By Rahsaan Thomas
San Quentin News Staff
Visiting Christian rapper Hercules Cuevas and inside Graced Out members drew nearly 200 men away from their TV sets, when the Oakland Raiders’ was game on.
“Forget the football game, we gonna give God some time,” remarked San Quentin resident and Graced Out member Fanon Figgers, the host of the event in the Protestant Chapel.
Cuevas is part of the Victory Outreach Church in Santa Rosa. He is also part of a youth ministry called God’s Anointed Now Generation (“GANG”).
“God’s gang doesn’t incarcerate; it sets people free,” said Cuevas.
He performed three songs in a passionate fast-paced delivery.
“I don’t bang, but I proclaim His name like a gang-banging maniac,” rapped Cuevas, using references to his old life of growing up around drugs and gangs.
“Don’t come looking for the old me; I killed him, homie,” he sang on a song called, The Old Me is Dead.
Cuevas also preformed raps about doing everything big for God and Who said Gospel Rap Don’t Slap.
Antwan “Banks” Williams and Lemar “Maverick” Harrison opened the event with Amen.
“Thank God I’m not in the cemetery, living only in their memories…,” rapped Williams.
At one point, Figgers called Chaplain Mardi Jackson and Graced Out members Derrick Holloway, Dwight Kennedy and Brandon Perez up to the stage.
Perez was due to parole, and Jackson used the moment to remind him of his calling.
“God has called you to spread the word. We charge you today to go out and take the land. No more old lifestyle; no more old places. God is calling you to newness. There are souls waiting to hear his voice,” preached Jackson.
“It’s a privilege to be here,” said Cuevas. “Not too many people are able to see this side of San Quentin. You picture gang violence and rape happening, but it’s amazing to come in here and see none of that is in this place.”
Graced Out’s James Metters preformed a rap song called God is Love. It talked about transformation through struggles.
“I’m a Christian on a mission, out the Town (Oakland), out the game. God saved me when I called on His name,” rapped Metters in an old school style.
In between the rap acts, Antoine Watie preached from the book of Joshua.
Graced Out’s Ferrari Moody closed the event with a sermon about the cost and determination it takes to be a disciple of God.
“The cost of following God may be your reputation,” Moody said. “You can’t be a gangster and a disciple of God. The very thing you spent building up has to die. If you’re going to be in the army of God, you will have to give up something.”
Chaplain Jackson said, “I have seen this ministry grow and grow. God is moving in a mighty way with these men.”