As usual, God never disappoints and blessed us with getting to hear the hearts of two amazing musicians! We often times have worship leaders on the show and we love it, but recently we got to interview Hazakim, a Messianic Hip Hop group, and guys...they are LEGIT. This is one show you do not need to miss out on.
Mike and Tony grew up at Beth Messiah in Colombus, Ohio where they were trained up in the ways of the Lord. They didn't necessarily have plans to be this new Messainic group at first, but it rather organically evolved into that. In the late 90s, Hip Hop wasn't just about being in the club like it is mostly now, it was very political on the Northeast Coast, where Mike and Tony were performing. There was a lot of Islam and/or Nation of Islam influencing these groups and they found themselves regularly having to defend their faith. So they decided to defend it with their music, and the rest is history. As men who were raised to be "bold in the faith" and to "stand up for Yeshua," their music wasn't ambiguous and it didn't SUGGEST a Messianic message. They are not afraid to say what they are really talking about, after all, the world certainly isn't afraid to tell us what it's about. They offend the darkness with their piercing scriptural message and God is blessing their music. They even hit the Top Ten on the Billboard Gospel Charts a couple months ago!
One of the many things that encourages me so much about these guys, is that they are not about trying to give the believing community a mockery or a copy of what the world is doing. What we DON'T need is people mimicking the world solely because they think it's "relevant" or "trendy". What we DO need is genuine hearts and authentic, true-to-you talent that will unabashedly proclaim the message of Yeshua to today's generation. Mike and Tony have legitimate talent and, thank God, they are using it for the Kingdom. They are being true to themselves and true to Messiah and in return, hearts are being changed, encouraged, and challenged. I'm a substitute teacher and Toby is a high school History teacher so believe us when we tell you that teens today are hungry and looking for something real and they will go to the first thing that seems to offer it to them. The lyrics of today's Hip Hop songs are taking ground for the kingdom of darkness, so, we need to be supporting artists like Hazakim who are in the business taking ground for the kingdom of God.
Mike and Tony have an amazing ministry and God is bringing fruit from it. The Jewish world is latching onto what Hazakim is doing, which is huge. The last thing we spoke about in the interview was the lack of support that they, and other young artists in the movement, get. The Messianic movement has been the fertile ground for many up and coming musicians, so we don't need to let them wither and fade away just because it's not someone we have been familiar with for the last 25 years. In their words, "we're not going to stop what we're doing," meaning God has given them a gift and they're going to go for it, but it's much easier with support. This isn't a "make out your checks to--" kind of thing, this is a "wake up Messianic movement and support what God is doing in the next generation" kind of thing. It's easy to put stock in the musicians that have been around since the 70's and 80's in the movement, but this is a new day with new people that God has raised up. Just as the musicians who came before us needed support when they weren't as high in demand, the artists and worship leaders of TODAY need it. Honestly, this conversation goes WAY beyond musicians...support of the next generation in every area needs work. As Tony said "take a leap of faith" and support those who are gifted and glorifying God with it. It is NEVER in vain to support someone that God has equipped with a gift. Support doesn't just mean money, it means prayer, letting other people know about them, and just help in whatever way is needed . That's what we are trying to do...to let all of you know what the blessings and needs are of this musical community that is budding and growing in the Messianic Movement. Things are happening, big things, and they almost always start on a grassroots level. So from Hazakim and from us, get behind those who are going forth boldly with their gifts and callings...it's a big world we have to reach and the more the merrier.
If you would like to keep up with Hazakim, you can find them at hazakim.com and also here. You can also follow them on Twitter and Instagram (@hazakim) and make sure to like them on Facebook! Also, if you are in the L.A. area, make sure you go to the Hip Hop Hanukkah event on December 18th with Rabbi Jason Sobel where Hazakim and other great hip hop artists will be performing to celebrate the holiday (info in the pic above)!
Blessings to you guys,
T + B