In the Old Testament, the Book of Judges details the account of Gideon, the humble warrior whom God used to defeat the mighty and oppressive Midianites with an army of only three hundred men. Gideon knew from the start that the odds were against him, but he also knew that God outweighed all odds, and his faith resulted in a miraculous story of deliverance for the children of Israel. The makings of Gideon’s story are what inspire gospel rappers IOG (Instrument of God), SOD (Spirit of David), and ED (Elder Charleston Day), collectively known as the Gideon Crew.
Their story is one that perfectly reflects I Peter 2:9 in which the author writes, “You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called out of darkness into his marvelous light.” Formerly a secular rapper, SOD answered God’s call to redemption, but found that it wasn’t the Lord’s will for him to leave hip-hop behind. IOG saw God rescue him from a threat against his life, and he surrendered to the power of the Spirit. By God’s grace, Elder Day escaped a lengthy prison sentence, and he found forgiveness as he was a double-minded man in ministry and seeking the carnal pleasures of the world.
While the members of the Gideon Crew are busy working on the follow-up to their debut album You Should’ve Killed Me When You Had Me, their mission is clear; against all odds, they’re ambassadors called to reconcile lost souls to the God that brought them out of darkness and into his marvelous light.
Conway: How did you guys get together?
Elder Day: We’re all under the same ministry, Christian R.O.A.D. Ministries where the pastor is Dr. Mitchell C. Welch. The other guys had already been doing secular rap music. One Sunday, the Lord told me to pull them together.
Conway: Your group name is pretty interesting, especially when considering the story behind Gideon. What does the group name represent?
Instrument of God: The situations we’ve been through in life make us men of valor. A lot of people don’t think that gospel ministry can be successful because it seems like everybody wants to [listen to] the worldly music and nobody wants to listen to gospel. But like Gideon [and the 300], we’re narrowed down to three, and we came to take over the game.
Conway: What was the inspiration behind your album You Shoulda Killed Me When You Had Me?
ED: The real inspiration behind that was literally what it says, but we’re not talking to [people] that we were hanging out with in the streets. We’re talking to the devil. John 10:10 says that the “devil came to steal, to kill, and to destroy,” but that the Lord came to give “life and that more abundantly.” The Bible also says that the devil wants to “sift us as wheat.” God brought us from the pit of hell to where we are, and it was a rough road. It’s an anthem to a whole lot of people. We’re like David when he defeated Goliath; we got the devil’s blood on our boots and his head in our hands.
Conway: A couple of you guys used to do secular rap, and IOG, you mentioned that many people don’t believe that gospel can be successful. Are individuals from the secular side of rap responding to your ministry?
Spirit of David: Yeah, I still talk to a few people I used to hang out with in the world, and they like our stuff. It’s not about the honor, but God is telling us to bring people into His light.
Conway: You guys are Detroit Music Award winners. How else have audiences in general responded to your music?
IOG: It feels good for someone to say that their heart was touched by the music.
ED: The Official Yung Joc MySpace page sent us a message saying that “You Should’ve Killed Me When You Had Me” was one of the hottest Christian rap songs he had ever heard.
Conway: How has Christian R.O.A.D. Ministries lent its support to your music?
ED: They stand behind us 100 percent. We don’t rap at our home church a lot, but at our release party, our pastor poured oil on us and sent us out. He told us prophetically that God was going to send us to hit the nations. This summer, God opened so many doors and we’ve been out of town more than we’ve ever been.
Conway: Are there any particular gospel rap artists that you really admire?
SOD: The Convictor, who made a guest appearance on our first album, and local gospel and holy hip-hop artists that came before us like Emazin & Goodson, Larue Hill, and Commissioned.
ED: Da T.R.U.T.H., Flame, and Canton Jones stand out the most to me from a national standpoint. Their message is similar to ours. It’s not the “safe,” [sugar-coated] gospel. It’s straight-up Jesus!
Conway: What have you been working on lately?
IOG: We’ve been working on a new project. God is shifting us into talking about deeper subjects and reaching deeper into the streets. We want it to be a masterpiece. We’re taking our time with it.
Conway: It sounds like you’re taking it to the next level on this project. What is that “next level” that will make this album the masterpiece that you’re expecting?
ED: We don’t want the typical “next level.” A lot of people just want to open up for big names. Our “next level” is hearing people ask, “What must I do to be saved?” Our “next level” is finding a creative way to reach the masses that don’t know about God.
SOD: I want my old friends in the street to come to me and say, “I want to accept Christ,” and get saved and ride on this side of the tracks.
IOG: I heard a pastor say that gospel rap is going to be so powerful that demons will come out of people when they hear it. That’s where I see our music going.
You can connect with the Gideon Crew on MySpace at www.myspace.com/thegideoncrew or book them for your next event by calling CGI Entertainment at (313) 468-5496.