Yes, there were spiritual references—Macho rapped, "I'mma be found guilty of spreading the Word"—but the work felt raw. Critics were impressed, and a whole generation of Christian MCs took note. West Covina rapper Propaganda even joined the group, becoming a member before Tunnel Rats' 2004 self-titled album, and is now an in-demand touring artist signed to Portland-based Humble Beast Records.

"Jurny and them used to tell me that all the time, 'We got paid one bottle of juice so you won't have to,'" Propaganda says.

Tunnel Rats are on hiatus, but Christian rap surges forward. The genre's biggest star is Lecrae, a Dallas MC who gets love in both the religious and secular industries—he has had No. 1 gospel albums and was even on the 2013 Rock the Bells tour. Lecrae also followed in Rats' footsteps on a 2011 mixtape, which features secular artists such as Don Cannon and 9th Wonder.

Waaaayyyy back in the day
Courtesy Dax Reynosa
Waaaayyyy back in the day
Son of a Tunnel Rat
Courtesy Dax Reynosa
Son of a Tunnel Rat

Twenty years after Tunnel Rats faced criticism even at the churches where they played, Christian rap artists now regularly crack the Top 20 iTunes rankings.

Reynosa made a promise to his colleagues in the group back in the day: "We're not going to make anything, but someday, three generations from now, they will."

It's fair to say that, more or less, his words have come true.

"It was tough at the beginning, but the foundation's been laid, and it was laid properly," he says now. "On truth, integrity and not only a love for Christ but a love for the art."

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tongue_twister_for_t topcommenter

The Christians are not right and they are not Christians because they are guilty of the Crusades that killed maimed and murdered hundreds of thousands in the name of religion. And besides Rap Crap SUCKS.

Brainwashed_in_church topcommenter

What are the odds these guys are NOT Born Again christians? 

What percentage of BACs did NOT "hit bottom" before "finding Jesus"? Has anyone ever met someone who WASN'T on the verge of suicide due to drugs, alcohol, prison, gang life, depression, etc when they "saw the light" and "accepted jesus" into their heart? 

Being "born again" is a psychological survival mechanism alternative to suicide.

tongue_twister_for_t topcommenter

It's a mental problem and disability because they were not there and don't really know what happened because of those reasons. Jesus was reported to be an agnostic because of what he told his diciples and the people that were on the streets.

"All the people that teach in the synagogues (churches) are hypocrites because they like and even love to stand in those very places and pray out loud in order to garner attention to themselves". They have recieved thier rewards in full. = MONEY.

Churches are a business and that is all that they are.

Brainwashed_in_church topcommenter

@tongue_twister_for_t"Jesus reportedly..." is valid to the extent the information in religious books is valid. Outside of religious books, there's no evidence that Jesus ever existed.

All people are either brainwashed, born again, or mentally healthy.

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