Rapper uses his art to fight addiction

    Chas Smith, Colicchie, performs to a group of hundreds of Huntington's recovering addicts Monday at Norway Avenue Church of Christ. (WCHS/WVAH)<p>{/p}

    Chas Smith, known by his rap name Colicchie, performed to a group of hundreds of Huntington’s recovering addicts Monday at the Norway Avenue Church of Christ, sending a message not often heard in hip-hop.

    “Above anything else - a message of hope,” Colicchie said, “to let people know that change is possible.”

    The Pittsburgh rapper exploded underground with his song “Drug Addiction,” which has hit 10 million views on YouTube since September. The song is seven minutes of verses covering his addiction to crack and heroin, and his ability to rise above it.

    “By talking about my story and talking about my past experiences, I was feeling freedom from it,” he said.

    Lifehouse Founder Rocky Meadows invited Colicchie to perform at The Movement, where recovering addicts lift each other up every Monday.

    Meadows said acts like Colicchie bring new faces to the celebration to hear the good word.

    “We started three years ago with 10 people and a river,” Meadows said. “Now here we are with over 300 coming out of addiction to hear the word of God.”

    Meadows baptized former addicts during the performance - a physical representation of the change they had made, and a change Colicchie said isn’t out of anyone’s grasp.

    “We don’t have to be trapped in our destructive thoughts. We just have to apply ourselves," Colicchie said.

    The Movement meets at 7:30 p.m. every Monday at the Norway Avenue Church of Christ, and Meadows said everyone is welcome.

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