Sounds Like: Lil Pump, Lil Wayne, Drake, Future, Jay-Z, Lil Uzi, Don Q, Big Sean, Two Chains, J Cole, Kendrick Lamar, (& the list goes on). All of these styles consolidated into one artist reiterating the messages of the gospel. While giving testimony in between songs @Rabelzthemc is a whiz with words & guaranteed to have your audience up on their feet shouting with praise after every punchline, metaphor, & simile.
Lyric sample: "Life's too short for lukewarm, you cant get a ticket to heaven on Groupon.. Mercy, Christ don't judge me, on my very sins but the fact that I trust thee. Souls get musky the books get dusty, all mankind designed for his mercy, trust me."
A Christian rapper with heart and flow. He provided an inspirational message grounded in faith in Jesus Christ. Our youth were blessed.
MC Ribald was entertaining and inspiring. He sprinkled his performance, his ministry with scripture and personal anecdotes from his life. Our young people immediately connected with him. For me, he was honorable and professional!
Price Range: $100 (30 min set)
Gig Length: 30 - 45 minutes
What to Expect
This wasn't the plan at all, the subject matter of these rhymes cast forth from a rooftop above the roughened streets of the Bronx.
"I pray the novena, I pray the novena
I been kinda slipping but I won't start tripping
Cuz I pray with St. Faustina."
What in the world happened to Rabelz, a hip-hop artist formerly of the school of jewel-bearing swaggards paying divine homage to female flesh and material possessions?
Well, Rabelz's priorities have changed. A lot. Within the first few seconds of this music video being filmed on the rooftop of Our Lady of the Angels Friary on 155th Street, this becomes rather evident.
The man who grew up in a two-bedroom Brooklyn apartment he shared with his mother and three siblings, who was arrested for fighting, expelled from high school, who dreamed of fame, of getting out, of following in the pricey-sneakered footsteps of his rags-to-riches rapper idols — well, here he is, hands in prayer before the camera. A church organ plays. A snare drum slaps a wake-up call. It stings. It's meant to. Then Rabelz's rapid-fire rapping begins.
The song: "Novena." The album: #Mercy. The rapper: not pussyfooting around.
"My goal, my mission," says Rabelz, "is to expose Jesus' Divine Mercy to hip-hop culture, to youth, and to the world before it's too late."
And it's no accident he announced the release of #Mercy on the opening of the extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy on Dec. 8. In a way, to all those paying attention — and there are many — Rabelz is sending out a station-identification from Bronx, New York, from the very geographical center of hip-hop culture, that the revelations of a humble Polish peasant nun have been received and absorbed.
Doubtless no one is more surprised about this turn of events than Rabelz himself. But in retrospect, for today's youth, many of whom are raised in
a culture that has long eschewed rules governing right and wrong, what could be more rebellious than obedience to God's law, a lifestyle so ancient, it could easily be mistaken for innovative?
Indeed, for a self-identified rebel,what's more defiant than following Christ's Gospel call through St. Faustina that "Mankind will not have peace until it turns with trust to [His] mercy" (Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska, 300)?
That's how he sees it, anyway. Off-stage, his name is Melvin Windley. He's 29 years old. He's married. He and his wife, Diana, live in a one-bedroom apartment with their four young children. In videos and on stage, he's loose-limbed in that stylized and streetwise manner of hip-hop artists that strives to say, "I've got everything figured out, and I'm scared of nothing."
But with his children and his wife, he's a softy. He dressed in a Crayola Crayon costume for Halloween (blue). He can share some of the more educational quests of Dora the Explorer. He prays as he writes.
And he is, indeed, scared of one thing in particular. He realized this back in 2004. During a rocky time in their relationship, Diana presented him with a copy of St. Faustina's Diary. Diana grew up in a devout Catholic household in upstate New York. She was introduced to the Diary by the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal in the Bronx after she moved to the city for college.
Melvin wasn't one to read books. He promptly tossed it to the side. But when he finally picked it up one day, he hadn't even gotten to page three before he knew he want- ed this book to be with him for the rest of his life.
"The fact that St. Faustina recorded words of Christ written in the 1930s — the same century I was born in — it just blew me away," Melvin says.
It was entry 42 that terrified him. In it, Jesus tells St. Faustina He's going to leave the convent at once, so displeased He was with the lack of holiness there. "I will not let You leave this house, Jesus!" Faustina pleads. Seeing her love for Him, Jesus stays.
"I read that, and I thought, 'He's serious. He means business. He will leave if we don't accept His mercy,'" Melvin recalls. "Suddenly, I was afraid He could leave me. I never wanted to do anything that would make Him leave me."
Not long after reading that, Melvin picked up his book of rhymes — thick as a New York City phonebook — and tossed it into an incinerator. No more singing about sex. No more disrespecting women. No more worshiping the things of the world — jewelry, money, material pos- sessions. No more being misled. No more misleading others. No more wasting his time and his talents.
He was baptized in the Catholic Church in 2005. He and Diana married in 2006. He thanks Diana for "fighting the spiritual battle for my soul." He began using his gifts to proclaim the Word of God through hip-hop in 2007.
He has earned a name for himself through his web presence (at (link hidden) and (link hidden)) and through performances sponsored by Catholic Under-ground. His album #Diary, released in early 2015, stands as arguably the most powerful and creative alliance between the Divine Mercy movement and urban culture.
It's no surprise that he has experienced his fair share of ridicule from the hip-hop community, "but there was a lot of hating on St. Faustina, too, in her lifetime," Melvin says with a laugh.
He deals with it the best way he knows how: through rapping. "They could try to stab me in my back/ but it will never penetrate my soul," he sings in his song "Problems," available on his streaming website.
He realizes the unlikelihood of this musical path bringing him wealth and fame, so he remains true to the mission, committed to prayer. He has a day job now as an administrator at a medical clinic. He's at peace.
Why else would he be singing Good News from a rooftop?
RabelzTheMC is a Catholic Hip-Hop artist whose goal is to bridge the cultural gap between Catholicism and Hip-Hop. In 2016, the Jubilee Year of Mercy, he released his album #Mercy, which is full of Catholic themes and introspective religious exploration.
His song “Novena” caught our ear in particular. His lyrics exhibit a deep understanding of his faith, while the use of organ on the track creates a uniquely Catholic atmosphere. As far as “bridging the gap” goes, it’s all there.
We had a chance to speak with Rabelz about his music and what inspires him:
When did you discover your talent as a rapper?
I started writing music at 8 years old with a couple of childhood friends. We formed a group called PYA, Perfect Young Assassins. When we wrote songs we would share them among one another and my songs were always well received by my friends. It was then I realized I had skill in writing lyrics.
What is your goal as an artist?
My official goal is for mankind to learn how to accept God’s mercy through listening to my music. I aim for my lyrics to be informative to the Church’s teachings so that my listeners may fully understand accept the message of Divine Mercy in a way that’s cool, relative, and undeniably acceptable by men, women, and children as young as 8 years old.
Your lyrics are filled with Catholic terms and imagery. When did you feel called to merge your faith with your artistic talents? Was there a particular moment when you discerned your vocation?
I was baptized into the Catholic faith in 2005. For many years I identified myself as a Christian/Gospel rapper even though my lyrics were doused with Catholic rhetoric. I didn’t know Catholic Hip-Hop existed until late 2013. During my journey from 2005-2010, I spent those years reading and admiring the Diary of St. Faustina.
I had no clue what it meant to me and my family so I stopped reading it, but all the while I was still fascinated by the words spoken by Jesus as they resonated in my heart. In 2014 I heard a little voice calling from God that asked me if I was open to rapping about the Divine Mercy message. At that very moment, I broke down in tears and said “yes.” I finally understood why I was so in love with this message! From that moment in 2014, I proclaimed myself to be a Catholic Rapper.
You mention prayer in many of your songs. How often do you pray and which prayer is your favorite?
The prayer I grew up praying is Psalm 23. That used to be my favorite prayer. Now that I have a family every night before bedtime my wife, 5 children, and I pray the Rosary first, St. Michael’s prayer second, and then the Divine Mercy Chaplet third. My favorite is the Divine Mercy Chaplet, of course.
Do you find it hard to reach a Christian audience? If so what would you say is the biggest hurdle you face?
For me, in 2014 when I accepted the role of incorporating the message of Divine Mercy into my art I was afraid that the Christian audience would not accept it, especially since it was so very Catholic. The voice of God instantly reassured me in my heart that I had nothing to worry about because nothing could get in his way. It was extremely reassuring. The following year in 2015 Pope Francis announced that the Church would be celebrating the Jubilee Year of Mercy through November 2016. Personally, my biggest hurdle today is probably not having enough time, financial means, and skills to produce and engineer that top-notch, high-quality sound these messages deserve.
Do you find any similar obstacles are present on the opposite side when trying to build a rap audience around Christian music?
Music is all about celebrating certain moments. Anyone coming from a secular Hip-Hop listening experience is accustom to hearing a top-notch, high-quality mix. I have been refused airplay by indie Christian radio stations and Christian DJs because of the quality of production, but that has not deterred my mission. I just pray and practice every chance I get because I do it all on my own.
Who in your life has influenced your faith the most?
My wife definitely! She introduced me to the Diary of St. Faustina book back in 2007 and everything Catholic, for that matter. She is a cradle-born Catholic.
What music are you listening to? Is there an artist who inspires you?
Surprisingly, I don’t listen to Christian music. I rarely listen to music anymore; when I did I was influenced by artist like Luther Vandross, Yolanda Adams, POD, Jay-Z, Nas, 50 Cent, Drake, BIG, 2-Pac, Fabulous, Lloyd Banks.
Your last album release was #Mercy, from 2016. Are you working on anything new?
Since my last album release titled #Mercy in 2016, I have released a free mixtape project in 2017 titled #MercyInMotion in addition to 16 singles with 4 featured artists, so far. People don’t buy music as much these days so I give a lot of it away for free. I do plan on releasing another iTunes/Spotify project mid-2018. Right now I am preparing for my trip to Auckland, New Zealand in April 2018 where I will be giving testimony on Divine Mercy and performing for the 25th-Anniversary Eucharistic Convention.
Read more: The rise of Catholic pop music: 12 of the best current Catholic artists
Follow Cecilia–Aleteia’s music page–on Facebook!
Song: Novena | Singer: RabelzTheMC
Name: Melvin Windley
Hometown: Brooklyn, NY
Latest Album: #Mercy (2016)
Fun Fact: Melvin is a Catholic Hip-Hop artist who goes by the stage name RabelzTheMC. As Rabelz his mission is to bridge the gap between Catholicism and Hip-Hop. He was led to Catholicism by his wife, Diana, and draws inspiration from The Diary of St. Faustina.
Additional Booking Notes
It would be extremely helpful to be able to run a soundcheck prior to performance.
Past Booked Events
|September 30, 2018 • 12:30pm - 1:15pm||Nonprofit Event|
|November 10, 2017 • 8:00pm - 8:30pm||Fundraiser|
(Available upon request)
Influences & Inspiration
The Diary of St. Faustina
'90s Hip Hop & R&B
'90s Gospel Music
Rock Bands from 2000's
Speaker (Facing Performer)