Grammy-winning producer Street Symphony pushes Reconcile on new EP
When Reconcile’s EP Catchin’ Bodies dropped on Sept. 18, it was the first time he had released music through a production company — the Street Symphony-run Track or Die — and he said adjusting to the marriage was a process.
“At first I was like, ‘This is kind of difficult,’” Reconcile said. “We recorded like 17 songs. The EP’s only five. There’s a lot of stuff that didn’t make the cut. I was like, ‘What about this? What about this? C’mon man, this is fire. Everybody I showed it to said this was fire.’ [Street said], ‘That’s not it, bro.’ As the process grew, I started to understand there’s a difference between making a song that Christian hip hop likes and making a song that can stand in the secular market place.”
Street Symphony has produced tracks for mainstream hip-hop artists 2 Chainz, Yo Gotti and more. Reconcile said Street pushed him to be a student of hip-hop culture, as well as to polish his songwriting.
“I feel like a lot of guys in the Christian market place are extremely talented,” Street said. “You have a ton of lyricists — a lot of guys that can just attack a beat with amazing lyrics. But there’s still the art of songwriting that I feel lacks — something that people can chant and feel; when the hook part comes on, they want to repeat it; the catchy tune.
“The majority of the guys that are dominating hip hop as a whole are just the ones that can make those kind of records, make singles. Message is always important, but let’s not forget the song-making aspect of things.”
“I’m not shying away from being a Christian,” he said. “That ain’t my MO. If you think I’m dope, but you ain’t ever influenced by Christ, I’m not proud of that.”
The phrase “catch a body,” track No. 3 of the EP, is slang for murder, but Reconcile means something else when he says it. He called it a ghetto great commission.
“I remember when I first got introduced to the whole concept of dying to myself — dying to yourself to live again for Christ,” Reconcile, whose real name is Ronnie Lillard, said. “The biggest thing when I wake up in the morning is, ‘Yo, Ronnie’s got to die.’ In order for me to live this life out, accept what I can’t change and keep myself humble and committed to Christ in the midst of all the temptation, I have to die. …
“Catchin’ Bodies is really a ghetto great commission. Go forth and make disciples, baptizing them. … In the same way Christ died for our sins, we die to our whole life. It’s a commission to push people to die to themselves and know Christ.”
Street pushed him to adjust his sound but not his subject matter. The producer stressed that Reconcile’s authenticity is part of his crossover appeal.
Authenticity for Reconcile is to make what he calls “struggle music.” He grew up in the streets, and he stays in the streets to do exactly what his EP concept encourages — make disciples.
“At the end of the day,” Street said, “people are going to always just stand by and enjoy real; being authentic to you.”
“If I would’ve played my project to the average Christian hip-hop fan right now, I don’t know, you might get mixed reviews,” Reconcile said. “Some people might like it. Some people might not. But when I take this project, and I play it out in the streets for people who may not even be Christian, bro … people are moved to tears. People want to change their life, dog. … I’m out here for the people who nobody cares about.”
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