Gospel artist Earnest Pugh shades CHH at The Stellar Awards and Dre Murray is reborn.
Last year at The Stellar Awards, CHH took centerstage with performances by Wande, Aaron Cole, Jordan Armstrong, and Erica Mason. Gospel music veteran Earnest Pugh was not happy about it and took to social media to blast the Stellars. DJ Focus and Dice breakdown what’s wrong with his tirade and why Christian Hip Hop is advancing the kingdom. And CHH OG Dre Murray drops in to share his faith journey and the importance of perseverance.
Dreaming of basketball
Born and raised on the southside of Houston, Dre Murray was immersed in the chopped and screwed hip hop culture as a youngster. After being recruited by some of the more prominent universities to play college basketball, Dre decided to attend Southern Nazarene University in Oklahoma after his grandmother passed away prior to his senior year of high school. “She knew nothing about basketball, but she had a dream that Scottie Pippen who also went to an NAIA school took me out and wanted me to go to an NAIA school.”
Even though he declined the other offers, Dre hadn’t yet made the decision to fully surrender to God. He was doing music, but it wasn’t until he had a near-death encounter that he would begin his journey into the faith. “There was so much going on at the time. Me being almost kicked out of school. They tried to turn over my scholarship at the time. But I had this real encounter. And the very next day, it was like a weight was lifted off my shoulders,” Dre explains.
After that moment he was changed. He began to get into the community and meeting people within the Christian Hip Hop space. “K Drama was one of the first people. He was one of the first people to encourage me in my faith, in my walk as well as the music. From there it was on,” says Dre.
Dre Murray is reborn
As a veteran of Christian Hip Hop, Dre has his fair share of roadblocks and setbacks. “I knew that I was serious because I was getting rejected a lot. But I kept going,” explains Dre. “One of my first encounters [was with] KJ-52. I sent him the same CD I sent K Drama. And I didn’t hear from him for months. There was no response. The same thing happened with a radio station in Oklahoma.”
There were so many times Dre felt the sting of disappointment in those early days. When a random conversation about CHH with a guy at a shoe store turned into a backstage meeting with one of the biggest gospel artists of our generation, Texas native thought the drought was over.
“He’s like I’m the liaison for Kirk Franklin tonight at the Billy Graham event. Let me take your CD and give it to Kirk. He called me with Kirk in the background. I go to the event.” Long story short, Mike Tait from DC Talk took Dre from dressing room to dressing room looking for Kirk, but he had already left after being chased down by fans. “I never knew what happened to my CD.”
So, Dre went back to the independent grind and was able to get on K Drama’s mixtape. And at that time Myspace was jumping, and a song on the EP started to gain some traction. “With the advent of social media, it started spreading.” The tables began to turn in Dre’s favor. Now people were reaching out to him! And we know the rest is CHH history.
With the 2023 Stellar Awards quickly approaching, one can’t help but wonder what will they look like this year. Last year Christian Hip Hop and Rhythm and Praise took center stage with performances by Reach Records first lady Wande, Aaron Cole, Jordan Armstrong, and Erica Mason. But that didn’t sit well with gospel music veteran, Earnest Pugh.
The Stellar Awards
He quickly took to social media to share his disapproval saying, “The gospel hip hop awards formally known as the Stellar Awards have given us a clear indication where the focus on their platform and their audience lies. They have sent a clear message to those of us who have been in the gospel music industry for 15 to 20 plus years that we are no longer needed or welcomed on their stage anymore.”
He goes on to say that he doesn’t plan on sitting around waiting on his demise. It’s time to differentiate industry from ministry and he will continue to focus on kingdom advancement.
Was his comments disrespectful? And were they beneficial to kingdom advancement? Let us know your thoughts in the comments. And be sure to tune in on weekday mornings at 6 est. to Da Fixx on Holy Culture Radio Sirius XM Channel 154. Follow the show on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to join the conversation.
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