “Fame School.” Leigh is currently president of Hope Center Arts, which is comprised of a Christian arts center, music label and academy, and she is also a lead pastor at Hope Center Tabernacle alongside her husband Mario. Leigh is also the director of Sam Cintron’s “Standing in Babylon” Theatrical Concert working together with Sam creatively on various projects.

Sam Cintron (@samcintron)

Sam Cintron is a prolific singer/songwriter and fine artist. Sam has written over 100 songs in English and Spanish including hits that are known internationally. Sam, an art dealer for 10 years prior to his entrance into full time ministry, represented several influential artists curating and organizing shows in the United States and abroad. Sam is currently Pastor of Worship Arts at Hope Center Tabernacle and Vice President of Hope Center Arts.

Lily Perlaza (@lilylorenzo)

Lily has been attending Crossover since she moved to Tampa in 2000, after graduating high school. Lily has worked in business settings and sales in Tampa. Prior to being on staff at Crossover, Lily worked for an international mortgage company and had a specialty of working with clients in their finances, home loan needs and foreclosure proceedings. She currently serves as the Finance Director and Flavor Fest director at Crossover Church.

John Harris (@revjohnharris)

John is currently the Director of the NEXT ministry and Director of Financial Peace University at Crossover Church in Tampa, FL. He was ordained in 2001, and served as the Development Director at Teen Challenge in New Haven, CT from 1998-2003. Three years ago John married his beautiful wife Delia and has a 26 year old daughter, Sarah.

Sori Lorenzo (@sorida11)

Sorida has been apart of the Crossover Family for several years. She even drove all the way from Orlando (over an hour away) for a season. She officially moved to Tampa a few years ago and has served in a variety of ways. Sorida serves on the Flavor Fest planning team and helps coordinate volunteers, outreaches and plan fundraisers. She also runs The I.M. Agency.

Megan Maze (@m3gg3rz)

Megan has been a member of Crossover since 2005, she is an active leader in the Movement Youth Ministry and has been apart of the Flavor Fest planning team since 2007. She also runs her own event planning and booking agency, The I.M. Agency with her business partner Sorida. She has a passion for reaching the Urban Culture and using her skills to organize events to help spread the gospel.

Brady Goodwin Jr. aka Phanatik (@phanatik)

Brady Goodwin aka Phanatik is a two time Grammy Nominated Christian Rapper / Author who has spent almost two decades helping youth and young adults process the integration of Christian Faith and Urban Culture. Brady was a member of the pioneering Christian Rap Group “The Cross Movement”. Today, you can still find Brady rapping, but also speaking and writing as he heads up The Urban Remix Project.

Jerome Vierling (@rootedjerome)

Jerome runs an organization called Soundsgood Ministries that focuses on “Building bridges between today’s youth and the local church”. He is a Hip-Hop artist that puts on outreach events that share the gospel and give CDs away to each kid present. Jerome has performed with Mercy ME, T-Bone, MURS, Othello and others. Jerome developed a discipleship movement to launch after concerts called “Get Rooted”.

Bobby “Tre9” Herring (@tre9online)

Bobby is a rap artist, record label owner, event planner and non-profit founder that has been successful in coordinating strategies to reach those influenced by hip-hop culture. Going from businessman to full time urban missionary he has placed his life in the hands of God and exercised his faith to create weekly Hip-Hop outreach services in poor communities. Bobby is also the co-owner of the Christian Hip-Hop website www.dasouth.com S.O.U.L | Pg10


Lans Jones (@lansjones9)

Lans is the small groups and discipleship pastor at Crossover where he uses his teaching expertise to organize and coordinate all of Crossover’s Roots Groups as well as oversee the discipleship programs and ministries at the church. Lans earned his B.A. in Education at USF in Tampa and after teaching for several years, he responded to God’s calling him to vocational ministry by enrolling in seminary.

Larry Acosta (@UYWILarry)

Larry Acosta is the Founder and CEO of the Hispanic Ministry Center, Urban Youth Workers Institute and Co-founder of KIDWORKS along with his wife Jayme. Under Larry’s leadership, Larry graduated from both Biola University and Talbot School of Theology and completed his doctorate in Leadership Development at Fuller Theological Seminary.

Milton Cambell (@MiltCampbell)

Milton Campbell was born in Atlanta, GA. He is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He also holds a Masters in Divinity and a Masters in Leadership from Luther Rice University. Milton has a heart for people and especially enjoys helping youths understand their unique purpose. He has spent the last 11 years working with students in various capacities.

Tameka Richardson (@antoniece)

Tameka has a Bachelor’s Degree from University of South Florida and is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Biblical Studies from Reformed Theological Seminary. She is the area director for Pinellas County Urban Young Life. She has been involved with middle school and high school urban youth ministry in the Tampa Bay Area for 8 years through Young Life. Young Life is a non-profit Christian organization with a mission to introduce adolescents to Jesus.

Benny “DJ Lopez” Lopez (@djlopez813)

Originally from Philly, PA, Benny and his wife Liz have been in Florida for over two decades as they both graduated from Southeastern University with a degree in education. Benny had been a public school teacher and FCA leader for many years. Lopez is also known for his DJ ability as he has produced close to a dozen albums and countless tracks.

Paul Ferrara (@paullypdog)

Paul aka PaullyP comes to Crossover with his wife Brandy and family from Boston, MA. Together they have over 20 years combined ministry experience with a major focus on Children’s Ministry. He has attended Zion Bible College, Beacon University and Connecticut School of Broadcasting. Paul serves at Crossover Church as the Kidz Director as he and his team of 60 volunteers serve close to 200 children each Sunday.

Brandon ‘dash’ Brinkley (@dashthedj)

Dash has been around Crossover since late 2004. Moving from St. Louis, Dash attended and graduated from Southeastern University in 2008 obtaining his Bachelor of Science degree in Radio and Television Broadcasting. In the summer of 2008, he completed his internship at Crossover and was later brought on staff as the Video Director.

Edward ‘SPE©’ Bayonet (@iamspec)

Edward ‘Spec’ Bayonet served for nearly 15 years as one of Crossover’s core leaders. His innovative ideas and creative designs help develop the promotional look and style that Crossover, Flavor Fest and S.O.U.LMag have today. He holds multiple degrees in AD Design. Spec has designed for some of CHH top names (The Cross Movement, Urban D., Thi’sl, J.R., Rawsrvnt, KB.) Spec currently is a full time local high school teacher of graphic design.

Lucy Kyllonen (@lucyk813)

Lucy is the wife to the one and only Pastor Tommy aka Urban D. They have been in ministry at Crossover Church for over 16 years. In addition to speaking during weekend services, she leads C.H.O.S.E.N. Women’s Ministry, is actively involved in leading women’s small groups, teaching membership classes and assists in the organizational aspects of the ministry. Lucy has a M.A. degree in Mental Health Counseling from Southeastern University.

Michelle Bonilla (@MichelleBonilla)

Michelle has developed into a multifaceted artist, a gifted songwriter, singer, and national speaker. She has performed in the company of established artists such as Israel Houghton, Crystal Lewis, Nicole C. Mullen, Anointed, Out Of Eden, and Papa San. She has also been featured on Cross Movement’s Grammy and Dove nominated album “Higher Definition”.

D-Maub (@DMAUB)

Donny “D-MAUB” Harper is a nationally recognized Christian Hip-Hop artist running his own recording label, One Route Entertainment. In addition, he has participated in panel discussions and led workshops on music and ministry at various sites including SXSW 2011, Fearless Entertainment’s “Talk and Grow” series and City Takers. He is active in his home church and received his minister’s license in 2011.

Tera Carter (@tlc116)

Tera Carter serves as the VP of Reach Booking, an agency that provides booking and tour support for all the artists on its roster. While excited about seeing the Christian Hip-Hop genre grow in the touring industry, Tera is driven by maneuvering through this field from a Biblical context. Tera has been married to her husband Randy for 12 years and lives in Atlanta with their three children: Essence, Isaiah and Sadeja.

K-Drama (@KDrama513)

K-Drama aka Regis Jones is a Christian Rap Artist/Producer on Cross Movement Records, who has released 6 albums. He strives to take Biblical principles and them applicable in today’s times. K-Drama is known for his smile, his humor and his occasional random dancing. He is married to his sweetheart, Charde and has 3 great children. He is an active member of a new urban church plant “The Flow Church” in Cincinnati, OH.

DJ Promote (@DJPromote)

Dj Promote hails from the great state of Texas. This versatile party DJ is ready to move the crowd with his unique mixing skills and over 10 years of DJ experience. Touring the globe, fusing hip-hop with a variety of genres, he brings with him a love for music and for the Lord: “I promote the things I love. I love God. I love music. I love to make stuff. So that’s what you’re gonna get when you listen to DJ Promote. Hopefully it will make you feel as free as I do.”

DJ Wade-o (@wadeOradio)

DJ Wade-O is a New Jersey-based DJ, Radio Host/Producer and blogger who loves Jesus. He hosts a weekly podcast, The Wade-O Radio Show, that has been downloaded over a million times. Wade-o has interviewed the top names in Christian Hip-Hop on his show and touched on many tough topics on the program.

DJ Rhino (@DJRhino1287)

Someplace in rural Indiana a seed was sown in a teen when he saw a DJ rock a morning news show. That seed grew and now DJ Rhino has been DJing for over 15 years. He cut his teeth in the era of vinyl, cheap mixers, and cassette recorders. He has been part of hip hop crew in the 90’s, released many mixtapes, and is currently a Table Turner DJ and part of the One Accord DJ Alliance. S.O.U.L | Pg11


- GENERAL SESSION #1 Speaker Name: Jin Au-Yeung General Session Title: Brand New Me... Session Description: Jin will be sharing his story of transformation of how he went from winning BET’s freestyle Fridays to releasing an album with Ruff Ryders to being featured in the movie 2 Fast 2 Furious to eventually moving to Hong Kong and starting a relationship with Christ. He’ll be sharing how he is now using his platform to share the gospel through music, acting, social media and more! FRIDAY MORNING - GENERAL SESSION #2 Speaker Name: Derwin Gray General Session Title: Vision - Transforming the Future in the Present Session Description: As a leader, what has God called you to bring into existence, that does not yet exist? How you answer that question changes everything! Are you ready to transform the future? You must live your vision in the present. FRIDAY NIGHT - GENERAL SESSION #3 Speaker Name: Scott Williams General Session Title: Leading Through Diversity Session Description: Nearly 50 years ago Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “We must face the sad fact that at the eleven o’ clock hour on Sunday morning when we stand to sing, we stand in the most segregated hour in America...” Unfortunately Dr. King’s quote still rings true in 2012. In this Session Scott Williams, Author of “Church Diversity – Sunday The Most Segregated Day Of The Week” will call on this generation of world changers to step-up, lead and change the complexion of Sunday Mornings. Its time to lead like Jesus, because Next Is Now!

Friday Morning Speaker Name: Mark Deymaz Workshop Title: The Right Stuff: Leading Diverse Communities for the Sake of the Gospel Workshop Description: Tomorrow’s leaders (and early adopters today) will view themselves as pastors of entire communities and not just of those who attend their services. They will lead churches that reflect the community and not just build bridges to it. They will understand the three essential components of community transformation and work them to bring real, redemptive, change to communities beyond mere rhetoric. In this workshop, come discover why you should and how you can be that kind of leader and build that kind of church today! Friday Afternoon Speaker Name(s): Delia Harris / Leigh Piatt-Gonzalez / Sam Cintron Workshop Title: Be Strong, Be Bold, Be Holy! Workshop Description: “The Arts” steer the culture, and it’s time for the worshippers of God to rise up and stand up. How do we harness the arts (music, dance, rap, spoken word, film, drama, etc.) and maximize it for God’s glory? How do we stay creative while keeping the gospel at the center? We’ll answer these questions and talk about “Character vs. Talent” and “What will it cost to take your ministry to the next level.

Friday Morning Speaker Name: Brady Goodwin Jr aka Phanatik Workshop Title: Regeneration: Reaching Adults with Youth Ministry and Vice-Versa Workshop Description: As Hip Hop generation 1 grows to more leadership roles and positions the church is faced with a challenge and an opportunity to reach two generations that have gone largely un-evangelized by the traditional church. Come take a closer look at the dilemma and brainstorm possible solutions. Friday Afternoon Speaker Name: Jerome Vierling Workshop Title: More than Music Workshop Description: Focusing on follow up and discipleship for the local church. An event is cool, but what is next? Christianity is more than Sunday’s and big events. Musicians are more than concerts and more than music. It’s our job to build the saints.

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Friday Morning Speaker Name: Benny “DJ Lopez” Lopez Workshop Title: 3D Leadership Workshop Description: A holistic and balanced approach to youth ministry. This session will discuss how to avoid burnout, instability and ineffectiveness. Friday Afternoon Speaker Name: Milton Campbell Workshop Title: Building a Youth Ministry That Lasts Workshop Description: Youth Ministry is so much more than just getting students to show up. Once they come, what happens then? Spiritual development is, in part, a constant, ongoing, dynamic, and sometimes difficult interplay between three core spiritual components: awareness and awakening, connecting and belonging, and a way of life. This workshop will take a look at these spiritual components discovered from three years of Search Institute’s research. It will also challenge you to see how each component can help build a youth ministry that is about developing kids spiritually and not having them just entertained.

Friday Morning Speaker Name: Paul Ferrara Workshop Title: How to manage a successful Kid’s Ministry in the Urban community Workshop Description: This intense, fun, interactive, hand on session will help you run a quality children’s ministry in the urban community. Everything from start to finish! We’ll dive into: How to start up a kids dept. and keep it running. Fresh ideas for volunteer recruitment and starting up a volunteer central. How to delegate to your workers, how to manage your team with love, proper security techniques, sign in and out techniques, where you can find good teaching materials that are relevant and much more! Friday Afternoon Speaker Name(s): Edward ‘spec’ Bayonet & Brandon ‘dash’ Brinkley Workshop Title: How We Do! Workshop Description: Learn how two of the most creative minds utilize artistic gifts, talents and resources to create a long lasting impression to visitors and viewers from around the globe. We will focus on how we create and market/advertise a brand, working with a team and delivering/packaging it for masses. (Designers, Videographers, Directors, Nerds & Geeks are encouraged to come ;)

Friday Morning Speaker Name: Michelle Bonilla Workshop Title: My Music, My Life, & The Industry Workshop Description: This one hour workshop focuses a light-hearted, slightly comedic version of my personal experiences first as a wife to RockSoul Production’s CEO Lee Jerkins, with highlights concerning my successes, failures, and growth as a recording artist in this constantly changing Christian music industry. I will candidly share my testimony, the many joys and inevitable frustrations of working with your spouse. With great respect and admiration for God and all that He has done in my life, I will share the lessons I have learned in this 10 year journey which have impacted my walk with Christ, my relationship with my amazing husband, and my relationship to the music industry. Friday Afternoon Speaker Name: D-Maub & K-Drama Workshop Title: The Balancing Act Workshop Description: Balancing ministry with family and the challenges that come with striving to achieve a happy, healthy home and successful ministry. Come hear from two artists that went full-time in the past few years and have learned to trust, be proactive and keep things balanced at home in the midst of making music and traveling.

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SATURDAY MORNING - GENERAL SESSION #4 Speaker Name: Tommy “Urban D.” Kyllonen General Session Title: We got Next... Next is Now! Session Description: For years many of us sat on the sidelines watching the game progress. We had fresh ideas, innovation and strategies of what we would do when we got to step on the court. That time has come. Many of us are now in lead positions in our churches and our ministries. How will we steward the responsibility God has given us? What will be different? What will be the same? How can we maximize our efforts to spread the gospel and stay biblically centered? In this general session Pastor Tommy will share many tough lessons he has learned as the lead pastor at Crossover as we also look at several young leaders from the scripture as their next became now.

Saturday Morning Speaker Name(s): Lily Perlaza, John Harris, I.M. Agency: Sori Lorenzo and Megan Maze Workshop Title: The Urban Church can be excellent! Workshop Description: When you walk into Crossover you can see the huge facility, all the people and all the ministry happening... but how does it really go down? What are some of the systems behind the scenes that keep this move of God organized? Yes... God honors organization, planning and excellence! You’ll hear from key leaders from Crossover as they talk about discipleship, stewardship, outreach and funding it all! Saturday Afternoon Speaker Name: Tommy “Urban D.” Kyllonen and Urban Coaching Network Panel Workshop Title: Raising up the “Next” leaders in the Urban Church Workshop Description: Tommy “Urban D.” Kyllonen and a panel of urban church planters will chop it up about doing church and raising up leaders in the urban context. Tommy leads a coaching network (UCN) that now has over 40 alumni. He’ll be joined by several of these pastors on a panel in this session. The panel will discuss leadership development, discipleship, church discipline and empowerment.

Saturday Morning Speaker Name: Bobby “Tre9” Herring Workshop Title: Building an army of Urban Missionaries Workshop Description: Learn practical strategies to multiply disciples in prisons, schools and communities where people are far from God. We’ll also explore effective outreach events, mentorship programs, discipleship tools, and training resources that are reshaping Christian Mission work and providing a way for all believers to engage in ministry. Saturday Afternoon Speaker Name: Lans Jones Workshop Title: Small Groups, Deep Roots and Abundant Fruit Workshop Description: While the face of a church may be its pastors and leaders, the heart of it should be its small groups. Is it possible for small groups to bear big fruit? It should be, after all, this is the method for growth instituted and utilized by The Lord Himself. Small doesn’t have to mean less. Come explore how God uses small groups to accomplish big things like authentic discipleship, community and service.

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Saturday Morning Speaker Name: Larry Acosta Workshop Title: Core Competencies of Next Gen. Urban Leaders Workshop Description: WHO ARE YOU and WHAT DO YOU NEED? You need a leadership download! What are some of the competencies you will need to maximize your calling? Learn practical skills and valuable tools for building your capacity as a leader. Saturday Afternoon Speaker Name: Tameka Richardson (@antoniece) Workshop Title: Youth Ministry, Relationships and the Gospel Workshop Description: This workshop will elevate your youth ministry with simple and practical ideas for the urban youth worker. Leaders will gain insight on the importance of building a holistic environment that will transform the lives of youth as they frequent their neighborhoods, homes, and schools. Learn best practices for taking your ministry to the next level by utilizing resources and team concepts that will help you engage youth in all areas of their lives.

Saturday Morning Speaker Name: Lucy Kyllonen Workshop Title: Thriving in Your Fishbowl Workshop Description: For women in ministry being real with others can be difficult. Why can’t we open ourselves up to our church community and core of Christian friends and let them see behind the curtain? God doesn’t need us to be perfect to serve. He wants us to serve in our messiness. Join Lucy as she discusses ways to leading healthy private lives as we live in the public eye. Saturday Afternoon Speaker Name: Lucy Kyllonen, Michelle Bonilla & Panel Workshop Title: Women in Ministry in the 21st Century Workshop Description: What has been the tug-of-war in your ministry experience? What have been some of the joys and challenges of being a woman in ministry? Depending on geography, generation, culture, race, martial status, etc. There are different elements that hinder or enhance you ministry experience. Join a panel of women who will facilitate an open discussion of what it means to be a woman and a leader in the urban culture.

Saturday Morning Speaker Name: Tera Carter Workshop Title: The Foundation Workshop Description: This workshop will cover the foundational aspects of putting together a tour. The areas covered will be budgeting, routing, marketing and tour branding. Saturday Afternoon Speaker Name: DJ Promote, DJ Wade-o and DJ Rhino Workshop Title: In the Beginning Workshop Description: In beginning was the DJ, setting the table for what would become known as hip-hop and a crucial part of all urban music. The DJ is now on the cutting edge of culture, impacting society beyond the turntables. In this interactive workshop we will chop it up with influential DJs on how the art of djing can be used for record impact on the mission field, in the church, in the streets, on the internet and even main stage. There is something for you in this workshop whether you are a pastor, artist, seasoned DJ, or a fan of the culture.

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OFFICIAL JUDGES : Wit is 1/3 of the production trio The Watchmen. The Watchmen are responsible for 5 songs on Lecrae’s #1 selling album ‘Gravity’. : Veteran hip hop hop artist, producer, and DJ, Theory Hazit is on Humble Beast Records along with Beautiful Eulogy, Propaganda, and Lee Green. : Veteran DJ, Promote has turned tables for everyone you can think of in Christian Hip Hop and has toured all over the country rocking festivals and arenas.

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COMPETITORS • BMII (Eshon Burgundy “Close Your Eyes”, Viktory “Unstoppable”) • hothandz (Japhia Life “I’m A Mess”, R-Swift “Midnight Star”) • Marv4MoBeats (PRo “Full Court Mess”, Saylah “Lost Soul”) • Rey King (Rhema Soul “So Beautiful”, Rey King “Rain Diamonds”) • Skrip (Andy Mineo “Hello World”, Thi’sl “Hey Momma”) • Spechouse (Flame “Surrender”, Thi’sl “Hope Road”) • Swade Beatz (R.M.G. “Grain in The Sand”, KB “Go” - ‘Who is KB?’) • Tyshane “Elite” Thompson (Andy Mineo “Young”, Lecrae “Violence”)


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engaging, excellent way. We’re praying for Lecrae and the Reach Camp as many new opportunities will present themselves now more than ever. You can catch them on the Unashamed Tour this fall in an arena near you! - www.reachrecords.com

Our movement is celebrating as Reach Records co-owner/artist Lecrae sold 70,490 copies of “Gravity” in his first week. This put him in the 3rd spot on Billboard’s top 200 album chart for the week of Sept. 4th. He was up against some well known groups. The 1st and 2nd spot went to mainstream groups Matchbox Twenty and Imagine Dragons. The previous week Christian pop artist Toby Mac (formerly of DC Talk) landed the #1 slot on Billboard’s charts with sales of 69,000 with his new album “Eye On It” (which Lecrae was also featured on). “Gravity” even peaked at #1 on overall albums in itunes and sat in the #1 and #2 on the itunes hip-hop charts for days. God has been doing something really special with Reach Records the past few years as He has expanded their platform. Each of Lecrae’s past few albums have broken records. In 2008 his “Rebel” release sold close to 10,000 in the first week as it broke the former record that The Cross Movement had held from their “Holy Culture” album. In 2010 Lecrae’s “Rehab” album more than doubled “Rebel’s” sales with 25,864 in the first week. That turned heads as he landed at #17 on the Billboard 200... but now they are really paying attention as all eyes are on Crae and our movement. In a day and age where the music industry is declining and record sales are drying up this is truly amazing. They are waking up to see there is a large, growing audience that wants honest hip-hop that passionately expresses the gospel in a relevant, S.O.U.L | Pg20

Fresh off his “Butterfly Sessions: beats by Dert” album, Sivion is back with a new fulllength release titled “Group Therapy”. The project features an amazing array of guest producers including S1 (Jay-Z, Kanye West, Beyonce), The ARE (De La Soul, Nicki Minaj, Keyshia Cole), Dert, Theory Hazit, Playdough, Sojourn, Picnictyme, Freddie Bruno, Izzy the Kidd and others. The emcee guest list isn’t shabby either. muzeONE, Jurny Big, Sintax the Terrific, Propaganda, Othello, Braille, Sareem Poems, Manchild, Sojourn, Ahred, Shames Worthy, Macho, Theory Hazit, DJ Manwell, Heath McNease, Zane and more flex their lyrical talents on “Group Therapy”. Look for this release via Illect Recordings in early 2013.

Fresh off the heels of a successful fund raising campaign, Sphere of Hip-Hop

continues to expand their CD Outreach ministry. The campaign has allowed the program to become self sufficient financially in addition to being able to more generously support those who need the resource. The program matches up various at-risk youth outreaches and ministry programs around the world with free music to give away to youth. Since the program was started in 2005, Sphere has donated over 37,000 CDs to outreaches in over a dozen countries.

In case you haven’t heard... Humblebeast and Alert has partnered with Tyndale Publishing to create the first ever urban audio bible. It’s the scripture being read in the NLT version over a soundtrack of fresh hip-hop beats. The project was recently featured on the 700 Club and was birthed as a response of high illiteracy rates in inner-city Chicago. It’s now being utilized all over! We’ve heard Alert has been grinding on the next edition of new portions of scripture that will be released sometime in 2013. Humblebeast producers are working on the sound scape along with some outside producers like Wit of The Watchmen (who recently worked on Lecrae’s Gravity and Church Clothes). Stay tuned for the new release of Streetlights. In the meantime you can download the current street lights scripture portions and watch the youtube videos of several of the scripture passages at: www.streetlightsbible.com


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Microphone Jones

Microphone Jones

Microphone Jones has been in and out of the studio, from going to the Rachel Ray Show to recording his latest album “ Wake me from my Grave”. Microphone Jones has been working it…literally. Jones’ recent album “ Wake me from my Grave”, which references Ephesians 2, talks about being made alive in Christ. “The important part of the [album] is God’s grace and mercy that has saved us,” Jones said. “I’ve been presented a lot of selfrighteousness in the church.”

Ruth Vega

Judah

appointed time in the purpose of God. “I want to encourage people with that word [Kairos],” Vega said. “We often think that things have to happen on our clock.” Vega said that the original title for her album was Unbound, but after listening to a powerful sermon about the Kairos moment, she fervently sought the Lord for direction on what to name her first album. “There’s a God time that we have to be sensitive to, and respectful to, and allow him to work that way,” Vega said. On her album she has a track with an artist from Costa Rica and an artist from Trinidad. “Despite what the norm is, I felt from the Lord to do an album that had a collection of songs that would reach the urban community, but would also reach other cultures.” Vega is planning to do an album release concert in Philadelphia and Costa Rica. Check out Ruth Vega’s new album “Kairos” on itunes.

Judah

Jones, has also been working on the Feed the Nations tour and doing shows with artists in Orlando and Tampa. “I’ve been going out and building relationships with leaders and organizations to help promote what they do,” Jones said. Jones plans to continue his work on the Feed the Nations tour with Urban D, Jon G, Mysterious, Jerrell, and Ker-leen. To listen and purchase Microphone Jones album “Wake me from my Grave” go to itunes.

Ruth Vega

Ruth Vega has been keeping herself very busy since her appearance in “The Booth” at Flavor Fest 12. She recently released her first album “Kairos”. “I’ve been working on [my album] for almost four years, and a lot of obstacles came up along my journey,” Vega said. “But I’m super [thankful] that [my album] didn’t come out sooner or that it didn’t come out when I wanted.” The title for her new album “Kairos” is the Greek word meaning an

Judah is a Christian hip-hop artist that released his recent album “The Mechanic” this year with Twelve Two Productions. “[I] believe that music is the most powerful influence in the world,” Judah said. “You [won’t] meet a person that doesn’t like music.” Judah’s recent album, “The Mechanic” is a compilation of powerful and inspirational lyrics with catchy and fresh beats. “If you listen to music, you’re going to hear the message in the music,” Judah said. Judah, who also works along side A.M., believes that his music is his ministry, so he gives his fans and listeners his music for free online. To check out Judah’s new album “ The Mechanic” go to: www.twelvetwoproductions.com It’s available for FREE download!

Are you an INDIE artist? Wanna get a featured in S.O.U.LMAG? Contact us: info@thesoulmag.com S.O.U.L | Pg22


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SM - How did you come up with the title for Stop The Funeral? AMBA - My lean is to come up with the opportunity to reiterate and proclaim the good news. The good news is God’s ability to conquer death, demise, deterioration, dismay and disappointment, all of the things that are negative. So this is a way to say it. I went through a season in my life where I just felt like, metaphorically, I was dying; felt like my momentum was dying, my reputation was dying, my relationships were dying and God stopped that. And that is good news, and that is exactly what He promised me. So, as of right now, I realized I wanted to celebrate this powerful gospel, this powerful announcement that death is not the end for those who are in Christ and who trust in him. Destruction, dismay and decay is not the end for those who place their hope in Christ. He can bring things back to life or He can hinder death. He is the one that this album is about, and that this is a great way to say what we always say, and that is that there is a good news out there, and it is called the gospel. SM - You are in a new label right now, Xist Music. There are a few artists on there that I am familiar with; Da Truth, and Jai. How long have you been with the label? AMBA - Just for one project. For me, it’s been a couple of years. The recording process, developing the album, the work in the album, and heading into a new one that is not titled yet, so can’t speak on it. Yeah, just coming off of Cross Movement Records. Had a nice run with Cross Movement, and then I was looking for what now? At the time, I was coming back from some things, and basically, it was like, yo [what label] is small enough to be very concerned about you, but willing enough to be very wise and on point, in their practices. I came into contact with Xist. They believed in me, and it was very vacant, and they were looking for pieces, key pieces, in me and eventually Truth, and then they added to that since then. They have been very supportive. SM - Are you doing any collaborations with any of the other label mates? AMBA - Not right now. We are on a compilation together that just came out. I have done so many compilations with Truth that it almost seems redundant. And some of the newer guys I am just meeting. Labels sometimes give you the impression that everybody is sort of rolling together but we really are scattered abroad. It’s not that easy to develop family chemistry as it would seem because we are so scattered and we are also doing things that are different. But you never know. Jahaziel; I am working on something with him. He is a UK artist that’s on the label. We may be looking at some other people. We will see how it goes. SM - I understand that you are on tour now, and that you just finished up the domestic part of the tour. What is the theme of the tour that you are doing?

SM - The Flavor Fest Conference theme is leadership this year. I know you are very experienced in music and you have been around for a while. I even feel that you are one of the pioneers. What can you tell the aspiring artists and those that want to get involved in this genre? What can you say to encourage them as it pertains to leadership? AMBA - I believe that leadership is taking the initiative to set the tone and facilitate the right plan of action on behalf of others. And I believe that God has graced everybody to lead in regards to things that He has sovereignly graced them to do. In other words, leaders usually have an exemplary ethic, as givers, they lead by giving. As they have an exemplary giving ethic, people actually follow them, whether or not they are throwing their weight around. You follow leaders; that is just what we do. We all can recognize when somebody has a gift or grace on them in an exemplary way. I do believe that’s what leadership is. You don’t see God telling you to take the lead it says the greatest are those that serve. The images of the scriptures are doing what you do in obedience to God, and people will be impacted. So I just think that leadership is embedded in man. Man is the leader, God’s worker. In Genesis, it says let us make man in our own image. Let him rule for us. Let him lead for us. I think it is embedded in who we are as humans. I think that God gives us roles and responsibilities in His world. I think that men should be leaders in their homes. I think that God has placed elders and deacons to be leaders within His community. I think that the church is supposed to be the leader by example; follow me as I follow Christ. Again, these are the ways that we imitate our God who took the lead. And by this we know that leaders lead by serving. That is what it is. That’s the leaders I respect; the leaders of self, home, city, church, world. SM - What next for Ambassador? AMBA - I want to write. I want to reengage the genre. I have been in the cut. First, I was in the cut because I was involved in church planting, then I was in the cut because I took a sabbatical, had to sit down for a while. Then I was in the cut because I was on my comeback, and I didn’t feel like I needed to be loud and boisterous, I needed to listen and learn. Now I am ready to resume engaging the culture, especially theologically. For me, it’s just trying to see more producing, more writing, do some more speaking, preaching, conferencing, and I am going to put out a new project. I want to put out a new album, and always do what I am doing musically. Music, I think, is right in the vein of the culture. And I think the culture does not readily listen to preachers and speakers like they do musicians, but they will listen to preachers and speakers who are musicians. That’s one of those luxuries where the two come together. They make room for each other. So that is what I want to do. I also want to do a documentary on Christian Hip-Hop through my lens, that journey, that history. So as to remind people of some of its past that never really got focused on before, and take them to where we are now, just as people look at the change, the shift, the diversity. They can see it in a context. •••

AMBA - The Move Tour SM - And we heard that the tour is soon going to Africa? AMBA - Right. It is an Africa stretch. It is slightly different from the domestic stretch. On the domestic stretch, we had Jai, the artist and singer, Jessica Ready. The tour is a little more scaled back without Jai and Jessica, but we have Jahaziel. We didn’t have Jahaziel in the states, we have him for the Africa one. It will be Ambassador, Da Truth, Sean Simmons, another singer, and Jahaziel.

The Ambassador

“Stop The Funeral” NOW AVAILABLE xistmusic.com twitter.com/ambassador215 facebook.com/ambassador215

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Pictured: Tre-9 & Scott Free

Written By: Nikeya Williams

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Hip-Hop Hope and Citytakers Ministries travel around the U.S. to train and equip Christian hiphop artists and rappers through The Hip-Hop Hope Unity Conference. “We got to go back and teach this hip-hop generation of Christian [artists] and hip-hop culture, that you need to find your calling first, then let your artistry compliment it,” said Tre9, Founder of Hip-Hop Hope Ministries. The conference, which started in 2010, is designed to bring Christian hip-hop artists and rappers together for a two-day event that is usually held on Friday and Saturday. The two-day event starts on a Friday with a kick off party that brings all the hip-hop artists together, and then on Saturday they have workshops during the day with speakers, and on Saturday night they have an outreach/church service that is open to the whole city. The workshops are designed to help artists and rappers lead effective ministries in their communities. Tre9, Scott Free, and a featured speaker teach on the importance of shifting their focus off of the music industry and back to the ministry in the workshops. “We haven’t set-up a culture to be able to communicate to teach and train the artist to be anything but musicians,” said Scott Free, Director of Citytakers Ministries. “I feel like we imitate what a person of success is doing, whether that’s in the world or in the church.” The outreach/service segment of the conference teaches the artists and rappers practical ways

that they can actively reach out to people in their cities and communities, so they can make a positive change. “We give them practical ways to reach people in their cities, from [hosting] jail ministries [to] homeless ministries,” said Free. Tre9 said that as a Christian hip-hop artist, his focus in the past was on making music and the music industry, but as he grew in his relationship with God he recognized that God’s calling on his life was more important. “When I discovered that there’s no calling in the Bible according to your talent, and in my case that was rap,” said Tre9. “Then I discovered my true calling, which is evangelism, preaching, teaching, and pastoring.” In the future, Tre9 and Free both hope that Christian hip-hop artists and rappers will be inspired after the conference, to go into their cities and train, evangelize, and disciple people in their communities. “We’re looking for Christian rappers and hip-hop artist that’s putting in kingdom work,” said Tre9. They also hope that they will be able to help the Christian hip-hop artist start house churches in their communities. •••

For more information about these conferences stay tuned to www.dasouth.com

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“I’M IN LOVE WITH JESUS. THAT’S LIKE, OFF TOP.” It was perhaps the most unique and substantive bachelor introduction given to reality TV star Omarosa on the Donald J. Trump presents The Ultimate Merger dating show. The speaker was ordained minister Eduardo “Eddy” Puyol and fully encapsulated both his commitment to his faith and roots in the hip-hop culture as a recording artist.

Whether it’s through songs like the Top 40 Billboard Christian Rock hit “On Fire” that

NASCAR driver Michael McDowell selected for his intro theme and was performed at Miami Heat star Dwyane Wade’s 30th birthday brunch or his sets on the 2012

Dove Awards telecast and THE STORY Tour stops, Eddy, performing under the name “Rawsrvnt” (pronounced raw servant), creates music that connects people to God’s heartbeat.

This passion has led him to travel extensively, bringing his hip-hop/rock/reggae fusion art to preach, uplift, and touch hearts across the globe with the redemptive nature of God’s love. “My music isn’t just for young people or inner city people or American people,” Puyol says. “It’s for all people. People our Father created in His own image, who have an intrinsic value, and who He loves so very passionately.”

His latest project is called The Band and showcases the direction Rawsrvnt’s ministry and career are going in. It also allows churches, event planners, and fans to get a taste of what his live show is like and to experience what it’s like to worship God the way Puyol does – simply “Raw.”

Stay Connected with Raw @:

rawsrvnt.com | twitter.com/rawsrvnt | facebook.com/rawsrvnt

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SM - You and your crew stay on your grind for the gospel, so what’s good with Rocksoul?

MB - At RockSoul, we are always busy on the grind for Jesus!

Continuing to impact our generation for Christ, we’ve recently added Donielle Rodwell and Mark Arthur to our music label. And with me, things are steadily changing; and boy are they moving fast! While my husband and I are preparing album #3 titled “Freedom”, it’s truly been on our hearts to do a worship project. We sincerely believe this is the place where God is directing us. And you know what? I’m not saying No! I am opening my heart and mind to expanding my horizons - like Law School, speaking and starting a non-profit “GirlsUnitedTM”. As for my pending motherhood, my husband and I are excited to announce: it’s a boy! He’ll be here soon. Well let’s just say little Lee Jr. is already knocking my socks off! I’m so in love!

SM - Beautiful skin on the outside comes from more than make up. What lifestyle of discipline helps you glow with health in every picture and video you share with the world?

MB - Wow! Awww! Always so humbled

by these comments. Well, I guess I’d have to thank my momma for her awesome genes - lol. Of course, I do work out 3 to 5 days a week, stay up on healthy grooming regiments, drink lots of water, eat healthy and make time for sleep. To prepare for concerts, I run and sing together for miles. Living life God’s way is not easy, but brings peace and joy that you can’t get anywhere in the world. Peace on the inside keeps you beautiful on the outside.

SM - In one of your music videos, “This is YOUR Show”, you resist the

What the enemy thought could work as a scare tactic, turned into an incredible adventure with God. As for the test results, let’s just say doctors can’t figure it out. Someday I’ll share the details - Lol! I love my God!

SM - In 2010 you graduated to a new level of understanding.

Congrads! Share with us what inspired your major and any hilarious adventures you’ve experienced.

MB - Omgoodness! Funny? I’m not sure if I’ve had a funny moment,

but I’ve def had some “Whoa, what are you doing God moments?” Moving to Philly was one of them! Like the time before I released my 1st record titled “Phenomenal”, …I was looking for a job. Then one day coming from my temp job, which was awful, a friend of friend called … “so Temple University is hiring, come in and fill out an application… oh and by the way… they will pay for your education.” Ummm, can you say GLORY to GOD! Since I got the job at Temple University, I wasted no time in registering for classes. I truly think education helps to fuel your passion even more fervently. And I hope my whole life, not just my music inspires people.

SM - How does God speak to you

personally? Bumper stickers, radio songs, animals…

MB - He has spoken to me through people, scripture, and nature.

God’s perfect timing confirms a prayer when people give me encouragement with no idea what I prayed about. And when I wake up in the morning and hear the birds singing right outside my window, I know it’s God showing me his Love.

peer pressures of Hollywood. When you picture urban girls becoming role models, what do you believe is the best way to make sure they don’t just become models?

SM - With joyful expectation for the future, where do you think God is

MB - What a loaded question! Wish I had more time and space.

MB - First, He’s leading me to motherhood! Jan 19th is my due date.

But I’m super glad you asked. The answer to this question touches at one of the core values of my girls program “Girls United™”; which is education. Hollywood’s criteria for recognizing talent is down right narrow-minded and discriminatory. We are much more than a stereotype. So, what do I think we should do? Learn who we are as daughters of the King! Once we have proper identities founded in Christ, it becomes much harder for someone else to tell us who we need to be. I have actually known Christian actors who wouldn’t say or do things for a role, and God gave them favor with the director, so the part was re-written for them! Created to model God’s image, we are beautifully and wonderfully made (Psalm139.14). So wherever God wants you to be. But, always remember He wants you to be a light.

leading you next?

And I can’t wait to meet my son! Plus worship, school, and a girl’s program, I’m truly taking this one step at a time. So I’m more focused on my relationship with HIM than anything else. God reveals what I need to be doing a little at a time and my job is to remain faithful with those tasks. I move forward trusting that GOD’s guiding my every step.

SM - Speaking on Urban Life, I think we’ve got ourselves another role model. Peace : )

SM - In the song, You Don’t Have to Cry, the lyrics read: “You might

not understand the reason for the rain, but Jesus understands and will take you past the pain.” Certain that you’ve preserved through some storms of your own, do you care to share some rocky times that Jesus turned into smooth sailing?

MB - Whew! Also another loaded question. God has brought me

through so much. I don’t even know where to start. I will tell you this, most recently I received some pretty difficult news and it nearly devastated me. Almost to the point where I wasn’t even sure I knew how to pray about it. Ever been there? You see God led me to read the book of Job almost a full week before I went to Detroit. While reading, He brought to my memory a “random” word of encouragement, as if to say, “Remember I AM with you and everything will be alright.”

To learn more about Michelle check out www.rocksoulonline.com

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n 1998 a group of Christian Hip-Hop Artists here in Tampa formed Flavor Alliance. We also endeavored to print a magazine called “Flavor Magazine... A taste of Hip-Hop”. It was an 18 page magazine featuring the legendary Skill Methodz Break Dancing Crew that regularly attended and practiced at Crossover. It was actually printed on newspaper print in full color as that was an underground trend back then. Man, we were so proud of our first issue. I remember the excitement as we went to the printers to pick up the boxes of copies. We had big plans for this mag... but we only ended up printing one issue and things fizzled out as other more important ministry opportunities came up. It wasn’t time... Crossover Church launched The Flavor Fest Conference in the fall of 2000. There were so many people hitting us up for information and resources on urban ministry that we decided to do a training conference. We put together a conference brochure that was kind of like a magazine... sorta. I remember going to Office Depot and spending hours with some of our team making copies and punching holes and putting in the spiral binding and clear covers to put them together. Ahh... those were the days. Finally in 2002 we came up with the idea to do a magazine for Flavor Fest. A full color glossy 24 page magazine. We gathered up some advertisers from the Christian HipHop Community and we published our very first “real” magazine. There was lots of buzz about it and everyone was excited to see it. This was the same year I became the lead pastor at Crossover and we wanted to put together some type of visitors packet to give to people when they first came to our church. We didn’t want to put a boring text driven tri-fold together, but we didn’t know how to really do it. After we printed our first real “Flavor Fest” magazine in 2002 we decided in early 2003 to print a “Crossover” Magazine in to give out to first time guests. This was a huge “WOW” factor for a small, young, urban church to be giving out a real magazine to first time guests. People loved it as it made a huge first impression. In the early 2000’s there was a Christian Hip-Hop Magazine that started from Canada called “Feed”. The owners actually moved to Tampa and were part of Crossover Church for a season as they were seeing if moving to the states would help take the magazine to the next level. I had the opportunity to write a column “Tranzlations” for several issues. Although there had been other small magazines focusing on Christian HipHop in the past, most faded out and didn’t last long. Feed was the first of it’s kind magazine for our movement that was professional, done in excellence and was consistent. This magazine inspired us and was a great resource. Unfortunately in 2004 they printed their 9th issue which was their last. Over the next few years we printed one magazine for Flavor Fest and one magazine for Crossover and they kept growing in content and ads as our conference and our church continued to grow in size and influence. People kept telling us we needed to go national and try to get it in stores as we were the only magazine out there of our kind. We kept shying away from it saying “We just do this magazine for the conference and the church and include some other content.” We didn’t want to become the voice of our movement in print, but as there was no others we soon realized we were filling in that void. After much

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prayer and conversation in 2006 we made a major shift as we wanted to bring both magazines under the same umbrella and create a new national branding for them. “S.O.U.LMAG” (Speaking On Urban Life) was birthed and became the new official name of the magazine that was printed as a ministry of Crossover Church. Our plan was to print at least 2-3 issues per year with one issue being the Flavor Fest conference guide with about 10 pages dedicated to the Fest. One of the other issues would highlight Crossover Church along with other content about music and things happening in urban culture and ministry. That issue would be the one we would continue to give out for free at our services to all of our first time guests. By 2007 the magazine had official distribution in mainstream stores through “Ingram Periodicals”. We had people hitting us up from all over the country that picked it up at their local Barnes and Nobles or Borders. We really pushed to get the magazine in Family Christian Bookstores, but for some reason they never would take it. As you know Borders and many other bookstores are now gone and the few that are left are struggling as digital books have outpaced physical ones over the past few years. But, we are still here and adapting to the changes as we still print the same amount of physical copies, but we’re growing exponentially as we now offer the magazine digitally for free. That’s right... now anyone from anywhere in the world with internet access can download S.O.U.LMAG. That’s new with this 20th issue. We’re also making our entire digital catalogue of back issues free (they were previously 99 cents each). Publishing 20 issues is not easy. As I wrote this article it took me down “Memory Lane” of the many seasons our ministry has been through the past decade. Edward “Spec” Bayonet has been by my side as the designer and “Creative Director” of the magazine. We have put countless hours and sacrifice into the mag. The gospel has changed our lives and we want to see it impact others in urban culture. But, this hasn’t been a two man show. There has been many other dedicated people that have played a role in the magazine as well. Check out the credits pages of each issue and see who the S.O.U.L Team was for each one! Here’s what many people don’t know or can easily forget about S.O.U.LMAG. It’s run by all volunteers... including myself and Spec. All of our writers, editors, photographers, ad people and graphic designers volunteer their time as the small budget we have all goes into printing (as you can see we don’t cut corners on printing). We have to get creative to keep the magazine going in a world where print media is quickly shrinking and ad revenue is drying up. We even do some product trades with record labels, clothing companies and publishers as we get their stuff in Crossover’s Hip-Hop Shop, sell it and then use the money for printing. It’s risky for us... but somehow God always provides the resources for each issue to happen. We’ll keep going as long as HE makes a way. Most of our volunteers are members at Crossover Church as this magazine is a ministry out of our church. Our church is into the arts and technology as we want to harness those things and use them for the advancement of the gospel. We want to create platforms for creatives to use their gifts and talents to impact the culture in excellence. •••


OUR HISTORY... 0

1998 (Honorary Mention) Flavor Magazine... a taste of Flavor: Our first swing at publishing a magazine. It covered Flavor Alliance, Skill Methodz B-Boy Crew and the local Christian Hip-Hop scene in Florida.

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Issue #1 Flavor Fest Magazine 2002 featuring Corey Red and Precise, Knowdaverbs and Pettidee.

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Issue #2 Crossover Magazine 2003 featuring Flavor Alliance and ministries of Crossover.

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Issue #3 Flavor Fest Magazine 2003 featuring Pettidee, 4th Avenue Jones and New Breed. Issue #4 Crossover Magazine 2004 featuring CCC staff, Splinter Sk8 Park and ministries of Crossover. Issue #5 Flavor Fest Magazine 2004 featuring Da Truth, Manafest and The spirituality in Hip-Hop. Issue #6 Crossover Magazine 2005 featuring “We Got Next”, Street Stories, Hip-Hop and Hoops and more ministries of Crossover. Issue #7 Flavor Fest Magazine 2005 featuring The Tonic of The Cross Movement.

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Issue #8 (First Official S.O.U.LMAG issue) 100 pages featuring a double cover with Ambassador and KJ-52 & Flavor Fest on one side and Crossover on the other half.

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Issue #9 S.O.U.LMAG featuring underground MC Surreal highlighting ministries from Crossover.

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Issue #10 S.O.U.LMAG featuring the legendary Cross Movement as they were officially retiring and had their last public performance at Flavor Fest 2007. Issue #11 S.O.U.LMAG featuring Christopher “Play” Martin of Kid N’ Play sharing his story of redemption along with Kurtis Blow and Shai Linne. Issue #12 S.O.U.LMAG featuring Jabo, KB, Canton Jones and ministries of Crossover Church. Issue #13 S.O.U.LMAG featuring Lecrae, Flavor Fest 2008, R-Swift and KRS-ONE! Issue #14 S.O.U.LMAG featuring Braille (with a Recycled paper cover), Krosswerdz Ministry in Australia and Dasouth.com.

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Issue #15 S.O.U.LMAG featuring a masked graffiti artist from Crossover as it shared stories of people’s ministries that are behind the scenes.

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Issue #16 S.O.U.LMAG featuring the Bizzaro World Conference in New York City with articles on Hazakim, Thi’sl and DJ Official.

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Issue #17 S.O.U.LMAG featuring a double cover with 116 and Flavor Fest 2010 (10 year anniversary) and the other side featuring the Growth story of Crossover getting in their new facility.

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Issue #18 S.O.U.LMAG featuring a double cover with Flame, Sicily and Flavor Fest 2011 with the other side featuring Crossover “More than Music”.

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Issue #19 S.O.U.LMAG featuring the Supernatural Baptisms at Crossover with 259 baptized!

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Issue #20 S.O.U.LMAG featuring Jin sharing his story of transformation along with Flavor Fest 12, Michelle Bonilla, Rawsrvnt and more!

stay connected with us: www.thesoulmag.com (FREE DIGITAL ISSUES) twitter: @thesoulmag facebook.com/thesoulmag

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By Will “DJ Fuego” Ruiz

What do you get when you put Christianity, hiphop, and the Bronx together? Elements Church. With their mission statement: Leading the urban culture to Christ by cultivating relationship, there have been many things that have been accomplished. Although trials and tests have come, Efrain Alicea aka Brother E, the lead pastor, has remained faithful and committed. Therefore, God has blessed the Bronx and Brother E with a church and congregation that love God, but where did all this start?

Efrain saw that the Bronx had a lot of need. So, prior to even being called to pastor a church, he went with the youth group to a church that Nicky Cruz was at. Nicky was known for attracting gang members to this church and on this day, Efrain realized to what extent. He saw tons of gang members representing their colors when an usher approached him. The usher then said, “In the house of the Lord, we take our caps off.” Wow! This was a church that was filled with gang members flashing their colors and he asked Efrain to remove his cap. He knew that the church needed to be different. The Christian churches in New York are still sticking to traditions…basically, living in the 50’s.

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Efrain Alicea aka Brother E


Efrain joined with his friend, Mike Carrion, and they both felt that they were called to pastor, Efrain being the associate pastor and his friend being the senior pastor. So, on a vacation to the Grand Canyon, God placed something in his heart, a confirmation. On returning from his vacation, he met up with his friend and they both felt from God to open up a church. The plan was to be the associate pastor at Mike’s church for three to five years, then, open up a church. But, God had another plan. He spoke with people, including Pastor Tommy Kyllonen aka Urban D, and asked the question of where in New Jersey or New York there was a relevant urban church. He found out there were none. All these events just led up to Efrain realizing that the church he wanted to open up was going to be an urban church reaching out to the urban community. While in the process of planting a church, Efrain and a few others would meet once a month to plan and pray. They would take one Sunday a month to visit other churches and they did this for six months. After the six months, in terms of what they were looking for they didn’t find in any of the churches. After much prayer and many meetings everything finally came together and Elements Church came about in April of 2008. Elements Church is part of a denomination called Covenant. While being an independent church, they were looking to have a covering. At first, Efrain didn’t like Covenant, but a friend said he was going to check it out and came back with information about their church planting program. He then did some research. As part of the research, he looked at churches under the denomination with pastors such as Efrain Smith, Larry Acosta, and Phil Jackson. He was learning from them from a distance and was reading their books, but he realized that he could now connect with them frequently to learn from them. After all the research, he spoke with Covenant and they’ve been connected for about two years now and have been officially with them for a year.

It’s incredible how God works! The church started with five people meeting at Brother E’s house. It went from five to seventeen and that became a bit too much as his house was becoming full. Now the church is at one hundred members and growing. They currently are renting the space where they are, but he has a vision to grow and to own a spot where the staff and congregation can meet. Let’s pray that according to God’s will, He makes Brother E’s vision a reality. They have all sorts of people attending the church and Brother E can’t deny that

the only way the people at Elements are walking in God’s footsteps is by God’s awesome transformation, power and grace. They have former thugs, murderers, and people that have used vulgar language and have now become God fearing individuals. “We have an usher that was a straight up killer,” said Brother E. Some of his members wouldn’t even be alive today if God hadn’t intervened. As you can see, God is doing amazing things at Elements, but it doesn’t stop there. The church itself has been a great blessing to its members and the community. Every year they have a big backpack outreach which Crossover Church is inspiring Brother E to do more and greater things with. They have various programs including tutoring, test prep, health, and even a scholarship fund. They partner with various organizations in the community, such as a homeless organization where Elements donates financially and with clothing. They participate in the American Cancer Society’s Light the Night walk. Elements

has also done blood drives right from the church. Brother E feels that if someone else is doing things right, they don’t need to reinvent the wheel and take credit for it; they just support them at what they do by providing financially, with goods, and manpower. Between their services and outreach, regardless, some people think that urban hip-hop styled services should only be directed toward the youth, but this isn’t a youth thing. Their services aren’t separated just to cater to the youth. As a matter of fact, they have 30 and 40 year olds that enjoy Christian hip-hop attending the church. Actually, their congregation consists of people with their caps on backwards walking with a swagger while having a family and children. There are even some older people attending with their grandchildren. This is a perfect example of a church where people come to worship God as they are. They have regular services where they incorporate a live DJ. Their in-house table turner is DJ NuMan, and occasionally they featured a Christian hip-hop artist. Their worship leader, Jay Cabassa, (who is an artist) has a beautiful gift to praise God through song. Church services are on Sundays at 11am and Wednesdays at 7:30pm. On Wednesdays, they like to change up their services a bit. Sometimes it’ll be a service focused on prayer, another Wednesday it’ll be a bible study, and another day the guys and girls will be split up. At the end of the day, Brother E says, “We don’t see people running to this type of church because there’s not a lot of funding for it, but it’s our calling and God has been supplying all our needs. We hope people can see the value in it.” If you are ever in visiting New York City make sure you stop in at Elements Church in the Bronx and worship with them! Keep them in prayer as they continue to grow and bring lives to Christ. •••

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Jin Au-Yeung has multiple identities. Not that he suffers from a poor mental condition. If anything, he’d probably tell you that these days he’s more sober and spiritually healthy than at any other point in his multi-faceted career. It’s just that, through no fault of his own, people have come to know him in various ways and international locations that have since fostered diverse images to different types of people. Hip hop-loving Americans probably remember him as the 106 & Park “Freestyle Friday” champion whose vicious lyricism earned a record deal with the Ruff Ryder camp in the early 2000’s. Meanwhile, action film fans may recall his character “Jimmy” – the mechanic from 2 Fast 2 Furious. On the other side of the globe, folks in China might recognize his face from various product advertisements or as “Tim” - the purple-mohawk wearing outsider from the TVB series “Highs and Lows.” And still another pocket of urbanized Jesus lovers may simply see Jin as a newcomer to the Christian rap movement. But if you pay attention to the man underneath it all, you’ll most likely see a 30-year-old who believes his most important titles are husband, father, and adopted son of the Most High God. He’s also a guy who is trying hard to rework his career-driven vocabulary. Now, he’s establishing “No Fan Zones” and his personal e-mail address is openly listed in the text of his Twitter bio. “I want to be more than just an artist to you,” Jin said in an interview with MYXtv earlier this year. “Once someone sets up that ‘fan/artist’ thing it takes away from the actual, real tangible, physical connection of it.” Today, Jin is attempting to flesh out that mindset by being more transparent in his music. Although there are still sharp punchlines a plenty, gone are the venom-filled battle raps that puff up egos and tear down other MCs. Instead, he’s infusing his lyrics with words that uplift and encourage or showing vulnerability and aspirations for positive life-change.

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Sample verses:

The other 99 went that way / I’m that one sheep that went astray / Used to wanna be like Jay / now I’m thinkin’ more along the lines of ‘Crae See I realize now that the gift of rhyme was given by my Heavenly Father / And the truth is any recognition that we got never was ours I’m praying for you if your Future is Odd / cuz all I see in my future is God “God Future (Intro)” from Crazy Love, Ridiculous Faith

While he’s hesitant to call his work “Christian rap” (a term he says he’s still coming to grips with) there’s no doubt Jin’s most recent songs are embracing more themes and life lessons from the Holy Bible. In fact, his latest project, Crazy Love, Ridiculous Faith, (which was offered as a free download from Rapzilla.com) is often vertically focused toward the Creator. He also confirms the title references a Francis Chan video series (spawned from his book with the same title) that impacted him deeply. “I believe this album is a worship album - like Hillsong or Jesus Culture worship!” Jin said. “If people hear it and walked away with that it would bring me so much joy. If someone listened to this project and said ‘Yo Jin, I felt like I was worshipping God during that song’ that would be like a Grammy to me.” Although Jin may have multiple identities to some, it’s starting to sound pretty apparent that when he looks in the mirror he only sees one – that of a man who is now a new creation in Jesus Christ. •••


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In the Christian Hip-Hop community we have seen God elevate many emcees, record labels, rappers to pastors, etc.,But what about clothing lines and apparel? I think it’s time to take notice of what God is doing with Jacksonville, FL based clothing line Strght & Nrrw. I recently caught up with the founder of Strght & Nrrw Jay “Jewelee” Harris at their very own Clothing Boutique in downtown Jacksonville. Check out our Soul Mag exclusive Q&A session.

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SM - How did Strght & Nrrw start?

SM - Tell us the mind behind the promos.

S&N - S&N was birthed out of submission to God. I have many dreams and things I aspire to do but Fashion has been a consistent passion since I was a kid. It was also the first thing God asked me to give up when I got saved. I gave it to Him and then He said I could have it back. S&N came to me as a thought one day. I knew it was God. I prayed on it for a season. My wife caught the vision and then we jumped off the cliff with it. I say “jumped off the cliff ” because we weren’t rich in resources but we were rich in faith. We jumped in faith and we are still flying! God is good, real and faithful.  

S&N - I just do what I think is fly. What I do, is my brand. It’s at its best when I am comfortable being myself. I’m basically looking to captivate people. More directly, lost people. I am coming for the influence. Sick of seeing wicked artist creating the most alluring content. We are losing this generation. I don’t always say this out loud, but for me its a war. Like I said earlier...it has a redemptive purpose. The promos are a means to get attention for not just the brand but who and what the brand represents. It’s apart of a bigger picture and plan.

SM - Tell about the transition from online store to store front.

SM - What else happens behind the scenes at the store downtown?

S&N - It was actually in my initial business plan. Don’t get hype because I said business plan...I’m not that smart. It might as well been written on a napkin. Regardless, the store was in the plan. Had no idea it would happen a little over a year after starting the brand. Once again, we jumped off the cliff. It is a milestone I will never forget. We are still figuring it out and having a great time doing it. The clothing brand is a priority over the store. That has been a challenge to balance because the store has taken on a life of its own. Its basically the same brand but a whole other business with its own requirements and so forth. My priority is to serve people that God sends my way the best I can. I trust God to pay the bills and that allows me to focus on people. I don’t ever want to look at the people that come through the doors of my store like money; they’re an opportunity to share the love of God. That’s why we do this. I have 6 kids. I love what I do, but I would much rather be home playing catch or having a tea party with my young’ns. I do what I do because it has a redemptive purpose. The store is about getting face to face with people. I really love people.    SM - Who is wearing the brand in CHH?

S&N - We host Bible study every Wednesday night, Album release parties, Storefront concerts. We encourage and educate people on pursuing their dreams. I find great joy in encouraging people. Its a ministry for me. We feed and clothe people. We disciple young men. We carry bags for old ladies. We pray for people; gay people, straight people, people. We will pray for your dog if you want. We love on people that hate what we stand for. We stick out in our community so much we can’t be ignored. We are peculiar people.

S&N - You (Brinson) and of course the Godchaserz crew (C-straight, Delphi), Eshon Burgundy, Uncle Reece, Rhema Soul, Mali Music, Flame, Jin, Urban D., Social Club, Risr, Double, ScottFree, Zerub, Andy Mineo, KB, Juice 2020, D-maub, J Johnson, Braille, Blazetorch, Aceboogie, Alex Faith, Big Fil, R-Swift. So many people show love and I am sure I missed some obvious people. I am humbled even trying to list names. Glory to God!   SM - What videos have the brand showed up in?

SM - What else should the readers know about you and your brand? S&N - We are just a little over 2 years old. People are really shocked by that. We have literally just begun. The vision is crazy and God is on our side.

Stay Connected w/ S&N @ www.strghtandnrrw.com

S&N - Basically, the majority of the previously mentioned people. My brother Juice 2020 of Space Cherry Films stays active with video shoots. In my city, we all serve each others ministries. While helping on his shoots I have been able to throw the brand on the backs of a lot of artists. Lately I have been styling artist for photo-shoots and videos. Having fun with that. 

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Recently I organized my basement which contained mounds of vinyl records that have accumulated over the years of being a DJ. As I dug through crate after crate of records trying to decide which to keep, my memory was jogged and my Instagram consumed picture after picture of interesting cover art and those “do you remember this” comments. Then a sobering thought pierced through smell of vintage wax; I have been engaged in hip-hop music longer than some of the artists I listen to have been alive. History in our scene often dwells in realm of ignorance. For some, they have just discovered the reality that hiphop is being done by Christian artists. For others, they discovered it with Lecrae and Reach Records or may go as far back as 1996 when The Cross Movement came on the scene. Still for others, there is a mindset that simply ignores and marginalizes history which seems to mark this generation. Regardless of the source of ignorance, for one to say Christian Hip-Hop (CHH) started with Lecrae, Reach Records, or even The Cross Movement misses over a decade of its history. It seems like just yesterday when I went to my local Christian Bookstore and purchased a brand new cassette tape for a friend. I sat in my parents’ van and ripped off the shrink wrap and pressed play . I was consumed by and hooked on the beats and rhymes. The year was 1988 and the tape was P.I.D.’s (Preachers In Disguise) “Here We Are.” The tape never made it to my friend and served as my introduction to CHH. I was an instant fan and wanted more. I soon discovered that there were many CHH artists that had released music. In fact, in 1985 Stephen Wiley released “Bible Break” which is considered by many to be the first commercially distributed CHH artist. At about the same time, David Guzman founded JC & the Boyz, which gave rise to many West Coast CHH artists such as MC Peace (Freedom of Soul/Peace 586), and Dynamic Twins. Soup the Chemist (Super C/SFC) also came on the scene in the late ‘80’s. These artists faced many obstacles in getting heard and gaining an audience. Although some would say that the church today needs to embrace CHH more, comparatively speaking, it cannot even touch the amount of misunderstanding and persecution that existed in the 80’s and early 90’s. Soup the Chemist (fka Super C) said in reference to getting exposure that, “We were too hardcore for the church to accept, but too ‘christiany’ to for world to handle.” In that era, the internet was not an option for exposure, thus no CHH websites or blogs. Christian radio was not open to hiphop and this frustration was spoken about by the artists themselves in songs like “Y Don’t U Want 2 Play Me.” (Freedom of Soul/1991) Even though the Christian market was not what it is today, this did not stop many of these artists. When asked about this time period, Peace 586 shared that they did not do what they did for the Christian market. In fact, many during that time period were involved in, reached out to, and received much respect by those outside of the church. During that same time DC Talk’s popularity soared, especially after they appeared on the Arsenio Hall Show, in 1992. This catapulted their sales and the album “Free At Last” went platinum. This was a double edged sword with unintended consequences.

Christian media outlets dubbed them as “hip-hop” and other artists such as SFC and Freedom of Soul were expected to be and sound like DC Talk in order to fit into the Christian market box. In addition, the perception at the time of those ignorant to hip-hop and outside the industry was that all CHH sounded like DC Talk. So for those who did not like DC Talk’s sound; which a mixture of pop, rock, and urban; they were turned off completely to CHH. DJ SP of the Table Turner DJs was one of these. As a teenager SP was deep into the sound of groups like A Tribe Called Quest and De La Soul. Someone approached him with a DC Talk album in ’92 wanting him to listen to CHH instead. That sound gave him a bad taste and it was not until ‘05- ‘06 that he rediscovered CHH through Shai Linn’s “Solus Christus Project” and was artistically impressed. This caused him to look further and he discovered that CHH has a rich history. This richness can be found in the popular spoken word poet and MC, Propaganda. His roots extend further than Humble Beast and performing alongside some of CHH’s most popular. Propaganda is part of the super group, the Tunnel Rats, which released many albums collectively and as individuals. The Tunnel Rats debuted with their album “Experience” in 1996. The Tunnel Rats have their roots in the crew LPG, which released what many consider to be a classic album, “Earthworm,” in 1994. Most of the early Tunnel Rats and LPG’s production was handled by Peace 586. Peace was part of the group Freedom of Soul whose first album, “Caught in the Land of Time,” was picked up by the major mainstream record label, Epic in 1991. Peace 586 has his roots in JC & the Boyz which began in the mid ‘80’s. Indeed, the roots run deep not only for Propaganda but for all that are involved in CHH. Time and space does not allow for me to explore every part of the history of CHH. However, soon the book “Through My Window; the History of Holy Hip Hop” by Soup the Chemist will be published giving what promises to be great historical insight. Looking back and honoring our history is important. Valuable lessons and crates full of wisdom can be picked up from those who went before with application for art, life, and ministry. But the purpose of history is not itself, but its roots are to give rise to growth. This has happened from Stephen Wiley and S.F.C., to The Cross Movement and GRITS, and now to current artists such as Theory Hazit, KB, Viktory, Thi’sl, muzeONE, and many more. As I type, social media is buzzing with anticipation for Lecrae’s sixth studio album, “Gravity,” which seems to be poised to break new ground in sales and exposure for CHH. I’m eager to see what happens, not only with Lecrae, but with many others that are out now or are yet to be produced from these deep roots. Let us rise and as we do, reflect the One who is risen. •••

- Ryan “DJ Rhino” Flemming is the lead pastor at The Revolution Church in Gary, Indiana (www. therevolutionchurch.net). He is also an active DJ that runs his own radio show along with being a member of the Table Turners Crew.


BY: LANS JONES

I

have heard of the human heart metaphorized as a treasure, a battlefield, and even a lonely hunter, but most recently I have been thinking about my heart as a dance floor. Yes, that’s right, a dance floor. Allow me to explain. Alexander Pope writes in his poem “Essay on Man” that hope springs eternal in the human breast. Because of my understandings of the Scriptures, I couldn’t possibly disagree with him more. Hope most certainly does not spring eternal because it will not exist eternally. Hope, as we know it, will one day fulfill its intended purposes and come to its incredible crescendo and then, just like faith, it will be summarily dismissed, forever. Unlike love, which will have and know no end, hope is temporal and at some point in time will become superfluous; this according to the logic of Paul in Romans 8:23 -25: 23 And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us.  24  We were given this hope when we were saved. (If we already have something, we don’t need to hope for it. 25 But if we look forward to something we don’t yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently. Paul writes that we hope for that which we do not already possess (8:24) but, one day we will possess in full that which we hope for (in this case our full rights as adopted children) and then hope will no longer be necessary. Possession of that which is hoped for nullifies hope’s necessity and brings about its termination. Hope does not

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spring eternally for it is only currently, not eternally, necessary. But there is another reason why I take issue with Pope’s most popular idiom. I object with his use of the verb “springs” to describe how hope always comes forth. Oh sure, on occasion hope may spring forth but it most certainly does not always do so. I have seen in the life of others, and in my own life as well, that initially hope may “spring” forth but after a few strategically placed disappointments, hope must be dragged and heaved out of the human heart. The connotation of hope easily springing forth from the heart does not paint an accurate depiction of the typical Christian’s experience with hope. More times than not, hope must be arrested and wrestled into submission before being drawn forth. Hope, real biblical hope, rarely springs eternally but most often lumbers on inconsistently under the weight of God’s promises and over the planks of God’s faithfulness. But what of hope? If the enemy of faith is doubt (see Matt. 14:31 and John 20:27), and the opposite of love is apathy and hate, what then shall we call the nemesis of hope? This is what I have been sincerely pondering over the last year or so. The closest I have come to naming hope’s antagonist is disappointment. Well, actually not disappointment per se, it would be more precisely termed as the “risk of disappointment” for with every opportunity to exercise hope, one must also be willing to risk dancing with disappointment.


Disappointment, is also confined to the constraints of time. As the embodiment of the confident expectation of good, Hope is always accompanied by her much uglier twin sister, Disappointment. When one hopes, one expects good, but the risk lies in the expectation. Holman Bible Dictionary defines hope as “the anticipation of a favorable outcome under God’s guidance.” The question then becomes, what is a favorable outcome? Is it possible that God’s consideration of a favorable outcome and my choice of a favorable outcome differ at times? Absolutely! Perhaps, it can be said, even frequently. There have been many times I have arrived at the party hoping I would leave with one outcome only to find that I am leaving with another outcome entirely. I came to dance with Hope, but ended up with Disappointment as my partner. I love dancing with Hope. She is indeed a lovely partner. She fills me up and makes the darkest of days just a little brighter. But her ugly twin sister, Disappointment, is never far behind. There have been plenty of times, just when I think I am going to cut the rug with Hope, that I find her sister, Disappointment, cutting in uninvited. And oh how I hate Disappointment! A few times around the dance floor with Disappointment can be enough to make me not want to try dancing with Hope at all. In fact, sometimes just the lurking gaze of Disappointment as she bullies me over the shoulder of Hope makes me want to hang up my dancing shoes forever. Yes, where there is hope, the confident expectation of good, there is always the risk of disappointment. But as is the case with all evil twins, disappointment can be vanquished. Perhaps not killed, but crippled, not removed entirely, but rendered immobile. I have discovered that I don’t have to dance with Disappointment, at least not for very long, whenever she does cut in on my dance. I recognize, even accept her presence with Hope, but I don’t dance with her anymore because I have grown to embrace two central truths. First, that my hope is not enslaved to my circumstances but entwined with my Christ. Jesus is my ultimate definition of, and therefore expectation, of good. All of the conditions under which I may place my hopes are subject to the risk of disappointment except for one, my relationship and position in Christ. Jesus is my supreme hope and he has no twin, no equal, and no rival. He cannot lie, and so he cannot disappoint. Second, when I choose to dance with Hope (and I must for my Lord requires this – see Heb. 10:23), I will hold tightly to the expectation of good, but hold loosely the Disappointment of a different or undesired outcome. I fear the risk of dancing with Disappointment much less these days as she twirls, grabs and digs at me because I have learned to let her go, and make her slip right off of me. Since Hope is temporal, her ugly twin, Disappointment, is also confined to the constraints of time. Because of Christ’s completive work, I am free to hold on to hope for as long as I want and free to let go of disappointment as quickly as I choose as well. For this is the truth that changes the dance, I cannot not dance with new Hope, as long as I hold on to old Disappointment. Who is talented (and foolish) enough to dance with both hope and disappointment at the same time? No one, myself included, can dance intimately with two partners simultaneously. One must be dropped for the other. Through Christ, I have the power to continually twirl the floor with one, while constantly commanding the other to get off me. I have learned to lead my dance with Hope rather than be led by Disappointment. With whom will you dance today? •••

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The Christian Hip-Hop Movement continues to grow every day. Many of you checking out this magazine are just discovering it. If you’ve been around this genre for a minute, you know its come a long way. When many of these artists release their new albums they now hit the charts on iTunes and land on the Billboard charts. 2012 was another huge year as many mainstream doors opened for artists like Lecrae (Check out details on the Gravity album’s record breaking charting in the S.O.U.LNEWZ). It’s been amazing to watch the growth in artistry and ministry. There is a lot of incredible talent out there - established and emerging. Space doesn’t allow us to review all that we would like to, but we picked some Hot projects for this issue that are definitely worthy of recognition. These projects are available on iTunes and at Crossover’s Hip-Hop Shop... we suggest you check em’ out and enjoy!

LECRAE

“Gravity” - Reach Records www.reachrecords.com | @lecrae

I had no idea what I was in for...Gravity! While I listening to Lecrae’s album, I was literally floored! The art and creativity behind this album truly makes it out to be a masterpiece. Lecrae’s idea and composition of ‘Church Clothes’ (His Latest Mixtape), almost seems to be somewhat of a foreshadowing of Gravity. In its orientation there is a clear message of a fallen world that is heading in a downward spiral, VANITY! The title song Gravity, Falling Down, and Mayday bring true identity to the entire album. Though Crae’s music is hard to pass up, this one is definitely in a league of its own. The listeners attention is captured by its flavored artist and meritorious instrumentals. The zeal behind the content of Gravity is authentic. Lecrae has always been able to deliver a message that is relevant in excellence while keeping it down to earth. - JABO

A.M.

“Epic” - Twelve Two Productions

www.twelvetwoproductions.com | @AM_TwelveTwo I’ve had the pleasure of meeting this anointed man in christ “AM Garcia” and his Fam from Ft. Myers when he came to Crossover to bless us with his music ministry. He recently dropped is his second album Epic! This 14 track masterpiece of worship to the creator is a reflection of a man after God’s own heart. A.M. has a unique sound that sets him apart. My favorite track is the title track (#6) “Epic” feat. Urban D. It’s a song of praise to our Lord and Savior (Jesus) and about how Epic he is for being our victorious King and Redeemer. Track (#12) “Storm Coming” featuring Judah is about the soon coming storm (Jesus Christ) returning to this earth, and for all to be prepared when he does. Finally, Track (#5) “It’s Over” is about when we as believers finally leave this temporary home on this sinful planet, and reunite with our family in heaven to worship our creator! This album flows to beginning from end as it takes you through a storyline. A.M. has a fresh current production style. He also mixes rapping with singing and pulls off both with incredible precision. We’re going to hear a lot more about this guy! - Brovah Greg

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BRINSON

“No Other Heroes” - GodChazers Ent. www.GodChaserz.com | @Brinson_OMG

OMG, Brinson does it again! Get your 3D glasses and get ready to hit the floor. “No Other Heroes” brings more hits on the table as he collabs with artists such as Jai, Cstraight, ReadyWriter, Champ, and others. With a mixture of lyrically strong and bangin’ beats, it’s hard to choose just one favorite track. “3D Stand Out” has a great message as it tells us that as Christians, we must stand out from the crowd; It reminds me of what Romans 12:2 says about not conforming to the pattern of this world. Another of my faves… “Hit The Floor” basically speaks for itself. This is one I can hear bangin’ out the speakers of my car…if I had one -lol. If you like dancing or even “breakin”, this is a MUST have! I can’t finish this review without mentioning “All The Way”. All I gotta say is I’m already rich, cuz I’m already Jesus! - DJ Fuego

KB

“Weight & Glory” - Reach Records www.reachrecords.com | @KB_hga

Weight & Glory... This is the debut album by Kevin Burgess aka KB on Reach Records. This project from the intro track to the last track has God’s anointing all over it. My favorite song on this album is track (#8) “Heartsong” feat. Jasmine  Le’ Shea. This is a dedication song to 2 of KB’s friends, who have on-going medical issues, but they both continue to press on and praise God! Open Letter (Battlefield) track (#7) feat. Swoope, and Trip Lee is a song about real issues as it confronts sexuality, temptation, and the battlefield of life. Finally track (#2), “Zone Out” is a song about staying focused on the Christ even if being ridiculed, or dying for the faith, it’s all for his Glory. Check out the video on youtube. Also featured on this album is Lecrae, Tedashii, Andy Mineo, Sho Baraka, Jai , Suzy Rock, Flame, and countless others. This album has a good blend of worship and hip-hop. For those that are fans of Reach Records this was definitely worth the Weight for God’s Glory! - Brovah Greg

RAWSRVNT & ST. MATTHEW

“Soul Deep - EP” - Soul Deep, Readyback, Lion of Judah www.rawsrvnt.com | @rawsrvnt // @readyback777

Soul Deep is a very creative and innovative album that crosses a number of boundaries that have caused division in our world today - the obvious being racial ethnicity. On it you see two people, Rawsrvnt and St. Matthew, bring their talent and faith together to wreck havoc on the kingdom of darkness and promote the spirit of love. They also bring their unique styles together. An American of Cuban decent and a Jamaican, blend their talents to make a sweet reggae sound that is relatable to people of both nationalities. The duo also overcomes musical barriers by mixing hip-hop with its distant cousin - reggae/dancehall. With that said, the music makes for a great gumbo of sweet wholesome goodness. Each track is laced with the powerful sounds of roots reggae produced by the legendary DJ Frost of Lion of Judah Music Group. Meanwhile, the vocals are full of diverse DJ / singjay / toasting raps with a deep soothing feel that reaches the heart with each play back and lyrics that encourage the soul with each pull up. There is no mistaking why this EP is titled Soul Deep. - Monty G S.O.U.L | Pg57


They Like Me - KJ52 Feat. Lecrae They like me? I dunno, but I am liking this collaboration by KJ-52 and Lecrae. The visuals on this video seem to be showing the backgrounds of the artists’ lives, depicting where they came from, where they are, and where they are going. Lecrae’s verse is shot with imagery from the suburbs with people that look different from him, while KJ’s verse contrasts it with shots from the grimy hood with people that look different from him. With that boom bap sword and the rock axe sparking the track, the lyrics of this one are revealing what the Lord has given throughout life (Lecrae), and was received before, during, and while pursuing Him (KJ-52), as well as what kept them going; the love of Christ. The differences in these two artists’ styles helps compliment the message of diversity. The similarity of their commitment to God makes their diversity a positive as it reaches a broader audience for the same purpose of spreading the gospel. The neutral ground that we can come to just from the understanding of the gospel, even if we are approaching from different directions, can have us asking this question of others; do they like me? Of course, because God’s love covers everything and makes us the same. Yeah, they just like me! - Marz

EPIC - A.M. Feat. Urban D. The video starts with some intentionally rugged contrasts of worn out modern images and nature before AM nails his first verse. He reminded me of the Fonz out there with his leather jacket rapping into an old school mic! (Some of our younger readers may not get it but I thought it was classic.) The scenery of a wide open field plays well with AM giving us a brief overview of the Lord and his Sovereignty. The urban imagery for verse two certainly fits as Flavor Fest creator and Crossover Church Pastor Urban D. testifies of our culture’s current state and what God wants to do in our lives. The video ends with the two on a rooftop praising God. Throughout the video the sky is lighting up and active in a way that will look very familiar to anyone who has witnessed a storm in Florida. The only thing missing to fans of Twelve-Two Productions is seeing label mate Judah pop up somewhere. I don’t know if it was intentional by the 39 Lashes squad that produced the video but to me it seems we are taken on a visual journey from nature/country to hood/grimy and ultimately to looking out over all of it while through it all the heavens are active. God is “in” all as well as “above” all-in other words, truly Epic! - Josh Mason

Fallin’ - Trip Lee Feat. J. Paul This is currently my favorite Trip Lee song and it’s actually become one of my favorite Christian Hip-Hop Videos of all time. The graphics, effects and cinematography raise the bar to a whole new level! The cats from 8bitfilms.tv really did their thing with this video as it reminds me of James Cameron’s Avatar with the floating island that Trip is sitting on. The imagery is super dope with the ribbon of floating liquid that surrounds him and represents temptation. It fits perfectly as Trip is describing how he falls in his walk with God and the video shows him seeing his reflection in the floating liquid as he seems mesmerized then falls off the floating island. He is then free falling through the sky complete with his hat flying off, legs kicking and hoodie blowing all over the place as he drops through the clouds. As he lands he talks about every time he falls God will pick him up. It’s powerful as he gets on his knees in a repentant posture as he raises his hands to the sky for forgiveness. It’s almost eerie as he starts to levitate and then boom - starts ascending back up to the floating island where the video started. When we showed this at our 3 Sunday Services at Crossover it was awesome to see all eyes glued to the screen as they were encouraged and edified. Big shout out to Reach Records to what I consider their best music video yet... - Casone

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Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses. —PROVERBS 27:6

A

s a parent my life is filled with conflict. Emotional swords are drawn

Paul probably knew this. For women, without intervention the dispute can

between my two girls, between my children and I, and sometimes,

quickly escalate and become personal. Bad feelings run deep and last a long

well rarely, even between my husband and I. But conflict is also evident in

time. Men tend to get over disputes quicker and move on with ministry.

ministry as well. As long as you are dealing with people, there will always

But us ladies? We take a challenge on our ministry or a particular action

be conflict. However, in all my years of ministry, I’ve learned that not all

as an attack on us personally. We are easily wounded when our efforts

conflict is bad. Sometimes, conflict is necessary. When it’s done right, the

have been rejected or not acknowledged or when another makes a remark

results can deepen the relationships of those involved.

about our ministry. The personal nature of women’s conflicts makes the dispute more challenging to resolve than most men’s conflicts, therefore the

Women involved in conflict is not anything new to ministry nor to God,

personal nature of women’s disputes requires special attention when we are

for that matter. Take for example Philippians 4:2-3. Here you have two

involved or when we are called to help our ministry partners make peace.

christian women who apparently have some beef with one another who Paul knows personally. He says:

(The Male Church Leader’s Guide to Female Conflict Resolution) Let’s face it. Most people don’t like conflict—leaders included. Even as

I appeal to Euodia and Syntyche to agree in the Lord. Yes, I say also to you, true companion, help them.  They have struggled together in the gospel ministry along with me and Clement and my other coworkers, whose names are written in the book of life.

a woman in ministry myself, I’m as guilty as anyone of wanting to avoid it at times. Especially when I know it’s going to be an uncomfortable conversation and the apprehension of not knowing how the other person(s) will respond. But if Paul advises us to please agree in the Lord, then my responsibility is to learn to recognize warning signs, sharpen my communication skills, and mediate with confidence.

What was the conflict? We don’t know because Paul doesn’t say, but we know that the issue was probably pretty serious. It was a threat to the unity

Are you a Woman in Ministry? Then prepare yourself because conflict is

of the church in Philippi. He lets us know these ministry partners have

inevitable, as you probably already know. But don’t run from it. Don’t avoid

labored together alongside of him, telling others the Good News of Christ.

it. Learn the importance of prayer and preparation in resolving conflict.

Paul cared enough to be concerned by their conflict and even address the

Learn how to remove the log out of your own eye first, then confront with

situation in his letter that he wrote while under house arrest in Rome. Paul

grace and love. Agree in the Lord, that God created us for relationship. Do

appeals to the leaders of the church to please help these ladies settle their

not let unresolved conflict rob you of the joy that healthy relationships can

disagreement and help them “agree in the Lord.”

bring to your life. Then, “go and be reconciled” (Matthew 4:24 NIV) to your brother, sister, friend, and family members. •••

When women in ministry are in conflict, men and women alike should care and prepare because women handle conflict much differently and

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S.O.U.LMag Issue #20