Being different while being yourself is sometimes the best thing anyone can do, especially in the current times when heroin is use growing and gang activity is on the rise. Rap artists around the country continue to hit a great bass note, but the messages in many of their songs are still similar to the messages that were made popular by the likes of NWA and the Ghetto Boys in the 1980s and early ’90s. However, two rap artists who live in Murfreesboro want to change that with their music.
David Manning and Humble Me perform as a rap duo called Change Musik. Their songs may sometimes mention gang violence, but instead of glorifying criminal activity, they choose to rap about the negative lifestyle that goes along with such enterprise.
“Hip-hop is very big on being real and true,” Manning stated recently. You may hear songs discussing drive-by shootings, drug deals gone bad and mistreating women—and the writers of those songs may have lived just that, a life surrounded by crime or violence. Manning, who grew up living with a family who ran carnivals, traveled from state to state seeing all sorts of lifestyles with negative outcomes. Despite his surroundings, he tried to pick positive things in his life to hold onto and value.
“I began to write music as my life began to change,” Manning said. He became a gospel rapper when he turned to Christianity. “Really, I want people to experience freedom, man. And anything apart from truth will lead you to bondage.”
Humble Me attended Oakland High School in Murfreesboro.
“I scored really high in socialization,” he stated about his experience there. After his short stint at Oakland, he was transferred to Riverdale.
“When I got thrown out of Riverdale, that’s when I got saved,” Humble Me recalled. “When people start graduating and getting out of school, and you started when they went, it starts making you really look at your life.”
His next school was Holloway High School, which would be the third high school that Humble Me attended in Rutherford County. While there, he started to understand the value of good people and education. Of course, at age 19 he was older than most students.
While at Holloway, he spoke to then-principal Ivan Duggin, who told him that the school would once again start a basketball team if he could find at least 14 people to sign onto the team roster, which the student did. After helping to start the team he decided he wanted to play for the NBA. Amazingly, college representatives visited the school and watched Humble Me play, and some colleges even contacted him at home asking if he would play for their school. But he turned the offers down when he felt that God told him to “speak to His people.” It was then that he decided that he would speak to the masses through music.
It was during those later high school years that Humble Me and David Manning teamed up to start a gospel rap duo. Together, the two focused on a solutions to problems presented by other rap artists in their time like Tupac Shakur, Biggie, Jay Z, Eminem and Master P.
“All of those guys were not painting a picture of negativity, some of them were just expressing their environment,” Humble Me said.
Still, Humble Me continues, many of the rappers in his time did not see, or discuss, a solution.
To both Humble Me and Manning, the solution was clear. Their solution was giving their lives to God.
“If I’m really going to make an impact in my community and I’m gonna really reach back then this is the best means to do it by,” Manning said, talking about living a positive lifestyle and rapping about the good that God can do in someone’s life. The duo wholeheartedly believes that music can be used to change lives in Murfreesboro, Nashville and far beyond.
“People look at us like, ‘Man, ya’ll are gospel rap artists?’” Manning said. “God wants to use whatever you got to bring people to him and bring glory to him. . . . God has changed my life.”
In one of their songs, Change Musik raps:
They say if you have faith just the size of a mustard seed
Run into a forest blind probably wouldn’t hit a tree
David beat Goliath with a sling and a stone
Then we’ll sell a million records just singing these songs
In addition to making music, Manning and Humble Me preach to others on their television show called Change TV, currently featured nationwide on CTN, Legacy TV and Walk TV.
To learn more about their music or to contact them, visit changemusik.com; the duo encourages youth pastors to contact them through their website to schedule appearances at youth groups in the Middle Tennessee area.