By Michael Ashcraft —
“Sending love and prayers for all those facing loss, depression, or heartache this season. DM me if you need someone to talk to and to pray with you.”
That’s what Christian Hip Hop sensation Joey Vantes wrote on Facebook Dec. 14th. He knows that Christmas, for many, heightens their isolation, depression and thoughts of suicide. He has a heart for more than just music or stardom. He has a heart for the hurting.
That’s because Joey Vantes (formerly Joey Jewish) tried to commit suicide himself. He was trying to quit the partying and drugs from his days at the University of Arizona. But he kept lapsing back into drinking, and the cycle of failure detonated depression.
“It was just a mess. I couldn’t break free,” Joey told Rapzilla. “I was so depressed. I was so bound to this thing that I just wanted to die to escape what I was feeling on a daily basis.”
One day when his wife sent him for groceries, he decided to end his life. He would drive off the road down a steep embankment.
“I jerked my wheel to the left to pull off at this ramp and right when I [did] it, my wheel locks, my car shuts off and I slowly just kind of fade over to the left side of the road,” the Tucson rapper said. “Immediately, the Spirit of God just hits me right where I am in my car.I feel this intense love come over me and say, ‘I love you and I forgive you. Just call out to me.’”
Vantes (short for his real name, Cervantes) is marking a decade of music ministry. He’s released nine projects, had. 52 million streams and made Billboard’s top 50. His newest release hit 100,000 streams in two days.
But the heights don’t compare to the depths.
Vantes remembers from where Jesus brought him out. He keeps as his #1 priority reaching out to people lost in the depths of despair.
At a concert in 2015 in Santa Barbara, Vantes gave the altar call and locked eyes with a girl in evident anguish.
After, she confessed to him, sobbing: “I actually don’t even like hip hop. It’s not my type of music, and I wasn’t even going to come tonight. I was going to commit suicide.”
When Vantes grabbed her hands to pray with her, he saw the scars on her wrists, evidence of cutting.
“It gave me an outlook that is so much bigger than music,” he says.
Michael Ashcraft has gone through terrible loneliness and would you like to reach out before making a rash decision. Message on the board here.
Read about other Christian hip hop artists by clicking: 1K Phew – Aaron Cole — Ada Betsabé – Andy Mineo – Benjamin Broadway — Bizzle – Canon – Cass – Datin – Flame – Gawvi – HeeSun Lee – Jackie Hill-Perry – Jarry Manna — JGivens – Joey Vantes — John Givez – KB – Lecrae – Lil T Tyler Brasel– MC Jin – NF – nobigdyl. – Propaganda – Ray Emmanuel – Ruslan – Sevin – S.O. — Social Club Misfits – Steven Malcolm – Tedashii – Tobe Nwigwe – Trip Lee – Wande Isola – WhatUpRG — YB
And secular rappers who have come to Christ (at least to some degree): Chance the Rapper — Kanye West – Kendrick Lamar – No Malice — Snoop Dogg
And an overview article about the state of affairs in CHH: Christian Hip Hop in Controversy.