I'm a 20 year old...I wouldn't say 'Gospel Rap Artist' but I'm a Christian who likes to rap as a side hobby. I was born into a family with both my parents as Christians, my dad being the pastor. But that didn't actually help much growing up. I felt pressured to be the 'good guy' so it didn't take long for me to want to be the opposite. So I did anything I could to break free from that expectation & be who I wanted to be. Because of this, I turned to sin. That translated into many things; causing chaos in my local area (getting involved with gangs, flattening car tyres, stealing, egging buses, stoning houses, bullying & even helping to start a school fire)...basically being the guy I was brought up 'NOT TO BE' while a pornography addiction crept it's way in. I lived for myself and any pleasures I could find I counted as treasures.
I'm a 20 year old...I wouldn't say 'Gospel Rap Artist' but I'm a Christian who likes to rap as a side hobby. I was born into a family with both my parents as Christians, my dad being the pastor. But that didn't actually help much growing up. I felt pressured to be the 'good guy' so it didn't take long for me to want to be the opposite. So I did anything I could to break free from that expectation & be who I wanted to be. Because of this, I turned to sin. That translated into many things; causing chaos in my local area (getting involved with gangs, flattening car tyres, stealing, egging buses, stoning houses, bullying & even helping to start a school fire)...basically being the guy I was brought up 'NOT TO BE' while a pornography addiction crept it's way in. I lived for myself and any pleasures I could find I counted as treasures. Although I knew deep down that I needed God, I suppressed that truth. Eventually though (around the age of 13), I tried to change, but it was when I tried to escape that I realised I was trapped. The higher I climbed the further I fell. In songs I wrote around that time I said things like, "Every time I fight, the light gets dimmer" and "I can't be bothered to try anymore". So after trying again & again in every way possible only to fail each time, I gave up. "God clearly doesn't exist"...So I returned to sin. But it wasn't long before I found myself hungry for something more. Empty. Unsatisfied. The problem was, when I set salvation as my New Year's Resolution, even when I worked really hard at trying, in every way, to change myself...I couldn't. I said in a song I wrote, "When I look in the mirror, all I see is a sinner , who's tryna fight the battle of life, but can't seem to be a winner". I knew I needed God but couldn't do enough to make my own way to Him.
However, one day on a bus home from school, I was listening to a Hip-Hop song called 'MayDay' by Triple O'. He was warning of the return of Jesus & I felt this powerful call of God to repent, so I pulled out my earphones, looked up to the sky and the noise of all the loud school kids around me seemed to fade away. I just zoned out & prayed like never before with tears streaming down my face. God gave me a realisation in that moment of His saving Grace and that I couldn't save myself. I specifically remember saying these words, "Lord, I don't want You in my life, I need You!". I never knew at the time that this would be the beginning of such an amazing journey but I felt an indescribable sense of freedom as I was flooded with Joy. From then on, I was a completely new person. God transformed me and the process of growth has been amazing. Seeing the way God is working in me over the past 2 years has been overwhelmingly powerful! I now have brand new desires to live for God, love people and hate sin. I see life through a brand new lens. And yes, it is a battle, but ultimately the fight is over and we have the victory in Christ. Jesus has paid the price in full which is why as He died on the cross He said "It is finished". Realising that has been so mind-blowing. I now see why God didn't save me while I relied on my own works as then I would have probably seen salvation as a Goal I achieved rather than a Gift I received. On a SoundClick account I had at the time I wrote 'Not Born-Again yet, still trying!!!'. Imagine how I would be if God saved me then. It's only now I see that Jesus lived perfectly in my place, ticking every box for me & died to pay the price 'in full'! He has removed my sins from me 'as far as the east is from the west', cast them into the 'depths of the sea' and covered me in His 'Robe of Righteousness' by His Mercy alone. Not because I prayed a good enough prayer or put in enough effort. The Holy Spirit, who used to sound a little unrealistic to me, has taken away my old desires & drives me to do God's will. My main aim, though I don't always live it out, is to bring God the glory in everything I do, including using my musical talents and creativity seeds which He can water. I now understand that my efforts didn't contribute one penny to the price Jesus paid for me, and even if they could, that penny would be worthless in the face of His priceless Grace.
I now make music which reflects on Salvation, Hope & God's Unmerited Love. I wrote in one of my most recent songs, 'You Reign', "The Kingdom of Heaven isn't high where the stars sleep, it's 'at hand' 'cause He knows that we can't reach". That's so different to what I said in a song I wrote before I got to know Jesus, "He's so high, I'm just so low. I gotta fly straight up to Him now". I now, through God's unending mercy, know that without Christ, I'm zero. It's now that I walk with God that I see that this isn't a religion, this is Life! Jesus said, "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life". Me flapping my arms didn't get me to fly, Christ did. Now that my relationship with God is restored I hope & pray that God uses my music, life & maybe even these words as instruments to spread the GOOD NEWS.
I heard of so many testimonies containing
tears that i would imagine losing my mum
to bring tears every time i tried to pray.
"I was born & raised in the heart of Tottenham ((North London)) to two Christian parents."
That sentence might sound like just another intro to another pretty cool life story.
But it lays before you, foundations of a 'War' I unknowingly signed up for, with the signature of my first breath.
Tottenham - being the birthplace of the 2011 Riots, contrasted with my Dad - being Pastor of that church across the street, left my heart in a battle. I felt pressured to be the 'good kid' on Sundays, and 'Ace Kidd' (my tagname at the time) any other day of the week. Yet even though I clearly heard God's Voice in my heart calling me to walk in the Light, I made up my mind to swiftly sprint in the opposite direction. It began with drawing guns & knives during every sermon. Yet quickly turned to action. I joined my local gang (Younger Maniakz) and would spend my free-time doing anything I could to destroy. Flattening car tyres. Stoning Houses. Stealing from local shops. Skipping school daily. Knocking down bins (street-by-street). I would even stretch my dad's treasured tapes across local roads to be broken in two by passing cars. I once wrote for a song...
"See I write these lyrics with tears in my eyes,
When I see who I had grown to become,
For while everyone saw the little pastor's kid,
They missed me on the streets holding a gun."
Yet although I once tried to help burgle a house and start a school fire, the problem was really one with "my heart", over simply the things I would do. Hard as it is to write, "I loved sin". I sought pleasure in darkness with every passing breath. That pleasure was my treasure, and "where your treasure is, there your heart is also".
I was in a dark place.
I needed Light.
...Yet all through these years, God never gave up on me. I am so honoured to be able to write that. I remember walking down the street with some friends, preparing for a "game" of harassing young women. As we approached the high road, God's Voice was so vivid, I couldn't continue. I had to run home. Though I tried a million ways to drown out His Call, He continued to pursue me !!
When I tried to stop, I couldn't. I was too weak. Yet through His Voice, even though I pursued darkness with all that was in me, He could stop me. His Power was that clear. I needed Him. As time ticked by, this conviction grew stronger and stronger. God had planted in my heart a new desire. Salvation.
Oh, I dreamed of it. I would stare at my parents during arguments and wonder how they can have heaven as their home without skipping ((in overflowing Joy)) down the street !! I'd listen to this song (KB - Hello) on repeat with an overflow of longing at the thought of being able to sing such lyrics meaningfully...
Around this time, a SoundClick profile of mine read, "(NOT BORN-AGAIN YET, STILL TRYING!!!)". Yet the more I tried to save myself, the more I failed. The more I failed, the more I doubted... and before I knew it, I spiralled down & Wacked my head on the ground... "God doesn't exist". I said that. Not only with my lifestyle, but with my heart. I couldn't believe in a God who didn't clap for my efforts or reward my reach. You could say, I became an atheist for a season (2 months). I called this "Dark Cloud 2 Storm" & even made an 11-track album of the same title.
Yet all through these years . . . God never gave up on me . . .
It was a day like any other. A Thursday. Just 10 days into my final year of secondary school. Once the school day was up, I beeped my Oyster & hopped on the 279 bus just like any other day (since year 7). Little did I know, The LORD had a plan. I was listening to a UK Hip-Hop/Grime track, 'MayDay', by Triple O. In the chorus, there was a warning of the return of Jesus & suddenly, it came alive to me for the first time ever. I felt this powerful call of God to repent. So I quickly snatched out my earphones, looked up to the sky, and with tears streaming down my face, found Life in the eyes of my Saviour. It was as if all the noise of loud school kids around me faded into a background muffle as I zoned out of time and into eternity. All I can recall of my heart's cry to The LORD is one distinct moment. I gazed into the clear skies of His Light and cried, "Lord I no longer want You in my life"... (there was a pause as my heart breathed in the melody of heaven once again, then continued)... "I need You". Oh, how I wished time would pause and allow me to rest in His Bliss 'forever'. Oh, the freedom that filled my lungs. I could finally fly. Freedom. Freedom. Peace and Joy and overflowing Light. He whisked me straight into Heaven.
This was written the following day: "...one thing I can remember is that I noticed (from looking out of the bus windows) that everything pointed up. All the roofs all the posters. It was A reminder that now my life & everything I do points to God & that I will do everything for Him & His Glory!!". I then went on to celebrate, "I've tried to repent & seek God for so long now. Praise God that He has saved me!!". When finally, I hopped off the bus, I was brand new. I felt light as a feather and skippy as a dolphin. Words can't articulate. If only words could express !! I bounced back home with my heart in heaven and my feet hardly able to stay bound to Earth. My eyes were in the skies as my face held back not a drop of Joy. I was flooded. As soon as I got home, my mum opened the door and asked, "are you okay?" with those eyes of concern... "Yeah mum, I'm fine" !! I ran straight upstairs and heard God call me to flick open my Bible app, close my eyes and randomly click any book and chapter. I ended up at Isaiah 40. Ever since, this has been a key passage in my walk with The LORD. It's been my hope to walk with verse 31 accompanying every step. That's why I got these printed...
The impact HE has made is immeasurable. Beyond text. An unfailing overflow of Living Waters. It has never ceased to flow. At the time, I described it like this: "I felt happy, I felt... just changed. Completely. Everything was different... the main difference I felt was Joy. Happiness. Constant, it's even now. I feel this Happiness. So, ever since then I've felt God's presence everywhere I go... I feel like a 'New man in a New world'. Everything is different, and I feel free". I called it, "Life through a New lens". I went on to describe God's presence as a "Joy. This background Joy. Even when you're going through problems". Ever since, the Joy hasn't faded. Though it's been a war to keep.
Truth be told, there have been many battles. I'm still at 'War' in many ways. To stay focused on The LORD. To stay unashamed of the Gospel. I even have warred with many sins. "But thanks be to God, who gives us the Victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." (1 Cor 15:57). I'm still far from grasping His Awesome Gospel. His Love for me. His Grace for the times I fall. His Power thru His Holy Spirit. Yet He is with me. And if our God is for us, who can stand against?
"Every day I live is another day I know that I've been forgiven".
Can you imagine such joy?
• • •
It wasn't long before this brand new 'desire' became my 'mission'.
I will change myself. I'll say Adios to Sin and "Hello" to Life.
New Years Resolution: Get saved. ❌
Reach for the sky and collect ticket to Heaven. ❌
Yet even when I prayed "just" right, I would wake the next morning like a child looking for that stash of gold he collected in his dreams. It faded to nothing.
The more I tried to escape, the more I realised just how trapped I was.
And even with any step of progression... the higher I climbed, the further I fell.
I now make music to proclaim the same game-changing Gospel that shot me into Everlasting Life, though I couldn't shift a millimetre closer to Him. It is my Hope and Trust that He will use each track to flip lives in the way He changed my own.
I pray that whatever the Scoreboard of your life proclaims... you'll seek first the Scoreboard of His Victorious WIN.
Saying "Adios" to sin and "Hello" to New Life.