37. Gang Affiliated – Gospel Gangstas

GANG AFFILIATED

Gospel Gangstas

This was the best Christian rap album of all time…

…and it’s not even close!

In 25 years of working in Christian retail, wholesale, radio and concert promotion no other release has carried with it as much  controversy and appreciation as the Gospel Gangstas’ “Gang Affiliated.” Even those that would not include rap as a personal favorite style appreciate just what the Ganstas created with this amazing project. And no other album has been banned, ridiculed and attacked as much as Gang Affiliated. Even the furor raised over Stryper’s “To Hell With the Devil” did not match the controversy surrounding this project.

Whether it was the guns on the album cover, the gang clothing, the scary images, the seemingly anti-authority and anti-police lyrical content or the prevalent use of the “n” word, nearly everyone found something to be offended by.

I was working for Frontline Records at the time and we originally had sold in a compilation record that DJ Dove was putting together to promote up and coming rap artist in the Christian market. But right before release date the sales force was told that title was being changed and that it would not be a record featuring just one, brand new rap artist called the Gospel Gangstas (later changed to Gospel Gangstaz for subsequent releases). At first we were concerned that the product shipped was not the product that was sold in, but once we saw the immediate sell through of the title and intense response from fans, all was forgiven.

But soon after the release the complaints began pouring into the Frontline offices. Bookstores started pulling it and keeping behind the counter; some because they claim the theft of the product was high and others because of the cover and the content. Oddly enough, despite the intense outcry of problems none of those same stores ever returned the product because it was selling!

What made this record so amazing?

It was legit! Authentic, real, believable…legit!

There were no subjects off limits to the Gangstas on this project; police brutality, welfare, gang warfare, sexual promiscuity, murder, rape and drug dealing were all staples of this releases subject matter.

Fornication on my mind 7, 24, And some mo’
The devil used girls for bait to hook the Solo
I would invite em on a late dinner date
But it was lust on my mind not the food on the plate, But wait
I was like a hound, Sniffin around, Nose to the ground
Diggin in any girl I found, The devil had me bound
Ditchin school to feed my hungry flesh
I had an A in fornication, But a F on my test, Oh yes
Being in bondage is a horrible state
I can’t escape, Havin sex so much that I’m losin weight

Throughout the project each member of the Gangstas gives their testimony and how they gave up the sins of the past (drugs, sex, violence, etc) and had embraced the Gospel. Full length cuts are interspersed with sermonettes, samples and even several “interview” segments where the Gangstas explain some of the more controversial lyrics. To add to the controversy one member of the group was serving time just when the album was being released.

The Gangstas, and this album, were nothing without the Gospel part. They never once shied away from proclaiming the Gospel and never once did the Gospel message take a beck seat to the issues of drugs, gangs, sex and violence.

But ultimately this title deserves to be on this list because of the barriers that were broken as the result of its release. Sure, there were plenty of Christian rappers doing their thing with limited results. PID, D Boy, etc all had been out in the market long before the Gangstas, but no, up to that time, had created such an authentic and polarizing project.

Despite the controversy (and possibly because of it) it continued to be a top selling album for a very long time, lasting much longer on store shelves than releases by their peers. If anyone was remotely interested in Christian rap this was in their collection. Though rap music has progressed and changed and improved, not many releases equal the intensity, believability and out right authenticity of this project and all the success that today’s rappers enjoy is due, in large part, to this one release.

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6 responses to this post.

  1. This was one of my best sellers at the store I worked at. I could barely keep it in stock. I still listen to this all the time. You should check out the All Mixed Up album too, if you haven’t. Some of the remixes from Gang Affliliated are actually pretty good. I was a little shocked. Most remixes in the Christian market kinda suck.

    Reply

  2. Posted by Matt on May 8, 2010 at 8:21 am

    I stole this tape from a bookstore when I was a kid….
    But felt really bad. Also I went to church with these guys when
    I was really young. Unfortunately I think they aren’t following the Lord
    now.

    Reply

  3. Posted by C.Reed on June 3, 2010 at 10:59 pm

    Gospel Gangstaz are still serving the Lord since this album about 3 have come out and now they are working on new music also workin with me

    Reply

  4. Posted by y2daddy on August 27, 2012 at 10:29 pm

    Sorry, I think Apocalypse’s album The Final Plea is the best Christian rap album of all time. But this is good too.

    Reply

  5. Posted by Christian on July 8, 2013 at 3:31 pm

    For me, it’s “Tha Life of a Hoodlum” by T-Bone. A solid production (L.A. Posse) combined with hard hitting poetry, listen to “Thief in the Night” for a prime example. His first album sounds too much like a Cypress Hill record and some of the later stuff doesn’t have the same production values, but it all comes together on this album.

    Reply

  6. “The Final Plea” was *hard* no doubt, but the beats, and rhyming was uneven. this album was technically near perfect, from a rhyme, beat, and mastering perspective. and so authentic in every way.

    Reply

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