Local rappers are now new ‘soldiers for Christ’

By Helena Rodriguez

The beat is still the same, but the message they deliver has changed.
Since having a change of heart, saying goodbye to a thug-like mentality and leaving behind a music group called Ride n’ Smoke, three local rappers now call themselves Divine Destiny. And they say they are no longer “soldiers of the street.” They are “soldiers for Christ.”
Micah Short, Eddie “God’s Child” Moreno and Taro (Kar2N, pronounced “Cartoon”) Brown are the voices behind the newly formed religious rap trio that will release a five-song demo CD within the next few weeks.
The group has been together about two months, but say they are already getting the support from the community and their families that they didn’t get before.
“I always wanted to do something positive for my mom and my family,” said Brown, who is from Taos. “When I got arrested and went to jail before we started the group, I wrote a poem for God, asking him for help. I then dedicated that song, ‘When You’re Lost,’ to God and Satan at the same time, to everybody who loves and hates me.”
Although Brown was raised Catholic and attended parochial school, he said he felt cut off when Short was the first to decide to switch his tune and record a religious CD.
“I was actually mad at him (Micah) for a week,” Brown said. “I said, ‘You can’t just change like that,’ but then we talked and I decided I wanted to set a positive example for my little brother, too. I saw him all into my rap music and hanging out with people I used to.”
As for Short, he said he believes he and Brown were destined to form Divine Destiny. They were both at critical points in their lives. Although the group Ride n’ Smoke was performing at area concerts and gaining recognition, Short knew he couldn’t do that kind of music for long, and coupled with internal conflicts in the group, he wanted a fresh start.
“I felt like with the kind of music we were doing, we were putting evil spirits out there and kids were hearing our lyrics and memorizing them. It never felt right,” Short said.
“In secular hip-hop music, it all has to do with money, drugs, sex and violence. Nowadays, it’s not cool to be positive, but that’s how all of our music is going to be now,” he said.
Short said he has no second thoughts about the group’s new Divine Destiny Ministry. With the previous rap group, he said he went through depression, was having anxiety attacks and a reoccurring dream they were in a bad car accident.
As for Brown, bad things were also happening in his hometown of Taos, where two of his friends were killed.
These days, the rappers are feeling better about the messages they are sending and how they affect people.
“I feel the Holy Spirit when I give my testimony,” Short said. “A lot of people these days are embarrassed to do something positive, but I feel like we can identify with the kids.”
Divine Destiny first performed at St. Helen Catholic Church’s fiesta last month and was asked back to talk to youth.
“We have a reggae sound, but we pitch straight from the heart,” Short said.
The demo will include “Ain’t it a Trip,” a song about trials and tribulations in life, one called “Them Boys,” about how the men’s past still haunts them and a solo by Short called “505.”
Moreno doesn’t have the musical background of Short and Brown, but said he is learning from them as he goes and, more importantly, he, too, has turned his life around for the better.
“I grew up with the thug-like mentality and was badly into cocaine,” Moreno said. “But I got tired of being a soldier of the streets. Now I’m a soldier for Christ.”
The Divine Destiny trio, all of them in their 20s and with full-time jobs, are focusing on their ministry.
“We’ve only been together a few months, but word is getting out. We’re going to open up a lot of ears!” Short said.
Divine Destiny will give away its demo CDs but will accept donations to help it produce a full-length CD.