If you are one of those people with a taste for hip-hop music, you may be interested to look out for a new six-track hip-hop gospel album titled “Symphony of Praise”, recently released by Christ Hood.

The album, which contains songs such as “Are You Ready”, “God”, “Obsession”, “Lost”, “Get High” and “Panofiwa Pano”, is largely a praise album, with the exception of “Are You Ready” which is a worship song.

What hip-hop music lovers are to expect, however, from this album, is the fact that it uses a lot of colloquial language, mainly drawn from the streets, to highlight spiritual issues that have to do with one’s salvation. Added to this, “Symphony of Praise” puts one into a praise mood, something that is ideal for emotional relief and mental relaxation.

The rhyming lyrics in basically all the songs capture the rhythm of a life of praise and the joyful mood it creates among members of the Christian family. Also to expect are voices from other musicians featured on this album. These include rising gospel musician Lloyd Tevedzai, who features on the worship song “Are You Ready”.

Hip-hop artistes such as Victor Dee, Taffy Rue and XnDr complete the line-up of artistes who feature on other songs on the album. During an interview, group member Brythreesixty aka Ngoni Mashayamombe said “Symphony of Praise” contains praise songs which reflected the light of Jesus shining in his people through praise music.

“Symphony of Praise is just a sound or music of praise reflecting the light of Jesus through praise. Just like the message in our song ‘Obsession’ says, it’s how much God is praised in our project,” said Brythreesixty. He added that his group’s music was mainly about praising God for his varied gifts especially, land and the food we eat.

However, commenting on their controversial style of music which many have condemned for being too secular, Brythreesixty said they were urban missionaries whose objective was to cultivate interest in gospel music among young believers.

“We urban missionaries love to be cool. We grab the attention of the young generation using swag, fancy dressing and style. This is our approach otherwise our message might not reach the youths. We know youths these days want swag, fashion and style so that’s what we give them. This is even captured in our videos and pictures. People love our style of music because of these things” said Brythreesixty.

He also said the album accommodated conservative Christians who do not enjoy hip-hop music. Hence to do that they added a worship song titled “Are You Ready” which features gospel artiste Tevedzai, a member of ZimPraise.

Christ Hood represents a new breed of youthful gospel musicians whose approach to music differs in various ways from traditional gospel music as it is understood in Africa. Their hip-hop style infuses new ideas uncommon to the tradition of gospel music. These include swag, fashion, colloquial language and high concentration on rhythm in their lyrics.

It is this new approach to gospel music that has created the rift between conservative Christians who advocate for the religion and its music, while the more liberal youthful Christians are open to innovative approaches to praise and worship music.

But despite all this, one way of looking at gospel music today is that the new hip-hop style is part of the evolution of praise music made possible by exchanges of cultures through the media and its acceptance among the youths.

Overall, Christ Hood looks well composed and their latest offering, “Symphony of Praise”, clearly shows the potential the group has if given the necessary guidance.