When you hear the words ‘rap’ and ‘Mormon’ in the same sentence, you might think of corny missionary P-Day YouTube videos, or you might, like the more musically puritan among us, think, “SACRILEGE.” The truth is that rap is not a beloved genre of music for many members of the church — you probably won’t hear it playing at the next stake dance — but what if there was Mormon rap that was respectful, uplifting, and seriously good? Rap that left you wanting more…rap?
Enter James Curran.
Curran, otherwise known as Jamesthemormon, is an up and coming musician who specializes in gospel themed raps. He has never considered himself a rapper, but he has always enjoyed rapping with his friends as a hobby. When the impression came (and kept on coming) to write gospel centered rap, he felt it was time to turn his pastime into something more. On August 19th, James released his first mormon rap appropriately titled “Restoration.” He plans on creating an entire album of Mormon raps called PMG, based on the lessons found in Preach My Gospel. His goal is to create good content for members to enjoy, and he hopes his content will be used as a tool to share the gospel.
“…there are people who can connect to the Church through rap”
“I’m really not trying to be a rapper. If I could sing, or had some other skill I think I would do that but I feel that God gave me this talent because there are people who can connect to the Church through rap,” Curran said in an interview with Mormon Buzzz. “I truly believe that.”
James has sacrificed enormous amounts of time, energy, and money to make this album possible and absolutely free. His music is available on a variety of platforms, such as Spotify, Apple Music, Soundcloud, and YouTube. His latest YouTube video for his song, Found a Friend, features the LDS Genesis Choir, consisting predominantly of black members of the Church, and acclaimed singer, Junior Maile, singing the chorus. The song is centered around the “Finding Faith in Christ” lesson found in Preach My Gospel, but teaches the principle in a subtle way. In fact, with the exception of “Restoration,” none of Curran’s songs explicitly name the topic they are covering. Curran says he wants his listeners to find their own meaning out of his music.“I have a very specific agenda behind everything I do, and that is to help people come unto Christ”
When asked about potential backlash from members of the Church about Gospel themed rap, Curran said he has received only support from members. “I really felt prompted by the Lord to specifically make this PMG album and start it off with ‘Restoration’,” he said. “At first, I was really skeptical, thinking that no one is going to like this, but as things fell into place, there was an outpour of support as well as an expression of the demand. People said ‘we want this, we need this, and there are people out there who could use this’.” The support Curran has received, he says, has only served as a confirmation that he should keep doing what he’s doing, even if he has to spend every penny he’s ever earned.
“I have a very specific agenda behind everything I do, and that is to help people come unto Christ, whether it’s directly or indirectly,” Curran said. That can definitely been seen in even the image he has chosen for his work. Curran chose the handle Jamesthemormon so there would never be a question as to who he is or what he does. He also chose it to inspire curiosity, so that maybe his name alone can help people get to know the gospel.
We could not be happier that Mormon Rap is now a thing and we have to give our thanks to Jamesthemormon for making it so good. His latest music video, Found a Friend [found above] was released today.