They are two men who want to change the culture, expose truths, and help an entire people.
And they want to do it all through music.
Anthony "Baby Joker" Johnson and Quintin "Q Smalls" Smalls make up the Spiritual Gangsters. A religious rap group who focus their efforts on the preservation of the Gullah culture in the Lowcountry.
"During this whole journey we've been trying to put thoughts into music," explains Johnson.
"Its a Gullah celebration.. we still here.. its a Gullah celebration..learn land preservation"
Those are just some of the lyrics from Gullah Celebration, the first single off the groups new album, whcih will be released July 14.
This Hilton Head based group preaches in the song aout includsion, protection of land.. and a worship of god.
Johnson and Smalls were both "secular" rappers before, battle rapping, using curse words. That is before meeting one another. Before finding their faith, and an important cause. What they call the destruction of the Gullah land holdings on the Island. A desire to protect the Gullah culture, making sure it has a place to live, thrive and survive.
"Thats where we come in to play," explains Johnson. "Because we are trying to bridge that gap to where the youth and the elders can suit down and have a meaningful discussion about taxes, land, preserving the land."
Johnson's Gullah family began losing land and dealing with Gullah issues, which intrigued Smalls, and inspired him.
"I never really understood what was going on until he came to me with their problem,' says Smalls. "And I really wanted to listen then. It was really hitting the points about finding out deep things about where I came from."
"There are a lot of things the Elders didn't tell the youth," says Johnson. "and there are a lot of things the youth want to know right now. So to bridge that gap we are asking the Elders whats going on and we are putting it in our music. So the youth can understand what the elders are going through and what position we can play in this battle."
"The music is getting the elders to understand the rap side of it ," explains Q Smalls. "and getting the youth to understand the Gullah side of it. Because a lot of youth don't know about the Gullahs or know that they are Gullah."
"This is not just for the Gullah's this is for everyone," says Johnson. "We are just the ones saying it."
And people are listening. Their mixtape was downloaded nearly 15,000 times. they've played in Savannah, Atlanta, and Washington, DC.
Their message, faith and fight. For the Gullahs and against evil.
"We are bringing this message to Satan and whoever is on his side."
"There are Guillah rappers but there aren't Gullah rappers using their music to fight for the culture," explains Baby Joker. "There are Christian rappers but there are no Christian battle rappers who are going directly at Satan."
"By making god cool, thats the most surprising part about it," smiles Quintin. "Because people are listening to God. "
"That's what we are trying to do right now," smiles Johnson. "Spread a message from God..in an aggressive way."
The Spiritual Gangsters will be holding a record release party and community party at the Gullah museum site on Georgianna drive from 3pm to 7pm, Saturday July 14. There will be music, food and events for kids.
The pair hopes to draw a lot of attention, not just for their record, but for the cause. And maybe at the same time give everyone in the Gullah community some hope for the future.
For more information: https://www.spiritualgangstersg2g.com/
Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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