Raw Dawg Madd Judge
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Raw Dawg Madd Judge

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"Holy Hip Hop"

When these guys tell you their rap is of the street and for the street they mean it.

"This is about being positive and being real," said Antoine Wilson, also known as Tulsa rapper Raw Dawg. "This is about keeping kids away from crime and building community."

Originally born out of block parties in New York City in the 1970s, the most explicit of those long-ago raps, or "battles," were often strings of "yo mama" one-liners.

Old school hip hop incorporated disco, jazz and funk music into lyrical fisticuffs -- drug dealers, pimps and hustlers were anethema to community, not cornerstones of status.

"Some people in the church believe that the style of hip hop music -- the beats, the music -- has no place outside a secular audience," he said. "We disagree. It's not the music -- it's the message that's important.

"These days, a rapper is 'legit' if he's been shot. He's 'legit' if he's treating women like objects. He's 'legit' if he hustles," Wilson said. "Why do they have to be violent to gain respect? Why are they fighting and shooting each other? For fame?"

To a large degree, today's explicit rap music is a vast departure from the community in which it was created.

"Look at rap founders like Run D.M.C. and Kurtis Blow," said Ramon Phillips, also known as Madd Judge. Influences for him include the D.J. Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince, Run D.M.C., Kurtis Blow, Public Enemy, Slick Rick, L.L. Cool J. and more -- each famous for rapping (many with humor, others with militaristic gusto) about community, unity and Afrocentric issues.

"Most of those guys rapped about killing competitors with their rhymes and their mikes, not with their guns. . . . Rakim (of Eric B. and Rakim) rapped against idiots who rampaged in their own communities, he didn't glorify them."

Phillips said the current view expressed by many hip hop artists isn't a positive one.

"I mean, how can I be a good father to my daughters if I'm endorsing the current contradiction of treating my lady, my wife, with disrespect?" he asked. "Because that's what a lot of today's rap glorifies."

A year ago, Phillips and Wilson probably wouldn't have been so passionate about the reemergence of socially-conscious, community-building rap -- what the duo now calls "holy hip hop."

In fact, they had just finished recording, mastering, printing, packaging and preparing to release a CD filled with the kind of content they now refuse to perform.

Phillips, who grew up in Chicago, moved to Tulsa when he was 10. Wilson grew up in Tulsa, but has lived "all over," including Washington, California and Mississippi.

"We've done a lot, really, but I kept wondering why we were doing it. . . . Finally, I had an awakening," said Phillips. "Boy, everyone thought we were crazy. But we battled that out in our own way -- we talked about everything -- our wants, our vision. That other record just wasn't it. . . .

"I decided we could keep it real, talk about our faith and deal with things that the church might not.

"I asked myself what it was that I really wanted from that record," Phillips said. "We went from glorifying ourselves and fighting with society, to bringing purpose and uplifting people. I realized there were no false hopes in those last things."

The bottom line is, "I remember what I watched and listened to as a kid, and what influenced and inspired me.

"Our kids are watching and listening, too," said Phillips.

The Tulsa duo is part of a growing, "socially aware" group of Christian and secular hip hop groups, such as Jehovah Soulja, Playya 1000 and the Deeksta, Big Rec, Fedel and more. While not all have an implicit Christian message, Wilson said, "We talk about the same things our counterparts do, but we also offer a solution."

Phillips agreed.

"It's proactive. Our subject matter isn't cheezy or cookie-cutter. . . . If the music isn't great, people won't care about the lyrics, anyway, so we worked hard to really bring in the music we liked and enjoyed."

And the rap "isn't churchy or heavy-handed," he said.

On their recently-finished new CD, "Life Music: Praise & Worship for the New Millennium," the song "Better Man" deals with male issues -- ego, obsessions, addictions -- and why they occur. It also deals with pornography and objectification, and how men raise their daughters and treat their wives, he said.

"It's basically a long prayer," said Wilson -- albeit an unconventional one.

It's time for hip hop to redeem itself, said Phillips.


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RAW DAWG AND MADD JUDGE




"Life Music" listening party

When: 5:30 p.m. Jan. 12

Where: Restoration Church, 732 S. 145th E. Ave.

Admission: Free

Sneak a peek online: www.tulsaworld.com/RawDawgMaddJudge


By JENNIFER CHANCELLOR World Scene Writer - Tulsa World


"Get With This"

High Schools have a new twist to them this year. It’s more than new uniforms! It’s cooler than new stadiums and arenas! It’s even better than a new coach! Teams across Tulsa and even other states are teaming up with an entertainment company to produce new and up to date fight songs.

Raw Dawg and Madd Judge teamed up with East Central High School. Motivation to team up with them came from Madd Judge’s two daughters that attend the school. Their song is called, “East Central High Fight Song.” Smallwood, who has two sons that attend Jenks, teamed up with the Trojans. His song is called, “Change the game.” Déjà Cue, in fact graduated from Broken Arrow High School. “We don’t fold” is the name of his record. Twenty-year-old, Yung Heat also graduated from the school he teamed up with. All the way in Gallatin, Tennessee at Station Camp High School, Yung Heat came up with the song, “Bison Fight Song.”

Mainline Entertainment Company, who’s purpose is to spread a positive, Christian influence using Song, Rap/Hip-Hop, Poetry, Dance, Mime and other communications, is making big changes in the lives of high school students and others. By sending these artists to be apart of the games and practices, they are incorporating a positive message to all youth. “We can still have fun and be safe at the same time,” Proudly stated Yung Heat. With the crime rates constantly rising, a need for change and hope is demanded. Instead of using popular artists who promote sex, drugs, and violence, high schools, Mainline, and Vype have teamed up to send local artists that know the community personally to entertain our youth.

The students love the music! The parents love the influence! By using locals and neighbors to support local high school teams, everyone wins! It’s safe, it’s fun, and it’s a great way to show students an alternative to sex, drugs, and violence. Together a difference can be made.

“…Out for the lost at any cost!” -Yung Heat
- VYPE High School Sports Magazine


"Raw Dawg Madd Judge Performance - Moment of Truth Tour 2008"

Cut and paste the link below to see Raw Dawg Madd Judge performing on the Moment of Truth Tour!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cM2j3y8_e9c

Their performance begins 3 mins and 23 seconds into the video! - Element 5 Entertainment


"Raw Dawg Madd Judge In Rotation"

Raw Dawg Madd Judge are now in rotation at the Spiritco Internet radio station (www.spiritco.com) and Anointed Soundz Internet Radio Station (www.anointedsoundz.com). The above opportunities were provided by Sonicbid. - Sonicbid


"Life Music"

Interview with Antoine Wilson(RawDawg) and Romon Phillips (MaddJudge).
ESEM: Where are you guys from?

Antoine: “I am originally from Chicago. I moved to Tulsa when I was eleven years old.”

Romon: “ I am from Tulsa, OK but I have moved around to several locations but I always find my way back to Tulsa, OK.”

ESEM: Where did the music journey start for you guys?

Romon: “ We have been doing music since middle school. Me, my cousin and Antoine and his cousin grew up together. we all decided that we liked rap music, so we started writing and performing. We had a large group to begin with, but it ending up with the two of us and it has been this way every since.”

Antoine: “ We had a DJ and dancers. Back then, our name was “The Cold Crush Crew.” As the years went on everyone fell off and it just left Romon and myself to carry the torch.”

ESEM: When did the change come about to do Life Music?

Romon: “ It was 2006 and we where preparing to release our secular CD that was ready for distribution. The night before the release, I had an encounter with God about "riding the fence". I had to decide whether to be on one side or the other with my music. It took me about two weeks to tell Antoine about my experience with the Lord."

ESEM: Antoine, how did you take the news about the new direction career?

Antoine: “Romon invited me and my family over for dinner and he came out and said ,“ Look I have changed my focus and will be rapping to spread the love of God.” I was like 'Why now when we are ready to release our next CD and do you have a plan?' Romon said 'This is something that I have to do and no I don’t have a plan, so are you on board with me?' So, for about four months we would hang out but did not do music together. I was at church one day watching the youth during praise and worship and they were really getting crunk for Jesus. God's voice said to me "What are they missing? They are missing a sound track they can roll with when they leave the church." Something they can play in the car and at home, something they can be proud about being a part of the Kingdom of God. In the spring of 2006 we began the new journey and by the beginning of 2008 we had an album.”

ESEM:When did you open your music studio? Had you guys been with it the whole time?

Romon: “Not at all. Once the focus changed, everything began to fall in place. Everything we had been chasing after for all those years began to come to pass once we began to do it for the Kingdom of God.”

Antoine: “ It is amazing to see things fall in place for you once you make a decision to do what you know is right.”

ESEM: Why do you use the term Life Music?

Antoine: “The inspiration for what we write is for the Kingdom to reach people with the message of Jesus Christ, so Jesus represents LIFE and that is why we call it “Life Music”. We talk about everyday life and the things we go through and how to apply the word of God to our life through music.”

ESEM: Can you tell me about the new CD?

Antoine: “The new CD will be entitled “GO TELL IT”. We talk about some very personal subjects on this next one, so make sure to be on the lookout for it in Spring 2009.”

ESEM: Contact for more information

http://www.myspace.com/rawdawgmaddjudge - Expostyles Exposure Magazine


"Raw Dawg Madd Judge wins Lifest 2009 Talent Competition"

OSHKOSH, WI – Lifest 2009, along with other major festivals in the nationwide Christian Festival Association, participated in a national talent search competition for the second year in a row. Twentyfour (24) finalists were selected to perform and compete at Lifest 2009, held July 8-12 in Oshkosh, WI. The competitions were conducted online initially, and ended at Lifest in a live competition among the finalists. Twenty (20) artists were chosen by online voting and four (4) artists were chosen by Life!Promotions to compete live at Lifest.

Raw Dawg Madd Judge, a hip hop duo hailing from Tulsa, Oklahoma, is this year’s Grand Prize Winner of Lifest 2009’s Talent Search Competition. Antoine “Raw Dawg” Wilson and Romon “Madd Judge” Phillips beat out 23 other talented bands in an American Idol-type competition that featured demanding judges, honest critiques, and energetic performances from all the participants.

The two rappers drove the 14 hour trek to Oshkosh, Wisconsin for Lifest, an annual Christian music festival that takes place at the Sunnyview Expo Center. Considered to be one of the largest festivals of its kind, Lifest is a five-day festival that features a host of speakers and a multitude of Christian artists representing various genres from rock and alternative to contemporary Christian, hip hop and everything in between on several stages. Performers for this year included TobyMac, Pillar, Group 1 Crew, Kutless, Skillet, Third Day, David Crowder, Red, Jeremy Camp and many others.

Raw Dawg Madd Judge will represent Lifest at the national finals in Nashville, Tennessee, in September, where they will compete against winners from other Christian festivals throughout the US. The winner of the national finals will receive a recording development contract with Word Records.

Life Promotions and its staff would like to congratulate Raw Dawg Madd Judge on their win and wish them luck in Nashville in September.

www.lifepromotions.com - Lifest 2009


Discography

Album: Life Music
Release Date: January 2008
Singles on streaming airplay: "Work", "I Wanna Just Chill", "Let's Have Some Fun"

Album: Go Tell It
Release Date: June 2009
Singles on streaming airplay: "Humble", "3 Step"

Photos

Bio

Antoine “Raw Dawg” Wilson and Romon “Madd Judge” Phillips have found their purpose. In 2006, on the eve of the release of what would become their last secular CD, Romon had an encounter with God. God told Romon that he should use his talents and gifts to bring souls into His kingdom. Like Jacob wrestling with the angel near the Jabbok River (Genesis 22-30), Romon agonized over this revelation for several days before he made the decision to change the focus of his music. When he informed Antoine of his transformation, Antoine initially resisted the idea of changing the duo’s focus to Christian rap music, but over a period of several months, God spoke to Antoine’s heart and soon he was on board with the new vision.

Not satisfied with just doing the generic, outdated run-of-the-mill type of Christian rap music, Antoine and Romon wanted to create their own brand of music that would complement the vision that God had given them. Thus, Life Music was born. Under their own label, Element 5 Entertainment, the duo will release music that promotes the Gospel of Jesus Christ while addressing the issues that Christians and non-Christians face in the world that we live in.

With the state of Hip Hop today, the world needs an antithesis to the negativity, degradation, and materialism that exists in rap music. Raw Dawg Madd Judge offers a more positive spin than their secular counterparts, but don’t get it twisted. They tackle real issues such as sex, drugs, violence and relationships just like the secular rappers do. The difference is that the duo not only touches upon these subjects, but they offer Godly solutions as well. That’s what Life Music is all about.