Before artists like J. Cole, Kendrick Lamar and Jessie J were selling out shows worldwide, they were musicians clamoring for their big break. Through BET's Music Matters campaign, they received a boost that undoubtedly contributed to their present-day success. Sunday, another group of Music Matters hopefuls will look for a chance at fame onstage at the BET Experience, the network's pre-awards show weekend of events.
Launched in 2010, Music Matters is the network's initiative to highlight emerging artists. The campaign has helped BET support the next big things in urban music by giving artists exposure on a number of platforms. Music Matters artists have appeared on the network's award shows as well as its now-defunct video countdown show, "106 & Park," and often go out on the road with specially curated tours and showcases.
A stage that once hosted R&B songstresses K. Michelle and Estelle will feature inspirational rappers Dee-1 and Andy Mineo, the hip-hop duo Audio Push and singer Tarralyn Ramsey. Closing the hourlong show is Grammy-winning rapper Lecrae, who is among one of the campaign's success stories.
Below, we put together some information on Sunday's Music Matters performers. See them at the BETX Stage at 1 p.m. as part of the free Fan Fest.
Originally from New Orleans, Dee-1 is one of many broadening the definition of what rap and hip-hop can be by laying Christian rhymes over bass-laden tracks. His unique message landed him touring gigs with Macklemore, Atlanta rappers Killer Mike and Young Dro and Southern California-based rap group Pac Div. Ten years in the game, the former math teacher has released 11 mixtapes, but he still remains under the mainstream radar. His latest single, "Against Us," was released late last year.
After signing a record deal and producing a gospel album at the ripe age of 13, Florida native Tarralyn Ramsey made a genre shift, eventually winning VH1's singing competition "Born to Diva" in 2004. She also had a short stint on Season 1 of "The Voice" (she lost in the battle rounds to "American Idol" alum Frenchie Davis) and Season 2 of "X Factor." Ramsey will perform a number of songs, including her forthcoming single, "Champion."
A native of New York, Andy Mineo is a Christian rapper formerly known to some as C-Lite. Though many of his credits are for producing, he came out with his first album, "Heroes for Sale," in 2013. His music blends a number of genres with hip-hop, including hymns, reggaeton and dubstep. Signed to Lecrae's Reach Records, Mineo is also part of the hip-hop collective 116 Clique.
The Inland Empire pair Audio Push is known for the West Coast hip-hop dance called "jerkin'," chronicled in their first single, 2009's "Teach Me How to Jerk." The group consists of Oktane and Price and produces both hip-hop and R&B tracks. Their mixtape "The Good Vibe Tribe," which came out in April, can be heard on Soundcloud.
Perhaps the leading Christian hip-hop artist, Lecrae, a Houston native, has won two Grammys (2012's best gospel album and 2014's best contemporary Christian song for "Messengers," featuring For Kings and Country). Last year, he made history with the release of his seventh album, "Anomaly," which became the first to top the Billboard 200 and Gospel Albums charts in the same week.
Check out their website for more information on the BET Experience. The BET Awards broadcasts from the Microsoft Theater at 8 p.m. Sunday Pacific time.
Follow the reporter on Twitter: @TrevellAnderson.Copyright © 2018, CT Now