John Cook
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John Cook


Band Hip Hop


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"John Çook Hip-Hops New Pen"

This is not the typical story of a young man who turns to rap for his salvation…but then again, it is. John Cook witnessed his father commit suicide at age 4, then struggled with his mother's potentially fatal illness Sarcoidosis, all while dealing with growing up on the streets of Flatbush in Brooklyn, NY. Rappers special Ed and ABC were among those in his hood who found outlets and success in rap music. "I really felt that if I could be a part of the music, then all of the things that I had been through would disappear," explained Cook.

The atypical part that sets John Cook apart was spurred on by witnessing the healing of his mother during a church service. "She got healed that day and I knew it without a doubt. I knew it by the way she moved and came back to life. Before she wasn't as alive or as able to move and so I knew that God had healed her. From that point on, I wanted to talk about God!"

Fast forward to today. John Cook's debut album, Heaven's Pen , that was released in May by the CCC Music Group of Brooklyn's Christian Cultural Center, the largest church in NYC, has already made history. It is the first time a hip-hop artist has been in the top 10 on the album charts. Currently #8 on the Gospel LP charts, " Heaven's Pen is a collection of music filled with wisdom that takes you through problems we all face and replaces them with the answer that is able to bring us through any situation," says Carol Anglin, CCCMG president.

John Cook could be a young LL Cool J with his style and look, but his message is 100% clear. BRE asked him about his focus and direction.

BRE: Congratulations on your success! What can we look for on your debut album "Heaven's Pen?"

JC: People should expect a good time. Whatever we do in life is ultimately all about God. I wanted to produce music that was universal. My music isn't necessarily only for people who are saved. The messages in the music are so profound that no matter what has happened, a person can receive it.

BRE: How did you begin writing at such a young age?

JC: I used to always write poems. Growing up, I lived across the street from a park and my mother would buy gospel CDs and I would listen to them. Kirk Franklin really inspired me. He had different music, a different style. So, when my mom bought me a karaoke machine, I would put my poems to music.

BRE: You had to deal with major obstacles in your life at a very young age. How did you stay on the straight and narrow?

JC: Funny you asked that. Everything around me was crazy, but in my mind I believed that God would bring me through it. Tell you the truth, it's always been dreams. I feel like it was ordained.

BRE: Why not make big money doing gangsta rap? Why did you choose to venture into gospel music?

JC: I've never had any inspirations in my life besides people like Jay Z. People tend to write what they know. It just so happens I know the same things he (Jay Z) knows, but my beliefs are different. A lot of people have gone through what I went through, but they didn't have any beliefs to guide them. Some people are just like 'That's all I know, and this is what I'm going to write about.' It's what I feel, rather than what I've seen. That's why I called the album Heaven's Pen , because, it was all God.

BRE: What are your favorites cuts on the album?

JC: I wrote this song about my brother, "No Greater Love." It's a testament of what my brother has been through. I'm telling a story about it and it's a dream about him being delivered from the situation that he's dealing with.

BRE: Is there anyone that you would like to work with?

JC: I would love to work with T.I., Kanye West, Canton Jones or John Legend.

In a period when the negative images and stereotypes espoused by some hip hop have drawn boos, John Cook finds not only his own salvation through his hip hop messages but offers a positive and inspiring ministry to others in a compelling way that is defining rap's new responsibility to all the youth it has embraced. He takes his mission seriously and pens the wishes we all have as in this verse from "What If":

Picture a place of beauty where you booty didn't count

Love is real love like the music out my mouth

A place of equal rights ignites love and peace

No war or genocide, we're just praying in the streets

- Tanisha L. Williams

"AOL Black Voices"

John Cook -- 'Heaven's Pen' (CCC Music Group/Alliant)

From the way it's promoted and publicized, one would never know how remarkable this holy hip-hop debut project -- from the strapping Brooklyn-bred lyricist -- really is. Musically, the 12-track opus -- from the esteemed member of Brooklyn mega-church Christian Cultural Center -- comes off as a hybrid of hip-hop superstars 50 Cent meets gospel music icon Kirk Franklin. Cook's message about loving God, instilling good values, bettering himself and being moved by the Spirit is clear, positive and succinct. It's just what the doctor ordered. His lyrical flow is infectious, especially on the ballad-like track 'Please Don't Cry' -- an ode to women in abusive relationships. It's clearly 'Pen's' best. The album's production, an appetizing blend of R&B ('No Greater Love'), reggae ('Church Rock') and old school rap ('Fresh Spirit') is masterful.

- Karu F. Daniels


Heavens Pen - 2007
God Concious - Compilation 2005
I have streaming tracks, radio airplay and a video in rotation.




“No matter what you do, God will forgive you. I think this is an important message, and as my first single, it’s a message I hope to get across to all the misguided youth out there.”

“There are a lot of women out there that are being manipulated, used and abused by their boyfriends and husbands. With this song, I’m asking these women ‘why are you choosing to be with a guy like that’? He doesn’t even go to church with you? Forget him, find someone who will love you the way you deserved to be loved.”

“Sometimes we are afraid to speak on certain issues because we don’t want to lose support – like preachers who fear losing parts of their congregation, worried about business and tithes and stepping on toes. God knew that Jesus was going to go through adversities, but you’ve got to do it for him because He did it for us. So preacher, it’s what you were called to do, so YOU BETTA PREACH!!! This is my FAVORITE song to perform! It’s got tambourines, organs and it just jumps! PREACHER, YOU BETTER PREACH LIKE IT’S YOUR LAST TIME!!!”

“I wrote that song because I considered ‘WHAT IF WE WERE ONE OF THE SINNERS ON THE CROSS?’”--

Picture a place of beauty where you booty didn’t count
Love is real love like the music out my mouth
A place of equal rights ignites love and peace
No war or genocide, we’re just praying in the streets

“After the rain, came the rainbow. If we just hold on, its gonna be beautiful after the storm. This song just speaks to my heart and it gets me through.”

“This song is about a frame of mind we all need to have…it’s about treating the bad as good, by looking for the positives in the world, world that is supposed to be like heaven.”

The album is unique in that the stories told by me are reflections of my own struggles growing up in the streets of Flatbush in Brooklyn. I faced a lot as a young boy, at the age of 4 I witnessed my father commit suicide. At 7 I had to deal with my mother falling ill with Sarcoidosis, a potentially fatal sickness. Through the eventual healing of my mother I found strength through Christ at a young age to help cope with all I was forced to encounter. My life is my testimony of faith, and is evident on every track on “HEAVEN’S PEN.”