Christian Rapper Thi'sl Births Music Ministry From the Womb of an American Inner City

"When I walked into his office to meet him, I didn't even say a word to him, dude looks up at me and he says 'I don't know who you are, I don't know what your case is, I don't know if you have money, I don't even care. When you walked in here something told me don't let you leave here without helping you,'" said Thi'sl about his shock meeting with the lawyer.

"I'm sitting there blown away because now I'm knowing God is working in this situation," he said.

The lawyer advised him to wait a few days and he would take him in to the police. He told him if he went in by himself he would be locked up.

Worried that his grandmother's house might be searched repeatedly by police looking for him, however, Thi'sl chose to turn himself in, thinking if he just told them he was innocent, they would let him walk.

Police locked him up instead and told him that if they didn't issue a warrant within 24 hours they would have to let him go. The warrant was eventually issued, however, and Thi'sl was slapped with six felony charges which included one for the murder.

After four days in jail and a court appearance, his situation didn't seem as if it was about to improve. That's when Thi'sl began talking to God in jail.

God speaks

"I was like, 'man God, you finally got me but for something I didn't do.' I was like 'I deserve to be here. I have done enough stuff in my life where I knew like if I was here the rest of my life, it was justified,'" said Thi'sl.

Pacing back and forth in a holding dorm, Thi'sl said he heard the Lord say to him, "You pray and I'll come get you out."

After a brief struggle with the experience, he said he fell to his knees and prayed. He promised God that if He got him out of the situation he would do His will.

He said he went to sleep after that but about 15 to 20 minutes later, he heard a knock on the door of the holding dorm and he was told he was free to go.

"I couldn't believe it. It was like I was dreaming," he said. Even his lawyer was surprised.

Thi'sl completely gave his life to God and left everything including his rapping ambitions behind him after months of struggle following that incident.

"Me and my friend were thousands of dollars into doing a record. I went to him and I told him I don't care about none of this stuff no more. I just want to follow the Lord. I just said 'I don't care what I do. I'm going to church,'" he said.

A brand new message

But instead of allowing him to give up his talent for rapping, the Lord restructured Thi'sl's life and outlook and gave him a brand new message for the inner city.

"I remember when I became a Christian, one of the easiest things for me to do was stop selling drugs," he said. "I came outside one day sober, I didn't get high at all, and I looked around and I saw how messed up the community was and I felt the Lord speak to me and say 'you are supposed to help with this but you are actually part of the problem,'" explained Thi'sl.

"From that day, I was convicted and I didn't want to sell drugs no more," he said.

So now, every time Thi'sl creates music, he pours wisdom from the crucible of his life to uplift communities like the one he grew up in.

"When I make music, I make music with the thought in mind, 'Lord, let this be the song that at 2 o'clock in the morning when nobody is there and they cut it on and they play it this is the song that they gon' hear and say 'man I'm gonna give my life to the Lord' or this is the song right before the dude is about to go kill somebody and he listens to it and says 'hey I shouldn't do that,'" he said.

And Thi'sl's efforts have not gone unnoticed. This year, he was the recipient for a Grammy award for engineering work he did on Lecrae's Gravity record.

In the meantime, he laments that few Christian ministries seem to be geared at uplifting people from the inner cities.

"I do ministry the way I do because I see the need. I've lived amongst them. I know there is more to surface hurt. I know the stuff that goes on behind the scenes and I know that for me or the church or anybody to have an impact on the inner-city culture, we're gonna have to give them something that can go behind the walls," he said.

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