I grew up during the birth of grime, a music genre native to my own area in East London. In my mid-teens, I started writing lyrics and rapping about growing up in the rough streets of Leytonstone, inspired by artists like Dizzee Rascal and Wiley. When I became a Christian at 20, my life and world view totally changed. Now, I don’t just rap about what I’ve seen but also about the solution to it all – the gospel.
Over the years, I’ve performed all over the UK and Europe at concerts, festivals, conferences and outreach events, communicating my faith through my music. YouTube, social channels and streaming platforms mean I can reach even more young people from all different backgrounds! What I find most fulfilling, though, is doing music for local purposes.
In Dagenham, where I’m based as a missionary, we’re blessed to partner with local churches and with Box Up Crime. They provide free boxing sessions and youth facilities to build relationships with young people, offer an alternative to gang culture and give them the gospel. Together, we put on an annual event called ‘Gospel Shutdown’, combining live music, testimonies, and a gospel message. We’re setting up a new youth club called ‘Life Lounge’, and we’re hoping, in future, that a church will be planted from this ministry that will preach the gospel to young people, disciple them and see them become leaders in their homes, churches, jobs and communities.
I’m so grateful to God for the doors he’s opened through music, for the training I’ve received through LCM, and for the generous gifts of our supporters to fund programmes like the LCM Pioneer course. It means I can reach out full–time to these young people, equipped for urban mission, able to use the experiences I’ve lived through in a relevant way and confident in the power of the gospel to change lives.
Follow Ali on Instagram @astarmusicuk
Recruitment for the September 2019 intake of the LCM Pioneer programme has opened. Find out more about how you can apply here.