DC Talk

DC Talk is a Grammy-winning Christian music trio. The group formed in Lynchburg, Virginia around 1988, consisting of Toby McKeehan, Michael Tait, and Kevin Max Smith. They have released five major studio albums together: DC Talk (1989), Nu Thang (1990), Free at Last (1992), Jesus Freak (1995), and Supernatural (1998). The group is considered by many to be the most popular Christian act of all time.

In 2000, the group released an EP titled Solo which contained two solo songs from each member. Since that time, DC Talk has been on an indefinite hiatus, and the three band members have each led solo careers. They have performed and recorded individual songs together several times during the 2000s, although the group never officially reunited.

The group’s musical style evolved significantly throughout their career. Their first two releases, DC Talk and Nu Thang, were of the rap/hip hop genre. DC Talk’s third album, Free at Last, also mainly took influence from the hip hop style, although their music began taking on a rock sound. The trio’s last two albums, Jesus Freak and Supernatural, were predominantly pop rock.

Formation

“DC Talk” was a nickname that Toby Michael McKeehan, later “TobyMac”, (1964- ), who was born in Falls Church, Virginia, was given for being from the Washington D.C., area.  While attending Liberty University, McKeehan met Michael DeWayne Tait (1966- ), and the two began to perform together. Tait had been featured singing on Jerry Falwell’s The Old Time Gospel Hour and recorded with the Falwell Singers.  He also performed solo, what TobyMac later described his “kind of an R&B / church-oriented music.”

The two joined forces to record a song that McKeehan had written, “Heavenbound”.  They performed the song before an audience of 8,000 Liberty students with McKeehan rapping and Tait singing the chorus.  The song was well received, selling out the approximately 3,000 copies of their demo tape, Christian Rhymes to a Rhythm. The tape included “Heavenbound” and was distributed by the group in the Washington D.C. area.   The group’s demo tape eventually led to a recording contract with Forefront Records in 1988.   Kevin Max Smith, later “Kevin Max”, (1967- ) came from a campus rock band to join the group,  and the trio called themselves “DC Talk and the One Way Crew”.  The name was later simplified to “DC Talk”, which came to stand for “decent Christian talk”.

Group members

  • Toby McKeehan
  • Michael Tait
  • Kevin Max
Band
  • Jason Halbert – keyboard, organ
  • Otto Price – bass
  • Mark Townsend – guitar
  • Brent Barcus – guitar
  • Will Denton – drums
  • Marvin Sims – percussion
  • GRITS – Choreography

Discography

Studio Albums

  • 1988: Christian Rhymes to a Rhythm (independent)
  • 1989: DC Talk (Forefront)
  • 1990: Nu Thang (Forefront)
  • 1992: Free at Last (Forefront)
  • 1995: Jesus Freak (Forefront)
  • 1998: Supernatural (Virgin)
  • 2000: Intermission (Virgin)
  • 2001: Solo (Forefront)

Bibliography

  • Jesus Freaks (1999)
  • Live Like a Jesus Freak (2001)
  • Jesus Freaks Volume II: Stories of Revolutionaries Who Changed Their World Fearing God, Not Man (2002)
  • Jesus Freaks: Revolutionaries (2005)
  • Jesus Freaks: Martyrs (2005)

Awards

Grammy Awards
  • 1994: Free at Last – Best Rock Gospel Album
  • 1997: Jesus Freak – Best Rock Gospel Album
  • 1998: Welcome to the Freak Show – Best Rock Gospel Album
  • 2002: Solo – Best Rock Gospel Album
GMA Dove Awards 
  • 1991: Nu Thang – Rap/Hip-Hop album of the Year
  • 1992: “I Luv Rap Music” – Rap/Hip-Hop Recorded Song of the Year
  • 1992: Rap, Rock & Soul – Long Form Music Video of the Year
  • 1993: “Can I Get a Witness?” – Rap/Hip-Hop Recorded Song of the Year
  • 1994: “Jesus Is Just Alright” – Rock Recorded Song of the Year
  • 1994: “Socially Acceptable” – Rap/Hip-Hop Recorded Song of the Year
  • 1995: “Luv Is a Verb” – Rap/Hip-Hop Recorded Song of the Year
  • 1996: Artist of the Year
  • 1996: “Jesus Freak” – Rock Recorded Song of the Year
  • 1996: “Jesus Freak” – Song of the Year
  • 1997: “Between You and Me” – Pop/Contemporary Recorded Song of the Year
  • 1997: “Like It, Love It, Need It” – Rock Recorded Song of the Year
  • 1997: “Jesus Freak” – Short Form Music Video of the Year
  • 1997: “Jesus Freak” – Rock Album of the Year 
  • 1998: “Colored People” – Short Form Music Video of the Year
  • 1999: Exodus – Special Event Album of the Year
  • 2000: The Supernatural Experience – Long Form Music Video of the Year
  • 2001: “Dive” – Modern Rock Recorded Song of the Year

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