Gospel Rap Artist ‘1K Phew’ On Growing Up in Church Yet Lured By The Streets

The Atlanta-born rapper’s songs have focused on the contrasts between his religious and troubled past

1K Phew. Photo by Matthew Warren.

Gospel Rap Artist ‘1K Phew’ is releasing a new solo, gospel rap album this month entitled “As I Am” that he hopes “imparts an important message that is sure to resonate with people who know God, but feel trapped in the streets. “I grew up in the church, but was lured into the streets,” 1K Phew said. That statement sums up the unique theme, with authenticity drawn from experience, that the rapper strives to tell with his brand of gospel rap.

Art for 1K Phew’s gospel rap single “Church House Trap House” which depicts the often uncomfortable reality that the sacred and secular do not exists separately, but are two realities that coexists. Photo courtesy of Reach Records.

Isaac Gordon

Born Isaac Gordon, ‘1K Phew’ was born in the vibrant city of Atlanta with two devout parents to whom prayer was the strongest shield and sword a person could have in their battles through life. Nonetheless, mischief and violence led him on a destructive path. “For me growing up, going to church meant seeing drug deals and shootouts on the way. Sometimes these things would be happening at the same time service was going on,” the rapper revealed. It took a near-death experience for him to realize that the life he was leading was one that he didn’t want. “It wasn’t until I almost got shot one day that I decided to surrender my life to God and His plan,” he said. “That incident was a turning point for me. From that day onward, I was different and committed to a personal relationship with God over being religious.”

His gospel rap single “Church House Trap House” tries to take on this conversation through the imagery of a church right next to a trap house. “I was exposed to a lot of ‘sin’ in or around the church. I’m not saying it’s good or bad, but it’s my experience and a lot of others as well. I don’t think it’s being talked about in Christian music, so I feel it’s necessary to bring it up,” he said. He takes on a realistic lens, drawn from his life, on the sacred idealism of the church and the secular realities of the community around it: a dichotomy that can sometimes be taboo or can remain unspoken. “Although I went to church all my life, I thought I could do everything without God. It was during the pandemic that I personally grew closer to God and found him for myself! As I Am is about me coming as I am, flawed and imperfect and being accepted by God.”

As I Am

1K Phew, 27, has announced the release of a solo, gospel rap album titled “As I Am” and is throwing an album release party this Friday, Oct. 14 at 6 p.m. You can register for the event on Eventbrite.

Check out the titular single below:


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