In the world of music, it is quite common for artists to try different things, whether it be genres, styles, etc. However, what about when an artist decides to give up the fame, fortune, and notoriety for a higher purpose?
Reggaeton hitmaker Daddy Yankee made headlines this past weekend, performing his final concert in his native Puerto Rico. As reported by NBC News, the man who famously rapped on the infectious tracks “Gasolina” and “Despacito” announced to the crowd at the Coliseo de Puerto Rico that he is retiring from music to devote the rest of his life to God.
“My people, this day for me is the most important day of my life,” he said in Spanish. “And I want to share it with you because living a life of success is not the same as living a life with purpose.”
He went on to say that those days of traveling the world, winning awards, and performing as a Reggaeton artist were over. “Someone was able to fill that emptiness,” he went on to say before citing a bible verse in Spanish.
“What good will it be for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?”
He went on to announce that he will now have “a new beginning” living for Jesus Christ, referring to himself by his birth name, Ramón Ayala. He ended his speech by encouraging his fans who followed him to now join him in following Jesus.
“To all the people who followed me, follow Jesus Christ, who is the way, the truth and the life. Just like Jesus, with his mercy, allowed me to travel the world, in your mercy, Father, I hope you allow me to evangelize the world from Puerto Rico. Amen.”
Although Daddy Yankee is the latest secular artist to give his life to Christ, he is far from the first. Here’s a look at other entertainers who decided to give up the rhymes for religion.
From Rhymes To Redemption: Secular Artists Who Turned Their Lives Over To Christ was originally published on hiphopnc.com
1. Al Green
Known as one of soul music’s biggest sex symbols of the 1970s, Al Green shocked everyone by switching his focus to God. Following a series of life-altering events, including the well-publicised suicide of a former girlfriend in 1974, the “Love & Happiness” hitmaker became an ordained minister and (temporarily) recorded only gospel music. He also founded the Full Gospel Tabernacle Church in Memphis, where he still preaches today.
The rapper who once went by “Murda Mase” and was one of the biggest acts on Bad Boy Records announced his retirement in 1999 to pursue a higher calling. He told Funkmaster Flex that he was “leading people, friends, kids and others down a path to hell,” and now it was time to serve God. In 2021, following a return to rap music, he was named pastor of Gathering Oasis Church in Atlanta.
3. Little Richard
One of Rock & Roll’s most flamboyant figures, Little Richard has long tip-toed along the fine line between music & God. He famously announced during the middle of his tour in 1957 that he was going to go into the ministry, preaching for a number of years before returning to secular music in the early 1960s. Towards the end of his life, however, he would once again renounce his Rock & Roll behavior, famously denouncing his former lifestyle in a 2017 interview and being conservatively religious until his death in 2020.
4. Montell Jordan
The Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter climbed to the top of the Billboard Hot 100 with the megahit “This Is How We Do It.” Now, while he still tours the occasional throwback circuit, you can mostly find him preaching alongside his wife, Kristin, as lead pastors of Master Peace Church in Georgia.
5. Cheryl “Salt” James
As one half of the pioneering rap group Salt-N-Pepa, James saw major success while rapping with messages of women empowerment and safe sex. However, once the group’s heyday passed by, she became more open to the media about her relationship with God. However, as evidenced by her iconic guest verse on Kirk Franklin’s “Stomp,” the bars were still there.
6. Joseph “Rev. Run” Simmons
One of Hip-Hop’s most notable figures behind the pulpit is Joseph “Run” Simmons, one half of the pioneering duo RUN-DMC. He became “Rev. Run” in the early 2000s, when he was ordained as a Pentecostal minister. Today, you can find him spreading the gospel in music and TV.
7. No Malice
As one half of rap duo Clipse, Malice saw major success with hits like “Grindin'” and “When The Last Time.” However, in 2012, he announced on Twitter that has turned his life to Christ and renamed himself as No Malice. Since then, he has released solo albums and shared his Faith-based bars on tracks by Lecrae, Kanye West, and (of course) his brother Pusha T.