Rapper Ty Brasel chatted with Rapzilla about his mixtape Cloud 9 Raps, which dropped on Jan. 18, and his transition to rapping as a Christian.

Rapzilla: How did you get involved with hip hop?

Ty Brasel: I didn’t really have a male figure to look up to, so growing up watching shows like “Yo MTV Raps!,” rappers were the people who really taught me how to do life. It was rappers that really brought me into the hip-hop culture.

RZ: How did you begin rapping?

TB: Back when I was in the world, my group of friends and I would go into a closet, turn on trap instrumentals and freestyle for hours while under the influence. My friends noticed that my raps were actually pretty good and said I was killing it. From there, God showed me that I had a talent.

RZ: Would you say your area is very supportive of what you’re doing?

TB: Yes, I love where I’m from. I live on the border, so I call my town Memph-issippi. Both Memphis and Mississippi are really receiving to the fact that what I’m doing is not only a ministry, but a career.

RZ: How long have you been walking with Christ?

TB: I gave my life to Christ when I was eight years old. However, I fell off many times throughout middle school, high school and even college due to a lifestyle of drugs and partying. I didn’t have a strong and serious relationship with God until about two years ago.

RZ: How would you describe your style?

TB: If you put a bunch of rappers into a pot and made soup loaded with potatoes, bacon and cheese, then mixed it all up, you’d have me. My style is a combination of all different styles and genres put together.

RZ: How do you choose your production?

TB: I really take my time and don’t just zone in on one producer. I feel that the beat is the most important part of your music as an artist because that is what listeners latch on to before they even listen to what you have to say.

RZ: What does the writing process look like for you?

TB: I find myself walking in circles most of the time when I write. I really take my time and don’t rush the process. It takes lot of prayer and reading God’s word constantly. I try to be culturally relevant and biblically sound.

RZ: How did you choose the title for your mixtape?

TB: It’s based around the fact that I used to be a drug addict, and back then, I always thought that I was really getting high; but now that I’m in a relationship with Jesus, I truly know what it’s like to be on cloud nine. These raps were written from that perspective and me now having an eternal pleasure with my Lord Jesus.

RZ: What can we expect out of your upcoming mixtape?

TB: You can expect variety. The tracks vary from turn-up songs, to conscious rapping, to storylines. You’ll hear completely different sounds on each song and there’s something for everybody. Honestly I can’t put it into words. It’s just dope.