Urban Evangelists is a Christian rap quintet from Severodvinsk. Their second album, Preach It!, is Uralica's highest-selling rap album. It is also amongst the most popular rap groups in amongst CCC nations, who only recently obtained access to their work.
Current Membership Edit
- Gordon Virtanen - MC (stage name Jeevz)
- Salma Ruuttu - MC (stage name Rootsie)
- Yakov Egidiyev - MC (stage name YaGid)
- Olli Järvi - MC (stage name OJ Godchild)
- Adam Anatoliyev - DJ, beats, turntablism (stage name DJ Tolo)
Urban Evangelists began as an experiment. Severny Yagry Baptist Church, in the northern suburbs of Severodvinsk, wanted to see how Christians in the city would respond to rap music being used to convey the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In July of 2008, a few rhymes penned by the church pastor got a few laughs out of the congregation, but gave a few of the younger people an idea. They knew one of their parishioners, Adam Anatoliyev, had just bought new turntables, and was quickly learning the art of composing beats on his computer using Fruity Loops. Recruiting his "talents," two of the youth pastors and two older youth set about translating Scripture into hip-hop. It took some trial and error, but by the time Jarkko Salomäki returned to Uralica from his three-month disappearance, they had a full set of "good, solid tracks" that they took to the people. Their first official gig would be on New Year's Eve, in the Severodvinsk night festivities.
This performance got the attention of Saami producer Jonas Hilden, one of the founding members of Hardline Records. He invited the quintet to his studio in Arkhangel'sk to record the tracks professionally. It went so quickly that they were able to release their first album, Listen Up Y'All, by the 20th, as part of a four-act tandem that also included Mika Ukkonen.
The group would tour Uralica for the first part of 2009, although the Karma War would force them all to return home. But no sooner did they return home than they started writing more lyrics based on Scriptural truth. This time, their pastor, Matti Laaksonen, helped them refine their lyrics even further. The result was September 2009's Preach It!, which went three times platinum in Uralica.
Near the end of 2009, a record company in Manifest Destiny signed an agreement to distribute UE's records in the CCC, and both of their albums would go platinum with the CCC.
Full Albums Edit
- January 2009 - Listen Up Y'All
- September 2009 - Preach It!
- January 2009 - Righteous (from Listen Up Y'All)
- March 2009 - Lookit What Happens (from Listen Up Y'All)
- June 2009 - He's In Control (from Listen Up Y'All)
- August 2009 - Ain't Grace Amazin'? (from Listen Up Y'All)
- September 2009 - Micah Had It Right (from Preach It!)
- November 2009 - Keep It Clean (from Preach It!)
- January 2010 - The Day And The Hour (from Preach It!)
- March 2010 - Losin' It (from Preach It!)
- Yakov and Olli are both youth pastors.
- Salma also sings R&B and jazz.
- Adam now uses Native Instruments KORE as his primary VST host.
- Gordon is a Great Lakes Finn, born in Madison, Wisconsin.