Hey, guys, how's everything?
Great! God is good, benevolent, kind, merciful, the list goes on!
We know that one of the most exciting things going on with you is the release of your debut CD, Everyday Process: The Process of Illumination and Elimination. I want you to know, I thought this CD was bangin' from start to end. Overall, how do you feel about the finished product?
Thanks! We're thrilled that heads are feelin' it. All glory to the MOST HIGH! We feel great about it. We feel honored and privileged that the LORD has entrusted His priceless and timeless message of the gospel of Christ to us. We are privileged that CMR has invested sooooo much into some young kats they have been discipling over the years. We think the music is God-honoring, Christcentric (just like the DC crew and our fam...no pun intended), and relevent in terms of artistry, sonic quality, and content. Christ as well as the scripture is always relevent...people just don't see it though. They are blind. So we feel the music we have released this go around is full of culturally relevance that points to the truths of God.
Would you re-state for our readers what the purpose of this project was?
Simply to illuminate the unbeliever with the light of Christ. John 3:16-21, John 1:1-9, and many more sections of the scriptures expound on this. We want people to see their need for a savior. Also to illuminate some believers in terms of getting to know their God better. So we're shedding light on several things throughout the project relating to the life of believers and followers of Christ. The struggles, the mandate, the call, purpose, the hope we have, and more. Illumination! We also wanted to focus on the concept of elimination for the believer and the unbeliever. For the believer...to learn to Kill Sin like timothy brindle so eloquently put it and to learn to hate what God hates. This brings about a "process" of eliminating things in our lives and walk that hinder us and would stand in teh way of us looking more like Christ. For the unbeliever...to recognize and ponder on John 14:6. There is NO other way to the Father except through Jesus Christ. this brings about a "process" seeing Jesus for who He really is...man's only means of salvation and redemption!
Since evanglizing the lost is something I know you find biblically relevant to your own lives, please tell us what you have planned in terms of getting this amazing artestry and important content out to folks who don't yet believe the Gospel?
One strategy we want to use is partnering with the Christian consumer. For them to buy not just one cd for themselves, but to buy one for an unbeliever they know as well. This is why we have intentionally placed evangelistic songs directed to the unbeliever on the album. We also love using the means of the classic hip hop "mixtape". this can be good for urban street level minstry. Hittin up the block and the corners and choppin' it up with kats. Then there is the age old method...justy be a witness however you can and where ever you are. Music and hip hop and cd's are not the only way to reach people. Ministry and reaching out to the lost is not just for when you are in the booth or on the stage...it's in everyday life. At work, at school, at the market, on vacation, or whatever. We must preach the gospel verbally as well as with our lifestyles all the time. We should never be punching out on our "Christianity clock". We are also planning to do some more ventures in the city we are based out of...Chester, PA. We have a heart, burden, and passion for the people there.
What are your favorite songs on the project and why?
Ha! All of them. For real though...each of the songs have their own feel and are unique. I guess it just depends on the "mood" we're in or what we're focused on or consumed with at the moment. If we are feelin "hit the block-ish", then we might throw on "Resist the System". If we are encouraging the body and reminding them of their duty and mandate from God, we might throw on "Give 'em the Gospel". It just depends on varying factors. We like all of the songs!
We know that you're signed to Cross Movement Records. How excited are you about this? How has the affiliation proved valuable thus far?
The affiliation is great! but many heads don't know about the history between EP and CM/CMR fam. they didn't just come see us at some show and was like, "OOOHH! They can spit a lil' bit. And they love Christ! Let's scoop 'em!" Nahh. CM and the surrounding fam have discipled us and been in our lives for YEARS. I (Iz-Real) have known them since about 9 or 10 years old before there was even the formation of the crew "Cross Movement". I (Mac) first heard them when I was a freshman in collage. my boy CZ put me on to them. I found myslef being taught more about the scriptures and the truths of God by their cd's moreso than in church! I found out that CM was based in my area. i started going to a ton of their shows. Ha! if it was within like a 4 hour drive...i was there. They started joking about how I must have a home in each of these cities because I was at all of theses shows! we just eventually developed relationship. We have experienced countless Bible studies in TRU-LIFE's house and other places. We spent months and even a couple of years being schooled on particular books of the Bible. No exaderation. Phanatik and Tone Bruno and other CM heads took us through studying the book of Proverbs over like a period of 2 years! One book...hittin it in depth...for 2 years!!! So we are indebted to these kats for any type of spiritual maturity we may have gained. So for us...the albums, beats, rhymes, and all that is just a plus. So the CMR affiliation is great...BUT the family atmosphere and bond between kats is even better!
Your CD is clearly aimed at both the Body of Christ and folks who don't yet know the Lord. If you only had one thing to say to each camp, what would it be?
Oooh! Well....to the Body of Christ, we'd say to always shine the light of Christ in this culture and never give in. Do this by prayer and diggin in the Bible for sustenance. This helps the believer to remember the hope that they have, what they have been saved from, and to be constantly reminded of the wonder and beauty and grandeur of the Christ! To the unbeliever, to remember the vanity and meaninglessness and brevity of this life, and to strive to get an ACCURATE look at Jesus and what He offers.
I must say, guys, you two make a dangerous team. How did you two get together?
Thanks. We go back in various ways. We met through Iz-Real's wife (then girlfriend) in the mid/late 90's and really didn't start off on the good foot. I (Mac) was trying to be the big brother protecting his sister in the LORD and didn't want her dating dudes I didn't know. We eventually found out that we did the same thing. Trying to use rap as a tool and method to reach kats. So we eventually teamed up. Around the same time we found out that Mac knew my (Iz-Real) dad. They worked out together. So...our family's have been connected for years.
Mac, your skills as both a lyricist and a producer are solid as evidenced by this album. Which task do you prefer and why?
Much appreciated! Well...I'm torn. I love both. TRU-LIFE discipled me on the beat tip. Took a young dude under his wing and didn't withold any knowledge from me. That's my mans! Cleve Foat aka Earthquake was also instrumental in schooling me. Trust me...those dudes are beasts on the beats and kats still (to this day) haven't heard all the heat from them. They got archives of hotness that many have and may never hear. They should drop a beat album. I love to write as well so I must say that I love them equally. Both tasks provide unique opportunities. When I'm doing a beat and the artist FEELS it...then I get to serve as the launching pad. It's like the LORD uses the work of my mind and hands to inspire the artist to rep Christ! Amazing! They'll say "Mac...you brought it out of me on that jawn!" I'm honored and humbled at the same time! When I have the pen in my hand...I feel like I'm given power. While the world pushes their propaganda (most of it is meaningless and pointless), I get to push the message of the cross. Sometimes I'm in beat mode...other times I'm in in rhyme mode. Either way and in either one...always gotta shine the light. that would be Lampmode! Ha! Whatup Esso!
It's apparent to me that you guys grind with the Lord on a regular basis. The content on the album shows this. Our readers my be interested in how the Lord has been rockin' you lately in His Word and in life in general.
Right now, we are big on wholistic Christianity! Balance. It's like...we can't stay locked down in our house readin the scriptures and prayin, but not go out and live it! At the same time...we can't be out all the time and never spend time gettin it in with the LORD in prayer and in the scriptures in community as well as alone. many things in the Christian life must be balanced or else we can easily lose focus. We are also big on family. We're both married and Iz-Real and his wife have been been blessed with a beautiful daughter, and I (Mac) and my wife are expecting our first child...a boy in about one month. A Godly life in the context of family is important as well. We're also big on discipleship as well as close knit community in the local church, and active service in and through that local church. This keeps the believer accountable to God and to the Body of Christ.
Mac, I spoke with you at the last First Fridays, but I was interested in knowing which local fellowship you both attend and how important it is to your lives.
Iz-Real: I attend the Way Thru Christ Ministry located in Chester, PA. Mac: I attend a Calvary Chapel (Delaware County) located in Media, PA....transitioning to a new church plant called Epiphany Fellowship located in Philly. We both see our local church body and community as HIGHLY NECESSARY and VITAL. The Christian life was MEANT to be lived out in COMMUNITY!!!
You guys are both very blessed to live in an area a lot of others envy in terms of the density of like-minded Christians who enjoy hip hop. What good things do you see going on in the Christian Hip Hop community?
We agree...HOWEVER...it took sacrifice and dedication on someone's part. CM was dedicated and faithful and the LORD honored them with a movement in this area. With the LORD involved and if He sees fit...a movement can take place anywhere the believer is. Look at Dallas and St. Louis and Tampa and the Baltimore/DC areas. There's a ton of great things going on in the HHH community....however....we must remain focused on the main thing...Christ. I see spiritual growth an maturity as well as artistic growth. we need to keep that going. We are seeing plenty of solid wholistic Christianity and discipleship. That needs to keep happening and can always happen more.
What future plans can you guys share in terms of hip hop and ministry?
An album release party on Saturday April 14, 2007 in Chester, PA. (just south of Philly) featuring Cross Movement, deejay essence, R-Swift, B Morr, and more. Also....A CMR HIStory Tour this summer! LORD willing....that should be God-honoring, Christcentric and simply BANGIN'! EP is planning to do Truth or Lie volume II mixtape cd for strictly evangelistic purposes. we are just seeking to remain faithful the LORD and to relay on Him for everything. We're just submitted to living this life in a God glorifying manner so the lORD will get His due props and continue to go through this "everyday process" of being made more like Christ.
Any last words you'd like to leave with Rapzilla visitors?
Strive to be mindful of the wonder and awesomeness of God. How great He really is. Se Him like he should be seen. He'll blow ya mind everyday all day! Holiness first til' we're under the earth!
Thanks for your time, guys. God bless you in all you do.
Likewise sis. Grace and peace!