Triumphant Provision - Dwayne Tryumf
Imagine crowds soaking up your lyrics, fans adding you on ‘Facebook’ and requesting more of your music. Imagine being invited to Germany to perform and lead youth groups. Or, travelling from city to city and performing the tracks that not long before, were just sitting on your computer as your own outlet of Worship.
Now, you are being heard by thousands. Can you imagine driving in your car and hearing your own voice pumping out of the radio? And, even more surreal is the fact that its Holy Hip Hop lyrics - you’re rapping for Christ, neither yourself nor your achievements but for His Glory.
This was the reality of Born-again Christian rapper Dwayne (Shorter) Tryumf, who was previously known for being in a secular rap group called, ‘Magic Circle’.
If someone had foretold this reality to Dwayne Shorter of ’97, the chances are that he would never have believed them. If someone had said that he would be speed rapping The Gospel and doing it all for The Glory of God and leaving his old ways behind, he may well have laughed at them. Dwayne Shorter of ’97 had been raised in music, literally.
Both of his parents were DJs and he had attended various courses and worked his way up through record labels. In fact, just before coming to Christ, he was on the brink of producing for Will Smith’s upcoming album to be released in ’99.
Then – everything changed, overnight. This is how he recalls it, “I had a dream. In my dream there were clouds forming into the shape of a man and he was pointing to all different parts of the world. I remember closing my eyes and hoping the figure wouldn't point to me and just as I opened my eyes and before I could say, “Oh N...” the figure pointed to me. Then out of his finger came a bolt of lightning that hit me. It felt so real that when it hit me I literally jumped up in my bed, came out of my dream and then when my body hit the bed again I went back into my dream and I started talking in a different language... The next day a friend of mine who called me out of the blue asked if I wanted to go to church and I said,”Yes, God's calling me.” And this person had never called me to ask me that before.
When I went to the service, every time the pastor would talk about Jesus and what He went through for us something in my spirit would convict me. By the end of the service when the pastor made the alter call I found myself getting out of my chair and walking to the front of the church. I can only describe it as John 6:44 "No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him.” God was literally drawing me to the front of the church to give my life to Christ. This all happened in 1999 and since then I have not turned back by God's grace.”
This is an amazing testimony, by any account. A dream so profound, followed by such conviction in his heart hearing the pastor preach The Word of God, just simply couldn’t be ignored. It was then that Dwayne Shorter left his old life behind, including Hip Hop and the world of rap, or so he thought... God, however, had alternate plans...
Shorter took time away from rapping to focus on learning from The Word and finding sanctuary with The Lord in prayer. Then near the end of ’99, instead of producing for Will Smith’s album, he was at the baptism of a friend – a far greater blessing in Dwayne’s eyes. Ironically, it was on this day that he truly felt called back to the world of Hip Hop - but this time with a different cause and a completely other world of lyrics!
He was going to rap for Christ and bring The Good News to people through the music ministry. It all dawned on him during a conversation with the Pastor who was presiding over the baptism. Dwayne was telling the pastor how God had called him out of a world and culture of gangster rap and musical idolatry and so graciously blessed him with true life with Jesus instead.
“Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6 NIV
The pastor was very much in agreement with him that he had indeed been saved and that he shouldn’t part-take in idolatry of any kind, but told him that he should go back to rap. However, this time he ought to use his gift for God’s Glory instead of desecrating His Name and His Word. He told Dwayne that God gave him the gift of music for a purpose and that he should seek that purpose in order to follow his calling from God.
Enthusiastically, Dwayne recalls this moment of dawning like this, “When he said this in my mind I was like, ‘WOW! WHY DIDN'T I THINK OF THIS BEFORE???!!’, that very night I went home and wrote my first Christian rap song called ‘Where d'you think you're going’."
Dwayne Shorter was no longer Dwayne Shorter; he was Dwayne Tryumf – triumphant in the work of The Lord with a mission to bring His Word to the people, but all this was yet to come.
He started recording songs and just storing them on his home computer whilst ministering to the youth of his Church. Fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, of his Church, started to learn of his gift for Gospel Rap and began requesting CDs of his Spirit blessed music. This was what was to subsequently turn into Tryumf’s first album, ‘Ghetto Scripture’.
I don't pack a mattic - Dwayne Tryumf
This very album was picked up by a Pastor in Germany, who later asked Tryumf to assist him in starting up a youth ministry in his Church. Dwayne was invited over to the Pastor’s congregation in Germany to help teach them and encourage further development in their journey with their Saviour. He stayed there; learning, teaching and ministering to the youth, whilst working on more music given to him by The Spirit.
However, before Dwayne’s ministering in Germany, God was also to call him on to the very streets of London for evangelical mission. He was to be greatly involved in such work that was to burn in his heart so much so, that it was to inspire one of his most popular songs given by The Spirit, ‘I don’t pack a mattic’.
Tryumf’s inspiration for this song came from the promise of one particular Crown given by God after the second coming, depicted in the book of Thessalonians. It was The Crown of Soul Winners/Rejoicing.
It was also during this time of ministry and that Dwayne was to meet his beautiful wife-to-be, Naomi. Tryumf was ministering part of the service at Naomi’s Church and was instantly drawn to her. He loved how involved she was in serving in the Church and wanted to approach her but thought better of it. He felt that he ought not to initiate anything without God’s say so, and said He did.
God answered Dwayne by leading Naomi to him instead, by The Spirit, which lead to the development of their friendship. Dwayne was serving in the U.S for a period and so the pair stayed in contact via telephone and enjoyed deep and regular sessions of prayer for one another to receive guidance from God by The Spirit.
Upon his return, they became closer and started attending marriage courses together. The love they shared for Christ became manifest in their relationship and they truly felt God was calling them to be together. Dwayne and Naomi married in October 2009 and are still growing and supporting each other in their walk with Christ.
God has sustained Tryumf’s call in the ministry of music, as Tryumf recently released his new album, ‘777Mark of Peace’. Tryumf’s Spiritual growth is evident in this album, from the lyrics right down to the theological title.
“My inspiration for the album is that it points to God. In Hebrew every word has a number assigned to it and the numbers for God, Heaven and Earth total to 777 so the title points to God‘s sovereignty.
In regards to the symbols on the album cover they represent a different side of Jesus in each of the 4 Gospels:
a) Lion = Matthew = Jesus as King = In His Royalty
b) OX = Mark = Jesus as a servant = In His Humility
c) New man = Luke = Jesus as a sinless man = In His Humanity
d) Eagle = John = Jesus as God = In His Divinity
(4 subjects = 4 gospels)
As for the head in the clouds this is to represent me being heavenly minded (Colossians 3:2) and the rainbow from my mouth is to represent me speaking forth God's covenant (Genesis 9:12-16).”
The album went on sale and has had hundreds of thousands of hits on sites like youtube.com. Despite this fact, Tryumf refuses to submit to pride and recently posted on his ‘Facebook’, “Self glorification is a sin (pride) whether you are a Christian rapper or a rapper who is a Christian.” He gives all credit and Glory to Christ and knows within himself that it is only God that provides. Without God, he is nothing.
Not so long ago, this international missionary for Christ was just another rapper producing ungodly music, only concerned with worldly things.
Now, he is Changed. He knows that God created him and everything about him, including his talents and weaknesses. Christ saved Him and The Spirit of God leads him.
God gave him that talent and passion for music so he could reach others with his music, for The Lord. God blessed him by uniting him with exactly the right woman to support him in his calling from God. Naomi acts as his PA and they handle every detail together, as one flesh – just as God intended.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28 NIV
Dwayne and Naomi, both converts to Christianity, know life without Him and life with Him. And, I’m sure I don’t need to ask either of them which one they prefer. They are a beautiful example of God’s original blueprint for humanity as they act as one when delivering The Message to God’s people - the ones Christ came to save. No one who still has breath left in their lungs is beyond The Saving Grace of God by Christ. And no one is without a call on their life from God – if only they’ll use the gift of free will and choose to follow it... Will you?
“I will sacrifice a freewill offering to you; I will praise your name, O Lord, for it is good. For he has delivered me from all my troubles, and my eyes have looked in triumph on my foes.”
Psalm 54:6-7 NIV
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