Foxy Brown and other fly parishioners give props to the Almighty

By Lori L. Tharps
April 27, 2001 at 04:00 AM EDT
Sean Combs: Bill Davilla/Retna

There are folk masses and gospel brunches, so why not a hip hop church service? Heeding the call to spread the word — with a back beat — is Rev. Hezekiah Walker, 35, whose Brooklyn based Love Fellowship Tabernacle Church attracts such worshipers as Sean Combs, Foxy Brown, and hip hop gospel duo Mary Mary. Walker, a music prodigy who founded a Grammy winning gospel choir in 1985 and is the coexecutive producer of Combs’ upcoming gospel album, opened his first church in 1994 (there’s now another in Bensalem, Penn., and one in the works).

Rappers can ”keep it real” during a service that features a gospel choir with a distinctive hip hop flavor. ”You still can be the fly guy, but the important thing is that you have a heart change and a mind change,” says Walker. As for his sometimes notorious flock, the pastor says, ”church is not [only] for the righteous. It’s for the unrighteous and unholy to get answers. A person like Lil’ Kim — these are the ones who need to be in church.” Amen.