gospel rap?

Do Or Die (Holy Terra)
Gospel Gangstas

Papa Didn't Raize No Punkz (Indie Empire/Metro One)

King Shon & Tha S S.M.O.B.

By Robert Gruber

Coming out of L. A. are two of gospel rap's most authentic acts, pushing a positive message that ain't cliche. Gospel Gangstas, after causing quite a stir with their '94 debut, Gang Affiliated, come back much more solid and focused with Do Or Die. Produced by Mr. Solo, the eleven tracks here roll by slower and smoother than last time out, with a lot more funk and a lot more truth (and without the annoying, self-justifying "interviews" with "Pastor Freddie" that marred the first album). If you thought Coolio's "Gangsta's Paradise?" was a bomb record, then check out these Gangstas.

With his throaty rasp and machine-gun delivery, backed by some of the phattest tracks imaginable, King Shon has taken Christian rap several bold steps forward, both in terms of music and language. Less like the sermons over beats that make up much of gospel rap, Papa Didn't Raize N0 Punkz celebrates Jesus while "rollin"'— that is, cruising city streets in a very large car with big speakers that will do amazing things if the right switch is flipped. S.S.M.O.B. know who they are speaking to, and while some may be put off by their constant use of "the N-word," I'm sure those who are familiar and comfortable with such verbiage won't have a problem with it, especially since tracks like "Ghettumup," "Bumpz Fo Yo Trunk" and "When We Creep" rock so unbelievably hard.