Creative Christian Moments
“Reviews of up and coming Christians in the arts community.”
Blog Article 29: Christian Rapper Willie Will
There are many pioneers within the Christian artist community trail blazing through the wilderness of culture to bring the Gospel as an influencer to the broken world around us. Like my last blog entry about Christian metal band Righteous Vendetta, the hip-hop community is also witnessing a renaissance of revival where Christ filled rhymes are repairing the ravaged damage from the secular rap community. Seattle is well known for its musical history of grunge in the 1990s and the mainstream rap in the today’s culture but often Christian music is seldom mentioned.
Willie Will (real name William Wilson) is a Christian rapper hailing from Everett, WA and is no stranger to the hip-hop community. He has spent the last decade in the trenches of gansta culture preaching the Gospel to the wayward sons and daughters of this generation through a medium they understand: rap. Wilson describes that music has always been in his family as stated by the Holy Hip Hop Database (2014) presenting a record of his music involvement spanning the decades. In the 1990s, Wilson was apart of a family band called Pop Heavenly and the Heavenly Boyz. After the breakup in the early 2000s, Wilson began his solo career as a rap artist and acquired quite the arsenal of music to his name.
I will confess it now, I may not mention all the albums he has written and produced as they are so many in number but I have tried my best to gather the information of as many as I could locate online. From my count, Wilson has released at least eight albums in the later part of the 2000s: Rhyme and Reason (2009), Premeditated Worda (2009), Front Street (2009), America’s Most Needed (2009), Say Goodbye Featuring Jazz Digga (2010), Reflection (2011), The High Life (2011), and Things That Are Not (2013). Wilson has also collaborated with other Christian rappers and musicians on nine other albums entitled Holy Hip Hop Volumes 3 and 8; EOE Classics 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, and 8; and the Slingshot 2011 soundtrack.
To really do Wilson justice in a review would take multiple blog posts to analyze the plethora of albums I have stated above. Picking three songs to review for any musician has always been a daunting task as I love music, but I’ve chosen one of my favorite songs and two music videos to assist the other artists in reading my blog on what can be productively and professionally accomplished with a small budget, sound/video editing skills, and video camera knowledge.
“Harder than steel, harder than metal, I roll with God because He’s harder than the devil. The bigger they are the harder they fall. Christ is the rock, He is the rock, He’s the hardest of all. Go hard!” The chorus you just read is from one of my favorite songs from Wilson’s Rhyme and Reason album from 2009 called “Go Hard.” I call this song one of my personal prayer intercession songs given the blunt brutality by which Wilson raps about Jesus Christ’s superior authority over everything carnal, worldly, and spiritual. The beats of the song blast the listener with a sincere seriousness about the sobering truth of walking out Christianity daily. Wilson uses street culture allusions to counter and decimate the typhlotic nature of false machismo spewed by the secular rap community. Wilson’s words radiate light into darkness by challenging the status quo with the truth of Christianity: real men and women roll with Jesus.
“Ready 2 Rock” is one of Wilson’s most recent tracks (as of 2013 anyway) and is incredibly catchy. Wilson’s purpose in this song is to challenge his musical critics through an explanation of his purpose behind rapping the Gospel message. D-Maud (Donny Harper) joins him in proclaiming this explanation blatantly answering his own critics with lyrics insisting that as Christian rappers they walk their talk. Like many of Wilson’s tracks, “Ready 2 Rock” is encouraging and inspires the listener to rep Christ in their own community without shame.
Sometimes the Holy Spirit just slaps you with His presence and that is the type of reaction I get when I hear Wilson’s real life story in “Unborn Child.” Wilson’s track is a retelling on his own personal struggle with reconciliation towards his child that was aborted. It is a tough message but Wilson delivers honest lyrics about the selfish circumstances that led him to make the choice, his own personal family struggles as a child, and his struggles with Christianity. As I scrolled through the YouTube comments, it was divinely humbling to see the comments of listeners in which the song had touched their heart; especially from men and women regretting the abortions they had, too. Wilson’s song serves as a reminder to humanity that abortion destroys a human life and that parenthood, regardless of conception, is a gift from God.
The fruit of Wilson’s ministry through hip-hop is indisputable. To the naysayers quoting the following Biblical passages out of context like 2nd Corinthians 6:17, Hebrews 7:26, and 2nd Timothy 3:5 to twist the theological meaning of their words to justify that music like Christian rap or Christian metal cannot be used as a means of sharing the Gospel; I retort with the passage of the Matthew 7 in which Jesus states for the reader to take the GIANT PLANK of wood out their own eye FIRST before trying to attempt to correct a tiny spec in another brother or sister’s eye.
Every musical endeavor that Wilson has touched rains the fruit of the Gospel message with hardened teenagers and adults from gansta culture turning their lives radically over to believing in the Gospel message and excelling in walking in the Gospel lifestyle. The Christian pastors, priests, and leaders, clothing their spiritual nakedness with the rags of Pharisees need to repent of their judgement and support these individuals. My word usage in this review may be blunt but I am a firm believer that if you are not willing to go to a specific culture of individuals with the Gospel message, at least support those that do instead of criticizing its presentation through the sinfully blind lens of tradition and selfish personal preferences. You cannot retort the fruit of salvation occurring in musical ministries like Wilson’s and ultimately that is the dividing line for effective ministry.
You can support Will through prayer, purchasing his music and merchandise, scheduling him for a concert event, or just connecting with him through one of his many social media pages. Wilson has also served in many different pastoral roles with his most recent role as lead pastor of Mars Hill Church in Rainer Valley, Washington. So if you are around the Seattle area and are looking for some underground Christian rap music, hit up Willie Will’s message boards to find out where the next concert will be so you can partake of this music. Wilson’s legacy in Christian music will be paved by the plethora of albums he leaves behind and the individuals saved through the Gospel message preached through his music as pillars in the pacific northwest of America.
Willie Will’s Pages:
Band Camp: http://williewill.bandcamp.com/
Band Mine: http://www.bandmine.com/williewill
“Unborn Child”, Willie Will, directed by Greg Backes, YouTube, 4:53, posted by Willie Wilson, January 23, 2009, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0CfvYwXpxY4&index=10&list=UUTaQnSIkP9QqkM_5YKtK68w (accessed August 27, 2014)
Will, Willie. Profile Picture from Album Things That Are Not. Band Camp. http://williewill.bandcamp.com/ (accessed August 28, 2014)
Willie Will – READY 2 ROCK feat. D-MAUD, YouTube, 2:44, posted by Willie Wilson, March 20, 2013, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dQk2I4_dmXQ (accessed August 27, 2014)
Holy Hip Hop Database. “Willie Will.” Last modified August 25, 2014. http://www.hhhdb.com/hhhdb/index.php?id=791