Prodigy: A Radical for Christ -- "I will die for the Gospel"


By: Claude Mills
Photos By: Carlington Wilmot

Prodigy_GospelMusic_PapaSan_JudyMowatt.jpgIf you want to find Prodigy, you have to ambush him at the Herbal Life on Braemar Avenue where he hangs out everyday.

"I like it here, I can do my meditation on the word right here in this quiet atmosphere, and drink a tea and shake, it's a healthy thing for my immune system," he told YardFlex.Com.

He is wearing a black shirt with the words 'A blood donor saved my life' emblazoned on the front and Mathew 26:28 (This is my blood of the covenant....) printed on the back. He wears silver jewellery.

He is one of the new faces leading the reggae gospel charge in Jamaica.

So songs like 'Every Morning' and 'Sin No More' came out of particular struggles that I had, while other songs like I Love You Lord featuring Crissy D came out of worship and quiet time being spent with God."

The Chosen Prodigy is currently being distributed by Caribbean Gospel.

Shows in England, St. Maarten, and the Turks and Caicos, and Canada in August.

"Reggae gospel is still on the rise and it's getting bigger especially in the wider Caribbean. The UK is one of those markets that is showing a lot of potential as well.

"People come to me, say they heard the testimony, and say, if this young yute can do it at 21, then why can't I? Recently, at a show in Clarendon, I had an altar call and I asked if there were people who didn't know Jesus, and 25 people came up and I was actually surprised," he told YardFlex.Com.

He said that given the reaction of some of the audience members, especially those at the front, he had been pondering whether it was necessary to make an altar call or not.

Prodigy_GospelMusic_PapaSan_JudyMowattA.jpg"The persons at the front were in a frenzy for Jesus, it seemed that they had been saved already, but I listened to the spirit, and did it, and several persons at the front, young people, actually came forward."

He said that within church circles, he has met stiff opposition from what he dubs "Scribes and Pharisees' who criticize his method of evangelicizing to proselytes.

"I am not going to listen to jazz, maybe when I am older, I can appreciate it more, now, I gravitate towards dancehall, that is what I am using to draw a younger audience closer to God," he said.

"I think the critics are afraid of change, they don't want to open their minds to new things. When the church started, the 'Ole Ragged Cross' was enough to save souls, and it worked, it saved millions, but we must be flexible in this fight to win new souls. The word of God says to take the gospels to the highways and by-ways, and dancehall is the vehicle I am going to use."

Songs such as Every Morning which speaks about the temptations and struggles of Christian brethren with the opposite sex, Tell the Devil Now, and Sure with Minister Goddy Goddy, Prodigy's older brother.

"My brother Goddy Goddy was actually a secular deejay called Snakeman. I admired him a lot and his conversion to Christianity played a big role in me getting converted because one week after, I accepted Jesus Christ as well," he told YardFlex.Com.

His debut album, 'The Chosen Prodigy' got rave reviews from critics, and for a time, was the top selling gospel album in the country. However, Prodigy plans to up the ante with the release of his latest effort, 'The Tabernacle' which will be more dancehall-influenced and edgy. One of the lead songs from the album will be 'Don't Judge Me', a scathing commentary about his early experiences in the church, and the criticism and envy that came with his recording success.

He also believes that the 'hypocrisy in the church is the biggest problem, they are afraid that we will explose the church lifestyle, but they should not worry if there is nothing to hide".

"I plan to target the dancehall more than the church with this album. That is where I feel that we should direct our attention, we have to win souls, and I will do what God tells me to do, the dancehall is where the fight for souls is being won and lost, and I am not afraid, I will dead for the gospel like Stephen if that is God's will, I am one of the radicals in the church...a radical for Christ,"

He is a big fan of Wayne Marshall, who he says "uses a lot of positive songs like Forgive Him Please with Alaine and Overcome to get his message across".

"I also like Assassin because he writes sensibly and I admire the stage performances of Beenie Man," he said.

Prodigy was last at a secular stage show in December 2005 when he attended the annual Sting concert in Portmore.

"Prodigal Son had been billed to perform that night, and I was there to offer support and take in is performance, I was accompanying a fellow gospel deejay. I

"I would love to take to someone from VP Records to get them to stop separating gospel reggae from secular deejays like Capleton and Sizzla. Those artistes have their own religion, but it should be seen as one with gospel reggae, we are a part of the fraternity, I would like to talk to someone with the power to change how reggae gospel is marketed and distributed to the international audience," he said.

He also wants to make some changes in his management structure.