Concert brings the Gospel to Gardner

Tonight, Friday, Nov. 22 at 9 p.m., Grinnell’s own Scott Phillips ’11, Carlos Sims ’12, Cody Weber ’13 and Tye Smith ’14 will take the stage in Gardner Lounge for a rap show inspired by the Gospel. Phillips and Sims, the organizers of the event, have fittingly titled it “Gospel Rap concert.”

Photograph by Sophie Fajardo

The event is intended to publicize Gospel Rap as a genre of music. “We’re going to show people a form of media that’s available to Christians—gospel rap,” Phillips said. “We feel that this gospel rap concert will help make people more aware of another alternative media, besides traditional church music and what not.”

Phillips and Sims also emphasized that they want to provide information about the Christian faith to those who may not necessarily be familiar with it. “We’re giving a gospel. That’s the main reason we’re having this, so people can understand what the Gospel is. The foundation of the Christian faith is based on the Gospel, and so we plan on sharing that,” Phillips said.

In order to familiarize their audience, they will begin the event with a projection of “Good News, parts 1, 2 and 3,” in which Christian rapper Trip Lee provides what Phillips and Sims consider a comprehensive summary of the tenets of the Christian faith. “In order for people to understand the music that we’re doing, you have to understand the faith—you have to understand what the background is all about,” Sims said. “And then we’re just going to get into the music from there.”

They identify their Christian faith and a desire to share their spirituality with a broad audience as their main motivations for organizing the event. “I wrote some good songs down I want to share with people. Each song that each of us wrote bears a significance to our lives. We’re going to explain that at the concert,” Phillips said.
The concert will feature performances by Phillips, Sims, Weber and Smith, each of whom has varying musical styles and levels of experience under their belts.

“My style—I’m old school. My rap is kinda old school, De La Soul-ish type of music. I wrote everything myself, I didn’t make the beats, but you know—it’s more old school,” Phillips said. “This is my first time, so you can imagine I’m pretty nervous. I mean, I’m excited as well.”

“I’m more southern, I like very high energy beats. I’m very high energy,” Sims said. “I got pretty serious about it my first year, but I mean … that’s just because the transition from high school to college helped develop my faith so it really started building then.”

Weber, whose musical style Sims describes as “soulful,” has gained fame playing acoustic guitar and singing at the occasional Open Mic and at last winter’s Cody Weber-palooza.

The event organizers stress that, though the concert is inspired by their personal relationships with the Christian faith, it is inclusive for everyone. “We feel that God’s love is for everyone, no matter who you are, how you identify, no matter what anybody said—it’s for everyone. So we just want to clear that up and have a good time, most of all,” Sims said.

Phillips reiterated the openness of the event. “It’s a way to share with people what the Christian faith is all about, it’s not meant to be exclusive, I just want to stress that—everyone is welcome.”

“I hope as many people can come out to it as possible, I know it’s on the same weekend as Fetish, but I just—maybe you can stop by and see what it’s all about,” Sims said.