Viktory: Atlanta’s rap-minister and businessman with a turntable hit

Viktory

Regular Cross Rhythms Radio listeners will know the track “Hold MeDown” by Viktory.It’s another example of the spiritually uplifting music emanating fromAmerica’s gospel hip-hop underground. what listeners may not knowthough is that the memorable vocal hook on “Hold me Down” comes fromMarvin Winans Jr, the son of the gospel music patriarch. but thoughCross Rhythms knows a fair bit about mr Winans, info on Atlanta-basedViktory wasn’t easyto come by so we recently quizzed the emcee about his music andministry. we began by asking the 2012 Stellar Award Nominated rapperto tell us how he made the connection with Marvin Winans Jr.

“I met Marvin Winans Jr in Cincinnati, Ohio at an event. He and I justimmediately knew that we would be life long friends. we exchangednumbers that day, and from then till now, he’s been my brother. Weended up flying him in to Hunstville, Alabama and working with him atStargate Studios. it was great. Marvin is a real person, and we had aball. He’s very creative and easy to work with, so we just had fun,laughed hard, and made a great song for the time. ‘Hold me Down’ is asong about brotherhood in Christ. I had been in a community wherethere were lots of brothers helping, edifying and encouraging eachother in the faith, and I realised how critical that is to a healthyChristian walk. I wanted to crystalize that idea in a song.”

As well as being a rapper, Viktory is a businessman and an ordainedminister. He spoke about his upbringing. “I was born and raised inChicago. I moved around quite a bit as child. I lived a good portionof my childhood in inner-city Chicago, as well as California and thesuburbs, so I have a good mix. we didn’t have a lot, but there werefamilies that were much worse off than us. my household wasn’tChristian at all. but we did have values and integrity. I became aChristian as a freshman in college in 2000. The Lord found me there.He used my surroundings to lead me into a curiosity about him and therest is history.”

Viktory’s father wasa rap artist and it was through him that Viktory developed a taste for rap music andbegan writing raps. He met a young lady at high school in Lombard,Illinois, eventually marrying her. also at college he started a weband marketing company with business partner Lavon Lewis, VMG DigitalLLC and Pencilworx Design Group. said Viktory, “We started VMG in 2002 when wereleased ‘The first of Many’ album. I never had ‘record label’ as partof the plan. Now, however, I see God leading me to work with otherartists and share what I’ve learned. Looking back on ‘The first OfMany’ what sticks in my mind was the PASSION I felt. I was so zealousand determined to complete that album. It’s a special time in my life.I was learning God in this way for the first time and everything wasnew. I really enjoyed making that album.”

In 2010 VMG released Viktory’s ‘Believe it Now’ album whichfeatured the “Hold me Down” track. The following year the ‘Son of TheKing’ album was released to wide-ranging acclaim. said the rapper,”‘Son of The King’ is my biggest album to date and has a special placewith me. I had some very special collaboration on that album as well.I got a chance to work with Lisa Kimmey of out of Eden, I am a hugefan of her and the group. I got to work with Marvin again of course,and Canton Jones. I really worked hard to make that album significant,and for me, I think God did that.”

It’s not all been plain sailing for the business/rap-minister. Themurder of a best friend struck him particularly hard. He commented,”It was a reminder of how short life is and can be. It’s made meappreciate people a little more and be more appreciative of the time Ihave with people.” He and his wife also lost their third child whenshe miscarried. said the rapper, “That was very hard, especially formy wife. but these experiences have made me understand God’ssovereignty in a greater way.”

Today VMG Digital LLC and Pencilworx Design Group are thriving. Heholds seminars for major business organisations. He said, “Whentalking about urban Christian culture, my aim is to help develop theinfrastructure and assist in establishing a standard of excellence inthe genre both spiritually and professionally. I love Christianhip-hop and I love God’s people, I just want to see good thingshappen.”

Viktory thinksChristian hip-hop has a dual role – entertainment and ministry. Intypically outspoken words he observed, “People aren’t willing to sayit, but gospel music is largely entertainment. Let’s accept that,because it’s not a sin. I think making good, entertaining music aboutthe Lord is fine as long as it doesn’t cause you to sacrifice God’smessage to maximize the entertainment value. our primary role is toprovide a God centered form of hip-hop music that allows young people,first, and everyone to enjoy the art form while being edified.” 

Viktory: Atlanta’s rap-minister and businessman with a turntable hit


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