JOEY JEWISH

Rapzilla: The media is heralding Chance the Rapper and Kanye West as making great “gospel” music. Yet Christian artists that do the same, are often left out of the conversation. Why do you think it’s ok for non-Christians to dabble in the gospel, but Christians get flack?

Jewish: Bottom line, someone might hear something by Kanye, Chance, Alicia Keys, and they might pick up on something that leads them to the cross. God could use anything. With that being said, it’s not a bad thing because we are not in competition with the world. The second part of that is Christians are not a part of the conversation. That’s the whole thing we’re striving for, even myself, I do side work but I’m also considered to be a full-time artist. Not being in the conversation does stink, because you want your voice to be heard at that level as well to broaden your reach to as may people as you can. It also makes sense that a lot of us are not in that conversation because we haven’t created the buzz and network that a Lecrae did.

Rapzilla: What do you think of this quote? “[Chance the Rapper’s] Coloring Book, on the other hand, feels like the first great hip-hop album to successfully channel the centuries-old musical traditions of the black church without anything like pretension or irony. This in itself feels like something of a miracle. I say this with the utmost love but hip-hop is a profane music and always has been; its energies aren’t celestial, but fully flesh-and-blood.”

Jewish: I feel like that’s just a personal opinion. It’s good in that it’s very original and had a really good appeal to it as far as multiple genres. In terms of saying it embodied ‘old tradition’, I don’t agree with that. In knowing some of Black history, there’re people were very rooted to crying out to God because they had nothing. They were in bondage, they were in slavery, so to say someone making the amount of money he is and doing what he’s doing, I can’t agree he could truly channel that because it would be disrespectful to those people.

I think it can impact a lot of people in terms of getting people interested in God, or getting people back to God instead of all the things young people turn to now.

Rapzilla: Why do you think Christian artists who dabble in “non-Christian” music get blasted for their “lack of faith” or “treason” against Christianity?

Jewish: We know what we are doing it for. I make a lot of music specifically geared toward people who do not believe in Christ. People still label in that Christian hip-hop realm, but I could care less if I entertain another church person again in my entire life because God has commissioned to go into the world and preach the gospel. A believer won’t receive my message as well because they are already past the bondage in their life and they need to be fed to continue growing in their walk with Christ.

There’re enough people ministering to the church. More people need to ask God how they can use their talents to target more people who need it outside the church.

Rapzilla: Do non-Christian artists make better Christian art than the Christians do? Explain.

Jewish: Absolutely not. It’s not a competition. Everybody has been given their unique gifting but with the Christian, you have that connection with God who makes the greatest creation of all-time. To think that somebody who is not in a relationship with the Father, can make better art than someone who is, is just foolish, because when you’re tapped into the Creator, your boundaries become limitless.

Christian hip-hop is on that cusp where it could be extremely dope and almost medicinal to the world, or it can become very generic and just be washed up. The requirement for the catapult forward is people are going to have to join hearts and develop a community that embraces the entire scope of industry and ministry in a real and genuine way.

CHRIS CHICAGO

Rapzilla: The media is heralding Chance the Rapper and Kanye West as making great “gospel” music. Yet Christian artists that do the same, are often left out of the conversation. Why do you think it’s ok for non-Christians to dabble in the gospel, but Christians get flack?

Chicago: I think most Americans would identify themselves as believers in some sort of way. Then you have to look at how Christians have been perceived in the last few years, and they are viewed in a negative way. Maybe, someone who isn’t a Bible-thumping Christian, and doesn’t identify as a Christian artist, they are viewed differently and accepted. I think everyone is searching for that spiritual filling. It makes them easier to relate to.

Rapzilla: What do you think of this quote? “[Chance the Rapper’s] Coloring Book, on the other hand, feels like the first great hip-hop album to successfully channel the centuries-old musical traditions of the black church without anything like pretension or irony. This in itself feels like something of a miracle. I say this with the utmost love but hip-hop is a profane music and always has been; its energies aren’t celestial, but fully flesh-and-blood.”

Chicago: Those sort of statements makes me really leery because these people have no idea what they are talking about. There’s been so much great music and so many unbelievable albums with the great authenticity that to say that is just naive and an ignorant statement. Putting that statement on all of the Christian music angers me.

Rapzilla: Why do you think Christian artists who dabble in “non-Christian” music get blasted for their “lack of faith” or “treason” against Christianity?

Chicago: At the end of the day, humans are sinful creatures. I think that Christian music listeners like to believe that Christian artists are running sin-free lives. Whatever the Christian perceives as a sin, a mainstream artist is not shying away from just being themselves while a Christian one might have to hide it. They can’t let the public see them sin.

When a Christian artist steps out into the mainstream now they are dancing with the Devil. They are no longer in this fake and imagined world we create for them. I think people have a hard time with that. At the end of the day, they are real humans too that need to ask for forgiveness and go to God just like us.

Rapzilla: Do non-Christian artists make better Christian art than the Christians do? Explain.

Chicago: No. But I think whatever the Holy Spirit inspires is going to be great, whether you are a Christian artist or a non-Christian artist. If you believe in Jesus and you have the Holy Spirit and Jesus in your heart, yeah, it can be great, as long as God makes it great.