Chud’e is a young Christian rapper who released his debut album Chilltown at the end of 2019. Raised in Brooklyn, he has attracted the attention of various big-name websites and magazines over recent years, and his album has been streamed more than half a million times.
A blend of styles
The rapper’s music includes elements of pop, R&B and gospel as well as hip-hop. Chud’e first discovered Christian hip-hop around 2017. This occurred shortly after he spent time living in Nigeria, the birthplace of his parents and came soon after he got back into contact with his father, who was once a small-time criminal but has since become a pastor. The rapper born as Paul Iwenofu overcame a range of challenges whilst he was growing up including failing at sixth grade, losing friends and partaking in antisocial behaviour. He says a big reason for his misbehaviour was the lack of a positive male role model after his father left when he was ten. A huge turning point in the rapper’s life was when he started to gain a deeper understanding of his culture and heritage in Nigeria.
The themes of Chilltown
In the album’s lyrics, Chud’e talks about his connection with God over numerous seasons of his life. The record takes its title from the informal name of the area which he grew up on. One of the album’s most well-known tracks is the single Day and Night, which talks about how Jesus can be trusted to guide individuals through life’s many “obstacles, difficulties and doubts”. The often-controversial history of hip-hop meant some people questioned his decision to launch a rap career, though he says he made this choice. The song talks about the disapproval that he initially faced.
The future for Chud’e
Chud’e currently has numerous exciting projects in the pipeline and has been collaborating with a number of independent performers. New material is expected soon. He has also been covered in several important publications and websites, such as the Christian music magazine CCM. His music has also been supported on the CHH YouTube channel, and he has been interviewed on popular Christian station Cross Rhythm Radio. Social media pages that have spread the word about Chud’e include chhtsnetwork and CHH Source.
According to Chud’e, his music can appeal to Christians and non-believers alike. He hopes his listeners will be able to find “hope through chaos” via his music. He has received compliments for his “booming voice” and “clever punchlines” and has talked about the importance of growth via faith and perseverance alongside trial and error. Another aim of his music and lyrics is to “point people to Christ”. He hopes even non-Christians will be able to identify at least one track they can relate to.
Influences and collaborators
Some of the first Christian rappers Chud’e first became aware of included Bizzle and Lecrae. Only a short time elapsed before he started producing his own music, with early releases including the singles Too Late and Chilltown. The rapper has already worked with several respected artists including Anodyne Virtue, Echo Guzman and Melanie Williams, all of whom featured on his debut long-player. One of the earliest supporters of Chud’s was the internet radio station, xRhythms, which is based in the United Kingdom.
Support and inspire
When not writing and recording music, Chud’e works as a New York Youth Development Specialist. An ongoing aim in his life and career is to support and inspire young people, enabling them to make the right decisions. Many of the people Chud’e works in are in similar situations to those he found himself in during his teenage years. Aiming to be the positive role model he lacked during this period, he hopes the Lord will “point him in the right direction”, whether he becomes a full-time musician or helps others in another role.
The growing popularity of Christian hip-hop
The profile of Christian rap has risen substantially over recent years. Christian rap has been around for almost as long as hip-hop itself, but it now has a bigger listener community than ever. The first-ever #1 Christian rap on the Billboard Hot 100 chart was Lecrae’s 2014 record, Anomaly. Other key figures from the world of Christian hip-hop include TobyMac, Soup the Chemist and Shai Linne. It’s not uncommon for mainstream rappers to talk about their faith on their records, and Kanye West recently topped the Christian Albums chart with his latest album Jesus is King. In the UK, a growing number of rappers have been producing grime with religious lyrical themes. Christian rap awards ceremonies include the GMA Dove Awards and Stellar Awards.
The rapper’s work can be heard on platforms including YouTube, Spotify and Soundcloud. You can also follow him on social media networks such as Instagram and Twitter.