Christian hip–hop artist George Moss has been using his talent to bring souls to Christ since he was 16 years old. He has toured and performed with Christian musicians such as KJ–52 and the Newsboys (“God’s Not Dead”). Moss talks about his many roles: performer, lyricist, clothing designer, family man, and above all, devoted follower of God.
How did you first get into hip hop? I grew up in Grand Rapids, Michigan and was actually never into music. I was born and raised in the Church, but I didn’t really enjoy participating in that either. So, when my church started a Sunday rap ministry for young people, I thought it was a dumb idea. But the choice was either doing hip hop with kids my age or sitting quietly during church service with my grandmother. I chose hip hop, and God used that ministry to bring me to Him. He grew my faith by giving me the ability to share it through music.
You’ve achieved success and a devoted fan base in Christian hip hop. Have you ever wanted to make more mainstream music? No, Christian music was the only music I ever wanted to make. I’ve always felt called and comfortable serving and fortifying the Church. Many believe that the best music is what’s mainstream. But rather than try to emulate what is already out there, I wanted to create something original to be used to fortify God’s people.
You’re also the founder of the clothing line OXEN Apparel. How did that brand become another type of ministry? By focusing on the identity and the message, not on the fashion aspect of it. The inspiration for OXEN came from the words of Christ to His apostles in Matthew 11:29: “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” I studied that metaphor and saw that Jesus was painting an image of oxen carrying a yoke, the wooden piece around the animal’s neck that it pulls to plow a field. But before oxen can even be introduced to a yoke, let alone carry it, they must first be branded to represent to whom they belong. That’s what OXEN Apparel is. It’s a mark that says you carry the yoke of Christ, and you work for Him.
Even OXEN’s logo adds meaning to that visual. Yes. After the ox is branded, a ring is put through its nose; the most sensitive part of its body. With that ring, it will learn to obey its master’s commands. If the ox ever becomes stubborn or go astray, the master will gently pull it by the ring towards where it needs to go. That’s why OXEN’s logo is the ring through the nose. When I wear OXEN, it’s a reminder to be sensitive to God’s message and to obey Him, just as the ox obeys its master.
In 2015, a photo of you cleaning your wife’s breast pump went viral and garnered a lot of positive responses about being a helpful husband and father. How does being a performer fit into those roles? Regarding the breast pump photo, I just saw it as a normal thing for a father to do to help his wife and newborn child. The whole morality message caught me completely off guard. As far as being a performer, it does require me to be on the road a lot. As my family grew, I needed to cut back on touring. But even when I got married, I told myself, “I’m not going on tour for a year.” Then, after having our child, I said I wouldn’t tour for another year. Family doesn’t slow you down, but it does shift your focus and your priorities. To balance my career and my family, we built a solid foundation that began with years of serious intentional discipleship in the home. Before my wife and I met, we were both teen parents. That same intentional discipleship was crucial to make our unique family structure work and to bring both our families together as one.
This past summer, you made your Old Orchard Beach debut for The Salvation Army. How was your experience at OOB? I knew about the Army’s work and I’ve even done some shows at corps across the country. But I had never experienced with them what I saw in Maine. What the Army does at Old Orchard Beach is the heartbeat of what I do too. The focus is the message of the gospel, and it’s assisted by the performances and the entertainment.
You pray before every performance. What do you pray for? I pray for the Holy Spirit to lead me on stage. I ask Him to help me say in my music what I need to say, that I speak to my audience when I need to speak, and to be silent when I need to listen.
Talk about the importance of bringing people to God through your talent. I wasn’t put on earth to make hip hop, and certainly not to make money. I was put here to make disciples for God. Any good entrepreneur knows that, in order to succeed, you need to make a return on your investment. The only eternal return of your investments in life are in what you do for the Kingdom. I’m not interested in working for earthly riches. I would much rather work in bringing riches to God while I’m here on earth.
George Moss’s favorite verse from his music is from his song “Take On The World.”
I planted seeds, and watched a garden grow
Congratulations! Let’s make a toast!
It didn’t happen fast; I had to wait
Had to pull some weeds, and find a couple snakes
Looking back at school, and all my dumb mistakes
Wasted time and money; credits I didn’t take
And all my teachers that lied to me to my face
They said, “The sky’s the limit,” but now I’m in outer space
Where the lights are so bright, and the music is so loud
I hear the fans cheer and my family is so proud,
But one thing I’ve learned about jumping out in the crowd
Is that those that lift you up will eventually let you down
So, when everything is crazy, I’m tired and feel lazy
Remember Jesus went to the cross, and He died to save me
The world can be against me, hate me and try to break me
But I know that God will not forsake me.