Tony Cummings reports on the intriguing career of Grand Rapids-based rapper and singer, Steven Malcolm
It’s a little ironic that the breakthrough song on Cross Rhythms radio for Michigan-based artist Steven Malcolm should not be a rap track, but a sung rendition of an old Bob Marley reggae classic, “Redemption Song”. When he was signed to Word Entertainment’s newly formed hip-hop label 4 Against 5 in 2016, it was as a rapper, not a singer, that he was presented to the music-buying public. At the time of his signing Steven went to great odds to praise the company who plucked him from relative obscurity. He said, “What Word has done in the Christian music scene is nothing short of amazing and I’m grateful to not only be part of it, but to be the first hip-hop artist. 4 Against 5 is definitely here to make its mark in the Christian hip-hop world.”
But whether as a singer or a rapper, one thing is certain: Steven Malcolm is continuing an upward trajectory in his career and ministry and already he has travelled a long distance from his early years in Grand Rapids. The son of a drug dealer and an alcoholic, Malcolm grew up loving basketball, girls and Snoop Dogg, and slid by on barely-good-enough grades in high school in western Michigan. He told New Release Today, “In high school I was a basketball player and my goal in life at the time was to be in the NBA. But going into my freshman year of college, stuff just really hit the fan and life really smacked me across the face. My family was going through hard times and then I started having an identity crisis where I was looking at life and wondering ‘what am I here for?’ My grades were horrible that year, so I couldn’t play ball, my best friend and I fell out and my mom ended up moving, so I was really lost.”
Steven continued, “One day a friend of mine, who I played basketball with in high school, invited me to this church, but other than believing in God in a very general sense growing up, I’d never stepped foot in a church before. Now I’m thinking I’m going to have to pick up my pants, it’s going to be boring and nobody’s going to speak my language, but then he told me it was a hip-hop church, and since I had nothing to do that night, I thought ‘okay, sure, why not?’ And it was like a breath of fresh air that just smacked me in the face.
“I’m looking around and I see guys that look just like me, they talk just like me and they were so happy and joyful. These guys were up there rapping and dancing for Jesus, and I’m like ‘I never knew this even existed!’ I was the type where I never knew you could use anything to glorify God and they’re up there using lyrics and it just blew me away!”
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SOURCE: Cross Rhythms