For well over a decade, Grammy, Dove and Stellar Award Nominees, and Gospel Hip-Hop pioneers, the Gospel Gangstaz have taken the raw and uncut Gospel to streets that few would even contemplate walking, even by day. Having been saved and delivered from those very same cut-throat California streets the original cypher of four, former members, Tik Tok and DJ Dove, and current members, Mr. Solo and Chille Baby, renowned members of notorious West Coast gangs, The Bloods and The Crips, found Christ in the very same street corners of Compton and South Central Los Angeles where they hustled. The group’s Founder, Mr. Solo, accepted the salvation of Jesus Christ after he almost died in a gang-related shooting, in which fellow Crip, Chille Baby had also been involved. In an interview Mr. Solo said of the Gospel Gangstaz:
“The Gospel Gangstaz stand in a position to help, because we have seen how the Gospel of Christ is real. Our lives were changed from selling crack, drive-by shootings, car-jacking and illicit sex, to a life of peace, joy and happiness because of Christ. We want to go back to the hood and let our light shine.”
The Gospel Gangstaz formed their musical association after rival ex-gang members, Mr. Solo, from The Crips, and Tik Tok, from The Bloods, became prayer partners at the Church in which they were born again. In the early stages of his own walk with Christ, Mr. Solo personally ministered to his friend and fellow Crip, Chille Baby, who accepted Christ, and was later invited to be a member of the Gospel Gangstaz, along with the group’s DJ, DJ Dove. The Gospel Gangstaz are renowned for their ministry focus of spreading the love and hope of Christ to young men and women with violent pasts or drug problems, and continue to reach out to these groups of society with their gangster-oriented musical sound.
Chille Baby described their ministry focus in an interview as this:
“We don’t consider ourselves above anybody. But God has given us insight to see the truth. We understand their pain, and they know we know the real. I gotta make music for my homies. I believe in bringing the church to people, not just bringing people to church”
“We are real G’z with our own war stories and our own battle marks. We survived and now we must fight for our brothers and sisters that are trapped in a world of violence and poverty” (Chille Baby)
In 1994, the Gospel Gangstaz released their debut album, Gang Affiliated. Their third album, I Can See Clearly Now (1999), their debut album on major label, B-Rite, received a Grammy nomination in the Best Rock Gospel Album category. This same album also received nominations in the Rap/Hip Hop/Dance Recorded Album of the Year category at the 31st Annual Dove Awards, along with a nomination for Rap/Hip Hop/Dance Recorded Song of the Year category for the song I’ll Be Good from the I Can See Clearly Now project. Other releases from the Gospel Gangstaz include Do Or Die (1995), All Mixed UP (2000), The Exodus (2002), and The Flood (2006). They have over 500,000 albums sold. The, now, two-member group, consisting of original members, Mr. Solo and Chille Baby, are currently working on the soon-to-be released, Sony-distributed film and soundtrack album project, entitled Street Disciples, produced by their own independent record label, Camp 8 Records. The Gospel Gangstaz have also featured on albums like DJ Dove’s The Devil’s Worst Nightmare (1996), The CMC’s Everyday Death Sentence (1996), and Woody Rock’s album, Soul Music (2002). The group has also shared the stage with major headliners, like Kirk Franklin and Mary Mary.
Veterans in the industry, they helped shape and mould, the Gospel Gangstaz continue to deliver the hope of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, through the relevant medium of Hip-Hop, to a section of society that most people hold no hope for, and a people who are seldom reached by the traditional four walls of a church. The Gospel Gangstaz have become an institution of sorts, bridging the gap between the church and the street, delivering not only a message of truth, hope and salvation, but a musical sound that is unashamedly street and distinctly “G’d Up”.
In further efforts to give back to their community, the Gospel Gangstaz founded a non-profit, entitled, Extended Hand. They continue to work on developing their own brand of goods and services through Camp 8 Records, Camp 8 Film, Camp 8 Clothing line, and Camp 8 Sneakahz shoe line, all of which hold some purpose in giving back to their community and spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Chille Baby shares, of their music, business and non-profit endeavors:
“…With everything we do we give back to the community to help a dying generation with a positive message of hope and restoration… and we will continue to bring the best ministry and music in Hip-Hop… the new record (Street Disciples) takes you right back to the real ghetto Gospel of the West Coast. Hip-Hop to the real level…Humble enough to deal with you from the days of the past, and yet spiritual enough to let God be revealed in the same conversation!”