Chris Cooper is the founding member of the legendary Hip Hop group SFC, which stands for Soldiers For Christ. Although he has gone by several stage names over the years, most are a variation of “Super C”. However, he is most commonly referred to as Sup, which is pronounced Soup.
The journey of SFC began 27 years ago, in 1987, when Cooper essentially created a new category—a category that has since climbed from obscurity to mainstream recognition. There were a few artists who technically came before Cooper, but he was the first one who was authentically hip-hop and wasn’t making a Christian copycat of something popular from the mainstream. Along the way, he performed countless shows, sold nearly 300,000 albums, and introduced us to even more talented artists from this unique category. This is why it’s no surprise that many consider Cooper to be a pioneer of Christian Hip Hop.
This week, in particular, Cooper has a lot to be excited about. For starters, his groundbreaking albums Phase III (1992) and Illumination (1994) are available for the first time ever, digitally. The rest of his catalog has also been reissued by the Southern California record label Meis Music Group which specializes in legacy catalogs. Something else that happened this week, Anomaly by Lecrae captured the #1 Billboard top-selling album across all genres—which is a first for Christian Hip Hop.
When the news reached Cooper that Christian Hip Hop had finally achieved the coveted #1 spot on Billboard, he responded, “I am very excited! Not only do I think the Christian Hip Hop movement deserves it, I think we should be proud!”
While a lot has changed since Cooper released his first record in 1988, one thing hasn’t changed. “People are still tired of hearing the same old empty and negative vibes that mainstream Hip Hop has to offer.” Cooper continues, “There are a lot of good Christian emcees in the movement who, like myself, have always had to work harder than mainstream emcees to get respect.”
Whether from the mainstream or the Christian audience, respect is something Cooper is no stranger to. “My heart is filled with joy knowing that today’s emcees are finally able to both put food on the table and release God-centered Hip Hop.”
Sketch The Journalist, who regularly blogs about Christian Hip Hop at the Houston Chronicle, had this to say, “Although some may not recognize or understand [Cooper’s] impact, he helped lay the blueprint for today’s top Christian emcees such as Lecrae.”
Humble Beast recording artist Propaganda, who has collaborated with Lecrae, agrees and says that he is personally and, “directly reaping the benefits of [Cooper’s] work.”
Perhaps Lecrae himself might agree since he credits the Tunnel Rats—a crew of emcees that were ultimately introduced to the world through Cooper on his Illumination album—as an early influence on the song Non – Fiction that he just released today to commemorate his #1 album. Listen for yourself here:
Having the SFC catalog available for the first time digitally thrills Cooper, “it will give a whole new generation of Christian Hip Hop lovers access to what was happening on the West Coast in the early 90s.”
Check out the track Kill The Spirit from Phase III, which features the Gospel Gangstaz, one of the many groups that Cooper introduced to the world: