West Palm Christian rap artist nominated for local award
by Post Staff
Christian Hip Hop Artist Nominate for Award
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Christian rapper aims to inspire others through his music
Through hip hop beats and catchy lyrics, Stuart rapper Jeff Williams, 33, preaches the word of God.
But at the start of his music career, a 13-year-old Williams was skipping school and going to bars and night clubs with his father's local rock band, Baracuda, to rap about glorifying drugs, sex and riches.
"My brother, who is my mentor in all things, saved me and led me to the Lord," said Williams, who goes by JDUB. "Going to church was like a slap in the face and a dunk in cold water. I realized the music I was making was the opposite of what it should it be."
Williams continues making music about the same topics. This time, though, his perspective is different.
"I still talk about smoking weed and wanting money," he said. "My audience is the people who are listening to Lil Wayne or Kanye (West). But, I'm telling listeners the truth about where weed and sex and wanting money will really lead them — nowhere good."
Amy Yeager, 19, first heard JDUB at a concert at her local church, First Baptist Church of Lake Park.
At the time, she was getting into trouble at school and dealing with an abusive boyfriend.
"One of his songs, called 'The Key,' made me want to change my life," Yeager said. "JDUB made me accept Christ. He, his music, saved me."
Yeager, who now goes to church every Sunday and Wednesday, was baptized last month.
Williams spends several days a month performing at churches from Fort Pierce to Miami, as well as occasionally opening up for such Christian artists as Grammy-nominated rock band Fireflight.
The independent artist has completed four CDs, of which 4,000 copies have sold. In the works is his fifth album, titled "5."
This year, Williams, who writes all his lyrics, released the single, "He Changed Me." The song was picked up by six stations across the nation, he said.
"Would I love to get signed by a big label? Absolutely," Williams said. "I want to be able to do my music full time, but right now I'm doing the things that are most important to me."
Williams is a husband and father of two girls, Jalynn, 7, and Eden, 10, both students at Crystal Lake Elementary in Stuart.
When he's not rapping, he's working at Palm Beach Atlantic University as a records coordinator and as a part-time children's pastor at Stuart's Covenant Fellowship Baptist Church.
Williams said he maintains his spiritual health mentally by listening to Christian songs.
"Sure, if there's something new I want to give a quick listen to, I will," he said. "But, it's that mainstream rap that encouraged me as an adolescent to do what I was doing. Because of it, I thought missing 46 days of school in sixth grade was cool. Music is a state of mind, and that's why my music is the same beat as what's popular, but it sends a message of love, respect and faith."