Beats drive Dante’ Pride’s soul. The syncopated sequences and rhyming lyrics filled the now 19-year-old’s head while in class during his high school days, at church and driving.
The preacher’s son tried to ignore the pull he felt to the music deemed controversial in the traditional church of his childhood. Every time Pride ran from his calling, God pulled him back with unsolicited gigs and opportunities.
“My calling is to help reach lives young & old and spread Jesus Christ. Me growing up as a pastor’s son in a traditional church I didn’t really like church when I was younger. I gave my life to Christ at a young age and Christian hip hop changed my whole life. As a little kid I’ve imagined being this worship/cortex singer (pride laughing) but ever since 2nd grade I KNEW Christian hip hop is what I wanted to do. I remember my second grade teacher gave me my first CHH album T-ACK “Off da Chain” who I’m now very cool with. After, I began to listen to Canton Jones which was introduced to me by my Uncle. I’m not perfect.. and YES I do have a testimony of struggles in my past.. and again I’m far from perfect but I’ve been at it since 12 years old and plan to keep going,” Pride says.
For Pride, who grew up listening to traditional gospel and worship songs, his introduction to Christian hip-hop and rap came through Canton Jones and Lecrae.Unarguably the most popular artist in the genre, Lecrae has earned two Grammys, seven Dove awards, three Soul Train Music awards and a BET award. His 2013 Grammy win for best gospel album marked the first time a hip-hop artist received the award.
“There is no telling the number of people Lecrae has led to Christ. I remember the first time I listened to him. It was life-changing. What really struck me was how many people could be reached through this music,” Pride said.
Pride’s interest in Christian rap coincided with his cousin, the person who nurtured him and helped him grow in the faith, leaving the church. Feeling hurt and betrayed, Pride searched for a way to express his anger.
Music became his outlet.
With guidance from his brothers artists Unanimous and Ken Owens, Pride found his voice — a voice that did not appear in his first songs.
“I wrote my first song, ‘Lose Myself,’ when I was 12. It didn’t say anything about me. I wrote it based on what I thought people wanted to hear, not what I wanted to say. I laugh when I hear it now,” Pride said. “My music was a lie.”
When he wrote truthfully, opportunities followed. He formed a group with Brandon Watkins, performed “BIG (Big in God),”. With Unanimous being the first.. it was the 2nd Christian rap aired on a local secular radio station. Pride opened for artist Canton Jones and landed gigs at Decatur’s largest churches, such as Calvary Assembly, Epic church, and Decatur Baptist where, according to Pride, the “congregation gets lit.” Now he’s gotten opportunity to travel around to places as far as the Bahamas!
With Dante’ Pride graduating high school in May of 2016 Pride said “What I want people to take away from my music is that I’m not perfect. No one is. I fall from grace every day, just like everyone else. But, although we aren’t perfect, God still loves us. I am going to spread that message everywhere.
“Through the power of God, that is possible,” Pride said.
See his website here