It’s been almost a year since I spoke with Rare of Breed; the interview that nearly wasn’t as a storm and the start of his tour collided, making a face-to-face impossible.
But what I didn’t get by meeting him was what I saw with my own eyes as I watched the artist turn intercessor for his fans, praying for each one of them as they waited in line.
This was GodTwang.
One part Christian Hip-Hop, two parts country with bluegrass roots, Rare and his crew, DJ Winn, Adam Thompson, and Just Nate Music, brought music to the backwoods of America, where the lost and the broken found kindred spirits in their words.
As I stood outside my church, the anticipation was palpable. Rare was about to open for a big Christian Band, and I couldn’t help but wonder, in the sea of people, would I be able to spot the ones who were there for him? The echoes of our recent conversation played in my head, adding to the excitement.
“Who are you here to see?” a loud voice directed at the crowd.
After hearing the roar of Rare’s fans sounding off, I knew what my answer was. The rest of this crowd had no idea what was coming.

I waited for what felt like an eternity to get into the building. My black T-shirt and jeans did not help me stay cool. But I felt in good company as I saw others dressed the same way: jean-clad legs with GodTwang shirts and camo hats made them stand out in the crowd.
Rare would be opening up for Newsboys, a band he once listened to himself—legends in their own right that have been around for years. Knowing the beginnings of the lead singer in DC Talk only made a small connection to Christian Hip-Hop, so I was curious about how this chain of events had come about.
Well they just hit me up, he began.
You know what I’m saying? So, like, everybody who’s the people who are booking the show who are behind it? they called me and they were like, hey, you know, we want you to go on right before them. And, really features, like, a main artist to, like, open it up, but really be a main artist as well.
What’s cool is, I pushed my tour out to June instead of March and April. So I was like, this is going to be a perfect kickoff if we do a this show on June 1st.
This will be the great kickoff we can do at home, and then we can head out on, you know, do my headline tour like we always do.
So it just fit perfect.
And I was like, of course I’m not going to say no.
Like, you know, that’s one of those in which this year I get to do, like shows with like those guys TobyMac, Colton Dixon, you know, a lot of your K-Love artists.
I’m doing a lot of festivals that I didn’t do before, but I’ve chosen I’m like, you know what?
I’d like to go into those spaces and just bring something different.
Like this grassroots ministry, powerful music that people might not be totally used to. Right. And so I’ve seen it work before and it’s been powerful.
Opening Band

The venue for the event happened to me in my church, Catalyst Church, in North Carolina. The first band to perform was our worship team, and they rocked it. My Worship Pastor, Ben Mason, exhibited the essence of who he is: a rockstar for Jesus.Eph. 4:29

Then came the moment we had been waiting for: fans watched excitedly as the Rare of Breed crew took over the stage.

Rare comes on stage and invites his fans to come close. Half of us eagerly stood before the speakers, the other more conservative ones rising in their seats.Eph. 4:29

As the first song started, I took my eyes off him and looked around me. Young Marines surrounded me, stoic men bobbing their heads to the beat and women singing along to every word.

“Let the redeemed of the Lord say so,” I felt the Spirit speak. And I knew the fans were seeing their lives reflected in the song he played.

And I couldn’t help but be transported to pictures of baptisms that took place during last year’s tour, during which Rare Breed played with ASAP Preach.

Would that happen here? Or would we see more of that on this tour?
Yeah, definitely. I think it was really special because it just kind of happened, like it wasn’t planed. You know.
I think one of the earlier shows, they were like, hey, we have a baptismal.
And this was before we came to Texas, right? They were like, hey, we have a baptismal set up. And I was like, cool. I said, if anybody makes a decision or wants to do something like that, like that would be awesome.
And I remember I had never baptized anybody myself, right.
I’d always like it. Just makes you nervous. I’m like, man, pastors do that, right? I was just nervous.
And this young girl came up to me. She was about 10 or 11, and it was wild because she came up and I was like, I think a lot of times we’re like, how much can kids actually go through?
Like, we think like adults go through a lot of stuff, but kids have gone through so much.
And I remember her coming up to me after the show and she said, Mister Rare, ‘I just want to let you know that I’ve been hanging on to a lot of anger at God for the things that have happened to me in my past, and tonight I was really able to let it go.’
And she’s like 11 years old. And I was thinking in my mind, I’m like, man, what could this girl have gone through to be at this point? And she said, and I want to get baptized.
‘And I know you guys have like a baptismal, right? She’s like, would you baptize me?’
And I was like. Let’s go right now.
So we be-lined out there and baptized her. And I was just like, it was just so I don’t know, it was powerful. It was powerful.
And I think after that it started like a ripple effect where like people are like, oh, this happens.
And, you know, like we’ll have one ready.
It was really cool. I hope to do some of that on the summer tour for sure. You know, that’s, that’s kind of the plan.
I felt for that girl in his story, but from what I knew of Rare’s music, I knew he could relate to her, which made that interaction even more powerful.
Moments of Surrender

The set was shorter than he would have typically done, but as he wrapped up his time, he closed with the song “Surrender.”Eph. 4:29

I moved to the back of the venue to see the crowd from afar. As he lifted his hands in submission, so did all his fans. His words reached each one of them in a solemn moment not many would expect from Christian hip-hop.Eph. 4:29

Such a vulnerability reminded me of a April 19th he had made, I cautiously asked him to what let up to it.
Yeah. I usually don’t get that open.
I think I can do that in music sometimes because I feel like when I put music out, it doesn’t matter who judges it or not.
It’s for me like it’s something that I create.
But there’s this perception that goes around that you must have it all together.
Like, he has it going on, like look at all of these numbers and things like that.
And I’m like, please don’t get lost in the perception to think that we don’t go through some of the hardest seasons even harder sometimes.
You know, I feel like being in the forefront for the gospel.
And I think after getting off tour, having this incredibly successful tour, I got home and there was like a lull, you know, of like 3 or 4 months and so much transition and change.
We ended up buying a new house, which was like a dream come true, like we wanted land, we wanted a home, we always rented.
So like, that was awesome.
But I had no studio, you know, we were building the studio.
And so I had all of this stuff going on and nowhere to express it.
And I feel like in that season, God was like, you have to be still.
And I was like, I don’t like to be still.
I like to move.
I like to grind, you know? And I just, I remember asking God, like, what are you trying to get out of me?
Like, what are you pressing out of me? I just kept saying that, and I just felt like I was being pressed and pressed.
And it was like from one angle, God was challenging me and wanting me to grow.
And then the other angle the devil was trying to, I feel like he was attacking me and trying to take me out.
And then I was putting a lot of pressure on myself because I, you know, the last three years you had three albums, you had amazing stuff going on and it’s like, what’s next?
So I have all this pressure from all these different angles, you know, and I think I just got to a point where I said, okay.
And it’s funny because, you know, I’ve been following the Lord for 13 years now, and I think you would think that it’s a lesson that you would have learned by now.
You would think it’s a lesson that you would have learned by now.
But I think about it. I’m like, man, you constantly find yourself in a place of surrender and letting go again and, and and being in that place, like, don’t get too far ahead to think that you can take the wheel.
So that’s kind of where I was.
And when I finally came out, I started writing the new album, “Pressure” was the first song.
It only made sense, like it hit like a ton of bricks and just the intensity of it, because the season was so hard and so it really fit.
It was like, it makes sense.
This has got to be the first song that comes up out of the season.
So I’m definitely working on the new album now, and the skeleton of it is done.
It’s just kind of like finding that balance and filling in and stuff, you know, it’s, it’s definitely going to be the fourth installment of GodTwang, and it’s going to be called Redemption.
So because it’s like finding redemption all over again through this process, you know what I’m saying?
It’s probably one of the more vulnerable albums.
I think going through the seasons. But I can tell you now, it’s going to be a classic, as far as just art and just the storyline and the way the album is shaping together.

The goal is to drop it in the fall.
I just don’t think that I’m going to be able to have it out by summer, especially with touring going on and being out on the road.
The goal is to drop, you know, probably for singles and then drop the album. So you’re looking at probably a single every month until August or September and then and then releasing the album.
Fans would agree that much of his music has given us great insight into what Rare of Breed has gone through. From his early childhood and being separated from his parents to subsequent addictions and prison time, we have walked through a lot of the pivotal moments of his life through his music.Eph. 4:29

It’s hard to fathom anything more open and I wondered at his state of mental health as he was going through the process of creating his most unguarded album to date. How he struck that balance between creating and creating and how he self-corrects, when everything gets off balance.
Yeah, it’s a battle.
It’s a battle every year, and it seems like it’s a cycle for me personally.
You know, it seems like it’s a cycle I tend to go through. Really the lowest of lows in the winter. and I don’t know if that’s a seasonal thing, but it really, you think about it, everything turns down, and then you’re coming into a new year and you’re like, okay, what’s the new year going to look like?
I have no idea, you know?
The winter is all the time where I go through that. And the good thing is, I’m reminded [by] the people that are close to me, like my wife and a few buddies of mine: hey, we’ve seen this story before.
We’ve seen how God has taken you through this season. You’ve kind of, like, tugged it out and like, tried to fight this, but you’ve also found, like this beautiful surrender again and like, sensitive sensitivity to the Holy Spirit and like, being broken again and then building you back up and like, something amazing comes from it.
They’re like, so we’ve seen this before.
The good thing about confiding in those guys is they were able to remind me [of that].
Because when you’re going through the valley, you’re like, gosh, when is this going to end?
When am I going to see the other side?
I think a lot of times with music, we like to come in here and just like, pound it out, like I’m going to create something and, and, and, and those are like the worst seasons to try to force creativity.
So a lot of times I’m like, okay, you finally get back to that point where you’re like, shut the studio down and just get back in the secret place with the Father.
And then out of that, the best stuff comes so easy, like a natural after that, which is like, why did I bump my head on the wall again?
I’ve done this for the last how many years?
And I haven’t learned my lesson yet, you know?
And it’s like a replaying thing.
But, the good thing about going through the valley is that it doesn’t last forever.
And you know that there’s a purpose in it and you’re going to come out of it.
It’s just you don’t know when.
So I think in those seasons, instead of trying to break down the walls, you really need to prepare like you need to take those.
Don’t waste those seasons because they’re crucial.
Take those times to prepare and, and, you know, spend time with the Lord.
God’s Gift

I could relate so much to his words. I find myself hitting a creative block when I try to make the words flow on my own, forgetting for a second that my gifts came from God, that my pen and paper belong to Him, and that it is only through Him that I am able to bring beauty about in the form of words.
I think, I mean, it’s fundamental, right?
I think it’s the foundation of being a Christian.
We’re not supposed to do things on our own, you know, like we have gone through life, right?
I mean, that’s what separated us from the father was our sin and wanting to have our life and do life our own way.
And he’s saying, hey, in order to be reconciled through, you know, it’s through Jesus Christ, but we’re doing life together.
And when you start to separate yourself and say, I got this, you know, it’s going to be difficult, right?
Because now you’re in a relationship with the Father like you’re one.
And it’s hard.
I think that’s why it’s so difficult, because when you get back in sync, you know, with Him.
Right. It just seems to fit.
It’s easier when you wake up earlier or you, you take that time and you get in the word and you spend more time in prayer.
Your day goes much better, right?
Rather than like getting up and being rushed and doing things like that.
So I think that’s every walk as a believer and as a creative too.
I think creativity is one of the most beautiful things that God has given us as a gift.
I mean, He’s the most creative person ever, you know, and the fact that He’s given us that as a gift, I think it’s just awesome.
It’s just one of the most beautiful things.
But it could be a double edged sword, too, because our minds are so different.
Thankfully, I have my wife. She has an opposite side of the brain, so she keeps me kind of grounded and level because I’m kind of the creative.
She’s more, like, analytical. So, like, I’m glad that we can complement each other. so. Yeah.
The Future of Redemption

With the show and the interview now behind me, I can afford a moment of retrospect- To me what speaks the loudest about Rare of Breed, are its fans.
Who will drive 10 to 12 hours to see him, toting small children, wives and grandmothers in wheelchairs; all of them rapping along every song.
What can they expect from the latest God Twang iteration? Will the sound that they have learned to love be there when the next single hits?
Yeah. So what, the first album you heard. Well, it’s hard to say because, you know, at this point I put out, I think I’m working on, like, album 7 or 8. Right.Eph. 4:29
So, there was like a transition, I think, you know, we talked.
There was a transition where it was like more like chh, like more like a little more street, a little more like the hip hop. And then it blended with little more country and and folk in those sounds.
So there was like a divide [then there was] the season like of God twang, you know, where it just kind of birthed something fresh and different than the previous albums.
That’s that’s the point of creativity, right? I think that’s the part of pressure, too, because you’re like, I don’t want to continue to do the same thing.
I want to elevate.

I want to continue to be creative and not be in a box, but also you also know that some of those things work and they’re people’s anthem.
And you’re like, I have to keep some of this, right? But how far can I go? The cool thing about, I think the people that interact with my music is that it’s real.
No matter what it’s going to, the production is going to sound like or anything.
I think, you know, you can have somebody, you’ve seen it at the shows, you can have somebody who’s 60 years old and you’re like, they’re at a hip hop concert, right?
And so I could put out this hard song or like a “Pressure” or “The Warm Up” or something like that.
And they’re like, man, I love it.
And I’m like, you’re 65. How is this possible? You know?
And they’re like the words they hit, they hit, you know, and it’s so I think that’s the definitely the direct correlation is it’s going to be it’s going to be real.
It’s going to relate.
Sonically I think production wise, you know, it’s I don’t know, we’re going to see, you know, there’s a little bit of, you know, it’s definitely hip hop driven.
And I’m going to blend a little more folk in there and let’s see where it goes.
So it’s going to be good.
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