With the creation of the first ever Christian Hip Hop Achievements awards this December, it’s amazing to see how far the genre has come. From being a relatively niche market, shunned by both the largely secular Hip Hop scene and the wider Gospel music industry, the genre is now beginning to garner some of the recognition it deserves.

The ceremony, held on December 17th, recognises the achievements of artists like Wordzmyth, Butterphly and Davis Mugadza. Regardless of who walks away with which award, overall what this marks is an incredible achievement for everyone working and creating gospel rap.

 So to what does the Holy Hip Hop genre owe this growing acceptance and visibility as a legitimate contributor to both the gospel and the hip hop scene? Well, for a start, the influence of the internet cannot be overestimated. Before the internet, as recently as 20 years ago, artists had to rely on representation through relevant music magazines. Whilst Gospel music publications did not wish to be associated with the rap scene, viewing the method of expression as fundamentally un-Christian, rap magazines were largely distrustful of the gospel message. This meant that many a hip hop artist could ruin his career simply by being open about his faith and rapping about its message in his lyrics.

However, nowadays rappers can release their own work using their own online platforms, creating an ever growing market and audience. What’s more, the internet makes it possible for people to connect over long distances – meaning that gospel rappers, journalists and experts on the genre now have the resources to contact each other and collaborate easily, creating their own publications focussed on Gospel Hip Hop – Rapzilla being just one example.

In fact, the invention of the internet has made it possible for a huge number of industries to collaborate in a similar way. For example, the online gambling industry is able to host awards for online bingo sites several times a year – for companies which would not have existed were it not for the internet. These ceremonies are a great opportunity to showcase the very best sites with the most profit worthy deals and bonuses in a market which is ever expanding, meaning that if you are looking to play on a new casino or bingo site, you can easily find out what the very best option is.

Whilst it will be exciting to see who comes out top in this iconic inaugural awards ceremony, personally I am even more excited about what the existence of such a ceremony says about the Gospel Hip Hop industry and its future.