Contributed by Imade Borha
My hunger and desire to worship was a turning point in my relationship with God. I no longer cared if the music I listened to mirrored my black church background because I cared more about the Creator than the creation. As I looked across the evolving landscape of Christian Hip Hop with this mindset, I started searching for emcees that made heartfelt worship music.
While I was looking for Hip Hop worship leaders, one of the kindest emcees in Christian Hip Hop reached out to me and shared his same vision for Hip Hop worship music. That rapper is Eddy “Rawsrvnt” Puyol, a man so radically in love with Christ that he went on the dating reality show, The Ultimate Merger, to share the gospel. When it comes to his latest album, No Ordinary Love, Rawsrvnt brings this same boldness and unconventional thinking to his pioneering Hip Hop Worship music. He takes the best of the worship music you already know and adds a dirty south, rock, and pop vibe that’s unlike anything I heard in Christian Hip Hop.
Though we come from different musical spectrums, as I’m an East Coast Boom Bap girl and Rawsrvnt is a Southern rapper from Florida, we both have this primary desire: to love Jesus through music. In having this same passion, I wanted to learn what shaped him as a Hip Hop worship leader, and ultimately as a man of God. It was great to talk with my bro, and July 4th birthday twin, Rawsrvnt.
Imade: How does a Cuban brother like yourself sound so soulful? You sound like Ted Williams’ cousin on the mic!
Rawsrvnt: LOL! Thanks for the complement. It’s funny ’cause I’ve been told that I sound like a big 300 pound fat black man, the Cuban version of Mystikal, DMX, Barry White, and some other famous people but never an ex-homeless guy. LOL! Seriously though, I praise God for the uniqueness of my voice and how it can’t quite be defined but is definitely soothing and soulful to your mind.
To dig a lil deeper, I grew up listening to all sorts of music from R&B to Funk to Rock to Pop to Reggae to Salsa to Hip-Hop, etc., so there’s been a jambalaya of sounds in me for quite some time now and as you can see it’s influenced me quite a bit.
Imade: How has the Christian Hip Hop scene changed since you first entered the industry? What things are you excited about and what are some of your concerns?
Rawsrvnt: The overall CHH sound has grown a whole lot from the days of my 1st CHH tape (Stephen Wiley) that my Mom bought me and even more so since I released my debut album in 2003. I’m thankful for its growth and how it’s become more and more current and radio friendly. I’m also really excited about where we’re headed.
You know, we who are a part of this CHH movement have an opportunity to mold and shape peoples lives and because of that reality that I don’t take for granted I continue to push myself in my relationship with Christ and in what I call “Hip-Hop Worship” because lives depend on it. I want to encourage everybody reading this to take into consideration the influence that you have on the people around you and I pray that you continue to share the heartbeat of the Father with the same compassion He has for us all.
Imade: Your passion for Jesus is beautifully displayed in your heartfelt Hip Hop worship songs. I personally want to hear more of this in Christian Hip Hop because I believe in some ways Hip Hop for the sole purpose of worshiping God is underrepresented. Do you see more artists like yourself intentionally making worship music in the Christian Hip Hop genre? What needs to be done so that worship music is more pervasive in Christian Hip Hop?
Rawsrvnt: Praise God! I’m so glad that you can hear my heart and passion in my music. That has always been a prayer of mine. I’m also thankful that God has called me to pioneer the “Hip-Hop Worship” movement in the CHH genre. It’s been a wild ride.
I am seeing more people worshiping the Lord through Hip-Hop so that’s awesome! You gotta realize though that everyone serves their role in the movement differently. If everyone specifically did HHW then there would be an overkill of HHW. I think there needs to be a balance. My passionate, intense, aggressive, smooth love music is different than some of my co-laborers and that’s great. I believe listeners like to listen to different artist because of what they bring to the table and I pray that I’ll continue to serve people the right way.
You gotta understand, I do the music I do because I’m in love with Jesus and He’s in love with me. The “worship music” that you hear me do is coming from my heart because as Jesus said in Luke 6:45, “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” People are gonna do music and live out of that truth so that’s why you hear what I do come across the way it does ’cause the bottom line is I’m in love with Jesus and can’t help but let that been know.
Imade: It’s crazy how you’re still that “Christian guy” who was on The Ultimate Merger reality show last year. From that experience, is there any advice that you can give someone who wants to worship God in a very raw and radical way?
Rawsrvnt: LOL! Yep…I’m still Eddy P. and I’m still in love with Jesus just like I told Omarosa on the show. You know, the best advice I can give somebody is to just be yourself. People love you for you, not for who you’re not. I still talk to Omarosa and the guys from time to time not because in the “world’s” eyes I was the most famous of them all but because my heart spoke volumes to them while we were together and they all authentically know that I care about them. I didn’t have to sell out to get that truth across and because of that I was effective by just being me.
You’d be surprised how many people still come up to me while I’m in my city or around the globe and comment on how they saw me on the show and were so inspired that I was unashamed about my faith and my relationship with Jesus. The other day a good friend mine, Richie Righteous, shared his thoughts about me being on the show. He said, “At first the Christian community was skeptical because we had never seen something like this and we were curious to see what was gonna happen. I was extremely impressed that Raw’s only intention was clear from beginning to end and that was to introduce the entire cast to Jesus. I think it was clear that he wanted Omarosa to meet Christ more than anything else. Raw knew that was the love they needed. Raw showed us that Christians can be in the world but not of it.”
That speaks volumes to me. Thanks Richie!
Imade: Let’s just be real. You’re quite a handsome guy. I’m sure you probably experienced some very “interesting” situations. If you could make a sexual purity manual for rappers in the Christian Hip Hop industry, what would you say?
Rawsrvnt: Wow! Well, I’d say it’s important to guard your heart and your eyes. God has made beautiful women all around the globe and yes men, we’re gonna see a lot of them and the truth is there’s only one for each of us.
What I’ve done is asked God specifically to show me the motives of the woman that catches my eye before I get caught up into the whole massive feelings thing, etc. I haven’t always been successful at this but when I do it saves me a ton of heartaches. You really gotta see where they stand with their relationship with Christ 1st because that’s gonna determine where the relationships really gonna go anyways.
If you travel a lot there’s some more factors that come into play. Every spot in the world has another beautiful face that will grip your eyes so consistently pray about the moves you make. Don’t be hesitant to build friendships though because you have to learn how to communicate to the opposite sex and also show them how a real man that loves Jesus operates. I’m preaching to myself guys so the bottom line is since you’ve made Jesus the coach & manager of your heart and mind trust that He will guide you correctly to not get caught up into booby traps the world would love to get us caught into. There’s someone special for you so keep trusting God that He’s got her for you. Psalm 37:4!
Imade: As your family in Christ who loves you very much, do you have any prayer requests?
Rawsrvnt: I always love when people keep my ministry (Soul Deep Ministries) as well as myself in their prayers. My partners are a HUGE part of the impact that I have on people all around the globe so I’m extremely thankful for you all.
I’d personally ask you guys to pray that the next moves we make are the right ones and the most productive of our time, energy, and finances. I’m always looking for what’s next however I am very thankful for what’s going on right now. We at Soul Deep Ministries always pray for more supporters to come alongside of us and help us reach the people that God has put in our path to reach so pray about teaming up with us. There’s a lot of people counting on it!
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Let’s keep our brother lifted in prayer as Rawsrvnt continues to spread the Hip Hop Worship movement. Exciting plans are in store for Rawsrvnt as he continues to expand his ministry internationally. Check out his latest release “The Almighty” with well-known Dancehall Gospel Reggae artist St. Matthew. For the latest news on Rawsrvnt, follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and his website, Rawsrvnt.com.