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Hip-hop praises Lord

January 23, 2009|By ERIN JULIUS

WILLIAMSPORT -- Mainstream hip-hop music has a bad rap among those attending the Rock Your Mic event Friday night at the Youth Center of Gateway Ministries in Williamsport, where various artists used contemporary hip-hop and reggaeton rhythms to praise the Lord.

Victoria Hines, 14, attends Gateway Christian Academy and listens to Christian music, she said.

"I think if you listen to Christian music, it helps you focus on what you have, on your relationship with God," Victoria said.

Christian music is a "positive influence in the world we live in," said Yamiley Pierre, 20, a youth leader at the church.

"Music is powerful. It impacts who you are," Pierre said.

Victoria and Pierre later joined the jumping, clapping crowd in front of the stage, where dozens of people were rocking to the music of Maicol, a hip-hop and urban Latin reggaeton artist.

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"Language ain't a thing, it's about your heart," Maicol told the crowd before launching into a set of Spanish-language songs.

The praise in Maicol's songs was unmistakable. At one point, he was shouting "Jesus" with the crowd echoing "Christ."

Friday evening's event was meant to remind people that "Christ is the originator of the music," Pastor Tyree Sterling said.

"We hear a perverted view of this culture's music in hip-hop," Sterling said.

The Rock Your Mic event is an effort to show kids they can use their gifts in positive ways, he said.

Sterling was also one of the performers Friday. He first showed off some dance moves, including the lawn mower, then convinced audience members to put their hands in the air and move to the music.

The lyrics to Sterling's songs were also effusive in their praise to the Lord.

"The only thing I love ... God up above ... we're tight like a glove," Sterling rapped.

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