To be born and raised in the inner city streets, immersed in a dominant hip hop culture, and heavily influenced by the ills of our society, the chances are considered bleak for one to become a successful byproduct of their grimy community. The childhood stories of many young men begin as such and rarely progress towards a sold out lifestyle for Christ. For FLAME, he was headed in the wrong direction until a near fatal car accident and the passing of his grandmother would serve as a rude awakening that took root in shaping his future. His grandmother was the strongest and most influential Christian example in his life. Immediately after her death and the tragic incident, FLAME emerged and accepted Christ at the age of 16.
While in a Christian bookstore, FLAME took notice to the music selections. Having been apart of the hip hop culture, FLAME was intrigued to learn that Gospel Rap existed. Purchasing a CD by the industry’s leading Christian Rap group The Cross Movement, FLAME was impressed by the artistic quality of their music and content and found their lyrics saturated in Scripture being both encouraging and challenging in his faith.
During his personal time, FLAME initially wrote raps as devotionals to the Lord. As FLAME continued to support The Cross Movement’s ministry, FLAME’s heart to share the Gospel through his tools and teachings grew more intense as he made his way to a Cross Movement concert in Chicago. Much to his surprise, he was able to meet the group and begin a partnership in ministry that was fostered over a couple of years. Converting his devotionals to songs, The Cross Movement, now as a full fledged record label, took an interest in supporting FLAME’s passion to share the strong messages of the Gospel through rap music. In 2002, FLAME was invited on the ‘Platinum Souls Tour’ with The Cross Movement and shortly after the tour ended, FLAME was presented an offer to join Cross Movement Records.
Since the debut of his self-titled album in 2004, FLAME has released three albums, garnered nominations from the Dove, Stellar, and GRAMMY Awards and was honored by the Holy Hip Hop Association for his invaluable service, sacrifice, labor and contributions to the music industry. He was featured in Gospel Today, CCM, and Saved Magazine, appeared on INSP’s “Mixx Master’s Lounge,” TV One’s “Gospel of Music with Jeff Majors,” and a host of other national media outlets.
As the youngest member on the Cross Movement Records artist roster, FLAME is currently studying Biblical Counseling at Boyce College in Louisville, Ky. His most recent albums served as a two-part series stemmed from a conversation while spreading the Gospel in his hometown.
“I was in my neighborhood sharing the Gospel. As I was talking to a 15-year-old, I could tell everything that I was saying was going over his head,” says FLAME. “I asked him if he’d heard about Adam and Eve, and he said ‘no.’ That is what inspired the projects.”
Our World Fallen began by capturing the story of FLAME befriending a non-believer and pointing him to the cross of Christ, while examining the fallen condition of the world. Our World Redeemed digs deeper into the plot when the untimely passing of the fictional character’s relative becomes the inspiration to continue sharing the Gospel; reinforcing the dire need to accept Jesus Christ.
Our World Fallen peaked to the No. 7 position on the Billboard Top Gospel Chart and with the support of the hit single and music video “Joyful Noise,” Our World Redeemed debuted in the No. 5 position on the Billboard Top Gospel Chart, No. 1 slot on Soundscan’s CMTA R&B/Hip-Hop Chart, and No. 7 position on iTunes’ mainstream Rap Chart.
FLAME was born Marcus Gray and raised in the inner city streets of St. Louis, Mo. Now a leader in reforming the culture that he too was engulfed in, the foundation of FLAME’s ministry is to reach those same streets with his soapbox messages to lead his listeners to Christ. As his platform continues to garner the support of many others on the way, FLAME now reigns amongst the forefront runners in the Christian Rap industry known to challenge and encourage its audience with an unwavering clear presentation of the Gospel.