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Episode 73: The inspiring legacy of Vic Padilla, Founder of Holy Culture Radio

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In celebration the 20th Anniversary Trig invited Holy Culture Radio founder Vic Padilla to share the catalyst for our revolutionary Christian hip-hop station.

Vic Padilla explains the inspiration behind Holy Culture Radio

“Holy Culture was birth out of my own desire to hear more Christian Hip Hop.  Back in the late 80s, 90’s, and early 2000s, it was kind of hard to get a hold of Christian hip-hop.  Unless you went to a Christian bookstore. There weren’t any places to listen to it to find out about new artists.”

After hearing about his work, a music director from a New Mexico college radio station reached out to Padilla and invited him to host a religious hip-hop show.  A couple of weeks later, he and a few friends were hosting a CHH radio show on Friday nights on Crux FM 91.5.

The college station was simultaneously broadcasting on the internet.  “I remember I think it was Phil from Rapzilla; he was listening to it all the way in Belgium.  He was just a little bit.  I think he was like 12 or 13 years old.  So, people all over the world were listening to it.”

It grew from there.  Padilla decided to reach out to other people in the industry whom he respected.  He began to recruiting other CHH DJ’s to see if they’d be interested in hosting shows on the new platform.  “It went from just me and a couple of buddies from the military inviting guys like the Cross Movements DJ Official,” says Padilla.  He shouts out DJ D-Lite who 15 years later is still rocking with Holy Culture.  What began as a platform for Christian hip-hop quickly turned into a movement.  “It just blew up.”

Holy Culture Download Store

Padilla not only made history with Holy Culture Radio, he also helped distribute artists’ music digitally.  The people listening overseas or even just out of state had no way of getting their hands on the music of the independent artists.  That’s when Padilla had the idea of a Christian Hip Hop online outlet.  “I saw kind of what Apple was doing and I said what if I create a digital download store where people can purchase all the music that they’re hearing on the mix shows for an affordable rate?  Artists get paid.  We get the music out there.  So, we launched 3H mp3.”

Unable to compete with the Apple powerhouse, Padilla had to pivot.  But despite that, people’s lives have been transformed by the gospel, Christian hip-hop, and his work. And that is what is most important to the Christian DJ.

“It feels cool to be a part of a movement where people who love Jesus were using music in their community to communicate the gospel.  Whether that be through streaming the internet, being on FM radio, or allowing people to buy music online to hear the gospel through that platform.  I’m just humbled by God,” Padilla says.

Why Vic chose the name Holy Culture?

On why he named the station after a song and album by the Cross Movement, Padilla reveals, “I just loved the name of the album because it really captured the goal of the Christian.  To be part of a culture that is set apart, that’s holy, that’s distinct from the culture around it.  The Bible calls us to be the salt of the earth.  One of the greatest Christian Hip hop albums of all time.  I thought it would be appropriate to have a radio show that captured what that album captured.”

When he decided to launch holyculture.net, Padilla literally had something up within 24 hours after making the suggestion to Trig.  “It’s funny because it describes my personality.  When I have a new idea, it’s hard for me to just wait around to see it happen or for somebody to come and help me or do it for me.  If I have an idea and I believe in it, I’m just going to go out there and find out how to do it.”

Making the choice to leave Holy Culture Radio 

As groundbreaking as Padilla’s work was, he made the decision to step away.  When asked why he points to idolatry and the need for self-reflection. 

“Sometimes something that we really believe in and are passionate about, unfortunately, can become an idol in our lives.  It’s just something that is like a warning to other people who are doing any sort of ministry or business they’re doing in the name of the Lord.  It was really about a heart check.”  What he found was the need to shift his focus to his family.

His advice to anyone pursuing what they believe is their purpose is, “I hope that whoever’s listening if you a Christian hip hop emcee or whatever you do you really have to make sure that this is really about the Lord and not about you.  The Lord is not double-minded.  He’s not going to put you in a ministry where you’re neglecting your kids.  Neglecting your wife to pursue what you think he wants you to do.  That was something that God put on my heart.”

Padilla urges us to keep our focus on the real mission.  “Sin is so deceptive.  It’s so slick it’ll even have you thinking that things you’re doing in the name of the Lord are good and bringing him glory.  But slowly it can lead you astray if you don’t have your eyes on Jesus.”

Catch up on episodes you may have missed.  Just go to our podcast page to be inspired.  And for more podcasts like this one, visit www.holyculture.net/podcasts.  Don’t forget to follow James Rosseau Sr., AKA Trig on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to join the conversation.

 

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