Hip Hop. Not many words conjure up the gamut of images and emotions as this art form. Some view it as an inherently evil and unredeemable culture; others see it as the modern-day "Pax Romana" upon which the Gospel can travel. While the debate rages, Emanuel Lee Lambert, Jr. a/k/a Da' T.R.U.T.H. has emerged as an urban missionary to those influenced by Hip Hop culture. This Cross Movement protégé is on a mission "to see the appetites of our generation change and their affections pried away from the things of this world, while growing for the things of God."
Better known to his family and friends as Manny, Da' T.R.U.T.H. was presented the Gospel at the age of five when he received Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. As a teen, he was a talented drummer who listened to contemporary Christian music. A self-described "old soul", he never found rap music appealing though he was attracted to aspects of the culture. "I had no interest in rap music. As a matter of fact, I was disenchanted with the whole idea of rap," says Da' T.R.U.T.H. Providence would have it that one day he and his friend Tyrone (Twyse) began free-styling for fun when he discovered that he actually possessed a talent for rhyming. Da' T.R.U.T.H. co-founded the Christian Hip Hop group NIV and at the age of 19 he acquired the moniker of T.R.U.T.H., launching his ministry as an urban missionary.
The young man who fell in love with the Hip Hop culture is now seeing that love requited. The graduate of Philadelphia Biblical University and The Institute of Jewish Studies has ministered for audiences of over 100,000+ at events such as Creation Fest. Even before the 2004 release of his first album, he enjoyed a record-breaking eighteen month stint at #1 on MP3.com's Christian Hip Hop chart. That acclaim—coupled with his standout appearances on Out of Eden's Spirit Moves Remix and The Cross Movement's smash single The Light paved the way for him to become the fastest-selling, solo Christian Hip Hop artist with the release of his debut album Moment of Truth.
He was featured on two top 10 singles of the Radio and Records (R&R) Christian Rhythmic Chart, label-mates The Ambassador's Feels Good and Flame's Ladies. He's been mentioned in both Vibe and The Source magazines and profiled in New Man magazine and a myriad of Christian and Gospel media outlets. His television appearances include BET's "Lift Every Voice," INSP's "Steelroots" and "Mixx Master's Lounge," and Word Network's "Bobby Jones Gospel." He is also a featured artist in Holy Hip Hop: The Movie, the urban Christian film produced and edited by Christopher "Play" Martin to be released on Maverick Entertainment Group's Spirit label in 2006.
Inspired by Cassie and Rachel, the two young ladies martyred at the Columbine shooting in 1999, his sophomore effort is entitled The Faith. In it, Da' T.R.U.T.H. sets out to expose what he terms as the "hyper-individualism" pervasive in the American church. "In Scripture, the emphasis is on 'the' faith — not merely 'a' faith. Here, it is all about 'a' personal faith which has been relegated to a means to personal comfort. Whereas, 'the' faith is a common body of beliefs that govern how we think, our influence and how we behave. However, we've become so 'I' centered that it has become common to ignore what God has said to all of us and biblical absolute truth has been obscured." The Faith is his lyrical epistle purposed to bring this back into focus.
Provocative tracks such as The Portrait (Da Vinci Code Snapshots) and Whose Team? will challenge believers and non-believers alike to question the image of the Christ that they have embraced. Da' T.R.U.T.H. believes that modern culture depicts two Christs. One is the Christ of the "culture" and the other is the Christ of the "Kingdom." He expounds on this thought by saying, "The Christ of the culture—heard about in Kanye West's song Jesus Walks doesn't make any demands but walks with you irrespective of your allegiances. The Christ of the Kingdom requires that you walk with Him in accordance with His standards." This is the Christ he talks about in The Faith.
Musically, The Faith sets a new standard in Christ-centered Hip Hop while delivering the lyrical style and substance that has become Da' T.R.U.T.H.'s signature. He puts his stamp on the album by co-producing and even playing keyboards and drums on Go, Turn You Around, 2 is Better and Whose Team? This contribution underscores his belief that "artistry should never be placed on the altar for the sake of the message — instead it should heighten its potency."
"A perfect marriage between the streets and the soul, The Faith is Hip Hop at its finest representing the Lord Jesus Christ! The music, lyrical genius and hypnotic hooks all prove that we can be "in" not "of" this Hip Hop dominated world." — Kirk Franklin
As Hip Hop continues to expand its reach as a cultural giant, Da' T.R.U.T.H. stands in a company of modern day Davids with The Faith in his sling. Will history repeat itself? Look out Goliath, because you can't handle Da' T.R.U.T.H.!