The New York Christian rapper Chud’e has been receiving vast praise after releasing his debut album Chilltown at the end of last year. The album has been streamed over half a million times and is named after the part of Brooklyn he spent his formative years in. The artist has been influenced by several leading Christian hip-hop stars, yet has been forming a truly distinctive sound.
A powerful musical blend
Chilltown offers an elegant blend of rap, R&B, gospel and pop and plays host to a range of collaborations. The artist is no stranger to working with others and already has another string of collaborations in the pipeline. Some of the most successful tracks on the album include the title track and the single Day and Night. Believe it or not, Chud’e only discovered Christian rap around 2017, yet he was releasing his own tracks by the following year.
A new relationship with Jesus
The rapper’s move into Christian rap came shortly after he spent time in his parents’ homeland of Nigeria. This is where he started a new relationship with Christ, learned much more about his culture and heritage and reconnected with his estranged father, who left the family home when he was ten. Following his father’s departure, Chud’e was met with a range of particularly tough challenges, such as the loss of his several friends, his failure at sixth grade and losing touch with his only sibling, his half-brother. Some of his teenage behaviour was seen as questionable, though this can be linked to his lack of a positive male role model. His father was once a small-time criminal but has since turned his life around and become a pastor.
Why Chud’e entered the rap industry
When Chud’e decided to launch a rap career, some people questioned this decision due to some of the negative things that hip-hop is associated with. This is addressed in his track Day and Night, in which he talks about how he trusts Jesus to direct him through the “obstacles, difficulties and doubts” delivered by life. Chud’e – whose real name is Paul Iwenofu – states that he “only joined the rap game for the Lord’s honor.” Some Christians believe hip-hop in any forms contradicts the values of Christianity, but others see it as a powerful vehicle for reaching out to non-believers.
Media coverage for Chud’e
Over recent years, Chud’e has received coverage and support from a range of influential publications, websites and online platforms. These include CCM Magazine, Cross Rhythm Radio, CHH Source and chhtsnetwork. The artist has been praised for his “booming voice” as well as his “clever punchlines and aims to help listeners with “finding hope through chaos, learning through trial and error, growing through faith, perseverance and optimism and the value of friendship”. Chud’e isn’t just producing music and lyrics for fellow Christians – he hopes that even non-believers will find at least one track that they can connect with on the album.
Other Chud’e projects
Chud’e discovered Christian rap around the same time as he began studying for a criminal justice degree. He was introduced to the movement by a group of its fans and became heavily into artists like Bizzle and Lecrae. One of the earliest supporters of his music was the UK internet radio station xRhythms. When he’s not writing, performing and recording music, Chud’e works as a Youth Development Specialist, aiming to become the role model he never had so those in the kind of predicaments he was once in can overcome their obstacles. He continues to work on music, with new material expected shortly.
More about the Christian rap movement
Christian rap is far from a new movement, although it has gained more prominence over recent years. It is also known as ‘Christian hip-hop’ and ‘holy hip-hop’. The first full-length Christian rap album was released by Stephen Wiley back in 1985. In 2014, Lecrae went to #1 on the mainstream Billboard chart with his album Anomaly. Some of the best-known Christian rappers include Trip Lee, Andy Mineo, Soup the Chemist, Flame, Shai Linne and Tobymac. The movement even has its own awards ceremonies, and these include the Stellar Awards and the GMA Dove Awards.
Mainstream Christian rap
Faith and Christianity have frequently cropped up as topics in mainstream hip-hop over recent years, and modern stars like Chance the Rapper and NF have frequently spoken about their religious beliefs, on and off-record. Lecrae is signed to the label Reach Records, which is home to several award-winning Christian rappers. Christian rap events have also included Rap Fest, which takes place in South Bronx, Flavour Fest Urban Leadership Conference and Fire Fest International Ministries.
Those that wish to hear Chud’e’s music can simply head to Spotify, Soundcloud or YouTube. The rapper can also be found on social media platforms including Instagram and Twitter.
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