Has there ever been a greater oxymoron than “Christian rap?” When freshman Jeriah Dunk tells people he’s a Christian rapper, he’s usually met with weird glances or blank stares. Although the genre of rap may be given a bad rap here in small-town Iowa and the surrounding areas, three NWC freshmen are taking a stand against stereotypes and joining the movement of what some may know as “holy hip-hop.”
Dunk, a student from California, was first exposed to Christian rap in middle school when he was given Lecrae’s first CD, Real Talk. Dunk first started writing lyrics and rapping on his own when he was in high school. “I was at my friend’s house, and he got out his Mac, and we wrote a song about Kool-Aid. I liked it so I kept doing it.” It wasn’t long before he realized he could use his talent to “share the light of Christ,” like some of his favorite Christian rap artists from the 116 Clique.
Dunk has joined up with freshmen Demargo Friedl and AJ Nash to start a Christian rap group of their own right here on campus. Friedl, who got his start by writing poetry, presented Dunk with lyrics about how Christians should be unique and stand out. The group decided to take that and run with it.
“It’s more than just a name; it’s more than just a clique. It’s more than just a beat with some lyrics that are sick.” Naming their group after Friedl’s song, UNIQUE holds fast to the Apostle Paul’s lesson in 2 Corinthians 6:17, which says, “Therefore, come out from them and be separate.”
Writing poetry and lyrics is a favorite pastime of the members of UNIQUE. “It matters where I am in my walk,” Dunk said. “A lot of times I write about my struggles and coming out of them and trying to acknowledge them so people can identify with them. It’s just so I can make something that other people can relate to but they can still see that God’s the reason for what we’re doing.”
Friedl enjoys writing lyrics about “the attributes of God. His love. He’s above all.” Nash chooses to write about humility, “taking the light from me and shining it on God.”
As for their inspiration? “Well, first off I’d have to say God,” Dunk comments. Besides the One they strive to glorify, the members of UNIQUE get much of their inspiration from the 116 Clique, a group of individual rappers who join together to promote the Gospel by declaring Romans 1:16. It says, “I am not ashamed of the Gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes.”
Nash and Dunk both admit their favorite song to be “Don’t Waste Your Life” by 116 Clique member Lecrae.
UNIQUE already has seven completed songs and are working on five more before producing their mixtape for people to download. All of their music can be found on their Facebook page; search “UNIQUE.”