Callie & The Aberdenians

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Ayeesha Lott, The First Lady of Grapetree Records

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Story of a young Christian Hip Hop Poet

I studied my dad. By any means necessary, he was fierce. And I couldn't help wanting to soak up all of his knowledge and be more like him. It was if discovering that Calvin Aberdeen was my biological father had given me a new lease on life.

Somehow in the back of my mind, I knew that something wasn't quite right with the relationship between me and my stepdad ... Anyway, he divorced my mother. And even though I wanted to be upset, I couldn't be. Because my real dad was here and he loved me unconditionally. And somehow I didn't feel so weird anymore. All of the puzzle pieces seemed to finally fit. Just like my mom often mumbled when she thought I wasn't listening, "You're a carbon copy of your father." I just didn't know that she was talking about Calvin at the time.

Like I said though, I studied Dad. The way he kept his skills sharp, the way he kept up with new trends in Rap but didn't copy them. His whole program was about reaching the lost; emphasizing the ministry element of his entertainment, yet respecting the art form of Hip Hop. Which meant that he could adjust his style for church audiences and Mainstream audiences without missing a beat.

Starting out as a roadie for Dad's group, "NuSong", my love for Christian Rap music grew by leaps and bounds. I'd find myself creating rhymes in my head, melodies in my heart. Perhaps that's why Mom used her VISA card to buy me a DJ starter kit when I was twelve. It was my first birthday after the divorce. In fact, I was so intrigued with my turntables and mixer that I hardly noticed that Ron Bell hadn't sent me a card ... He was definitely out of our lives.

By the time I was fourteen, I'd put together my own crew of rappers. They weren't all necessarily Christians, but they were drawn to me from hearing me perform at school talent shows and we just became friends.

Jokingly, someone called us "Callie & The Aberdeenians" and the name just stuck. Next thing I knew, we were on the elevated train rapping for the passengers. But unlike other rappers and singers who passed the cup around, I just wanted to inspire somebody. Instead, we passed out homemade cassettes with the group's name and a mailing address -- a post office box as suggested by my dad. To my surprise, we started getting gigs left and right.

When certain Mainstream acts would come to town, Dad would arrange for me to get on the bill by telling them we'd play for free. That way we were able to reach larger audiences with our message and to me, that was better than money.

"You gotta be where the need is Boo," Dad said.

With that in mind, we didn't worry about making a splash in the Christian community. We stuck with the clubs and other "secular" venues, touching the people that needed to be touched. We ended up on a summer tour with Christian Rap sister act, Milk N' Honey, that targeted 20 cities in 45 days -- spending time in each city, sharing with teenagers my age and older ... Believe me, it was quite an experience, especially since we scored cutes on MNH's current and next album. And the kids were eating us up on the underground circuit. It was the summer of my 15th birthday and I realized that rapping was going to continue to be a major part of my life. Even with the Aberdeenians changing faces, I used the name to raise up new rappers, praying that they would be blessed and want to serve God -- even if it meant breaking off into their own solo ministries.

Though my dad was obviously an inspiration for my chosen profession, folks just didn't really realize how much my mother had nurtured my mind. While her husband had his ideas about what "White" kids and "Black" kids should participate in, if I was interested in an activity or whatever, Mother would make it happen ... We took trips to the Museum of Science & Industry and the art museum ... We'd go and look and she would ask me questions: How does it make you feel? What do you think when you look at that ...? She just wanted me to learn how to express myself. Something I always used as a guide when writing my rhymes.

To Be cont'd

from H.E.R. Project

TruSoulDJ is a self proclaimed expert on all things trivial to the Mainstream. He is an avid classic comic book reader, non popular music lover and tv-show-on-dvd binge watcher who shops the clearance racks near and far to find the best deals. He would like to think he knows everything important within the realm of Pop culture. But in actuality, he only knows about 99.9 percent of what he thinks he knows.

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