RAP is set to clean up its act for a saintly gig at Sunderland Minster.
Usually associated with gangs, graffiti and low-slung jeans, Christian hip-hop artists will shed a new light on the genre when they perform at the iconic church.
Wearside Youth for Christ (WYFC) have arranged the concert following the success of an event held for the Olympics at Seaburn beach in August, which featured Mobo rapper Guvna B.
Volunteer Mark Jones, 18, of Hetton, has organised it with sports and developments worker Ben Wright, 31, of Hill View. The pair are hoping the gig, which Guvna B will also play at, will be just as much of a success.
“It’s only the second event like this that we have done,” said Ben.
“Guvna B is quite well known down south, and we are hoping he will bring quite a few people in.
“We are a Christian group but we don’t want to bash people around the head with it.”
The mission statement of WYFC – which is a charity – is to take “the good news relevantly to the young people of Wearside”.
Ben said: “We work within the community and just try to tell people our message through what we do in schools and things. For this gig we have used Christian artists, but also local artists because we want to give them a platform to get noticed.”
Newcastle-based hip-hop artist Jonny Mattimore will perform at the Minster on June 8, and other acts include the Monday Night Dance Crew.
Guvna B, who last year supported rapper Tinie Tempah on his UK tour, and counts Sunderland-born Emeli Sande and Wiley as friends, said he is looking forward to returning to Wearside after playing in the city last year.
“I got a really good reception last year,” he said. “People were supportive and the crowd were great, so this will be really cool. My aim is firstly to make quality music, then for it to have a positive message.”
Guvna B, from London, won his Mobo award when making music was just a hobby. The 23-year-old studied business management at university and now manages himself.
“I’ve been rapping for about five years,” he said. “My first album did well, and my second album Odd 1 Out is out on May 26.
“I’ll be playing tracks from it at the gig in Sunderland – it should be really cool.”
Tickets cost £5 if bought before Friday, and £6 after.