“I never really thought I’d be recording or producing music as a sort of ministry,” said Matt Preston, sophomore ministry major from Abilene.
But that is exactly what he has ended up doing under the moniker M.A.Double, derived from the spelling of his first name: “M-A-Double-T”.
“As far as my interest in hip hop it really goes back around middle school,” Preston said.
In middle school, playing for his father’s youth football team, he created relationships with people that would form his future love for hip-hop.”It really exposed me to a different culture that I hadn’t seen growing up.”
During carpools, he was introduced to the new brand of music and quickly grew to love the style. By high school he had purchased his own microphone “to just mess around.”
What began with making fun songs with friends soon turned into something more.
“It kind of birthed a little passion in me to make music.”
Although he grew up believing himself to be a Christian, it wasn’t until the summer after high school that Preston considered himself saved.
“The lord totally showed me his love and radically transformed me.”
Suddenly, his microphone took on a new life. What was once a toy, Matt Preston now viewed as a tool.
Preston posted songs on Facebook and received positive feedback from many of his friends.
Just months later, in November of 2010, he released his first mixtape, Thank Him Now.
His brand of Christian hip-hop contains lyrics heavy with metaphor and simile that preach and humor simultaneously.
“I like to make funny and creative metaphors,” Preston said. “But at the same time, my passion for Christ is so much that it is going to be a metaphor that overflows with Jesus.”
In recent years, Christian hip-hop artists have grown in number and popularity. Preston attributes this to an increase in quality from the past.
“Quality-wise it is up there with the stuff you hear on the radio,” Preston said. “Junior high kids need that. They need stuff they can listen to and enjoy and at the same time and it is giving them a message that will help them in life.”
Ministry and hip-hop are two things that many would not consider related, but Preston argues that it is actually their differences that bring them together.
“Some people think that there is no way hip-hop could ever be holy,” he said. “But sometimes the Lord loves to show how much greater He is than what our minds think. When people put labels on what hip-hop can’t do as far as ministry, He loves to exceed that.”
Being able to combine Christianity and modern music has quickly become a new and powerful way to worship.
“Its different than a sermon and its different than just traditional worship,” he said. “You can have good music that you like to listen to and at the same time you can put a sermon in a song. It’s good for people to hear that whether their intentions are to get a sermon or not.”
Preston had his first chance to perform at JamFest this year.
“I love performing at ACU just because friends and family get to come,” he said. “I look out at the crowd and see all these people I’m familiar with and they are just having a great time.”
With live performances and the release of his mixtape, Preston is beginning to accept musical ministry will at least have an impact on his future.
“He has got me ready to where I can continue doing it and I can keep progressing as an artist. Anything that I do with the music is going to kind of flow into what I do when I’m done with music.”
Preston has three singles available on iTunes and his first is still available for free online . Details can be found on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. He expects to release his second album in early 2012, titled Pass the Salt, based on Matthew 5:13.
“The Lord’s provision has definitely been over me,” he said. “My music is for Him and I want Him to use it. I try to just stay out of the way as much as I can and just try to relay the message he wants me to relay.”