About The Cross Movement
For ten years, the name The Cross Movement has been synonymous with gritty East Coast rap and piercing Bible-based lyrics. During that time they have toured globally and have been covered by media outlets as diverse as Time Magazine, CCM Magazine, The Source, and The Washington Post.
Based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, The Cross Movement is comprised of John "The Tonic" Wells; William "Ambassador" Branch; Brady "Phanatik" Goodwin; and Virgil "T.R.U.–L.I.F.E." Byrd, whose name summarizes one of his deepest convictions—To Rightfully Understand the Lord Is Forever Existing. They are four solo artists who share a common interest in communicating the Gospel message through hip-hop music.
John "The Tonic" Wells says, "The name Holy Culture comes from the book of John, Chapter 17, where Jesus is praying for His disciples before He faces crucifixion. He asks God to sanctify them by the truth, and not to remove them from the world. The Lord didn't call us to be removed from the culture; therefore, The Cross Movement is striving to infiltrate the culture with the message of God's holiness."
The members of The Cross Movement were originally members of other Christian rap groups who ministered up and down the east coast in the early 1990s. Their zeal for spreading the Gospel became their common thread, and in 1994, they formed The Cross Movement and Cross Movement Ministries to serve as an umbrella organization for their groups. In the years to follow, God would knit the rap artists closer together and send them other ministry-minded men who used Hip-Hop as a tool for evangelism. Explains The Tonic, "After many nights of prayer, Bible study, and honing our craft, we knew it was clear that the Lord wanted to bring all of us together. We made a covenant to support one another as we worked together toward our common goals, and that is when we named ourselves 'The Cross Movement'. " Word of the group spread quickly throughout the northeast, and many labels started to take interest. But the group decided to remain focused on their vision, and produced and sold their records independently. That is when they created Cross Movement Records. They released four albums on the label: Heaven's Mentality (1997), House of Representatives (1999), The Ambassador's solo project—Christology: In Laymen's Terms (1999) and Human Emergency (2000). House of Representatives and Human Emergency sold over 150,000 copies combined—a success story for a young label owned and operated by its artist.
Some of the bands releases include Human Emergency (2000), Holy Culture (2003), and HIStory: Our Place in His Story (2007).
Longtime fans will still find tracks featuring the layered orchestral beats that have marked recent Cross Movement projects, but HIStory is truly a piece of modern hip-hop. With production from Official, J.R., T.R.U.-L.I.F.E. and Todd Bangz, new fans will bounce to gritty Southern crunk and slide-step to ultra smooth snap beats.
The title track challenges non-believers about the ill rewards of a godless life. The radio single "Cry No More" is featured on the urban soundtrack for the movie Left Behind II: Tribulation Force (Distributed by Diamante/The Butterfly Group). "Closer To You" expresses an individual's longing to draw closer to God and have a deeper relationship with Him, while the upbeat party mix "Start Something" encourages believers to put their faith into action. "In Not Of" calls for believers to impact society by living a godly lifestyle.
Wells notes that HIStory signifies The Cross Movement passing on a baton that has been passed down through the centuries by that “great cloud of witnesses” cited in Hebrews 11 and 12. Goodwin puts it this way, “The subtitle is what ties it together: Our Place in His Story. If we have a place in history, it only makes sense because God is telling the story.”
HIStory is awesome, with The Cross Movement staying fresh, up-to-date, and creative with their music while staying true to their original “boom, boom, tat” form that graced Heaven’s Mentality and House of Representatives in the late 1990’s.