Barely in high school, Christian rapper turns heads with seasoned lyrics


By Michael Ashcraft —

Every so often a new Christian rapper pops up and seizes everybody’s attention with sizzling music and sensational lyrics. Such is the case of Ray Emmanuel.

But what really is dropping jaws is his age.

Ray Emmanuel is 14.

The North Carolina native has dropped three songs and been featured on KB‘s hard-to-understand “Die Rich.” He’s still in school but stays up until 3:00 a.m. writing lyrics and travels to New York to record.

Budding pubescent rappers abound. Not many of them have professionally produced songs that are already shuffled into Spotify playlists.

Not many of them have mature lyrics; most of them just brag about how good they are and lack substance. How could they have substance? They haven’t lived long enough to address a multitude of issues with any perspective.

Ray is a remarkable exception. His voice sounds like it belongs to a 10 year old, but his lyrics crush heavyweight topics (like unity, love and God) as if originated from a 35 year old.

“We should build each other up instead of tear each other down,” he raps. “Why can’t everybody just love, the kind that was exemplified and sent from up above.

Ray is not a prodigy whose path was blazed by a relative in the industry who arranged his music. He’s written his own beats.

He started grabbing attention when he posted himself rapping on Instagram. He rapidly shot up to 100,000 followers. Secular stars like YBN Cordae and Rhapsody reached out to him, shared his music on their pages and encouraged him to put in the proverbial “10,000 hours of work” that Malcolm Gladwell said talented people need in order to advance in any given field from proficient to professional.

When Ray interviews on live radio, his responses are thoughtful. They don’t sound like someone in his early teens.

“I feel like I’m different because I really try to make an effort to put out a positive message to the people,” he says. God knows we need some “positive messages” in the rap space where the foulest sewage flows from secular hip hop artists.

Perhaps to not put off secular listeners, he doesn’t overtly mention God, but His presence is felt. Ray is definitely Christian. Not only has CHH pinnacle topper KB featured him, but gospel singer Aloe Blacc give him bars on his remix of “I’m Going to Sing.”

Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook is a fan, says CBS.

The Dr. Martin Luther King Center also took notice and invited Ray to perform during this year’s annual service commemorating the work of the civil rights hero.

“Dr. Bernice King said that my music was very inspiring to her which meant a lot to me being that her father was one of the most inspirational men, like ever,” Ray said. “He was an activist; he was a pastor. I, of course, write rap music, but I feel like through writing music I want to spread the same message and carry on his legacy.”

Read about other Christian hip hop artists by clicking: 1K Phew –  Aaron Cole — Ada Betsabé – Andy Mineo – Benjamin BroadwayBizzle – Canon – Cass – Datin – Flame – Gawvi – HeeSun Lee – Jackie Hill-PerryJarry Manna — JGivens – Joey VantesJohn Givez – KB – Lecrae – Lil T Tyler Brasel– MC Jin – NF – nobigdyl. – Propaganda – Ruslan – Sevin – S.O. — Social Club Misfits – Steven Malcolm – Tedashii – Tobe Nwigwe – Trip Lee – Wande Isola – WhatUpRGYB

And secular rappers who have come to Christ (at least to some degree): Chance the Rapper – Kendrick Lamar – No MaliceSnoop DoggKanye West

And an overview article about the state of affairs in CHH: Christian Hip Hop in Controversy.

Michael Ashcraft supports his Christian journalism selling bamboo steamers on Amazon.