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Trailblaza had a talk on the phone with Flame about his latest album "Our World Fallen" and his upcoming album "Our World Redeemed."

What was your inspiration for this project? Why'd you decide to do a 2 album project covering the fall & its redemption?
It was a couple different things. One of them was this underlying division in the Christian hip-hop world where people feel like some artists rap for the world and some artists rap for the church; so I wanted to do two projects with one being evangelistic and not as heavy, and then the other one could be theological and teaching. That was the first piece of my inspiration. The second came from wanting to do a story just to do something different. The story that inspired the album was the conversation that I had with this dude in my neighborhood, just sharing the faith and I had the chance to ask him a couple questions about the gospel. He looked real puzzled and I asked him if he had heard of Adam and Eve before, and he was like, “nah.” So I knew I needed to do an album that was in laymen’s terms just explaining the situation of the fall and why the world is the way it is, and then the redemption and what the Father and Holy Spirit are doing to redeem humanity.

What was your biggest challenge in putting this project together?
The biggest challenge was creatively to still be consistent with the story and still teach a little bit. I wanted to be able to explain things in laymen’s terms, but not lose the creative aspect. So keeping all of those things in my mind was probably the most challenging part. I had to keep the whole story consistent, and not over simplify things but still be creative so I don’t lose the people. You don’t want them to get burned out hearing your voice, so figuring out ways of how I could keep their attention.

"MySpace" and "Desires in Conflict" are sure to be both well received and controversial at the same time, how are you prepared to respond to the criticism?
I think most definitely in writing the songs I was prayerful to be sensitive since those topics were sticky. So I tried to do it in a tactful way so that it didn’t seem like an attack or ignorance, but it was done in compassion. If someone did raise the question, I would challenge to listen to the song with me or listen to it again and at least consider the tact in which it was done. I hope they’ll give me the benefit of the doubt and see that I’m still trying to communicate the Lord’s heart while communicating His compassion at the same time.

The Midwest seems to be growing rapidly with artists like yourself, Json, Thi'sl, Lecrae and others; why do you think so many Bible-centered emcees are now emerging from this part of the nation?
I don’t know man. Just being in St. Louis and the Midwest in general we pool from so many different parts of the country as far as influence, so I think at least everybody gives it an ear. The down south cats give it an ear; the east coast cats give in an ear, so everybody can kind of peer in and check it out. So, I think that’s what’s doing it right now.

What keeps you motivated in wanting to keep growing and challenging yourself as an emcee?
One of the things that keeps me motivated is listening to a lot of the people I look up to. Like, I look up to Da’ Truth as an artist, and Cross Movement, Shai Linne, and others. They’re like my big brothers and I aspire to artistically be on the level that they’re on more and more. I’m still a fan of those guys.

What's some of the music that you're listening to right now?
I don’t think I’ve listened to any music, man. I’ve just been listening to beats over and over, like fifty times. I copped the Everyday Process album and got a chance to listen to it. I listen to a lot of contemporary like Steven Curtis Chapman and stuff like that man. That’s about it man, those and instrumentals.

What is one thing that you've been studying in the Word of late or that God has been teaching you?
I’ve been studying a few things, and they’ve all kind of centered around the same thing. Right now I’m in the book of Jeremiah and just been going through that verse by verse; been in that for probably a couple months. I’m just looking at the Lord’s heart and His heart for Judah and Israel and how He wanted the best for them. He’s holy and His ways are the best ways, but they were just caught up in the culture and worshipping idols. So, I’ve just been studying the heart of the Lord and His holiness, and how because of His holiness He wants the best for His people, which is holiness. A lot of times, we just don’t see His ways as the best ways, so just being convinced more and more of His holiness and His desire for good things for us.

What's one piece of advice you'd give to Christians who want to continue to grow closer to the Lord and stronger in their walk?
Be more concerned with being somebody in Christ versus doing something for Christ. It’s so easy to want to get busy in service and in ministry, which is great, but it should never take precedent over our worship unto the Lord. Stay in His face and doing the basic things like studying the Bible everyday and prayer. They seem like the ABC’s of the faith, but they are so easy to forget. Don’t forget the basics; don’t feel like you’re past that. We should still have the heart of a child and not forget about those basic things.

What can we expect from the upcoming "Our World Redeemed?"
Most definitely a mood change. I know that Our World Fallen was really serious, but very timely with all that’s going on right now. This next one is going to be a lot brighter with more celebration and more worship. It’s going to complete the story, so it’s going to complete some of the missing pieces. It’s going to be real encouraging and different from the first one.