Top Five Rappers Turned Preachers

Much has been made about Bun B's Religion and Hip-Hop Culture class at Rice University. But he's not the first artist to herd a flock of hip-hop disciples. A few others have taken the gospel to the streets. The roster includes two Bad Boys gone good, a hip-hop pioneer, a '90s megastar, and a retired skull-crusher.

5. MC Hammer: After many years in the rap game, MC Hammer turned to God in what must have been an effort to atone for his sins against baggy pants. Hammer formed a gospel rap group and later starred on the religious TBN show M.C. Hammer and Friends. In hindsight, his spiritual calling was obvious from the jump.

Despite the pop ubiquity of "U Can't Touch This," it was the motivational anthem "Pray" that eventually became Hammer's biggest hit. Sporting a famous Prince sample, "Pray" soared to No. 2 on the BIllboard Hot 100 and earned a Gold certification in 1990. With a priestly handle like Stanley Burrell, preaching was an inevitable fate anyway.

4. Loon: We have no scientific proof of this, but it appears that rappers who run with Diddy always end up in jail or at the Lord's feet. This tragedy compounds directly in proportion to the syllables in your stage name. Need proof? Look no further than the Bad Boy alums Shyne, Mase, and Loon.

Disenchanted with the vain company of his erstwhile ally, Loon ditched hip-hop and became an Islamic ambassador. Following his conversion to Islam, Loon changed his name from Chauncey Hawkins to Amir Junaid Muhadith. He now travels around the world advising teenagers on choosing a purpose-filled life, while rocking a beard luxuriant enough to curl Rick Ross' legs.

3. Mase: After riding the wave of one of the most successful labels in the '90s, Mase left Bad Boy and decided to take his talents to the pulpit. His journey to the altar hasn't been without obstacles. Pastor Betha has been adored by some of his followers and execrated by others as corrupt. Nevertheless, his ministry powers on. Mase attempted to marry the church to the streets by briefly joining G-Unit in 2005. He later repudiated the move as a mistake.


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