In My Bible, In My Bag: Dee-1’s Message of Faith and Success

On this episode of Church on the Block, Pastor Phil welcomes Dee-1, a rapper, professor, and minister, to discuss his art and its impact on the culture. Dee-1 shares his journey as an artist, starting from a place of pain and using music as therapy.

They discuss the challenges faced in staying true to oneself as an artist, the merging of the sacred and secular in hip hop, and the power of using music as a teaching tool. The rapper shares the inspiration behind his hit single “In My Bible, In My Bag,” the importance of authenticity and using art to deliver meaningful messages.

The Birth of an Artist: Dee-1’s Journey

Dee-1’s journey into the world of music began from a place of pain. His freshman year in college was marked by the loss of his best friend, being cut from the basketball team, and a painful breakup. To add to his woes, his roommate started selling drugs out of their dorm room, a situation Dee-1 wanted no part of.

In the midst of these challenges, Dee-1 found solace in music. He began rapping as a form of therapy, using his lyrics to communicate his experiences and emotions to the world. His music became a voice for those who felt voiceless, a beacon of hope for those going through similar struggles.

Overcoming Challenges and Gaining Recognition

Dee-1’s early years in music were not without challenges. His decision to rap about God and not glorify drugs and violence was met with skepticism. However, his resilience and determination to improve as an artist eventually gained him recognition. His hit song “Rebirth,” released during his college years, changed people’s perception of him. They began to see his potential and started to support him.

Dee-1 also shared his top five favorite emcees, including Nas, DMX, Juvenile, Jadakiss, and Lil Wayne. These artists, in their unique ways, have influenced D1’s music and his approach to the art form.

The Power of Authenticity in Music

Our conversation took a deeper turn as we discussed the importance of being authentic and true to oneself as an artist. Dee-1 emphasized the power of using music as a teaching tool and how rap allows him to deliver his message in a memorable and impactful way.

He stressed the significance of being comfortable in one’s own skin and not letting image overshadow the music and message. In Dee-1’s view, the message and music should be at the forefront, with style and swag being secondary. This perspective aligns with the essence of hip hop, a two-way form of communication where the artist throws a message and the audience catches it.

In My Bible, In My Bag: Merging the Sacred and Secular in Hip Hop

We also touched on the merging of the sacred and secular in hip hop, and how it can bring about true authenticity and healing. This fusion is evident in Dee-1’s song “In My Bible, In My Bag,” which emphasizes the importance of being rooted in faith while pursuing success in the world.

Reclaiming Joy: The Inspiration Behind “My Happy”

Dee-1’s song “My Happy” is about reclaiming joy and happiness after experiencing hardships and setbacks in life. He emphasized the importance of choosing happiness every day, regardless of external circumstances.

Dee-1 also reflected on the influence of his church community in shaping his music and his commitment to serving and connecting with his fan base. He shared his experience teaching at Harvard University on the impact of hip hop in the black community, expressing gratitude for the positive response he received.

To connect with Dee-1, buy his book and stream his new album, visit his Link Tree.


Our conversation was a testament to the power of authenticity in music and the impact it can have on the culture. As we concluded the episode, I shared a story about a little boy who had a seed growing in his eye, illustrating the concept of sin blurring one’s vision and the need for Jesus Christ to bring healing.

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In My Bible, In My Bag: Dee-1's Message of Faith and Success


Starting from a place of pain [00:02:20] Dee-1 shares how his music was initially a form of therapy for him, stemming from a difficult period in his life.

The risk of staying true to oneself as an artist [00:05:18] Dee-1 discusses the risk he took in choosing to rap about his personal experiences and healing, rather than conforming to mainstream expectations.

Breaking away from the group and becoming D1 [00:07:10] Dee-1 talks about his decision to separate from the rap collective he was a part of to pursue his own artistic direction, leading to his transformation into Dee-1 as a solo artist.

Lebron going back to the Cavs [00:09:34] Discussion about the shift in dynamics and rivalries when a player leaves a team and returns.

Being taken seriously as an artist [00:10:20] Exploration of the challenges faced by Dee-1 in being recognized and respected as a rapper early in his career.

The impact of “Rebirth” [00:13:12] The success of Dee-1’s song “Rebirth” on college campuses and how it changed people’s perception of him as an artist.

Dee-1s message: Being in your bag is not enough [00:19:41] The importance of having biblical wisdom and direction alongside earthly success.

The relevance of street language in hip hop and the church [00:23:31] The hosts discuss how using street language in hip hop can make biblical messages more relatable and relevant.

Music as a teaching tool [00:26:19] Discussion about using rap as a powerful teaching tool and how it helps him deliver sticky and memorable messages.

The healing power of hip hop [00:28:49] Discussion about his song “My Happy” and how it reflects his journey of reclaiming joy and happiness through hip hop.

The impact of hip hop on the black community [00:35:12] Conversation about his fellowship at Harvard, where he studies the role of hip hop as a teaching tool in the black community and its influence on listeners.

Harvard Journey [00:37:06] The Harvard experience and the positive response he has received from the campus community, reflecting on his initial imposter syndrome and realizing his worth.

Music and social media presence [00:39:07] Dee-1 encourages listeners to follow him on social media and search for his music on streaming platforms.

Appreciation for the interview and future plans [00:39:50] Pastor Phil expresses gratitude to Dee-1 and mentions the possibility of doing another interview in the future.

The analogy of sin blurring one’s vision [00:40:11] Pastor Phil shares a story about a boy with a seed in his eye to illustrate how sin can blur one’s vision and the need for Jesus’ healing.

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