Maurice Hicks, better known by the stage name, Uncle Reece, is making a lane for himself in the world of hip hop with his latest track “Until I Pass Out.” Taken off his recently released album Bold, Hicks blends hip hop swag, singing R&B, and a reggae vibe all by adding a daring twist of contemporary Christian and gospel music. “It’s the right time. I think the message is real. It’s a lot of young people out there in them streets just dying,” says the 30-year-old rapper. “People are kind of just tired of the negativity, so they need something positive. They need the truth. So I think Bold is right on time because people are dying for real because they don’t have knowledge. People perish for lack of knowledge and I think it’s time to give them what’s up.”
At 12, the Jacksonville, Florida native took his name from a childhood friend who said he looked like his uncle. And now, Uncle Reece wants to reach those within his age group who have felt “turned away” from the church. “I would say I’m the voice of that generation [17-30]. I’m the voice of those people that don’t go to church because they don’t feel comfortable,” says the MC who attended Florida State University as a Mathematics major. “If people would just listen to some of the things I’m concerned with, because statistically proven 90% of young people when they become 18, leave the church and don’t come back until they’re 35. And a high percentage of those people never come back. So that lets me know that the model is failing. Because if I had any Fortune 500 company, and we had a 90% failure rate, we would fire every leader, we would reconstruct the business. But often times, people don’t see it like that. If it’s not working we need to switch to what’s more effective. I mean Nickelodeon, Disney, MTV, BET those are effective sources for reaching young people. So we can learn from them, but still do things the right way with integrity. But use some of their methods, but I think the church needs to do that to get young people saved.”
Ironically, being deemed a “Christian rapper” who doesn’t go to church, has come with its challenges. For Uncle Reece, the biggest hurdle faced is in bridging hip hop and gospel.
“Christians are like you’re too rappy to be a Christian,” says Reece, who’s currently on the tour circuit making appearances on the McDonald’s Inspirational Celebration Gospel Tour. “So it’s like I can’t present it from both sides. Like give me a break, just listen to the music and if it touches your heart just accept it. Don’t close your heart to it because of the title of what it is.”