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My Testimony of Redemption

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Album Review

Hearing the term "Christian rapper" and the name Bushwick Bill in the same sentence will come as a major surprise to those who are familiar with the gory details of his history as both a solo artist and a member of the infamous Geto Boys. The Houston rapper (by way of Brooklyn and Jamaica) isn't exactly known for being the Fred Rogers of hip-hop. But in fact, the late 2000s found Bushwick describing himself as a "born-again Christian" on his MySpace page, and My Testimony of Redemption is a consistently Christian-themed album. Lyrically, this CD is a major departure from the shock-oriented gangsta rap that he is best known for. There isn't a trace of gangsta rap to be found on My Testimony of Redemption; there are no references to bitches and hoes, no sexually explicit lyrics, and no rhymes that go out of their way to be as cartoonishly violent as possible. Naturally, some listeners will have a hard time accepting the idea of Bushwick Bill being a Christian rapper, but the material's saving grace (so to speak) is the fact that he isn't pointing the finger at listeners and saying, "Repent now or else, sinners." Bushwick doesn't come across as a hip-hop equivalent of Jimmy Swaggart; instead, a very introspective tone defines My Testimony of Redemption — sort of like the late 2Pac Shakur at the end, although less compelling. Bushwick is taking a look in the mirror and rapping about his own demons. How sincere (or insincere) is he when it comes to Christianity? Listeners can draw their own conclusions. My Testimony of Redemption is an intriguing effort, if a slightly uneven one — and even though many longtime fans will no doubt have a hard time accepting Bushwick as anything other than a rude, crude, in-your-face gangsta rapper, others will probably acquire this album out of sheer curiosity.


Born: 08 December 1966 in Jamaica

Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

A onetime member of Houston's Geto Boys, Bushwick Bill (born Richard Shaw) created a stir with his 1992 release Little Big Man. It was an unvarnished, sometimes frightening release, with details about the shooting incident that cost him an eye, along with the customary sexism, violent imagery, and outlandish inner-city narratives that were the group's stock-in-trade. He issued two more albums during the latter part of the decade: Phantom of the Rapra in 1995 and No Surrender...No Retreat...
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My Testimony of Redemption, Bushwick Bill
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