Preacher, preacher, fifth-grade teacher
You can't reach me, my mom can't neither
You can't teach me a godd— thing cause
I watch TV, and Comcast cable
And you ain't able to stop these thoughts



Things on my mind, where do I begin?
It's easier to sin, but it hurts my heart
I'm really tryin' to win, so where do we start?



On Thursday nights in Tampa, Florida, 200 teenagers descend upon Club X, a loud and lively hangout occupying the second floor of what used to be a four-story office building. The billiards and foosball tables, exposed overhead pipes, and spacious common area make it an attractive spot for kids to mingle, play, and dance. Live rap music blares through large speakers onstage, sending funky, pulsating rhythms through the room. On this night, the music sounds as raw and edgy as anything from Snoop Dogg or Puff Daddy. The teams of young rappers come with a variety of monikers: Prophetic Preachas, N-4-Red, The Elect, Rezarekted Elementz, B.J., Eternal Rhythm. Listen closely to their riffs:

I called my family my people who
live with me,
Snuck out of the house, went to
parties, and got high with me
Thought anytime I was in trouble
they would lie for me
But I already had a Friend who had
died for me.

These kids aren't rhyming about money, misogyny, and mayhem but the perils of a life without Christ. And Club X is not a nightclub but a youth outreach sponsored by Without Walls International Church, a 10,000-member congregation that has made headlines in Tampa for its innovative ministries. The performers at the mike tonight are teenagers who came to Christ through the ministry of Without Walls and are now praising God in the language they speak best. "Most ...

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In the Magazine

January 8, 2001

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