Utah's own world-famous rapper Flexx said he changed his tune when he was 17.
"I was really into hip-hop and rap," said Flexx, now 30. "But I was saved at church and decided to devote my rapping to God."
When Flexx decided to use his rapping for positive things, his grandmother — the late Dr. Rosemary Redmon Cosby — told him that was his calling in life.
"I took her advice and started getting on with what I wanted to do," Flexx said. "There are so many negative things in life that people rap about. I wanted to find the good things."
Flexx will perform a benefit concert called "Save the Youth" in the West High School auditorium on Saturday, Dec. 9. The music will begin at 7 p.m. Tickets are $13 and $15 at the door. Students with a valid ID will receive a $2 discount. Tickets may also be purchased by calling 486-8334 or 466-3840, or at Mama's Gospel Records & Tapes, 1465 S. State Street, Suite 3. Also appearing on stage will be the Gospel of Dance Company.
Flexx, born Adrian Jefferson, eventually got a deal with Sony and recorded the album "So Real." The album captured the ears of the Stellar Award committee, which nominated it for the best Gospel Rap Artist in 1997.
"That was a good experience for me," Flexx said. "But I knew if I wanted to keep this up, I'd have to get to the next album."
Flexx had some disagreements with Sony about the direction of the follow-up album. "I decided things weren't right, so I held on to the album. That's when things began to change."
This time around, Flexx is backed by MIG Entertainment, which released the new album "Hiding Place." "The album was suppose to be released in 1999. But I'm glad I held on to it when I did. Now things are working out real well."
Flexx, who attended Clayton Junior High School, East High School and Highland High before moving to Indiana for a spell, is living in Salt Lake City again.
He said he has high hopes for the new album. "I want to be able to touch everyone I can with it. My last album did real well, and it was something to talk to people all over the country who knew who I was and what I was doing.
"People in Washington and Oklahoma told me they had my album and liked the positive message I was doing. And my thought is, if I can reach one person and change that person's life, then my ministry is successful."