rebelling against low expectations

JoJo Rock, Age 9: Rapping for Compassion International


Thanks to a tip from Caroline on our Facebook page we came across the remarkable campaign of a nine-year-old, Australian rap artist named JoJo. What a great example of using your gifts to help others, regardless of age. The following bio is adapted from his website:

JoJo is a typical 9 year old boy, but with a very compassionate heart. He has 3 other brothers all under the age of 5.

JoJo’s parents realized the only way to stay sane on long trips to church was to play the boys rap music. After a while that wasn’t enough so they started free style rap competitions where the boys had to make up the words to the songs on the spot. This was challenging for the young boys, but it did the trick and filled the car with laughter instead of whining.

JoJo’s parents noticed JoJo was quite good at rapping, so they encouraged him. One day JoJo decided he wanted to be a rapper and with the help of his dad recorded his first rap song Throw Ya Hands using Garageband in their garage.

In April 2011, at 7 years old JoJo released this first rap song Throw Ya Hands. JoJo decided to give the song away to raise money to sponsor 1 child for 1 year through Compassion.

He raised the money within 2 weeks and was interviewed on Hope 103.2FM in the process. His sponsored child is Charles.

JoJo then went back to the garage to record his next song “Lift Your Praise” to raise more money. A home made music video was also created featuring JoJo’s brothers, who are affectionately known as the “J Brothers”, because all their names start with the letter “J.”

JoJo’s dad asked some friends to help with the next song “Oh Holy Night.” Even though it was only 4 weeks before Christmas the friends agreed and within 2 weeks they had recorded the new song and created a music video.

The song was released on the evening of Tuesday 13th December 2011. Within 2 days it had received over 1,400 views on YouTube and now has over 20,800 views. JoJo was interviewed on 7 radio stations over the next 7 days. He also performed Oh Holy Night live with Sarah Otto 4 times that weekend, in a Christmas spectacular to over 2,400 people. You can watch the music video below:

During 2012 JoJo has refined his skills as a performer. He has appeared and spread his message of child sponsorship on over 30 stages throughout the year. Everywhere he raps people are amazed at his passion, stage presence, conviction and confidence at such a young age.

Not bad for a 9 year old. It just goes to show, you are never too young or old to make a difference.

Just last month (in March of 2013) JoJo collaborated with Ozzy from The Sowers Group to release their version of Amazing Grace. This song is very significant to JoJo as Ozzy is a former Compassion child. Until he met Ozzy JoJo had never met a Compassion child before. JoJo was moved when he heard Ozzy’s story of how Compassion helped him overcome poverty.

They instantly became good friends and decided to record this song. Amazing Grace is a song of hope and unconditional favor. The same gifts Compassion sponsors give to their sponsor children they have never met.

This song means so much to JoJo and is a continuation in his theme to inspire people of all ages to change the life of one child through child sponsorship.

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About the author

Alex and Brett Harris

are the co-founders of and co-authors of Do Hard Things and Start Here. They have a passion for God and for their generation. Their personal interests include politics, filmmaking, music, and basketball. They are both graduates of Patrick Henry College in Purcellville, Virginia.


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  • 1 Timothy 4:12 , 14a, 15-16
    Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity. Do not neglect your gift, which was given you…. Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. Watch your life and doctrine closely, because if you do you will save both yourself and your hearers.

    James 2:14-18
    What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
    But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.”
    Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.

    JoJo’s story is truly inspiring and motivating, not just to sponsor a child, but to go and make an effort to make changes. Take up a cause, be compassionate, graceful, merciful, and so much else. I love the song by Josh Wilson, called I Refuse. The chorus has always struck me, for it tells so much truth: I refuse to sit around and wait for someone else to do what God has called me to do myself, Oh I could choose, Not to move, BUT I REFUSE!
    It’s beautiful when young people take up a cause or burden and just run with it, using their gifts or talents and giving God the glory.

rebelling against low expectations

The Rebelution is a teenage rebellion against low expectations—a worldwide campaign to reject apathy, embrace responsibility, and do hard things. Learn More →