Asking Christian artist Aaron Cole why he raps is like asking a fish why it swims.
It’s what he’s always done.
Cole began rapping at age 3 thanks to a father who owned a music studio and an uncle who was a Christian rapper. Soon — before he even was in school — he was performing at shows.
At the age of 15 he was discovered by well-known musician TobyMac.
Now at age 20 and after a string of independent projects Cole is releasing his debut Gotee Records album, “Not By Chance,” and he’s ready to take his music to another level.
The album is a mixture of pop, hip-hop and soul, fused with stories of his life and how Christ has helped him overcome trials. TobyMac co-founded Gotee and is the CEO.
Cole joked that his previous projects — written when he was in his teens — were “kids’ stuff.”
“When I go through trials that’s when I make my best music,” Cole said. “I feel like in every song [on “Not By Chance”] I talked about something that mattered. I just feel like this was me reaching that whole other level.”
It was produced by former Capital Kings member Cole Walowac, who also produced seven songs on NF’s album “The Search” that reached No. 1 on the Billboard chart for albums in the U.S.
Cole already is receiving national recognition and was nominated for GMA Dove Award New Artist of the Year. The winner will be announced Oct. 15.
The album’s title — Not By Chance — has special meaning to Cole.
‘It’s by His grace’
“Even with all that work and sacrificing none of it is possible without God. It’s not by chance,” he said. “It’s by His grace.”
The songs cover a range of topics, from family problems (he raps about his parents’ splitting up on “Love Don’t Cost a Thing”) to sports (he mentions the Houston Rockets’ James Harden in “Fasho”).
“I’m a big fan of sports,” he said.
Cole’s unique style of hip-hop — it’s free of coarse language, after all — sets him apart from well-known mainstream hip-hop artists. But he doesn’t view himself as a “clean rapper.” To him he’s simply writing songs about his life and faith.
“Because of what I believe inside, it bleeds out into my music,” he said. “People who do music — whatever they believe, it comes out.”
Still Cole acknowledges some people won’t like his music simply because he does discuss faith.
“The gospel,” he said, “is offensive sometimes.”
EDITOR’S NOTE — Michael Foust covers the intersection of faith and entertainment as a media reviewer for The Alabama Baptist. He also is the husband of an amazing wife and the father of four young children.