In the KKLA radio studio, 29-year-old host Reyna Day and four others stand in a circle, holding hands and praying: "I ask that this reach the people who think they're alone," Day said.
Day, with wooden cross earrings dangling from her ears, then moves behind one of the Dell computers as the theme music by Christian hip-hop artist Fuego plays, signaling the start of KING FM, the first and only radio show in Los Angeles devoted to gospel rap.
A map of the city hangs on the wall behind Day, where most of the few thousand KING FM listeners live. The listener demographics vary: Day receives fan responses from middle-aged housewives in the suburbs to youths who tune in from the inner-city.
"I've gotten a lot of people who have called or emailed letting me know that they've been waiting for this type of music to play," Day said. "There's a lot of people hungry for the Word. We're just not putting it in a way that they need to hear it."
Day first heard gospel rap a few days after she was released from juvenile hall at age 17, once authorities dropped her pending eight-year prison sentence for theft and assault. The genre wasn't as cheesy as she expected.
It was during her time in juvenile hall that Day first started contemplating her faith. An elderly volunteer approached her and asked in a shaky voice, "Baby, did you know that Jesus died for your sins?"
Day said the question reminded her of what she had learned in the Catholic church as a child. Then looking at the choices that led to her arrest, Day realized she didn't want to be apart from God any longer.
After she was released, Day lived in a girls' group home and consistently attended a church youth group. But as the years passed, Day returned to her old crowd, including the boyfriend who had influenced her to commit the crimes, and she fell away from God. She started skipping church and worked as a cocktail waitress at an Italian club, where she started smoking and drinking again. She felt her life had become meaningless.
That was until one day in 2008 when she was 26. Day was folding her clothes as her 3-year-old daughter slept in the next room. Suddenly, Day said she felt the room become still.
Day said she saw a vision of a tall broadcast tower with the letters K-I-N-G on top in flames. She said she heard God say to her: "You're going to play gospel hip-hop in LA and let my people know they're not alone."
Day remembers thinking that she had gone crazy. She had never been interested in ministry and hadn't listened to gospel rap in years.
Still, she decided to type in "Christian hip-hop" into the online radio Pandora. The first song that played was called "Inexhaustible" by Southern artist Trip Lee. The song mixed sound theology with a well-produced beat. As Day listened, the idea seemed less and less absurd. She began crying.
"I was just like, 'Alright Lord, I don't know how this is going to happen, but I am willing to be used,'" Day said.
Six months later, KKLA, an all-talk Christian station in LA, agreed to broadcast her show after listening to the demo, which kicked off with Trip Lee's "Inexhaustible."
Many of the listeners of Day's 30-minute radio program, which she aptly named KING FM, can relate to Day's story: "It's evident that I've been through some of the darkest situations. They see, 'OK, if she made it out, then I can make it out.'"
In the past few years, Day - who is now married with a second child - has interviewed national artists like Lecrae and FLAME, and featured local artists like Young Chozen and Tha Mic. Still, the show had to take about a year off because of financial difficulties.
"Since it's such a new sound to LA, it's taken longer for these investors to go, 'OK, this really has a following,'" Day said.
While gospel hip-hop has flourished in the South and the East Coast in the last few years, the West Coast - and LA especially - has trailed behind. Only a few recording gospel rappers have come out of LA in the last few years and almost all of them are underground. Which, Day said, is frustrating, because it means she has to really dig to find new artists.
Day blames the vanity of Hollywood for the area's slow progression to embrace gospel rap.
"[In LA,] it's very much about feeling good, looking good … and Jesus just totally comes in and changes that. [He makes it] about others and that's not really the culture of LA. The culture of LA is 'gotta get mine,'" Day said.
Still, Day believes that things are changing and the genre is growing.
"LA is really the last people to get it, and I really see God doing it now. It's time."