Bron G.
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Bron G.


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"This Rapper Has Positive Things To Tell The Kids"

By Kim Underwood | Journal Reporter

Published: March 9, 2009

Bronal Gary knows that when most people hear the word "rap," Jesus Christ doesn't leap to mind.

But Jesus is at the heart of Gary's gospel rap.

When Gary decided to get serious about his music, he knew he wanted to focus on "music with a positive message and something that was Christ-centered."

Ben Piggott, the director of the William C. Sims Recreation Center, said he thinks that Gary's songs have the power to inspire young people.

"This guy's rap is positive rap," Piggott said. "It has a message to enlighten the kids…. His songs tell you to be somebody."

Gary, 35, grew up in Happy Hill Gardens and had been a regular at the Sims center for some years when Piggott became the center director 18 years ago.

One of the things that Piggott appreciates about Gary is that he never stopped coming around to work with the young people there even after he went off to college.

"He always had that drive to want to give back," Piggott said. "I think Bronal's gift is his compassion to try to help others."

After Gary graduated from Parkland High School in 1992, he went to Campbell University. He majored in trust management and minored in financial planning and graduated in 1998 with a bachelor's degree in business administration.

In high school, Gary ran track and played basketball. He continued to play basketball in college and, in 2001, he was drafted by a minor-league basketball team in Alabama. The league folded, though, before anything came of that.

Gary, who is not married, works as a communications specialist for BB&T. He travels around to businesses -- mostly in North Carolina but sometimes as far as Washington and Florida -- to talk to employees about their 401(k) retirement accounts.

On his own time, he performs as Bron G in clubs and churches. He has put out three CDs. His latest is called Christ ClassicJazz, which he produced with the help of other local musicians.

Gary traces his love of music to his father, Bronal Martin, who was a member of the gospel group The Mighty Wonders. Martin, who lives in Florida these days, said that, as he is immersed in traditional gospel music, the idea of gospel rap took a little adjustment. That said, he thinks his son is doing something good with the positive-rap trend.

"He's keeping pace with the world," Martin said. "I like the message."

Gary has been writing poetry since elementary school. Asked what he wrote about then, he said, "Fruit." He said that whatever he was doing -- eating, getting ready for school -- became grist for his poems.

Gary, who lives near Reynolds Park, goes to ChurchAlive of the Triad in Greensboro. As a child, he went to church regularly. But it was just something he did, he said, until he contracted spinal meningitis when he was 12.

"I almost died," he said.

As people talked to him about God and prayed for him, he began to see things in a different light.

"I made a conscious decision to live for God," he said.

He sees his music as a ministry. Rap has a reputation for touching on such topics as drug dealing, guns and people destined for jail. Growing up in the Happy Hill community, Gary said, he saw such things. Stories based on those experiences show up in his music. But he doesn't glorify them.

"Everybody is preaching something," he said. "I choose to preach things that edify."

- The Winston-Salem Journal

"Bron G. in the Community!" - 97.1 WQMG

"Piggott to head Russell Center"

By Laura Graff | Journal Reporter

Published: May 17, 2009

Updated: 05/17/2009 02:00 am

The glass trophy case inside the Sims Recreation Center in Happy Hill showcases years of neighborhood kids' achievements.

Articles clipped from magazines and newspapers, plaques awarded for outstanding service or work and glossy photographs autographed with sleek permanent marker loops illustrate the kind of glory won against sometimes overwhelming odds.

For the past 20 years, Ben Piggott, the center's director, has tended carefully to the trophy case. He knows the story behind each article, each photo.

Against sometimes overwhelming odds, he also has tended carefully to the Happy Hill neighborhood kids. He knows their stories too.

Piggott became the center's first director in 1989, after working for a few years at the Salvation Army Boys' Club on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. When he took the job, longtime friends razzed him about the neighborhood. Back then, Happy Hill was home to one of the city's housing projects and had a reputation for violence.

"People told me, ‘You wouldn't last a year -- you won't even last six months. You will be killed, you will be shot,'" Piggott said last week.

"I was coming to a community that, at the time, was stereotyped. A lot of people at the time wouldn't even take the job."

Piggott did. And he thrived.

Shortly after he started working at Sims, his youngest brother, Kermit, was shot and killed on the street.

Piggott channeled his grief into helping children look for peace, not violence.

He brought them into the rec center for basketball games, convinced them to trade their plastic guns and knives for more peaceful toys, and taught them respect -- for him, yes, but also for themselves.

For each of the past 15 years, he has organized an annual "Happy Hill Reunion," to celebrate the history of the neighborhood and to give people who live there a sense of pride.

His work at Sims earned him a nod as Winston-Salem's employee of the year in 1992. It won him a national award, which he received in Washington in 2000.

And now, city officials say, it has warranted a promotion.

At the end of this month, Piggott, 52, will leave Sims and become senior center director for the Carl Russell Recreation Center on Carver School Road.

His new job will give him more responsibilities and more money -- both good things for Piggott.

But leaving Happy Hill has not been easy.

William "Rock" Bitting, a longtime volunteer at Sims -- and longtime friend of Piggott's -- said the news that Piggott was leaving Happy Hill caused "a shock" to roll through the neighborhood.

"The things he does -- other people wouldn't do," Bitting said.

"On the weekend, when he should be off, he'll come in here. Even if there's just six kids here, he'll say, ‘Let's play.'"

Kids who grew up under Piggott's watchful eye are lamenting the change.

David Fields, 21, said he called state representatives, the Winston-Salem mayor, council people -- anyone -- to persuade them to keep Piggott at Sims.

"It won't be the same," said Fields, who has moved from Happy Hill, but who comes back to the rec center every week.

"Mr. Piggott reshaped our community. The kids, they know that's Mr. Piggott's area, that Mr. Piggott doesn't tolerate pants sagging down. He built trust."

That means whoever takes over for Piggott will need to either know or learn the stories behind the trophy case, including the story about Bronal Gary, a hip-hop emcee with a positive message whose most recent CD has a place of honor, right at eye level, in the case.

Piggott said he still plans to organize the annual Happy Hill Reunion and said he didn't intend to stay away from the neighborhood.

"I love the people here," he said. "Just because I go to Carl Russell doesn't mean I can't come back. I've just got to spread the love. I've got to plant more flowers."

- The Winston-Salem Journal

"Gospel Hip Hop Artist Spotlight" - I AM Magazine

"DJ J. Lone"

By Ryan Snyder

DJ Handle: DJ J. Lone Real name: James Lone Jr. What my handle means: My nickname has always been JJ, but as I got older people just called me J. I decided to keep it simple and use my own name. I figured it won’t be too many people with this name.

What I play: I play neo soul, old-school hip hop (clean), hip hop and R&B, Gospel. Songs have to be fun, have meaning and or be about LOVE!

Catch me at: I’ve been doing a traveling spokenword night for Men of Action that’s performed once a month. Old-School (’80s) Skate Party once a month at Skate World in Kernersville. The Mic (spoken word) in High Point once a month at various locations as well.

Upcoming shows: Feb. 19 — Diggs Auditorium on the campus of WSSU, where Men of Action is hosting “The Art of Change.” Doors open at 8 p.m. Feb. 20 — Old-School Skate Party from 11:30 p.m. at Skate World in Kernersville. Feb, 27 – The Mic spoken-word and hip hop at 2011 W. English St. in High Point. Feb. 28 — Faithwalk Remix with Bron G, Salvation and host RITK at 6 at 485 Brightwood Church Road in Gibsonville.

Got in the game: I started in middle school 1988.

Why I do it: I grew up around music. My parents, older brother and sisters were all into music. I just couldn’t get enough of it and was amazed at mixing and scratching.

Related Content:
eventsAmina Figarova SextetGuilford College Jazz Faculty Concertbe there!Matt Kosma QuartetJazz and Blues Fest InternationalRelated to:
Influences: Marley Marl, DJ Premier, Pete Rock, DJ Jazzy Jeff, DJ Cash Money First pro gig: A wedding reception in Greensboro in 1996.

Studio work: Christ, Classic, Jazz — Bron G. 12 Round Knockout: Round 1 — Blessed Entertainment. Chosen and Friends — Chosen. I’ve most recently put down some tracks (scratching) for a local rock group called RITK (Redeemed in the Kingdom), and I’ll be in the studio soon with Young Timothy (FKA Nove J). Favorite technique: I’m a blend artist, I like to scratch, but I keep it to a minimum when in the mix.

Signature mix: It’s a toss between the Christ, Classic, Jazz mix CD and my first old school hip-hop mix I did for Marley Marl’s online radio show back in 2005. Personal playlist: Bron G, Young Timothy, SILENT War, reggae, old jazz (Miles Davis, John Coltrane), Eric Roberson, Dwele, neo soul, gospel.

Favorite albums: At the moment, Bron G — Christ, Classic, Jazz, Young Timothy — Sabbath Day’s Journey, SILENT War — Dear Words, Listen Raw Mixtape, Eric Roberson — Music Fans First, Jay Electronica — Victory mixtape

My gear: Technique 1200s, Pioneer DJM 700, Serato Scratch Live, MacBook Pro.

- Yes Weekly


“The Memory EP” 2005
“Memoirs” 2007
“ChristClassicJazz” Releasing in January 2009



Bron G is a native of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, which has given us the likes of 9th Wonder, Pam Grier (Foxy Brown), Ben Folds, Jackee’ Harry (227), Chris Paul (New Orleans Hornets), and Josh Howard (Dallas Mavericks) just to name a few. He is a Hip-Hop Emcee, Poet, Community Activist, Mentor, College Graduate, and was drafted by a Minor League Pro Basketball Team in 2001.
After receiving the call of God to spread the Gospel through ministry, Bron tapped into something that he had been running from for many years: music! Steeped in Gospel Music from his father, Bronal Martin, who sung with “The Mighty Wonders” (album Swing Low is in the Smithsonian Institute), “The Brooklyn All Stars”, and a brief stint with “The Drifters”, he has always been around music. From backstage, meeting the likes of Joe Ligon (lead singer of The Mighty Clouds of Joy), Shirley Caesar, Willie Banks, Willie Neal Johnson (Gospel Keynotes), Luther Barnes, Howard “Slim” Hunt, and the Five Blind Boys, to attending his father’s rehearsals as a pre-teen, he knew he would be involved with music eventually. After writing his first rhymes in Elementary School after hearing "La Di Da Di" by Slick Rick; and being inspired by Run-DMC, KRS-One, Rakim, and later Big Daddy Kane, he finally sought the face of God about rap music after many years, and knew that God had given him this gift to use for Him! There are a large group of individuals from the south that are true lyricists that express their lyricism through originality, quality, and with the sole purpose of speaking to the hearts and souls of men and women, persuading them to look within themselves and make a change. Bron G is a part of that group of individuals! Being a born again Christian from a very young age, he has never neglected the foundation on which he has stood on: Jesus Christ being the chief cornerstone. Moreover, showing the light not just by what he says, but how he actually lives.
His most notable performances in recent years have been the National Black Theater Festival in 2007 (Poetry Slam hosted by Malcolm Jamaal Warner), House The Evolution (stage play which featured DeWayne Woods), I Am Magazine Gospel Music Showcase (Minneapolis, MN), President Barack Obama’s Rally in Winston-Salem (along with actors and actresses from “The Wire”), and the 2009 Holy Hip Hop Awards. Bron can also be found ministering on almost a weekly basis at The Fellowship in Winston-Salem, NC, or, Café Jams in Greensboro, NC.
The most recent album in the Bron G. Discography is ChristClassicJazz! ChristClassicJazz is a smooth, musical, organic hip-hop experience with a powerful message, and head knocking beats! The CD is done and blended like a mixtape, but the beats and production are done in house by Bron's core of producers. This is a must have for your CD collection if you are a fan of Hip-Hop! This is an instant classic!
Bron G. currently lives in Winston-Salem, NC, where he is very active in the community of his native city!