Jay Williams surprised me as often other DJs and artists do.
If you’ve seen pictures of Jay on the internet, you know he boasts a very imposing figure. But his stature dwarfs in comparison to the dynamic personality that is him.
I thought I would encounter a stoic persona, instead I faced a vibrant personality bubbling with laughter and mirth. This was something I was not expecting, but I very much enjoyed.
As I sat with him to cover the opening of the one and only Gospel Hip-Hop Christian Hip-Hop Hall of Fame, I couldn’t help but ask him about his show, the Underground Gospel Hip-Hop Show.
A staple since Holy Culture joined SiriusXM in 2022, its energy and vibe come straight from its creator, and one I couldn’t wait to cover.
With a smile to mirror his, I sat back to listen to his story.Eph. 4:29

The Straight and Narrow

Jay has a familiar story to that of other PK kids- his father a pastor, grandfather a bishop and family steeped in church business, Jay had a firm foundation he carried with him always.
[I] Was out in the streets but not part of the streets
Always had that foundation, I think that’s what kept me safe, from a lot of different things I was doing in the streets that I wasn’t supposed to be doing.
But it kept me covered and rooted because, you know how they alway say ‘your grandma prayed for you. Well my mother prayed for me, and those prayers, they paid off.
Like most kids in urban cities, that covering did not keep him completely isolated from the violence of the concrete jungle. A friend that he went to high school with him ended up getting shot at a party. That death got so close to his circle was jarring to the young DJ and his friends.
The temptation of fast money that came from selling drugs, however, held no luster for Jay as he saw prison rob members of his family of their freedom- something he always put a premium on.
I was like man, there has to be something better. Something different that would make me not go down that path because I love my freedom too much.
They like the fast money, but fast money sometimes when you make it, you always gotta look over your shoulder, you always have to be careful.
I’ve seen a friend I went to school with get locked up for life for selling drugs, they had the fly cars, they had the hot gear and all that but they could never just be free.
And I always just want to be free. If I make my money I don’t have to look over my shoulder, if you don’t owe nobody nothing, you don’t have to worry about this or that. That kinda made me want to stay more on this path than that path.
The desire to keep his freedom coupled with his work ethic and upbringing saved Jay from a life that could have ended too soon. There are many things to come for him, and this path was the only way to them.
Immediate Success

Jay came from a musical family: his father played the guitar and sang, his oldest brother plays bass, one of his cousins plays with KB, never mind all the aunts and uncles they’re also musically inclined. Music literally runs in his veins.
At 2 years old he started to play the drums but he still could not deny the draw to secular Hip Hop.
I love hip hop. Mr. Cheeks and Big Daddy Kane, Biggy Smalls, like I love all those guys, so when I heard the gospel part I was like wait a minute, this gospel. This sounds like this! Oh I can listen to this and my parents won’t be upset.
With a new appreciation for Christian hip-hop Jay continued on with his life, always busy, always working and traveling with his beautiful wife Michelle Elizabeth Williams, author, actress, evangelist, and motivational speaker.
In 2014, a unique opportunity knocked at Jay’s door. A friend of his from Arizona, Byron Herndon, approached him about doing a radio show focused on Gospel and Christian Hip-Hop.
On Thanksgiving Day of that same year, Jay decided to see what a show like that would be like and he took to a Facebook live to get it done.
I said, I’m try it and see what it’s like. And I did a one hour show.
People heard it and just went crazy.
They said yo we need that, our young people are loving the show, they lovin the energy, lovin the vibe, could you’d do two hours?
And I said, now you pushin’ it. I could barely get an hour show, now you want two hours?
So I did the two hour show and within 30 days it was picked up by 60 stations, all over, and from there until last year my show was playing in over 400 stations national and international stations.

His first show had been an immediate success. It exposed people of all ages to a different range of Christian and gospel music that was expertly curated. One song shifted seamlessly into the other creating an hour full of faith-filled music with an amazing beat and a positive vibe.
After that experience he fell back for some time choosing to work on his Indie One Network where he hosts 40+ stations all over the world.
Role Reversal

Holy Culture had been around for some time, and when Jay met James ‘Trig’ Rosseau through a mutual friend, he invited Holy Culture to join the Indie One Network—one Trig accepted.
But in 2022, when Sirius XM asked Holy Culture to come on board, Trig proposed Jay have his own show within channel 154 (now 140). The mission to have the first Gospel Christian Hip-Hop station on Sirius took precedence over everything else, and Jay found himself in CHH heaven.
“See Im a big fan of the all the DJs that’s on the station, so I didn’t feel worthy enough to be up here, cuz you have Wade-O, I- Rock, Severe.
I was like me? Like Jay? Me? Like I’m a fan of these dudes like for real for real. To me, it’s an honor to be on that platform.”
But the show couldn’t be the same as it had been before.
The Jay Williams show was already out there, all over. So on Holy Culture I came up with the Underground Gospel Hip Hop Show.
We have Music Drop Wednesday, when you are going to hear [new music] for the first time on Sirius XM.
So I have a new music segment, then I have an old school song segment, like a throwback song. So you will hear an old song from Cross Movement, The Truth, BB Jay, Ambassador, one of them old school tracks and then I have what I call the R&P segment.
On the Jay Williams Show, it was called R&G, which is the name I had for years—for rhythm and gospel—but on here, it’s R&P, and it’s more Hip-Hop.
But on my other show I had quartet, traditional, contemporary, gospel Hip Hop. It was more of a family show so if you were traveling, no matter who’s in the car, your mom, your grandparents, they’re going to find a song on the Jay Williams Show.
On the Underground Gospel Hip Hop Show it is catered to a different audience.
I love the transition, I love the variety.
So instead of having their music debuted on an internet platform they get their music put on SiriusXm. Then they get there to hear their music with a Lecrae or a Pastor Mike Jr or Kierra Sheard.
They get to hear their music played with all these legends. So they get their music played and debuted on that same platform- So that’s what the new music segment is.
And that’s what the Underground Show is: we bring songs most people haven’t heard and we debuted them on the Underground Show. We put all these artists on a whole new platform on a whole different bracket.
Jay’s platforms in fact, have been the launch pad for new music and artists. His Gospel Hip Hop Awards for example debuted “The Female Cypher,” featuring Angie Rose, Ms Day, TK Lee, Queen Lee, Bri Smiles and Obenewa- the first cypher to be released as a single. And artists likeEph. 4:29 TVINCI, Adia, J-Nibb premiered their singles in the The Underground Gospel Hip Hop Show.

A Smorgasbord of Beats

Jay’s passion for all things Christian hip-hop and the Hall of Fame was evident from the second that interview began.
There was so much joy and laughter in how he described his show and the experience of creating the hall with his bare hands that I had no choice but to listen in on his show, something I had not gotten around to doing.
The same brilliance that I found the day I spoke with him was reflected in the songs that he picked to play on the Saturday I tuned in. Tracks that colored my rainy day with reminders of God’s goodness in a smorgasbord of beats.
As he promised, his show was as high energy as himself. And now I know that if I ever need a pick-me-up, I know exactly where to turn.
If you could use one too, make sure to tune in Saturdays from 12-1pm EST on Holy Culture Sirius XM Channel 140.
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