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- Genre: Hip Hop/Rap, Christian/Gospel, Christian Hip Hop, Christian Rap, Gospel, Hip Hop
Andrew Aaron "Andy" Mineo, formerly known as C-Lite, is an American Christian hip hop artist, producer, and TV and music video director from New York City. He is currently signed to Reach Records and in addition to his solo work is a member of that label's hip hop collective 116 Clique.
Originally from Syracuse, Mineo worked as a producer in high school at Henninger High School in Upstate New York, and joined the hip-hop group Fat Camp, signed to Syracuse University's Marshall Street Records. After moving to New York City, he realized his weak spiritual condition, re-dedicated his life to Christ and closed down his production studio in order to restart his career. He released his first mixtape Sin is Wack in 2009. After providing hook vocals for the song "Background" by Lecrae from the album Rehab, he collaborated with other rappers. In 2011, he released the single "In My City", featuring Efrain from Doubledge, that also gained him more attention. He appeared on the song "Reverse" by Tedashii from Blacklight. He signed to Reach Records in 2011 and abandoned his stage name "C-Lite" in favor of his legal name. Under this name he released another mixtape, Formerly Known. His full-length studio album, Heroes for Sale, was released on April 16, 2013. On January 28, 2014, he released an EP titled Never Land. His sophomore album,Uncomfortable, was released on September 18, 2015.
His video and television work includes his creation of "Saturday Morning Car-Tunez", a three season web series in which Mineo portrayed himself and remixed classic hip-hop songs, and his co-direction of several of his own music videos. As a producer, his work includes tracks from his self-releases "In My City", Formerly Known, Saturday Morning Car-Tunez, and Heroes for Sale. He also produced the single "Destiny" by Sheena Lee, in which he was a featured performer, and, along with rapper Derek Minor, aided DJ Official in producing "Power Trip" by Lecrae, featuring Andy Mineo, Derek Minor, and Sho Baraka, from the album Gravity. Gravity won the Best Gospel Album category in the 2013 Grammy Awards.
Mineo was raised in a single-parent home in Syracuse, New York. In the summer before entering the 8th grade, Mineo went to a Christian camp at which his sister worked as a counselor and was exposed to the Gospel and converted. However, after his conversion, Mineo went into high school with no Christian support, and he soon drifted away from his faith. While in high school, Mineo acquired recording equipment and started selling studio time out of his home. He had formed a friendship with Chris "Oxburg" Leonard, and the pair recorded a song together in 2001.
After graduating from The City College of New York (CCNY), Mineo, along with Leonard, joined a rap group called Fat Camp, which subsequently won a song contest for WJPZ-FM and signed to Syracuse University's Marshall Street Records. The group opened up for major acts such as Jadakiss, The Roots and Common, as well as members of the underground scene, such as Immortal Technique and Dead Prez, when said artists performed at the University. In 2006, the group recorded and released a studio album entitled The Food.
In his freshman year of college, Mineo met the producer Alex Medina and through him discovered the urban evangelism project T.R.U.C.E. After hearing the song "Price Tag" by Da' T.R.U.T.H., Mineo decided to close his studio and rededicate his life to Christ. He also left Fat Camp, which promptly dissolved.
Sin is Wack and collaborations (2009-2011)
Following the closure of his studio, Mineo went on tour with T.R.U.C.E. He released his first mixtape, Sin is Wack. Mineo explained in an interview that he came up with the concept of the "Sin is Wack" title through his work with T.R.U.C.E. Following this release, Mineo sang on the Lecrae song "Background" from Rehab in 2010 and "Reverse" from Blacklight by Tedashii in 2011. Mineo explained to Rapzilla "Background" was his first attempt at singing, and following the success of that song he received subsequent requests. The Christian Manifesto claimed that Mineo's hook for "Background" made Rehab one of the best Christian albums to date, and stated that Mineo became one of the most sought after artists, particularly for singing hooks. When asked about his recognition as a singer instead of an emcee, Mineo stated that "I enjoy making melodies," and said he wasn't too concerned about rapping when he supplied hooks for songs and was content with the opportunity to serve in any capacity. Mineo contributed to "Put On" from Captured by Flame and "The Reunion Cypha" on Stop the Funeral by The Ambassador. He released the single "In My City" in 2011 as part of the God in My City Movement prayer walk that Mineo was involved in. The song was reported by Rapzilla to become an "anthem for a lot of people."
With Reach Records (2011-present)
On July 28, 2011, at Legacy Conference 2011, Reach Records announced that Mineo had signed with the label. Upon signing with the label, Mineo abandoned the stage name C-Lite, stating that he "never really liked the name" and that his signing marked a good time to transition to his legal name. He released his debut mixtape on Reach Records, Formerly Known, on September 29, 2011.
In May 2012, Mineo launched a 4-episode web series entitled Saturday Morning Car-Tunez which featured him remixing classic hip-hop songs. The remixed songs were released as a free download. On July 17, Mineo performed alongside Lecrae at the Apple Store in SoHo, New York to promote Lecrae's 6th studio album, Gravity. In August, Mineo performed in the 2012 God Belongs in My City Concert tour with Anthony Shepherd & The Roar and Sheena Lee. He also headlined the 2012 Kingdom Choice Awards along with Swoope and Bizzle. From the month of October through November, Mineo toured as a member of the 116 Clique on the Unashamed 2012: Come Alive tour. On December 7–8, Mineo was a featured performer at the Kings Dream Conference, a launching of the Kings Dream label by the hip-hop group theBREAX.
On January 8, 2013, Mineo announced the release date for Heroes for Sale, April 16, 2013, and released the cover.
On January 1, 2014, Mineo announced season two of Saturday Morning Car-Tunez, which showed the making of Mineo's EP, Never Land, which he released on January 28, 2014. Never Land includes "You Can't Stop Me", "Never Land" and "Paisano's Wylin'".
On May 19, 2015, he released a single, "Lay Up", featuring New York native Wordsplayed and produced by Alex Medina and Tyshane. In the two weeks before that, he set up a way for fans to text him to receive a private link to the song on SoundCloud.
Andy Mineo revealed the art work for his second full-length album with Reach Records, Uncomfortable, on July 16, 2015. The album was released on September 18, 2015.
Andy Mineo married Christina Delgado on August 23, 2014, after their engagement that April. He lives in Washington Heights, and is close friends with his mentors Alex Medina and Rich Perez, who also are frequent artistic collaborators with Mineo. He was a pastor at Christ Crucified Fellowship, of which Perez is head pastor, but with the increasing success of his music career took on the role of deacon instead.