A. Ward Talks Gully vs Ganik, 4 Horsemen, & Ministry Through Battle Rap
Rapzilla had the chance to sit down and chop it with A. Ward a.k.a. Mr. Rebuttal Game Crazy as the KC emcee was preparing for King of the Dot’s Gully vs Ganik 2 event, which took place this past Saturday, February 3rd, 2018.
First off, congratulations on headlining your first King of the Dot event. How did that come about?
A. Ward: This Gully vs Ganik event is near and dear to my heart as I was a big part of the first one last year. My battle with Real Deal was nominated for Battle of the Year in 2016 so when I heard they were bringing the event back for 2017 I knew I had to be on it. After booking three battles to start the year, I was thinking possibly I’d end up not being on the event but KOTD gave me an offer I couldn’t pass up on – the main event against Cortez. It’s surreal. Every KOTD battle I’ve taken has been some kind of milestone/bucket list item and I’m just blessed to be able to go out and perform.
For Gully vs Ganik 2 you’ll be main eventing against Cortez, who will be coming out of the gate with something to prove after losing the KOTD title match. Cortez strength has always been his ability to craft dope angles, rather than try to out rap his opponent. What’s your mindset going into a battle with someone like that?
A. Ward: The mindset going into every battle is two-fold. 1. Honor God 2. Be yourself. I look at the battles as competition with the underlying ability to show the World Christ through my actions, words, etc. There is such a huge variety of battlers you can’t psyche yourself out when it comes to preparation. Go in there and do what you do, it got you this far so don’t make too many changes.
Earlier this month we reported that you had four battles in sixty days, with one down and three to go, including battling Arkaic in London and Eljay in Australia. How do you avoid fatigue battling that many opponents in such a short period of time?
A. Ward: Unfortunately you can’t really avoid the fatigue aspect. I knew that going into scheduling four battles in 60 days, however, each battle held significance. Battling in KC for the first time in 18 months was amazing. Being the main event on a King of the Dot card is awesome. Traveling to London, and Australia to battle is a testament to how far God can take you. 28 months ago I had no identity as an artist. I trusted God could use me but I always knew that the talent he gave me was bigger than where I was at. He’s showing me that now.
I know that there is a lot of relationship building and ministry going on behind the scenes when you’re at an event. Is there a story you can share?
A. Ward: I could go down a list and give you 20+ names of people I’ve been able to pray with, or just had a solid heart to heart conversations about God. The conversations in hotel rooms or the countless inboxes from battlers or fans that ask for prayer or advice. Ultimately the ministry comes from being genuine and approachable. It comes from choosing to love rather than to judge, and it comes from identifying with people on the same level. I’m no different than the Daylyt’s and Chilla Jones’. We are all made in God’s image, so it’s very important in building with people to continue to show Christ’s, love, regardless of differences.
GOM general Datin was a battle rapper earlier in his career, but now as a believer refuses to return to the culture due to battle rap being a sport rooted in braggadocio and boasting in oneself. How difficult is it for you to avoid operating in pride?
A. Ward: Datin is very right. It’s extremely difficult. I believe what is the MOST difficult for me isn’t the content written for the battles or my attitude during battles, it’s everything outside of the battle. Battle Rap has grown so much that now “selling the fight” is important. Leagues want you to talk your trash, and create a grudge match that consumers will want to pay for. My biggest “check yourself” moments have come from toeing the line of doing that, as well as responding to criticism from fans, battlers, bloggers, etc. I believe if there has been any times that my character has been tested it’s been there.
Any updates on the Four Horsemen? Will we see you guys do any two on two battles in the near future?
A. Ward: Updates? Not so much. I can tell you this. We talk every day, we keep each other lifted and challenge each other as Men of God to not settle. We continue to talk about putting out music together as well as crossing paths in Battle Rap. Loso and I have an event coming up in Southern California in March that we’ll be doing together, so we are actively ministering alongside one another. This #IV thing isn’t a Battle Rap Group or Hip-Hop Collective. We’re four like-minded guys who love God, love People and want to continue to do those two things together in all aspects of life.
There’s a growing number of Christian battle rappers such as DP The Mercenary, Cobbins, AJ Raps, and Zach is Nobody to name a few. Is there any advice that you would give any up and coming rappers who feel called to battle rap?
A. Ward: Go! Move as God tells you to move and honor Him in all that you do. If you 100% feel like God has put you in Battle Rap to serve, by all means, give it your all. However, make sure you’re willing to train. I can feel God calling me to be a Quarterback, but if I can’t throw it downfield I’m gonna be discouraged. Sharpen your gift, seek out advice and don’t settle for mediocre. We don’t serve a mediocre God. All the guys you mentioned are tremendously talented. I’m here for an ear at any time. I’m still learning too.
A. Ward destroyed Cortez 3-0 in their battle at KOTD Gully vs Ganik 2.