What’s your thought process when entering a competition?
Honestly, I normally don’t do competitions. But if I do, I approach them with the same focus and intensity that I would have if I were to be featured on a song with a top tier lyrical artist like a Andy Mineo, Jackie Hill Perry, Royce da 5’9 or J Cole.
There’s no time for wasted barz or wasted moments. I always approach things with the mindset that everyone in the competition is 100 times better than me. When I think like that it forces me to bring my A game every time.
Was this the first competition you’ve entered and won?
Naw, not really. I’ve been in couple of battle of the band type of events and I’ve been in competitive rap battles on the radio in the past even though I’m not a battle rapper. I enjoyed it because it challenged me to be better at my craft.
Where are you from?
I’m from the Eastside of Detroit, Michigan born and raised. I have the heart of a Detroiter and a Michigander. We persevere and don’t give up!
Describe your upbringing?
I grew up in a single family home raised by my mom, aunt and late grandmother. I never met my dad until I became an adult. Even though I was given a bible as a child and taught to pray before meals and before bed, my home wasn’t a Christian home.
God existed to me and that was the extent of my relationship with him. I felt that as long as I was a good person me and God were good. I caused a lot of problems growing up and my mom would always threaten to have me locked up in Juve if I didn’t change my behavior. I didn’t know it at the time but I was just a hurt kid looking for identity and acceptance.
How did you come to Christ, (your salvation story)?
It was crazy! I felt like I came face to face with the man that I had become and the sin I was in and I was disgusted by that person. I didn’t like myself or my sins and I knew that I couldn’t continue living life that way.
I started working a new job and one of the supervisors who was also a rapper told me about everything that God was doing in his life. He shared his ups and downs in life with me and challenged me to give my broken life to Jesus.
I started attending church with him and we started having bible study in the office at work. The Holy Spirit was slowly drawing me to God. It was a New Years Eve service where I surrendered my life and started following Jesus.
That New Years Eve was really significant for me because it was the first New Years Eve I spent in a church and not at the club either high or drunk looking for the cutest girl to go home with. A couple months after that I was baptized and the rest is history. God is good!
What was your first introduction to music?
Music was always around me when I was growing up. I remember being a little kid hearing my mom play Kenny G and Paul Hardcastle jazz music. My aunt would play George Michael songs or gospel music.
I guess you can say that my household was pretty unique. When I got introduced to hip hop music everything changed. It not only sounded good but I could identify and relate to it. It became the soundtrack to my life.
How did u get into Chh?
The Ambassador and Da T.R.U.T.H. were my first introductions to CHH. Before that the closest I got to any kind of Christian rap was Kanye West Jesus Walks.
How long have you been a Chh artist/Producer?
As a Christian I’ve been rapping since 2006 but I never released anything commercially until 2009. I don’t necessarily consider myself a straight up chh artist just because I don’t feel that my music really fits in with the genre as a whole. I’m kind of in my own lane and I have always been.
It has nothing to do with the title Christian rapper or saying the name Jesus but its more about the expectations that come with being a straight up chh artist. I don’t ever want to conform and say or not say something just because I’m a part of a particular group or genre.
I have tons of friends who are apart of chh so my ties and connections are strong. I love chh and I am a fan of so many chh artist. I’m just a little different with my approach and in how I do things.
As far as producing, I’m new to it and I’m still developing my ear. I try to explain to people that producers can be beat makers but the two are not necessarily the same. A producer is in the studio with the artist and they oversee the creative direction of a song and or project.
Producers know the strengths of an artist and they bring out the best in that artist. Beat makers just make beats and are not involved in the creative process of the song after the beat is sold. I don’t make beats but I can produce.
When did you know you were called to change lives for God in your music?
When I became a Christian it was a no brainer for me. Overall I don’t consider my songs to be super overt but anyone who listens to my music close enough will know where I stand and what I believe. I don’t hide anything!
Tell us about the new album/EP? Upcoming Project?
Yeah, I have a mixtape that just came out a few months ago called “Boom Bap Soul”. Even though it’s a mixtape it flows and connects from song to song just like an album. It doesn’t sound or feel unfinished like many mixtapes that get released.
The idea was to take the gritty but soulful sound found in boom bap beats and be lyrical and creative with the content while at the same time have a commercial sound and appeal. Trap music is lit and l love it but the game needed some boom bap to switch things up. I took a classic sound and infused it with current sounds creating a new wave.
Tell us about the single or latest single?
My latest single is “It’s OK” which is featured on my mixtape “Boom Bap Soul”. It was produced by Dreamlife beats.
The concept of the song is about being yourself and who you were created to be. People hide behind an image too much instead of just being real and being themselves. I just recently shot a music video for it that was directed by Maturity Productions. The video will be out soon. It’s super lit! It brings out the concept of the song perfectly.
What do you hope people will get out of your music and upcoming projects?
This might sound strange because I’m a believer but my music is not the in your face, turn from sin, you need Jesus kind of music. I’m not throwing shade at anybody who does it that way but for the most part, you won’t get that sound from me.
I save the more direct approach for some of the one on one conversations I have or if I get to preach the word. Music is the one thing that usually brings people together and they are entertained by it. In the midst of being entertained, I want my music to plant seeds and spark deeper conversations with people. I am very open in my songs and on my projects. I talk a lot about my faith, personal struggles as well as social issues.
My hope is that people will begin to think deeper and more critical about life and God. Although God can make it happen, I’m not really expecting anyone to fall down, repent and get saved from hearing my music. What I do expect is for their eyes to be opened.
I want people to have their perspectives challenged after hearing my music. My aim is to get peoples attention and plant seeds while they are being entertained because at the end of the day it’s still entertainment.
What is your best advice for this generation?
My advice to this generation is to not wear the labels that people try to put on you. It seems like we listen to everyone else’s definition of who we are except God’s. He has already defined us and gave us a purpose. Our part is to follow Him so we can become His definition for us and live out that purpose.
What’s next for you ( tour dates, new releases, etc).
I’m always thinking 10 steps ahead of where I am right now. You can expect more music from me later this year/ early next year. I’ll be doing a ton of shows to continue promoting the mixtape “Boom Bap Soul”.
I also have a couple of artist releasing projects this year that I am executive producing for under my brand CF Entertainment so be one the lookout for that.
How can you be contacted for booking and collaboration?
People can book me for events or collaborations by visiting notyouraveragerapper.com or by emailing me at [email protected]
On your longest day and hardest battle, what scripture do you find strength in?
I find strength in a lot of scriptures but If I had to narrow it down it would be Job 19:25-27 and John 17:20-26.
There is nothing more comforting than to know that the trials we face and the division that we unfortunately experience won’t last forever. If we believe in Christ we will physically be in his presence. If we focus on the mission that Jesus left us then we will have unity amongst believers.
“For I know that my Redeemer lives, And He shall stand at last on the earth; And after my skin is destroyed, this I know, That in my flesh I shall see God, Whom I shall see for myself, And my eyes shall behold, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!” Job 19:25-27 NKJV
““I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me. “Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father! The world has not known You, but I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me. And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.” John 17:20-26 NKJV