By: Conway Norwood & Kristina Hill
Detroit Gospel.com & Inspiration Network
What do you get when you cross TBN’s “Praise the Lord” with BET’s “106 & Park?” The answer is the Inspiration Network’s timely and vibrant “Mixx Master’s Lounge.” Holy hip-hoppers Ricky B. and 4Given host a weekly broadcast that represents precisely the gospel rap culture and glorifies the Most High God without compromise.
Produced by Christopher Bullard, “Mixx Master’s Lounge” is certainly not without the basic format; you’ll see live performances, music videos, guest interviews, and the boisterous live audience. However, the show is defined by a firm righteous standard and the Christ-driven strength of a remnant of young people who are choosing now as the time for their knees to bow and their tongues to confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. Everything about “Mixx Master’s Lounge” speaks to the hip-hop generation while simultaneously and consistently waving the blood-stained banner that represents salvation and righteousness for the army of the Lord. As the show’s website declares:
Young people will not only be entertained by the artists, but will be given a fresh touch from God…’Mixx Master’s Lounge’ is not just about music; it’s about equipping and encouraging today’s youth in their walk with the Lord. -www.MixxMastersLounge.com
4given and Ricky B. also prove themselves to be more than just hip-hop heads. They’re effective ministers and prayer warriors as they proclaim Christ and pray for viewers during the show.
“Mixx Master’s Lounge” is also complemented by an equally effective website. At www.MixxMastersLounge.com, visitors can request prayer on the 911 Prayer Board, register to become a prayer volunteer, and read scriptures to help them with various issues. Visitors can also view extensive video clips of the show’s featured guests as they appear on the program, which is particularly beneficial for those who may not have the Inspiration Network at home.
Frederick “Ricky B.” Burchell is a rapper, producer, and youth minister at Murfreesboro Faith Center in Murfreesboro, TN. He released his first solo album The Calling on D-Fusion Music/ Broken Records in 1998. The song “Stand Up 4 Tha Faith” was number one for seven weeks on the Christian Rap charts. In the spring of 1999, he toured the Philippines, becoming the first Christian rap artist to tour that country.
Terrance “4Given” Carlton is also a rap artist as well as the associate pastor at Mt. Moriah Missionary Baptist Church in Birmingham, AL. He has released the albums If God B 4 Us, Unstoppable, and Somethin’ U Ain’t Heard B4 with rap partner Ricky B.
4Given, Ricky B., and show producer Christopher Bullard took some time to share their thoughts about “Mixx Master’s Lounge” with me.
Conway: Why do you feel that there is a need for a show like “Mixx Master’s Lounge”?
Christopher: “Mixx Master’s Lounge” is the only television show of its kind in Christian Hip Hop. The show is an important vehicle because when you look at the music industry in general, most successful records have some kind of video support, and the artists are able to perform on different programs. People need to see and hear the music for it to be successful, and “Mixx Master’s Lounge” provides this support to Christian rap artists. The show features performances and interviews from the top artists in Christian Hip Hop; we play the latest videos and we have a segment where we minister to our viewers about issues we all face on a daily basis.
Conway: So many believers put down gospel rap and label gospel rappers as carnal and out of the will of God. How do you view the gospel rappers that you have on the show compared to how skeptics and nay-sayers portray them?
Ricky B.: Well, with any ministry, you have to look at its fruit. Gospel singers and anybody else can be carnal. Most of the rappers on the show have fruit; they are telling people about God and getting them saved. One thing that people need to realize is that Hip Hop is powerful, and what we are doing is putting God in the beats, having a good time, and still receiving and delivering a powerful message.
4Given: Another point about Christian rap is that people put it down because of a lack of knowledge. Anytime you do something new, people will question it. From my view, if people are being saved as a result of listening to the music, it is of God.
Conway: What major challenges have you encountered being involved with this project?
Christopher: I can’t say that we have encountered any major problems since starting “Mixx Master’s Lounge”. God has really blessed us. One of our main goals is to continue to get the word out about the show and to support Christian Hip Hop projects.
Conway: What type of feedback and support have you received and from what types of people?
4 Given: The feedback from viewers has been phenomenal. We get a lot of e-mails from kids and parents thanking us for the show. We get a lot of video requests, and people recognize us at different gospel events.
Ricky B.: The powerful thing about Hip Hop is that it transcends age, race, and class. Anyone can love Hip Hop and be touched by the message in the music so we get love from everyone.
Conway: As hosts and producers, what are a few experiences that you’ve encountered producing the show that have impacted you personally?
Ricky B.: We all enjoy what we do. For me, it’s amazing to see how God is using the show to save people and deliver the Gospel.
Christopher: “Mixx Master’s Lounge” is part of our youth and young adult ministry at Steelroots, and what blesses me is that God is using Christian rap, rock, and action sports as ministry tools. Steelroots has something for everyone. “Mixx Master’s Lounge” for Hip Hop fans; our Mayhem show for rock, punk, and hardcore music fans; and the Steelroots show for people who love music and action sports. God has taken a small idea and made it bigger than we could have ever imagined. We like to tell people that we’re revealing the truth to today’s generation.
Conway: What’s ahead for “Mixx Master’s Lounge”? How do you see the show expanding in years to come?
Ricky B.: I truly believe that “Mixx Master’s Lounge” will be the standard for Christian Hip Hop shows. I see the show getting bigger like a “106 & Park” where people will fly in and drive for miles just to sit in the studio audience.
4 Given: I definitely see the show continuing to get bigger and being the source for Christian Hip Hop videos, news, and entertainment. We are going to keep having fun and making sure that the word of God goes forth.
Christopher: “Mixx Master’s Lounge” will be the mouthpiece for Christian Hip Hop. I also see it developing into a daily program as Christian Hip Hop continues to expand. Like Ricky B. said, we want to be looked upon as the standard by shows that come after us, not only in the quality of the program, but how we glorify God and use the show as a ministry tool.
For airtime and other information, please visit www.insp.com. In addition to www.MixxMastersLounge.com, you can also find info related to the show at www.steelroots.com. Special thanks to Ricky B., 4Given, Christopher Bullard, and Kristina Hill, Cable Public Affairs Coordinator for the Inspiration Network.