Gospel is coming into a new era, attracting younger listeners than it ever did before. Artists such as Kirk Franklin, Mary Mary and Tye Tribbett include hip-hop beats on their tracks, winning over a much younger crowd. Urban gospel artist Paul Coles, aka Paradigm, aims to do the same, including rap in his recently released gospel album, ‘No Gr8ter Love Reloaded.’
Born and raised in Jamaica, Paradigm is the youngest of three siblings. As well as a singer, he was a devoted athlete from the ages of 7 to 21, and grew up in a home environment that emphasized giving back to the community.
“I was raised in a home that values giving back and serving the community through our gifts and talents,” he said. “As children we would often do talent shows and travel to different churches to sing and share the gospel.”
Paradigm’s music career began at the age of 20. He uses rap as a way to help spread the word of God to his audience. His powerful voice and dynamic sound makes him appealing to churchgoers and other fans alike.
“You don’t have to be a Christian to appreciate this album,” one reviewer said on Amazon. “You can rock out, turn up the bass in your car and just roll.”
But, the writer said, it’s clear that Paradigm’s heart is in the gospel.
“I strive to bring people closer to God through my music” the artist said. “The purpose of my ministry is to present the heart of God and his redemptive power by using rap as a tool to win souls.”
Paradigm plays piano fevery Sunday at his church, New Lyfe International Ministries in Hempstead, LI, where his parents, Lawrence and Dawn Coles, are the pastors. He is a minister there and the music director.
He released his “resurrection album,” “No Gr8ter Love Reloaded,” after a three-year hiatus that included his marriage to his wife, Natasha Irene Coles, and the birth of their son, Paul Asa Coles Jr.
Paradigm cites as his musical inspirations fellow Christian rapper Lecrae and his Reach Records team, as well as Da Truth, who was the first rap artist he saw perform who evoked the spirit of God through his music.
“The last person who played a role in my music is Da Truth,” Paradigm said. “He was the first rapper that I have experienced in a live concert setting that I truly felt the anointing of God flow through his music.”
Paradigm draws from his life and the struggles he has gone through as an inspiration for the music he writes. He hopes his words may provide encouragement for people who are still trying to get through similar situations.
In his song “Walking” he says, “So stand here today to say I’m grateful; things may seem dead and lost but God’s able.”
“No Gr8ter Love Reloaded” includes material that Paradigm and fellow recording artist Naomi Raine wrote together. The album also has a song featuring an up-and-coming rapper named Army.
Outside of his music career as Paradigm, Coles works full time at the Board of Elections for Nassau County. His job is to maintain voter profiles, keeping updated records of people’s histories that include DMV applications, changes of address and changes in party.
Due to his full-time position at the Board of Elections, Paradigm performs his music mostly on the weekends, as when he plays at the church in Hempstead.
Paradigm’s music can be found at sites including Amazon, iTunes and Google Play, and he also has a Facebook page.