Tag Archives: Thi’sl

Christian Rapper Shot Multiple Times During Robbery

Thi’sl,in recovery in hospital bed, photo by Jasen Hunt

Christian rapper and community activist Travis Tremayne Tyler, also known as, Thi’sl, was the victim of a robbery Monday, Sept 24th that ultimately involved him getting shot multiple times, according to Olivia McClinton, Director of Client Relations of Full Ride Music Group. 41 year old Tyler had to undergo major surgery on his legs, one of which was shattered and now has to be held together with a steel rod.

McClinton quoted the Doctor saying that had the bullet went one inch closer to one of the main arteries in his legs Tyler might not have lived. Thi’sl is currently in recovery after his surgeries. His latest social media posts were about events he was involved in near his hometown, where he also mentors and works as an activist.

Tyler’s last 3 facebook posts at http://www.facebook.com/thisl
@thisl latest tweet

Once the new broke out, an outpouring of support flooded Tyler’s “Thi’sl” facebook and twitter accounts, with the hashtag #Pray4Thisl. “Our brother may be shattered but he is not broken,” stated McClinton on the GoFundMe account page Thisl’s Journey To Recovery. Thi’sl has grown to be one of the most influential and respected person in the music industry and his community.

Thi’sl at Kingdom Bound, Darien Lake, NY in 2013, pictured with DJ ChozynBoy (left) and Shawn Patrick Greene, aka, FUDGE (right)

HUMBLE BEGINNINGS

Thi’sl is the founder and CEO of Full Ride Music Group, LLC. his latest project released on August 11, 2017, is Levitate.  Born in Greenwood, Mississippi, the ex-gang member, turned music minister new resides in St. Louis, MO, grew up facing the crushing issues of poverty, fatherlessness, gang violence, and drugs, among other challenges. His recent autobiography, Against All Odds, expresses how his circumstances didn’t defeat him and gives thanks to God’s saving grace.

Music is just one facet Tyler is engaged in. He also is a philanthropist and addresses the current events and human rights issues, like the Sandy Hook shooting, the Ferguson riots, and the Micheal Brown incident,  on several media outlets.

In an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network, January 30, 2013, Thi’sl argued that gun control is not the solution to our violence problem, and argues that stricter gun laws won’t stop criminals from getting guns. His interview was a response to the growing debate after the tragic events of the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting on December 14, 2012 in Newtown, Conn.

This’l was again interviewed by the Christian Broadcasting Network,  September 8, 2014, after the riots in Ferguson, Missouri in response to the shooting of 18 year old Michael Brown by a Police Officer on August 9, 2014. “I never saw nothing like that before in my life.” He continues by saying he believes in “peaceful protesting” but does not support looting and rioting as a means of justice, but he understands why the city erupted in anger. “It was a situation that was bound to happen.”

Michael Brown’s dead body remains in the street Saturday, Aug. 9, 2014, after the unarmed 18-year-old was shot by a police officer after what local authorities say was a physical confrontation. Photo: Twitter

In the Christian Post, August 12, 2014, Tyler stated “You’re dealing with a group of people that aren’t afraid of anything because the environment we grew up in, guns are not abnormal.” To support his efforts to create a peaceful solution, Tyler hosted a town meeting to stir up a dialog with his community about the issues.

SUPPORT MR TYLER

Ironically, Tyler has been a victim of a robbery, and was attacked by a gun. Olivia McClinton is asking for your help for his financial needs for medical expenses and personal bills. Although Tyler has health insurance, it will not cover all the treatment he has had, nor will it pay for the rehabilitation he will need to learn to walk again. One of the issues Thi’sl faces is what comes after stabilization – he will need prolonged and expensive rehabilitation after his immediate injuries are dealt with.

To support Tyler, McClinton set up a GoFundMe account to raise the money to offset the cost. She comments on the page “it seems…hospitals today are less and less willing to cover out of their own funds, and no law requires that they do so, as far as I am aware.” She concludes with a optimism in the provision, “In all things, we have the reassurance that God is faithful.”

Donations are also being collected via Thi’sl’s CashApp: $FRMG.

“As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.” Genesis 50:20

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Christian Hip Hop gets cold shoulder from Gospel Charts / Stellar Awards

THE CHH STRUGGLE IS REAL

Michael Peace launched a solo career as a Hip Hop artist in the 1980s from Queens, NY. He was the first solo Gospel Rapper to get a real record deal with distribution and promotion. He faced all the challenges you can imagine, from the Hip Hop community not fully recognizing his projects as one of theirs, to pastors flat out rebuking him for producing such trashy worldly music. The battle for the Gospel Rapper to get respect from both the church and the industry was longer than the war in Afghanistan.

MichealPeace-lastfm

Another wave of artists arose in the 1990s, like Cross Movement, Gospel Gangsters, T-Bone, and Pettidee, but commercial success was still out of reach. In the past 10 years, a new era has begun for those that have been labeled Christian Hip Hop artists. Philadelphia rapper Da TRUTH addresses the hot topic of CHH’s Identity Crisis on Rapzilla and discusses why Gospel gives CHH the cold shoulder on Wade O Radio. At one point, Da TRUTH was embraced by the Gospel Music scene, touring with Kirk Franklin, and even releasing a DVD in 2007 called Da’ T.R.U.T.H. & Friends LIVE!, which included some Contemporary Gospel Artists.

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Further diversifying the fan-base, Reach Records artists performed at the 2011 GMWA Convention in Tampa. In 2012, Da TRUTH also got to rap on stage at the Stellar Awards together with singer Canton Jones and rapper Lecrae.

This month, the Stellars will have the General Public as the voting body for the second and final ballot which will result in four entries in each category and will determine the winners (The first round if voting is determined by SAGMA members). Year after year, out of all 28 categories, CHH artists are nominated in only one – Rap/Hip Hop Gospel CD of the Year, which in 2014 included: BIZZLE, THE GOOD FIGHT, GOD OVER MONEY RECORDS; DEREK MINOR, MINORVILLE, REACH RECORDS; LECRAE, GRAVITY, REACH RECORDS; THI’SL, FREE FROM THE TRAP, FULL RIDE MUSIC GROUP, LLC.

Lecrae won that category [ Stellar Awards ], but the odd thing is, just one year earlier, Gravity won Best Gospel Album at the 2013 Grammy Awards and Best Rap/Hip Hop Album at the 2013 Dove Awards, yet was not considered a top contender in any other Stellar Award category.

Lecrae-Grammy-Da-Truth-Stellar

Stellar Nominees for Internet radio stations “C1 Radio” and “HOT3:16”, that include a variety of Christian Hip Hop songs on their playlists, where not included in the final balloting but were upstaged by Traditional and Contemporary Gospel stations [ Stellar Awards Radio Ballot ].  Hosted in January during MLK weekend, The Stellar Gospel Music Awards Show is a production of  Central City Productions, founded by Executive Producer Don Jackson & produced by Barbara Wilson. (Chicago-based Central City Productions is a distributor of original programming to television & cable networks).

Contrary to the sacred side of the music industry, CHH artists like Andy Mineo were featured in mainstream Hip Hop media outlets like BET’s 106 & Park, BET’s Cyphers, and SiriusXM’s Sway in the Morning.

CHRISTIAN RAP IS NOT GOSPEL?

trip-lee-press-2012-2

2 weeks ago, Billboard also announced that as of Dec 6, 2014 Christian Hip Hop artists were no longer going to be flagged for the Gospel Charts. Since the release of Lecrae‘s Anomaly album dropped in September 2014, it has topped the Gospel chart almost the entire time leading up to December 5, 2014. At #4 was Tripp Lee’s album Rise which also peaked at #1. [ Billboard Gospel Chart ]

IS THIS SOMETHING NEW TO THE INDUSTRY?

In the early 2000s, Radio & Records charted Christian Hip Hop or Gospel Rap music under Christian Rock or Christian Rhythmic formats depending on how the Christian radio stations reported their playlists. Artists like Grits, Cross Movement, and KJ-52 consistently topped those charts.

KJ-52-2002

In 2002, KJ-52 brought attention to the genre in the main stream when he released the track and video “Dear Slim” addressing rapper Emenem in his lyrics, and getting video rotations on VH-1 and MTV. It was the first of it’s kind to get over 100,000 copies sold by a solo Christian rapper.

GRITS-2002

Another success story that year was the rap duo GRITS with their song “Ohh Ahh” which appeared on the MTV show My Super Sweet 16. It is also used as the theme song of The Buried Life and on the soundtracks to The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift and Big Momma’s House 2. In 2014, Gotee Records announced that the song was RIAA Digital Gold Certified, having surpassed 500,000 downloads.

On July 6, 2006, Billboard’s parent company VNU announced they will acquire R&R Magazine, adding them to their collection of music industry companies (Billboard Information Group, Nielsen BDS, and Nielsen SoundScan) [ Billboard Acquires R&R ]. Since the acquisition, the Christian Rhythmic format was dropped as a sub-genre all together, forcing stations to report the music under other categories. The only natural place for Gospel Rap (as some call it) was to be reported to the Gospel Charts. But something strange begins to happen. Reach Records begins to make big moves in marketing and in September 2008, Lecrae enters the Gospel Charts and peaks at #1 with his album Rebel, #2 on Christian and #60 on Billboard 200. In 2010 Gravity repeats the pattern bringing more than just top sales, but as mentioned above,  several top awards. Meanwhile, KJ-52 continues to represent CHH in the Christian Hit Music and Christian Rock markets, racking in nominations and awards at the GMAs.

KJ52-doves

Fast forward to 2014, Lecrae leads as the Top Gospel Artist with eight top 10 entries on Hot Gospel Songs (including three # 1s), # 1 Gospel Artist, the top Hot Gospel Songs Artist, # 1 Gospel Albums Artist, # 1 Gospel Digital Songs Artist, and leads the Gospel Albums list for 2014, overshadowing the rest of the Top 5: Hezekiah Walker, [Tamala] Mann, [Jamie] Grace and [Tasha] Cobbs [ Billboard Year in Music ]. Did I mention he topped the Billboard 200? [ Lecrae #1 on Billboard 200 ] Billboard’s final statement on charting was this: “2014 is the final year that most Christian rap/hip-hop songs and albums, like Lecrae’s releases, will be broadly eligible for Billboard’s Gospel charts.” [ Billboard Year in Music ]

Lecrae-617x409

In an interview with The Christian Post, Bishop T D Jakes states that “Gospel Hip Hop has made significant contributions to the next generation,” and referred to a time when Mahalia Jackson, known as “The Queen of Gospel,” was viewed as controversial for rocking the boat in her day. Why the disconnect all of the sudden? Why does Gospel music want to draw a line between the old and the new? Is there jealousy in the camp? Are they losing THAT much money? Is separation the solution?

Comments welcomed.