Using Rap Music to Spread Kindness

By Isabella Schneider

Wesley Bell, better known by his stage name, “West Hook”  has grown up around music. His father is an artist who sings at their church, his sister plays the violin, and throughout middle school and high school, he was in the school’s jazz and concert band. But what he grew up doing, isn’t what he ended up doing. 

Midway through high school, he discovered the song “All I Need is Youby LeCrae and fell in love with the world of Christian rap. After hearing that song for the first time, Hook researched LeCrae’s songs and label to better understand the Christian rap genre. 

“I started to see that there are people like me who are Christian, and who are also cool and like to use their voice in a totally different way from the standard worship music that you hear, just from contemporary Christian music,” Hook said. “I can be an influence through rap and hip hop.”

Hook decided to use his voice and his passion for music to create his own rap music, and began producing songs under the name “West Hook.” He said that since he started creating music, he’s been able to use it as an outlet to help himself through tough times. 

He chose the name West Hook because he’s grown up on the West Coast, both in Washington and Phoenix, and because the bible says to hook people into the gospel. 

Despite his upbringing around music, none of Hook’s friends or family were interested in rap. So, he had to teach himself. 

“I didn’t know anybody that was really doing it,” Hook said. “Especially in Phoenix, there’s not a huge Christian Rap community, or at least not one that’s prevalent in that scene.” 

Because of the small community, Hook had to teach himself all there was to know about Christian rap and rapping in general. He learned through reading books and watching YouTube videos. 

Being self-taught came with many challenges, and Hook said he looks back at old songs and often thinks about changes he would like to make. The largest challenge he has faced has been growing his audience because the Christian rap community in Phoenix is so small. 

After Hook developed his sound and felt confident in his skills, he said he reached out for help outside of the Phoenix community. For example, he produced, wrote, and recorded a song called “Pray For My Dream” with an artist by the name of Dre Murray.

“That song is definitely one that I look back on and smile about because I always think how crazy it is that I was listening to his music, hoping to make songs like him, to know him wanting to be on one of my songs that I completely made myself,” Hook said. “ It is definitely a super special and dope song, and one that is a favorite among listeners.” 

Even though he faces challenges, Hook said he’s inspired to keep creating because of his mom and dad. His mom inspires his faith, and he strives to show the same faith that she has in his music. He said his dad is one of the hardest working people he knows, and he believes that if his dad could achieve his dreams, then so can he. 

He is also able to push through rough patches through his own faith. 

“There are times as an artist, where I really do feel bogged down like I’m not getting any listeners, I’m not popping, I’m not getting to the place that I want,” Hook said. “I know that it’ll take work on my part but also it may take time, and I’m fine with the slow-cooked approach to things.”

Ultimately, Hook’s main goal is to share the messages of love and kindness through his music. He said that although he discusses his own faith in some songs, a lot of his music is focused on caring towards others, and not spreading faith. So, he said his music is for all audiences, not just those of the Christian faith. 

“I want my music to spread that lighter message and I want to appeal to all audiences,” Hook said. “If you’re not Christian and you listen to my music then that means I’m doing a good job of spreading those messages. I’m just making music on what I believe.”

In his future, he hopes to collaborate with more established Christian rappers on songs. He also has plans to release a mixtape, an EP, and numerous singles. 

Overall, he said he would like to brand himself and get to a point where he is happy with his success. 

“I’m satisfied with the music I’m putting out now, but I always want to be better, and always seek more,” Hook said. “I’m just gonna be happy if I continue to be myself, but I obviously want more people to listen.”

“I’m satisfied with the music I’m putting out now, but I always want to be better, and always seek more,” Hook said. “I’m just gonna be happy if I continue to be myself, but I obviously want more people to listen.”


What’s your favorite West Hook song? Let us know on Instagram and Twitter or leave a comment!

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