We sat down with SKRIP in a behind the scenes interview on his new album Exposition and about his life as a church planter, pastor, and rapper.
You’ve been around for a while, but those outside CHH may not have heard about you. Tell us your background.
“I’ve been producing for 14 years, since I was 12. I was rapping when I was 6 years old, and beatboxing in 4th grade. The first show I ever had I performed to my own beat, and my dad’s lyrics, and I opened up for T-Bone. It was surreal.nd even now T-Bone hits me up. I grew up listening to Christian rap. I wasn’t up to speed on secular rap. I only started listening to Tupac and Biggie when I was in 8th grade because prior to that I was only listening to Christian rap. My dad was lay minister, and he visited a hospital doing evangelism, and there he met my mom when he was leading her to Christ. My dad isn’t a pastor but my uncle is. I saw what it was like in ministry, and I didn’t want to be that. I didn’t want to be the “carpet” that everyone steps on – pouring your heart out and then people turning your back on you. But I felt a ministry call. I had a prophetic word spoken over me even before I was born. When I was 18, I was in a service I was zoning out from the sermon. I started talking to God, “Let me know if what you’ve spoken to me in the past is real,” and right then the pastor stopped, looked at me and said, “I see you on stages in front of thousands and leading people to me, young and old, but you already know this, and this is the Spirit of the Lord.” This wasn’t a guy who normally gives prophetic words to people. Then and there I knew God was real.”
You are a Pastor AND a rapper. Tell us about that.
“We started World Renegade Church in Chicago started 4 1/2 years ago. It was just me and my wife, and we had nothing. To this day, we don’t even have a worship team. We live by faith completely, whatever God brings and it’s a huge journey. 90% of the people who come to our church have never been to church or heard the Gospel. I see fire, excitement, passion and vibrancy in the Lord when they didn’t come in like that – I like seeing that growth in people. We have a core team now and we’re meeting on the north side of Chicago, it’s in a neighborhood called “Westridge”. I see what God is doing and there is so much more that God is going to accomplish. I just want us to serve God where we are. We have about a 500 capacity, office space, and parking that God has provided for us.
It’s a crazy dynamic trying to rap and pastor but I see God’s hand moving in it and many people have found out about our church because of my rapping. So, rapping has been a good tool to build bridges with pastors and members. My heart is also to be doing film as well. My dad and I were doing video from the earliest days using Pinnacle software. And now movies are sometimes more influential than sermons.”
What is the album and its theme?
“Exposition is the album title. I wanted to be really open on the album and really tell people what I’ve been through. I wanted people to know the good the bad, and the struggles of planting a church.”
What’s your favorite track?
“My favorite track is “If It Ain’t One Thing” because it’s just real. It came to me when our car was being towed away. It had broken down and I started singing “If it ain’t one thing, it’s another.” I’ve never taken real situations as songs – my music has always been me more preaching to people. This time it’s me sharing my heart. Another song is “On My Life / OML” – I wanted to end the album this way because things may happen in life and we feel they are out of our control, and we may be fearful, but I’ve seen what God does. No matter what happens, I want to see God’s will filled in my life. So for me, it’s an anthem. No one can take this from me.”
What Have You Learned in the Music Industry?
“What I’ve learned in the music industry and what has opened, God did. I’m always wondering “Should I do more than what I’m doing?” I’m always trying to do what’s in God’s will. I haven’t messed with a lot of people in the industry. I’ve been on a tours and hear what a lot of guys say, in the Christian realm it is similar to the non-Christian realm. I like to be in a different circle. I just like to be real no matter what or who I’m dealing with. One lesson I’ve learned in church planting is that I’ve learned that time is easily wasted. I don’t want to mess with people who are wasting my time. People may easily be offended by that. I never want to bring shade or shame to other people. I just realize we’re all fallen.
I’m here to do what’s God called me to do, and I know what I’m not supposed to do. I want to see a change and show respect for the art and Christian art. A lot of young kids are saying, “I’m not Christian, I just want to rap.” But I’m like, “You’re already at church.” What do we have to do lose? If we are with Christ, we already have the victory.
For World Renegade Music, I met up with my current partner Richard Hernandez and he was promoting one of my concerts and we really meshed. He’s been a great friend, and he’s had some good stuff going and we teamed up organically. I want to play it smart piece by piece. I want to build a platform for people, and we don’t know who we’re gonna develop next. We’re just playing it by ear and taking it one step at a time. The first music video will be for “Make it Count” from the Exposition album.”