Rap artist Christopher "Play" Martin found himself in front of a crowd again Saturday.
Although the crowd was nowhere near the size that Martin once faced, he feels there is more purpose in his message.
Martin, formerly of the group Kid 'n' Play, hosted the second show of the House Party with a Purpose Tour at the Thomson High School auditorium. The show featured artists such as Platinum Souls and Euclid Grey along with local groups like Augusta's New Generation Youth Choir.
The aim of the once-a-month Christian tour is to share the message of Jesus through hip-hop and rap music. The idea for merging hip-hop and gospel did not originate with Martin or Marshall Williams, the show's organizer, but according to both the result has an impact on young people.
"The House Party with a Purpose Tour is for a generation of youth that longs for demonstration not imagination," said Williams, who also heads the House Party with Purpose Foundation.
Rapper Christopher "Play" Martin speaks Saturday at Thomson High School
during the House Party with a Purpose Tour.
Photo by Kristopher Wells
Martin, along with partner Christopher "Kid" Reid, recorded several rap albums and starred in several movies in the 1990s such as House Party and its sequels. They also had their own cartoon series. The tour uses Martin's celebrity status to open doors to reach youth with its message.
"That's the very thing that helps bring attention to it," Martin said. "I guess with my celebrity, it would help advance it a little or preferably a lot more."
Martin became interested in merging hip-hop and gospel after he came to know God through members of his family. He found his way to the faith after relationships and his career became disappointments.
"It was really about the fact that I had kept a lot of things sustained in my own strength, and I was really on the verge of losing my sanity," Martin said. "From that I went through like a year or a year-plus of really just learning God's word. I had a praying grandmother and a praying father, and no matter what they would go through in life they always held on and would be real secure in their faith. I wanted to know what they had, because I needed something bad."
After getting to know God, Martin began merging the two forms of music for the purpose of reaching more people for Christ.
"I just started getting some visions of taking this music and this energy and putting it for Him," Martin said.
According to Martin, doing small shows such as the ones on the House Party with a Purpose Tour are exciting and humbling because it is like starting over. But that doesn't diminish what the tour hopes to accomplish.
"It's fortunate that God uses it," Martin said. "What we as humans normally do is when we have the answer we sit down, but when we're looking for the answer we're up going."
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.