New Jersey artists Merk Montes and YP aka Young Paul released a new album, Love Over Hate, last month. If you haven’t read part one of the interview, check it out here.
Track seven of Love Over Hate is “Calling on my King.” “Instead of run to your poison, call on your King,” said Montes. In the song they’re talking about current events and conflicts they see occurring in the world. “What reminds me is Matthew 24. God tells us all this is gonna happen. There’s gonna be rumors of war. There’s gonna be earthquakes in diverse places.” Despite the tribulations occurring in our world, Montes wants to remind listeners to call on God and take comfort and joy in salvation.
“They Call Me Crazy” is the following song and is inspired by Montes’ testimony of changing his music to glorify God.
“I got down on September 7th , I got down on my knees after I got married. I had a conversation with the Father like ‘What you want me to do? I’m not ready to fry for this music.’”
Previously having glorified harmful things in his music, Montes thought he was not ready to start making Christian hip-hop. Doors were opening in his career in secular hip-hop, but he knew he could no longer enter them. Traditionally when recording music, he recorded voice memos on his phone to remember hooks and verses for later. Looking back in his voice memos when making Love Over Hate, he found the hook to “They Call Me Crazy,” which was written before he decided to make music for God.
“When I heard that hook God was like ‘When you wrote this record, were you a Christian artist or were you just being real?’ So that’s what God was telling me. ‘I’m not asking you to be a Christian artist. I’m asking you to be you.’”
In YP’s verse, he is responding to the hook. “When I first got saved and all my dudes that I used to kick it with, I’m hearing through the grapevine they’re calling me all type of crazy [things].”
When YP started going to church, one Sunday he was driving down the block that he used to hangout on.
“My man… I remember he ran up on the car. He tried to take me out of the car like ‘Yo, Hector, these people are brainwashing you… We’re your real family.”
Seeing his former friends believing he changed in a negative way was something YP wrestled with for a long time. “I had to humble myself with a lot of my enemies that are calling me soft… I have to give glory to God because I heard these things and took it for what it was. I was already warned this was going to happen in the scriptures.”
Love Over Hate continues with “Warrior.” YP says that the Christian needs a warrior mentality to face their challenges and persevere for God’s sake. He also addresses how his friends in his community were warriors for harmful lifestyles. “They’re not here today. They’re either dead or in jail for being warriors on the wrong team.”
“We have bros that are really locked up right now doing fed time and God has called us to speak life into them, encourage them.”
The following song, “Cypher,” was “to let them know we still got bars,” said Montes. “We were in the studio recording… and then this beat was going off and it was like, ‘You know what? I’ve got this verse.’” They reach recorded their verses and felt they complemented each other. “That was just some brotherly love,” said Montes.
The final song is “Encrypted.” YP says his verse was meant to feel like an encrypted message. “I’m vague in some of my bars and real edgy too. Some will call it controversial because of some of the things I said, but if you listen closely it’s all facts.” He wants the listener to pay close attention to this final song to get the message, so that upon realizing what YP is saying, “that’s that shock value that we like.”
Montes’ verse is inspired by how his mother almost aborted him. “I was like five weeks or six weeks [after conception] and they couldn’t have a regular procedure, so they were going to take me out and kill me. My grandmother was like ‘That’s not happening. He’s gonna be the baby of the family.’”
“I beat abortion. I was deep up in that grave, He pulled me out that coffin. Gave me fire then told me go and pass these torches,” said Montes in the song.
Overall, YP wants listeners to know that “The love of the Lord is pure. He says come as you are. I know that’s a cliché thing in the church but people in the world need to hear that more often. When there’s a real, genuine conversion, transformation will take place.”
In the next few months, both Montes and YP will be releasing new projects. They also want to do another collaborative album.YP said,
“I feel so eager to get to work on another joint album with my bro because not only is the music remarkable, the process of it is… a good feeling. I’m looking forward to more of that.”