It's ironic. In the mid 2000s there was a movie set in the rural southern United States about a low-budget pimp who turned to be an aspiring rapper. It was an innovative twist on the All-American rags-to-riches story that we've come to love in this grand old country of ours. So much so, the lead single from the movie - shockingly - became the first rap song to win an Academy Award. The movie was 2005's Hustle and Flow and the song "It's hard out here for a pimp" was performed by a group who boldly calls itself Three 6 mafia.
In real life 2012 in Tacoma, in the same country that loves a good old-fashioned underdog story, Lonnie Maines, also known by the name "S.O.G." (Streetz O Gold), is another brave man who served his country in the armed forces and is setting out on an underdog story all his own - a Christian rap underdog story.
Christian rap in the landscape of the music industry is the biggest underdog since Rudy Ruettiger, the famous undersized linebacker who made the University of Notre Dame football team in the early 1970s despite being 5-foot-6 and 165 pounds. Historically, there've been few outlets that can push the genre into the conscious of the mainstream. Kirk Franklin had a smash hit in the late 90s with his group God's Property and since, groups like Mary Mary and Tye Tribbett have helped take the genre to new heights. Still, Christian rap as a whole goes sparingly noticed at best.
It's without question that men like Lonnie Maines don't do it for fame. They do it for the sake of spreading the Gospel and sharing testimony that reaches those in need. On his track "On the rock not the sand," this becomes apparent as he starts with the lines "Militant soldier that's what I am/Living for the blood of the lamb." Anyone who ever grew up in the church knows that those words mean something far deeper than what meets the ear.
On Maines' Facebook page, he describes himself as a Christian lyric writing, instrumental creating musical soloist who aspires to change the human soul, to not sell out but endure for righteousness for Jesus. His bio gives more detail about a background that was as destructive as a backhoe riding through a field of daisies. It was a life destined to be spent in prison and/or early death according to even his parents. S.O.G. is one of the lucky ones who was able to escape street life in Tacoma and Seattle and turn it around for something more positive.
Even then, preaching to the choir is just that and S.O.G. is on a mission to reach out and impact as many souls as possible, not sell a million records.
This is the real life, Holy Hustle and Flow.