Over the years, several rap stars have transitioned away from racy lyrics and into serious religious life, using their personal revelations to refresh both their souls and their careers. Here are some of the most talked-about cases of divine interventions in rap.
Once part of Diddy’s Bad Boy entourage, Loon left the game in the mid-2000s. Later, he converted to Islam and changed his name to “Amir Junaid Muhadith.” Loon appeared on Al Jazeera in 2009 and talked about his newfound identity. “Bad boy days are over,” he said. “Now, I’m what you call a good boy.”
Another former Bad Boy member, Shyne parted ways with (and/or ditched, you decide) the label after a controversial gun charge, jail sentence, and deportation. By 2010, Shyne was living as a Hasidic Jew under the name Moses Michael Levi.
Mase, another one of Diddy’s underwing associates, started a 5-year hiatus from rap in 1999. He explained to Hot 97 DJ Funkmaster Flex that he wanted to respond to a “calling from God.” Although he continues to lead a ministry, Mase has kept close with the Bad Boy family and continued to release rap tracks.
In January, the rapper Instagrammed the above throwback photo with this caption: “Fake is an option I do not chose to exercise.”
4. Rev. Run Simmons
Being a front vocalist for a pioneer rap crew wasn’t enough to realize his life’s purpose, so Joseph “Rev. Run” Simmons became an ordained minister. His practices were highly publicized through his successful MTV reality show Run’s House.
5. No Malice
6. Kurtis Blow
After becoming an ordained minister in 2009, Kurtis Blow married his two passions and created The Hip-Hop Church, where he serves as a worship leader, minister, rapper and DJ.
7. Gangsta Boo
The onetime Three 6 Mafia member turned to God and denounced her “Gangsta” title after splitting from the group. Though she now releases songs as Gangsta Boo, she temporarily changed her name to Lady Boo in the early 2000s.
“I’m glad I changed,” she said in2001. “I’m glad I saw and realized what was going wrong with my life and corrected it. A lot of people can’t correct their errors or their issues because they’re scared of what people are going to say. But I’m not, though, because I’ve got to wake up to myself. I don’t wake up to the world. The world don’t go to sleep with me.”
8. Doug E. Fresh
The legendary MC found Judaism, ditched Judaism, then found Scientology, where he sometimes performs in the church.
9. Salt of Salt-N-Pepa
Cheryl James, aka Salt of Salt-N-Pepa, turned to religion after the group’s fame began to fade. People speculated that the group ultimately fell apart because James refused to perform some of their racier hits.
The St. Louis rapper, who was once Ludacris’ protege, recently proclaimed himself a Black Israelite in a YouTube video. In the video he says that, as a “representative of all black people around the world, as a representation of Judah,” he’s trying to send a more “positive message” through his music.