Meet TitoHailing from Chicago, "The Raplee" has loved rap and hip-hop for as long as he can remember.
This college junior’s last name couldn’t be more perfect—“The Raplee” has loved rap and hip-hop for as long as he can remember.
Tito (19) was the first of his family born in the United States. His family tree stems from Panama, where his grandparents were appointed as Salvation Army officers (pastors). It wasn’t until age 12 when Tito began to develop a relationship with Jesus with the help of an unlikely ally: rap music.
“Growing up, I loved rap music,” says Tito, “but at a point, I let the secular things they talk about—drugs, money, women and sex—influence who I was and my behaviors.” But then, 12-year-old Tito heard a rap song at a prayer and praise night and devoted his life to worshipping Jesus through Christian hip-hop with his like-minded friends.
This transition into the world of Christian hip-hop prompted his dream of becoming a Christian rapper. This past summer, Tito traveled to corps (churches) and taught hip-hop and music production. He even specializes in the “spoken word”—speaking the Word of God in a way that will get you hooked! Tito describes spoken word as “a form of poetry that is performance-based. I like to think of it as rap and traditional poetry put together.”
Hip-hop has even influenced Tito’s favorite Bible verse. “The 116 Clique” is a group of Christian rappers based on Romans 1:16. “The verse stays in my heart because rap music is seen as very secular and worldly, but as Christians, I know that I am called to live a life that shows I am unashamed of the Gospel and it should be seen in the songs I create and words that I rap.”
Tito continues to use his gifts for God and encourages us to do the same: “I believe everyone has their own gift, whether it’s onstage or in the background where no one would see.”
Wherever God has placed you, will you choose to use what He’s given you to shine for Him?