Meet rapper Red Tips, his dreads ‘dipped in the blood of Jesus’


By Michael Ashcraft –

Heaven has a ghetto, jests Christian Hip Hop artist Red Tips.

“That’s how you explain me, from the south side of heaven,” he splutters on “Man Down.” “I don’t care if you don’t think I’m cool. Jesus thinks I’m really dope. He clean me up so heavenly, I might as well just be the soap. It’s reckless in the streets right now; I might as well just be the hope.”

His gospel humor is born of re-packaging of the old truths in trap talk reach a segment of the population not being reached by talking heads in suits. The lyrics reinvigorate Christians and challenge sinners to re-think the street worldview.

“I make music to captivate somebody who doesn’t know the Lord,” he says on an Iris Global Youtube podcast. “I want to give something that will fall on good soil, almost as if it slips past the conscious level.”

Red Tips’ real name is Aaron Barker. As a four-star recruit in high school who squatted 460 lbs, he wore dreads whose tips were colored red, giving his nickname which stuck with him into his faith-infused music.

“When I go places, people say, ‘Oh, red tips, you’ve been dipped in the blood of Jesus,’” he recounts. “I’m like nope, it’s not that deep.”

He was raised in Wauchula, FL. His dad is a pastor at Higher Ground International Ministry who brings his DJ turntable to church, ministering with Hip Hop during worship service. Red Tips picked up his music slant from Dad.

“My parents never showed me fake Christianity,” he says. “Mom and Dad, who they are in church is who they are at home. I’ve never had a false representation of who God is.”

He ministered alongside Dad even though in high school he started living some inconsistencies. “In high school, I wasn’t all the way in,” he says. “I was a hypocrite.”

He attended college in California, and at age 21, he re-encountered God and came clean from his life of hidden sin.

His first plan was not to be a rap artist but a missionary. He attended Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry and went on short-term missions to Tibet, where he saw Christians who were persecuted. On a trip to Brazil, he saw Christians living in trash dumps.

“We pray for things here [in America] like ‘Lord, bless my day, please give me blessings’,’” he told Rapzilla. But in some countries, particularly where believers face persecution, the prayer is: “‘Lord, I pray that you bless me with the opportunity to be a martyr. I want to go to the lowest of lows. I want to go to the most dangerous places.’”

As he dropped music, his raps starting gaining traction, and a music career was born. But stardom is not the goal; Jesus is the goal. He thinks every Christian should go on a short-term mission trip.

When he makes music, he doesn’t conspire for commercial success but listens to Holy Spirit for his lyrics, he says.

He discusses his creative process: He finds a beat and says, “I really like this beat. Lord, what do you want to say?” he explains. If he is tempted to appeal to the public (over listening to what he feels God wants to say), he gets rapper’s block. “It literally kills my creativity.”

Creativity is a strong point for Red Tips. He doesn’t repeat the redundant of Christian Hip Hop and doesn’t dip his toe in the water of scripture. His song DWTD (Dumb Way to Die (without Christ)) says:

I be kicking it with Matthew, Mark, Luke and John
They be playing chess, telling me the devil just a pawn.
Seen him in the grass got the mower and I cut the lawn
Met him in the Gulag and killed him now he can’t re-spawn

His popularity is surging. On Spotify, he has 284K monthly listeners. Letitia Wright of Black Panther fame is a fan.

To learn more about a personal relationship with Jesus, click here

About this writer: Michael Ashcraft pastors a church in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles.