“Yaves is a father. Yaves is a voice for the voiceless and Yaves is a believer through and through.”
Columbus, Ohio artist Yaves has a new album called Rich Young Ruler. The project is inspired by the story of the rich young ruler or rich young man that is described in three of the four gospels. A rich young man comes to Jesus and tells him that he follows all the commandments, and asks what must he do to enter the kingdom of Heaven.
“Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.” – Mark 10:21-22 (NIV)
Yaves has often considered what may have happened to the rich young ruler after his encounter with Jesus. “I began to look at my own life and I’ve had a great number of successes, not just in music, just in life. I’ve been able to accumulate wealth by making great business decisions. I’ve been blessed to have what I need. I began to realize a lot of times I find myself being like the rich young ruler.”
Having reflected on the subject, Yaves says that there are things he does not want to part with that can stop him from pursuing greater holiness.
“I believe we live in a culture that is rich in technology, that’s rich in time, that’s rich in youth. A lot of times God is like ‘Give me your youth. Give me you. Give me you now.’ And we’re like ‘Nah, I want to keep it for myself.’”
Through listening to the album, Yaves wants his audience to consider how they can be like the rich young ruler so that they can recognize their flaws and follow Jesus as He would want them to.
“Everything came really naturally. It gave me the chance to kind of vent in a sense and to kind of speak from a real place. I put myself in not only the rich young ruler’s shoes, but in the shoes of people who made music their idol.”
“I made sure with this project I kept everything Columbus.” Fellow Columbus, Ohio artist Armond WakeUp did the intro of Rich Young Ruler. “I explained to him what I was going for, the feel of the album, and he created a dope spoken word for it.”
“I think we give Judas a bad rap. Even though I know he betrayed Jesus, I think a lot of times we display the characteristics of a Judas by the way we crucify Jesus Christ over and over and over again by willfully sinning.”
He wants each Christian to recognize that they need mercy for their own sins, and along with that they must forgive others who have harmed them. The song describes individual people who have stories of betrayal. “We all have some characteristics that need to be worked on, and only Jesus Christ can really save us; none of us are above that.”
“She Say, Pt. 2” is like a breakup letter, expect Yaves is breaking up his relationship with the world rather than a girl. “I want people to think about that one thing or those things that we continue to hold onto, the things that we flirt with that we know aren’t right, the things that pull us out of holiness.” He was inspired by 1 John 2:15-16 which reads (NIV)…
“Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world.”
Yaves believes that Christian hip-hop can be somewhat of a paradox between uplifting God and promoting yourself as an artist. “I have to promote an album. I have to promote my single. I have to promote my video, so we really find a lot of ‘Me, me, me,’ being entrenched into what’s supposed to be about Him.”
“Build and Idol” takes people through Yaves’ walk as a musician; he has been making music since he was in elementary school. “Even at a young age, I made music my idol. I built that idol. Even though it was supposed to be about Jesus Christ, the platform became an idol.”
Fellow Colombus artist Christon Gray is featured on “Tomorrow.” “I was singing on the hook and me and Chris were just texting back and forth one day about basketball season or something random. He said, ‘Yo, send me some new songs I can check out from the album.’” Yaves suggested that Gray sing the song’s hook, as he is an excellent singer. “I sent him the song and literally two days later he sent me the vocals.” Concerning the song’s message he said,
“We as people are very fickle sometimes in our relationship with God.”
Yaves notes that many people have spiritual highs when they pray a lot and other days when they don’t feel like giving God anything. “Even though you and I may sometimes not believe or may feel a fickle in our faith, He is always there. He is consistently there and He loves us in spite of us.” Despite this, every day, including tomorrow, Yaves says we need to be faithful to our relationship with God.
“Life In My Way” is a song telling two stories about victims of bullying.
“I really feel like if believers will begin to teach their children, will begin to teach their nephews, nieces, grandchildren about the truth of Christ and the love of Christ, then it’s possible that we can stop the slaughter in our schools if we begin to teach them truth at a young age.”
The final track of Rich Young Ruler is titled “The Plot Thickens” and features spoken word artist Jamaica West
“Jamaica West is just an amazing artist period. Jamaica’s father used to be my family’s pastor…” Through Yaves’ youth, his mother and step-father struggled with drug and alcohol addictions. “Jamaica’s father used to come to our house and pray for my family and evangelize to my family. He was one of the major influences in my life when it came to me accepting Jesus Christ and my walk with Christ.” West’s father, now deceased, was someone who helped restore Yaves’ family.
Outside of his own music, Yaves is the Marketing Director for Radio One in Columbus. “Its kind of cool because it gives me a chance to bridge the gap between a lot of the main stream artists as well as whats going on with the church and putting together community initiatives.”