Excelsisus has released his new album "In Conjunction" today and here is an interview with him about it and his thoughts on Christian Hip Hop.
What do you want to accomplish with your new album "In Conjunction?"
I'm really trying to challenge the Body to come together just like Paul talked about in I Corinthians 12. A human body is lot more functional when the hands and feet a working together. The Body of Christ is no different. When we come together and do what it is God's called us to do, the Body as a whole benefits. There are too many ministries trying to stand alone like little islands. There is power in unity and numbers. We've got the numbers, now we just need the unity .
Why the title "In Conjunction?"
In Conjunction means "the state of being joined together". It's my heart's desire to see God use hip-hop as a means of bringing us together.
What inspired you writing the songs?
The Scriptures, Life experiences & conversations with others.
Which song speaks to you the most and why?
The Red Sea Experience. I think that everybody fits in that song somewhere, and so everyone can in some way relate to it.
What made you use such a variety of producers?
Most producers have a signature sound. So after awhile, if you listen to enough of their tracks (regardless of the song content), the songs start to all sound the same. I like working with several producers b/c it affords the listener an opportunity to hear diversity throughout the album.
Are you a youth pastor and if so, how is his church receiving your music ministry?
No I'm not a youth pastor any more. I served as a youth pastor for almost 10 years though. My church has been very receptive to my music b/c they know that it's God-inspired and Bible-based.
It seems the church has still not fully accepted Christian Hip-Hop, why?
A couple of reasons (in no particular order):
#1 – Cats not knowing the difference between performing and ministering
#2 – Cats not understanding that ministering via hip-hop is a calling
#3 – The culture has elevated certain cats and looked at them like the "model" of what HHH should look like when the reality is that many of the ones they look up to never should've been given a mic. Along those same lines, it needs to be understood that w/ the privilege to serve Christ and the Body in this fashion comes responsibility. When we don't represent the Living Christ to the Dying World, our witness is blown.
#4 – Some of the people in Church leadership don't recognize the value in HHH.
Where do you see Christian Hip-Hop in the next 10 years?
As long as the music continues to be submitted to the authority of the Scriptures, I forsee HHH continuing to make strides.
Have you been to the Holy Hip Hop Awards and what are your thoughts?
I've been to the awards shows here in Houston and in Atlanta. I think they are great for networking and building w/ other artists and ministries.
If you had to change music style, what would it be?
What are you currently playing in your mp3 player?
The United Vision Mixtape, K-Drama, Chris Tomlin, Jacob Izrael, Ross King, Trip Lee, Lecrae, Israel Houghton, The 3rd Coast Fiyah Podcast, Matt Redman, For the Yard by Godchaserz Entertainment, Octavia Harris, Shane & Shane, R-Swift
What artists and producers do you want to collab with?
Artists – Light Da Flow Mynista, Lecrae, Shai Linne Producers – Tony Stone, Nab & J.R. from So Hot
How did you get born again?
I confessed Jesus as Lord w/ my mouth, and I believed it in my heart. That's how. :o)
I gave my life to Christ as a 19 year-old sophomore in college. I began to live out my faith about 2 years later. I was at church b/c the guilt of sin was wearing me down. I had no intention on giving my life to Christ, but God had other plans. I remember very vividly sitting in church crying w/ my head in my hands b/c I simply didn't know what to do. To this day, I believe the Holy Spirit literally picked me up out of my seat and placed me in front of that congregation. When I had my head down, I was sitting in the pews. But when I looked up, I was standing before the congregation. I know that I didn't walk up there in my own power b/c if it was left up to me, I would've stayed seated!
Any testimony in your life you want to share?
I've got tons of testimonies about God's faithfulness. One of the most recent ones came when I got a surprise phone call from someone that said God told him that He was to pay for all of the expenses involved in getting my CD completed.
What's your favorite:
– Country: USA
– Food: Vegetables (especially broccoli & corn)
– Movie: The Flatlines
– TV Show: I don't watch very much TV. If I had to say a program, it'd be SportsCenter on ESPN or Law & Order.
– Book of the Bible: I have a couple books that are my favorites: Proverbs & Romans
– Music style: Worship
– Producer: I don't have a favorite producer. Some of the ones I like though are Esso (Lampmode), Redd Lettaz & Theory Hazit.
– Rapper: Again, I don't have a favorite rapper, but a couple of the cats that I'm feelin' are Steven the Levite, Tha G.I.M. & Sivion.
Any final words?
When it's all said and done, God's glory is at stake. As Christians, we need to be found guilty of representing Him well.