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Hip-Hop and Worship Colliding at Substance

Posted On March 9, 2012 By Peter In

As a teenager, I was all about indie-music. If it was bizarre, I was into it.  But I vividly remember the first time I mixed on a pair of turn-tables… it was downright magical. Almost every dollar I owned went into my tables and crates of records.  It was loud, throbbing and physical.  In fact, when I was 17, I actually got rid of the bed in my bedroom so that I could set up a dj lounge (to my parents dismay).  I literally pulled my mattress out of my closet every night – which says a lot about my priorities at that time.

But turn-tables weren’t my first instrument. I had taken about 9 years of private lessons on cello, piano and guitar. But there was something absolutely mesmerizing to me about Chicago style house-music.  And my friends obviously agreed as they’d sit in my “bedroom lounge” for hours on end as I’d mix.

In some ways, worship became a similar experience for me. But I had to grow into it.  I went to a church that was known for worship pastored by a man named Ed Gungor. (Many of you Substance folk now listen to his son Michael Gungor). But worship there was mesmerizing to me – which is partly why I took my first ministry job there.

Yet as great as those experiences were, I always missed my “old music.”  I always had an itch for indie, electronica, or hip-hop… genres of music that are totally foreign to the worship context.  In some ways it drives me crazy that “worship music” continuously falls into musical ruts.  In fact, that’s part of the reason why I hired our worship director, Jamin Cousins.  Yes, he’s brilliant at piano. But he was an Ableton d.j.!  And when I saw that, I immediately thought: “Dude, we can do crazy things with this!”

But the reason why I bring this up is because, Substance has a call to do a new kind of worship music.  And when we have genre-busting artists in our church, I LOVE to give them a platform.  And such is the case when it comes to our very own, Marcus Montana (a.k.a., Tru-Serva.)

Many of you know he’s a nationally known recording artist.  He regularly raps on our Sunday morning worship teams.  (Remember little drummer boy this last Christmas anyone?  But the guy is releasing a sick new album merging hip-hop and worship in a whole new way.  And I wanted to let you know about his CD release concert for “The Surrender Sound”.

Of course, Rapper DiJohn will be there.  (He played a huge role in writing and producing Nick’s album — which my kids are still singing).  And, P.S. Niccole Serrano is totally mesmerizing. Wow. She is good.  So, don’t miss this: Get your tickets here:

But the bigger picture is this:  Substance hasn’t even begun to unleash it’s talent for taking over the music and media arts yet.  I still feel like we’re at stage one of our media vision.  But make no mistake, there’s a Hillsong-type anointing here. Every week I meet new artists in our foyer.  And after watching our Christmas video come together… I think you’ll agree, Substance is destined to unleash some crazy stuff soon… yet it’s going to sound different than everything else.

So keep creating like our Creator. And keep supporting our own artists like Tru-Serva.  And our worship will never be the same!

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