Rapzilla interviewed Sway Calloway of Sway in the Morning at SXSW 2016, and he discussed his interview with us in 2007 which many have called “prophetic.”
“Nine years ago when we talked, I felt that somebody is going to get it,” Sway said. “It’s going to snap to somebody that you can do the same thing in terms of content, but you got to approach the music differently, and you got to approach your delivery differently, and you don’t have to assimilate, but you definitely have to evolve. And I guess that was kind of prophetic because we’re seeing it now.
“I’ve had Andy Mineo rapping in cyphers with dudes who were rapping about guns and drugs and whatever else, murder. ‘Okay, Andy, you next.’ And Andy will spit bars as hot as theirs, if not hotter, rapping about God and upliftment and how He changed his life. It’s just being wise in how you approach your music and make sure you’re talking to your audience, and then also you’re not ostracizing yourself from other audiences. And I think that’s what you’re seeing happen.”
Nine years ago, Sway gave Christian hip hop advice on how to approach mainstream growth.
“What I think is that Christian hip hop shouldn’t even concern itself with the mainstream market,” Sway said. “Hip hop in general didn’t, and when it became popular and self-contained, the mainstream market came to it, so I think Christian hip hop has to do the same thing — master its craft, master its market, create its own fan base, its own constituency and it’ll begin to overflow into the mainstream, and the mainstream will come to it. …
“Right now, you guys got a great big secret in a sense. It’s not a secret to you, but it’s a secret to the rest of the world, and you need to manage it and control that secret so when the rest of the world comes, you’ll have the power and the influence to make sure it’s being done right.”
This month in Austin, Texas, Sway shared his perspective on why it may have taken time for some Christian rappers to crossover.
“I don’t think it’s the message that kept Christian hip hop from growing,” Sway said. “I think it was just the approach, the execution of songs in general, and maybe the artists at that time felt constrained seeing what they were able to do. Maybe there were rules to Christian hip hop that wouldn’t allow them to step out of the box.
“Christian, the genre in itself, you could get really scrutinized by what you do and what you say, especially when it comes to music. ‘Oh man, listen to that music. That sounds like that rap thing. That’s not God’s music. That’s the devil’s music.’ You had all these types of stigmas that were put on these artists and these restraints, and now, I think they’ve just learned to let go.”