By Michael Ashcraft —
Brandon “YB” Farris is a soldier.
While other Christian rappers seek to be titans of hip hop, YB approaches music from a different perspective. He doesn’t aspire to be the superstar or super-celeb in the spotlight. He’s happy being the unpretentious, humble, and effective foot soldier for God’s kingdom.
The braggadocio common in Christian rap MAY be excused as a sine qua non of the hip hop genre. Or it may be simply the sin of pride.
Whether we condemn CHH or overlook its faults is moot for the moment. What we can say is that YB is a breath of fresh air.
“I believe God still has soldiers in this generation and in the generations to come,” YB says on Alysia Paige’s blog. “As long as I’m breathing I’m in full pursuit to gather soldiers to build God’s army.”
YB grew up one of eight children of a single mother in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. From the age of eight, music was his escape from the harsh realities of poverty. Growing up without a father caused him as a 13-year-old to have many unanswered questions, according to Top40 Charts.
“It was being surrounded by a tough environment, and you were being forced to make something from the environment you were coming up in,” YB told the Arkansas Democrat Gazette. “A lot of my story was in the valley.”
He idolized Ludacris and Eminem and got serious about music in high school. He honed his craft breaking curfew, staying up late writing and playing the music too loud. Ever sympathetic, his mother pardoned his peccadillos.
From a young age, YB knew the presence of God, but he kept God at a distance, leery of the level of commitment required. He did music for himself, not ready to enlist in God’s army. But he found self-glorification and self-promotion hollow at the end of the day.
“When I did music for me, I truly had nothing to offer people,” he observes. “In reality, people walk through life looking and hoping for ‘something’ but sometimes it’s hard to articulate your needs in darkness.”
All that changed when he went to Southern Arkansas University Tech in East Camden. He ran across so many on-fire, sold-out Christians it turned his worldview upside down. Instead of seeing the commitment as daunting, he was drawn to God.
At a college “Passion Conference,” he came to terms with God and decided to serve Jesus unreservedly, like a soldier.
He dropped his freshman album in 2014, aptly named Salvation. Four years later he released “GSHS2” (God Still Has Soldiers) in which he proclaimed his personal manifesto: He was military, nothing more, nothing less, completely honorable, but not above a servant at the beck and call of his Commander Jesus.
Since launching into Christian music/ministry, YB spends most of his life on the road touring and ministering. He is married to his college sweetheart, Tammy, and together they have a daughter, Kylie Journey.
“When I invited God into the mess of my life, I gave Him everything, even the music,” YB says. “Through that submission, God began to reveal His road map to me. What was once for me and my gain was now an avenue to point people to Jesus.”
Read about other Christian hip hop artists by clicking: 1K Phew – Aaron Cole — Ada Betsabé – Andy Mineo – Benjamin Broadway — Bizzle – Canon – Cass – Datin – Flame – Gawvi – HeeSun Lee – Jackie Hill-Perry – Jarry Manna — JGivens – Joey Vantes — John Givez – KB – Lecrae – Lil T Tyler Brasel– MC Jin – NF – nobigdyl. – Propaganda – Ray Emmanuel – Ruslan – Sevin – S.O. — Social Club Misfits – Steven Malcolm – Tedashii – Tobe Nwigwe – Trip Lee – Wande Isola – WhatUpRG
And an overview article about the state of affairs in CHH: Christian Hip Hop in Controversy.
Michael Ashcraft sells bamboo steamers on Amazon to help raise funds for him to do Christian journalism.