Several months after Flame featured Mike REAL four times on Clear Sight Music’s album Jesus or Nothing, the label announced it had signed the fellow St. Louis rapper, who Tuesday will release his Clear Sight debut, Mind of Hollis.

Prior to the release of his album, Mike REAL discussed the concept with Rapzilla.

“I got the idea early last year,” he said. “One of my friends had told me ‘Man, do you realize that most of your metaphors have to do with a movie or a TV show?’”

Mike hadn’t intended for his lyrics to come out in such a way, but it was this realization that became the base for the year-long journey that would turn into Mind of Hollis.

He further explained that the album is based off of a TV show, so he wanted to have a TV-themed album cover. After looking at artwork from different shows, he and his team were able to piece together what is now the cover of Mind of Hollis.

“The album cover tells a story,” Mike said, “and the album is that story.”

Adding more to the story, Mike said that many people think that his last name is REAL, when, in fact, it’s Hollis. He wanted to give people a chance to go inside his mind and see what he’s gone through in his walk with Christ — hence the title, Mind of Hollis.

Mike, who released his album The Solid Foundation independently in 2007, said this is the most involved he has been with a project, getting a chance to really make it his own.

“I didn’t just want to put together an album with 14 songs,” he said. “I wanted an experience.”

Mike describes it as his first conceptual album. At the end of the day, all he truly wants is to glorify God and minister to people with it. He said that is what God has done for him, so now he wants to do that for others.

“None of us are closer to God than the next man,” Mike said. “We all need Jesus.”

Mike referenced Isaiah 6:5, when Isaiah saw the beauty of the Lord and cried out “Woe is me! I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.” He cried out because of his sin, Mike said — the perceived size of that sin was irrelevant.

“I want people to see that it’s not about the scale of right and wrong, but what God sees as right and wrong,” Mike said. “We all need his grace.”

Pre-order Mind of Hollis on iTunes or Amazon.