“Sonz of the Most High”, the hottest hip-hop group around turning over cities since 2001 and considered the last men standing. Darrell Michael Murray Jr., also known as Joshua the Ark-u-Tec (J-Ark) and Paris Simon Jr., known as Gideon (J6:12) have ministered in churches, schools, and business organizations in Arkansas, West Virginia, Florida, Michigan, Kentucky, Tennessee, Indiana, etc. Sonz of the Most High joined Apostle H. Daniel Wilson of Valley Kingdom Ministries International in the Kenyan cities of Nairobi and Mombasa, and spoke on AIDS awareness, as well as ministered in rap to schools and communities.
Sonz of the Most High plays an important part of the City of Chicago’s Vote 2 Live movement and encourages people to register and vote, have toured with Project Metamorphosis and Revamp. They have appeared at the Chicago Gospel Fest, on MGM Shine Productions Network Radio in Florida, several radio stations in the Chicago land area, appeared on TBN, The Gate Keepers television show, CAN TV, Caribbean TV, The Merge Show, Comcast- Fuse On Demand, and Direct TV. Opened and ministered with the likes of Fred Hammond, Byron Cage, Shekinah Glory Ministries, Ray Badie, Kierra “KiKi” Sheard, Tonex, Detrick Haddon, Mike Jones, Do or Die, Da Truth, Corey Red and Precise, Shai Lien, Mali Music, Lai la Hathaway, 2103, JMoss, Tye Tribbett, and many more.
Sonz of the Most High was nominated in 2007 for the Truth Music Award as best gospel group and became winners in 2008 of the same category. They are members of the Chicago Area Gospel Announcers Guild, and the SAGMA. They currently hosts shows on two radio stations, 98.7 FM which airs live and on the internet @ www.wqlf.org on Monday @4pm. Conscious Internet Radio, www.lovefaithhope.org airs on Friday from 9pm – 10pm. Their current single “Because Your Love” is presently in rotation on the Gospel Music Channel, Direct TV – NRB Network – Nationwide, Extreme Praise, and many other channels. Both coming from similar backgrounds, has help each to identify with each other’s testimonies, and allows them to make music that is full of encouragement.
BULLET PROOF FAITH: On May 31, 2003, while visiting friends, J-Ark’s car was rattled with bullets. Twenty-seven shells were found on the ground and 18 holes were in the car. J-Ark was shot five times, in both legs, his left shoulder, and twice on the left side of his face. Gideon was not injured at all. They are truly blessed to be here. Having this happen, either one could have turned their backs to God; however, both vows to bring to light the grace, mercy, and favor placed on their lives. Their miraculous survival motivated them to give back to the community through the “Celebration of Life Foundation” an Outreach Program that promotes generosity by providing various activities to involve and encourage community residents to “Stop the Violence” in order to create a relatively peaceful environment to live and work. Both are strong leaders, ready to head the nation forward to GROWTH!
What is our Mission? The mission of Sonz of the Most High is to enrich faith and instill encouragement through stimulation of our mind and spirit, facilitated by what is called “Growth Music.” The soulful sound of our GROWTH music expresses our personal testimonies of the challenges we have encountered as well as expressing how accepting faith has strengthen our spirit and uplifted our souls. Our audiences will enjoy our message of establishing a lifetime relationship in faith.
New Video: "Break Down" & “Because Your Love”
Available Now: http://www.youtube.com/sonztv.
New Album: “Hell, No We Won't Go!” Available Now: iTunes, Rhapsody, Amazon, etc.
Booking: Contact – Elayne Murray for booking and additional information (708) 309-8845
Joshua the Ark-u-Tec (J-Ark) and Gideon (J 6:12)
You'd Rather EP 2003
Heat Squad Mixtape 2006
Growth Music The Movement Mixtape 2007
Shut Up And Listen 2008
Celebration of Life Mixtape 2009
Rough Draft Mixtape 2009
Hell, No We Won't Go! 2011
Black Music Month
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The Chicago Defender celebrated Black Music Month with the "Music Over Matters" performance on June ...The Chicago Defender celebrated Black Music Month with the "Music Over Matters" performance on June 11, 2009. Featured music performers were Sonz of the Most High and GradSchool group. In photo: Gideon and J-Ark from Sonz of the Most High
Artist to Check Out
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Sonz Of The Most High - Gideon & J-Ark are the explosive duo " Sonz Of the Most High " . Natives of ...Sonz Of The Most High - Gideon & J-Ark are the explosive duo " Sonz Of the Most High " . Natives of Chi-Town , their ground breaking flows and heart felt drive makes you wonder why they haven't cracked the Billboard charts yet . With hit singles such as " Where They @ , More , and Representer " they're just a few smashes away from being Major . You can check them out at Myspace.com/Sonzofthemosthigh or youtube.com/sonztv
Celebration of Life
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Let me start by naming my bias...S.O.M (Sons of the Most High) are my people. Emcees Gideon and J-Ar...Let me start by naming my bias...S.O.M (Sons of the Most High) are my people. Emcees Gideon and J-Ark hail from Chicago, our churches are right next door to each other (tell me how that works), and we are both "regulars" on the Chi-Town HHH scene. If I didn't tell you they were from Chicago you'd know that for yourself 2 minutes into this bad fella. These dudes can go on the M-I-C, plus they are extra sincere about the content. The fact that it's for God makes it even better. Their ministry is gonna make some noise and if we at PureMusic can help in any way, let's DOWNLOAD THIS, listen, and leave a review for them to have some notes. Some of yall are the most critical ears I know. Link to download below.
3 Peat free style
Stumping on They Head
More Than Enough
Bump In Ya Coup
All I Wanted
Still Love You
Hip-hop churches after the hype
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The latest release by Chicago emcees S.O.M. starts off with a brooding, minor key bounce that compel...The latest release by Chicago emcees S.O.M. starts off with a brooding, minor key bounce that compels the listener—per the name of the album—to “Shut Up & Listen.” It is, for lack of a better word, hot. The album’s fourth track, “Where They @,” is club-ready, built on brisk acoustic guitar chords and the thump of an 808 drum machine. A bonus track, “Let It Go,” closes the album, conjuring both the refined beats and rapid tempo characteristic of fellow Chicago rhymer Twista. From beginning to finish, S.O.M.’s beats display at times the harmonic sophistication of Kanye, at others the DIY feel of Soulja Boy. The lyricism of these young emcees, whose stage names are Gideon and J-Ark, impresses. It’s possible to get crunk to the album, but also to feel grown and sexy.
Which is why it comes as something of a shock that the goal of the album isn’t to make its listeners feel grown and sexy, or to inspire them to get crunk (not literally, anyway). We’re not compelled to shut up and listen purely out of gangsta braggadocio: S.O.M. is an acronym for “Sonz of the Most High,” and they’re part of a larger movement uniting churches, communities, and young emcees under a common mission: to bring the Christian gospel to a wider audience through hip-hop music.
For the Lawndale Community Church, as for a number of enterprising, community-based churches around the country, social outreach is key. A number of projects are aimed at sustaining the congregation while drawing in new members, such as an arts center that is in the works. But on Saturday nights, Lawndale Community Church becomes Tha House, a self-proclaimed “hip-hop worship experience.” On the first of two Saturday nights that your correspondent visited Tha House, a DJ set up shop in the back, spinning while people in the crowd tried to name that tune—Common, Eric B & Rakim, Afrika Bambaata. Almost equal numbers of black and white kids, made up the majority of the congregation, although sprinkled throughout were families with children that looked no older than two. Heads nodded, cool and aloof, as the crowd appreciated good hip-hop.
A young man got up and walked to the stage in the middle of the room to present the reading for the evening. Tha House was in the middle of a series on faith and doubt, and tonight the congregation read from Matthew 11:1-12, in which John the Baptist asks Christ, “Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?” The DJ signaled a segue from the reading to the homily with an excerpt from Common’s “U, Black Maybe,” as Lawndale Community pastor Phil Jackson, in a baggy black T-shirt and jeans, made his way to the stage to preach. He chose to illustrate his theme of faith and doubt by referring to Diogenes of Sinope, also known as Diogenes the Cynic, who is famous for once having intellectually bested Plato. But the problem now is how to pronounce his name. “Dye-oh-jean?” he asks. “Dee-oh-genie?” No one in the crowd has a suggestion. Tall, with stubble and slicked back graying hair, Pastor Phil, as he is universally known, cracks a smile. “CPS education,” he riffs, as he presses on to address the problem that cynicism poses to the believing Christian.
The church has often been a center of social change, from the Reformation to the Southern Baptist church’s role in the American Civil Rights movement, and each instantiation of social change has had its own music, from hymns to the Negro spirituals and gospel music of the 1960s. In a sense, then, Pastor Phil’s response to the question asked of all those that participate in this hip-hop church movement—“Why hip-hop?”—is a no-brainer. “I grew up hip-hop,” he said in an interview. “Hip-hop kind of raised me, in light of who I am, in the context of how it communicated with me.” It’s a sentiment echoed by emcees, by members of the congregation, and by visitors to Tha House.
It’s a pairing that, while it conjures surprise at first glance, seems natural from the start. The idea of mixing hip-hop and worship was greeted as something new, but what, other than the genre, has really changed? After all, hasn’t music been a central part of worship services for centuries? Besides, stepping away from chants and hymns and into the modern day religious landscape, one will see churches with rock bands made up of professional musicians, and a guitar or two at smaller services isn’t anything out of the norm. And hip-hop is catching up.
“There’s a lot of churches that do hip-hop now,” a young man shared at the first Saturday service. “But this one’s the first. No one’s done it as long as Pastor Phil.” Both Saturday services drew small crowds—a stark contrast to the annual Hip-Hop Revival that Pastor Phil said draws a crowd of hundreds. But one gets the feeling that people are taking notes. A young man named John who was present wants to start his own hip-hop squad. A young woman named Sarah Murphy was working on a Freestyle Friday at her home church in Woodlawn. She gestured to the group of white kids to her right, and mentioned she’d brought them in from Indiana to get an idea of how hip-hop could be an effective medium to translate the gospel.
“I just pull out my Bible, and build up disciples/
to rival the idols and tower like Eiffel.” – Nine
“This is my brand new song/
I’m tired of singing old hymns”
– Gideon of S.O.M.
On the second Saturday, a young rapper from the community named Nine performed a cappella along with S.O.M. He told the small crowd that it had been a difficult week for him as he walked to the stage, where he put together an impressive performance that sounded like spoken word. In a small prayer group after the performances, he elaborated on his views on hip-hop. “I used to worship hip-hop,” he said. “Hip-hop was my idol for years.” It’s a fitting tie-in to the reading for the evening, Daniel 3:14, in which Nebuchadnezzar, the Babylonian king, threatens three young men with death in a furnace if they refuse to bow down to his idols. As far as Nine is concerned, his idol is vanquished. “Hip-hop was my reason for living, but now it isn’t the most important thing anymore,” he said.
It’s a sentiment expressed by members of S.O.M. as well. “For us, we were rapping already. But then our lifestyle changed, our message changed,” J-Ark said. “We’re rapping about the street, but now from a Christian standpoint.”
Pastor Phil stressed the “street values” of hip-hop, and that they serve a central purpose in his philosophy behind the hip-hop church—“Be relevant, be real, be respectful.” In one sermon, Pastor Phil asked his congregation to imagine a modern-day John the Baptist, “no crib, sleeping in Douglas Park, one eye open.”
In a way, it’s all relevant to the people Pastor Phil is trying to reach, who—no matter how small the crowds on some nights, how huge on others—measure success in a different way. When the first hip-hop services started, it was one Saturday a month, then two. These days, there’s a service with live music every Saturday evening. Pastor Phil told me that over the summer, “We’d hit the block. We may have had 4 or 5 people, but you don’t have to have a crowd.” He mentioned marrying people who’d found God through hip-hop, of “sparking courage” in people who’d maybe go to their own churches and start something, of people he’d met fifteen years earlier that had become members of his church. How do you measure success, in numbers or in commitment? “Fifteen years later,” he said, “those folks are following in Christ.”
On Tha House’s website, Truth, a rapper in the Christian hip-hop group Cross Movement, paraphrases Ezekiel 3: “Said God to Ezekiel, I’m going to send you to a people whose language you can understand.” For this new, fresh movement, hip-hop is the common language. But for all the notions of a grand new movement, of the next big thing, it is founded in a much older tradition. One goes to hip-hop church not to hear a concert, but to worship. When the hype dies down, the question facing hip-hop churches isn’t whether their new vibe is legitimate, but whether it can stay fresh.
Kierra Sheard Draws “Mighty” Crowd For High-Energy Live Recording
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Grammy ® nominated contemporary gospel star, Kierra Sheard, recently ignited the Windy City at the l...Grammy ® nominated contemporary gospel star, Kierra Sheard, recently ignited the Windy City at the live recording for her forthcoming CD entitled, Free (KaRew Records). Scores of people were turned away before fans packed the Harold Washington Cultural Center for an electrifying set of urban-flavored gospel songs backed by Sheard’s Detroit-based BRL (Bold Right Life) Choir (with cameos by gospel star James Fortune and hip hop duo, Sonz of the Most High) aimed to inspire Sheard’s church base while winning her a broader audience. “I’ve been to many live recordings and I searched myself to see if I was being partial; I even checked with others, but I have never experienced anything like this,” said the singer’s father and KaRew Records CEO, Bishop J. Drew Sheard. “It was unbelievable! Wait until you hear, it will blow you away! Literally! I am super excited about Kierra’s future!”
Dozens of Sheard’s famous friends such as producer and artist Donald Lawrence and her mother, gospel legend Karen Clark Sheard, were on hand to witness her musical evolution. The pre-law college student’s eyes watered as she looked out on the thick crowd. “God was with me,” says Kierra Sheard. “I’m still in awe of how He graced us with His presence! He loved on His people through me and made it an unforgettable moment! I’m praying every record will be able to match up to this one! I’m excited to Share the new music.”
Once the evening was over, fans, radio and music industry folks in attendance were abuzz about the dynamic energy and substance of Sheard’s recording. “Kierra Sheard delivers a unique contribution to gospel music, piercing the soul with exhilarant sounds of a fresh anointing that only she can accomplish,” said Dennis E. Cole, President of the Chicago Area Gospel Announcers Guild. “This musical offering will attract all gospel music lovers in all genres.”
“This music is the first in recent times to take a non judgmental and invitational approach to the worthiness and belief in God,” said hip hop/urban artist and producer Pharrell Williams of The Neptunes. “The very definition of Gospel, an unquestionable message.” Her producer and baby brother, J Drew Sheard II, said, “Kierra and BRL were just awesome! The best live recording concert I’ve ever been to! Kierra displayed incredible growth spiritually & vocally… It was an amazing night & an amazing experience!”
“All I could think of with tears in my eyes was, “To God be the Glory’ for the generational blessing that was passed down to our children,” Karen Clark Sheard remarked. “The sight of how God can endow individuals with the same blood, but yet use them to deliver in their own element was incredible to see. My husband and I were so proud of both our children, Kierra and J. Drew II on that night.”(JDew II produced the live recording and Kierra’s “Free” CD slated for release in the Summer 2011)
Says producer and gospel artist, Donald Lawrence, “Kierra Sheard & BRL are “The Truth.” I am in awe that at such a young age, she has the instinct to re-brand herself with a choir. They were AMAZING!”
The initial radio single, “Mighty,” is an ultra-contemporary track with the flavor to crossover to both Christian pop and R&B radio. The song impacts radio NOW.
Sheard burst on the gospel scene in 2004 when her radio single “You Don’t Know”(produced by hit producer: Rodney Jerkins(Darkchild), struck #1 on gospel playlists, crossed over to the R&B chart, and earned her a gold record certification in Japan. Since then, she’s released five Top 10 CDs or Extended Play (EP) compilations, including I Owe You (2004), Just Until… (2005), This Is Me (2006), Bold Right Life (2008), and Kiki’s Mix Tape (2009). She earned Grammy nominations for both This is Me and Bold Right Life. Sheard has also branched out into acting with roles in the films “The Preacher’s Kid” and “Blessed & Cursed.” She’s also has a Stellar and two Dove Awards to her credit. Visit www.karewrecords.com for more information. twitter: @kierrasheard and Facebook @kierrasheard.
Merge OUTLOUD Sonz of the Most High and Chris Searcy
Sonz of the Most High and Chris Searcy hang out in the Merge Studios with Tower.
There are no upcoming dates at this time.