This is the hip-hop generation, and the picture isn’t always pretty from the outside looking in. Known for its often-reckless brutality, coupled with its decadent materialism, and exploitive sexism, hip-hop often seems like more filth in an already filthy mire.
But as an expression of the human heart, and all the tensions that lie within it, hip-hop can also accurately be viewed as a passionate pursuit of meaning and purpose. What the naysayers often fail to recognize is that this generation is starving for the truth, and that it is eager to be awakened and set apart for it.
Lojique (pronounced ‘logic’) is on a simple mission to meet this hip-hop generation with the most satisfying, life-giving truth of them all: the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Hip-hop’s own story of explosive growth over the past few decades is best told by those who’ve been a part of it. Lojique’s focal voice and lead emcee, PAGE ONE (Michael Phillips), took an interest in hip-hop music in the fourth grade, after hearing Run-DMC for the first time. An avid reader, he became fascinated with the rhyme schemes and clever wordplay of rap artists such as Rakim, Kool Moe Dee, and Big Daddy Kane. He discovered his own affinity for writing while in Jr. High school, and in 1988, he and noted Seattle producer Ryan ‘R.C.’ Croone formed the group P.D.I. They performed at school functions and local talent shows until 1993, which was the year Page gave his life to Christ.
Page continued to progress as a lyricist and musician, eventually joining Lojique in early 2000. He has grown to view his talent not only as a gift, but as an evangelical instrument. He believes his calling lies in his passion to create quality music. “The hip-hop generation is maturing now,” he says, “and there is a real thirst for spiritual truth. But more often than not they will accept it only from someone they can relate to, who’s been where they’ve been, who understands and is a part of the culture. This is how God is able to use me.”
Lojique’s production backbone, NICKELS (Jackson Johnson) was subject to a typical European childhood. His father tied him in a burlap sack and beat him repeatedly with a wooden rod for hours each day before forcing him to milk the yak and gather the pigeon eggs to take to market.
Okay, we’ll be serious now. Nurturing a keen interest in the art of deejaying and turntablism since the age of ten (and ruining his mother’s record player in the process), Nickels has quickly and quietly grown to become one of the Northwest’s most sought-after hip-hop producers. As half of the now legendary group Comunalien (the other half being lyricist Reuben A.P., who passed away in an accident in 1999), he honed his musical skills to create a sound all his own. Now, with Lojique, he continues his strides of excellence, not only on the turntables but on the mic as well. “I view the hip-hop artform as a pulpit,” he says. “God has given me a call and responsibility to use my music to reach this ‘sight-and-sound’ generation for Christ. A non-compromising lifestyle, righteous living, and a strong sense of destiny will see them through.”
At the age of eight, Lojique’s DJ BECAUSE (Nathaniel Hansen) received his first turntable. His stepfather was a former radio DJ and opened Because to a whole new world of sound with artists ranging from Pink Floyd, Elton John, and Peter Gabriel to Aaron Neville, Louis Armstrong and Malcolm McLaren. In high school, Because started making mix tapes (sometimes two or three in a week), finding ways to mesh sounds and rhythms, studying their effects on the emotions. It was also in high school that Because discovered hip hop, and quickly became a fan of all subgenres, from A Tribe Called Quest to Dr. Dre.
After high school is when God took ahold of his music and opened yet another door. While managing a radio station on his college campus, he started DJing and in the summer of 2000 hooked up with Nickels of Lojique. By God’s grace, lots of practice and the continual guidance of a Nickels’ veteran experience, Because’s skills developed quickly. He has been touring with the group for almost 2 years and became a full-time member in May 2002. “Studying and mixing music for a long as I have, I’ve discovered how much we as a society truly identify with and even alter our thoughts and ideas based of the music we listen to …DJing for God wasn’t a divine calling for me per se, so much as it was just getting plain mad about how the minds of today are getting jacked by Satan through popular music. I asked God if I could fight back, fire with fire. To this day, I believe His answer has been ‘yes’.”
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