“I’m just an ex-addict who was found by a very loving Savior. I’m passionately in love with Jesus and want to share that with the world.”
When 5ive dedicated himself to Jesus, he thought about the word grace and wanted to call himself that as a stage name. His wife, noting that Grace is a women’s name, told him it was not a great idea. He later heard a pastor say that the biblical number for grace and favor was five. “I took the number 5, added the [letters] i, v, [and] e to it and what it means is ‘grace is victory everlasting.'”
Growing up, 5ive loved to freestyle with his friends. “Hip-hop was everything to me. I tell people that 2pac raised me.” Growing up in a fatherless home, whenever he argued with his mom or anyone else, he would turn on 2pac’s music. “It helped me through every situation in life.”
Fast-forwarding to 2010, 5ive was addicted to drugs: methamphetamine and crack cocaine. “I was sitting in a trap house on a couch, and I literally looked up, and my little brother was fighting with a dude over a piece of crack cocaine. That literally broke my heart.” 5ive realized at that moment that without a present father, his young brother looked up to him as a role model, and he was a bad one.
“Everything started moving in slow motion, and I literally heard a voice say, ‘Go to church.’ I tried to play it off and act like one of them had said it.” He heard the voice again, noting that he was sure it was not said by someone who was present. “I called my cousin; she came and picked me up, brought me to the church. [It was] November 7th, 2010 and I walked into the church high, drunk, [and] a defeated man, but on that very day, I walked out a brand new man.”
By God’s grace, 5ive’s addiction was broken, and he has never relapsed. With his music, 5ive wants to share his story and get out the message that God can break the chains that people face. “If He did it for me, He’ll do it for anybody.”
Earlier this month, 5ive released his seventh album, Family Business. He wants listeners to understand that he is whole-heartedly committed to spreading the Gospel message, as well as the importance of family and unity.
When thinking about how the Bible describes Heaven, 5ive notes that worshipping God through song is a crucial part of it. It is something he loves to do. “If you love Jesus, we’re family. Let’s work together and do something beautiful.” The album cover features an image of 5ive’s family: his wife and son, as well as pictures on the wall of other artists that he considers to be family.
From 5ive’s perspective, the family is the first ministry. “I tell people all the time, ‘If your family isn’t as big of a part of your ministry as you are, your ministry is not going to make it.'”
The recording process varied for each song. “Sometimes I heard a beat and its like, ‘Boom,’ we’ll get it quick. Then there are some times where it’s like, ‘Man, I’ve gotta sit on this, pray on it.’ I pray on each and every song.”
5ive’s favorite song on Family Business is the third track, “Lead the Way.” The song was written and recorded before he got signed to TrueBreed Records, under which the album was released. “I was in a place where I was about to give up on music… I’ve been doing this for years [and] none of the quote-unquote ‘gatekeepers’ have accepted me.”
This has been very disappointing to 5ive. From his experiences, “it just seems like if you’re not ‘musically talented,’ you’re not on their level.” Despite this discouragement, 5ive had to remember that God has called him to make music and minister to others. “I realized that it’s not about me. God gave me this mission so whether people like my music or not, I shouldn’t care. I should do what God called me to do.”
“No Rings” is based on how NBA Finals’ winners receive rings. 5ive is a huge basketball fan: his favorite team is the Golden State Warriors. He recalls watching an interview with Shaquille O’Neal and Charles “Chuck” Barkley where the two were arguing. “Chuck was trying to say something but Shaq was like, ‘Man, Chuck, you don’t know what you’re talking about. You don’t even have a ring.”
5ive considered how Barkley was an amazing player but is not considered the greatest of all time because he was never won a championship and received a ring. “In life, it’s the same way. If you don’t know Jesus, you’re not winning… You’ve got no rings.” The message is not to criticize people who are not following Christ, but rather to encourage and explain to people that they can get onto the winning team if they follow Jesus.
“Power” features young, up-and-coming artist Torey D’Shaun, whom 5ive recently took on a national tour. “We do altar calls. We’re all about ministry, and he had never seen anything like that. We saw so many people healed and delivered. It was awesome.” D’Shaun witnessed the power of God in a new way, and they decided to put together a song about it.
Family Business continues with “The Way YOU LOVE Me,” featuring Bryann Trejo, Young Bro, and Dusty Ledbetter. 5ive says that experiencing God’s love is hard to explain, but it is “the greatest thing that anyone could ever know or feel. Even at our worst, He loves us.” 5ive tells that no matter how many times you sin, God never stops loving you. “We’re just talking about the goodness of God.”
“Ain’t Worried” features Datin and V. Rose. “My wife and V. Rose are really good friends… They were just talking [and] I had these beats and asked my wife to ask her if she wanted to get on something.” Datin’s collaboration was also very organic, and the three of them met in Clearwater, Florida, to make a music video. “That whole video is literally about us fellowshipping and hanging out. We also wanted it to have some kind of storyline.”
The song is inspired by Matthew 6:25-34 in which Jesus encourages people not to worry and rather to trust in God.
The final track on Family Business is “Have Your Way,” a song which 5ive believed was a perfect way to end the album. Considering how grateful he is to be signed to a record label, he thought, “God, You got me in this position. Now I want You to do whatever You want to do [with me.]” The song features Je’kob and MH Eternal.
Family Business features a bonus track, “You Wouldn’t Know.” The song speaks on the difficulties of going on tour, a perspective with which most fans are unfamiliar. “It takes a lot [of effort] to go out and do ministry, and it takes a lot to leave your family for such long periods of time.” It features four other artists: King Allico, Plain James, Kurtis Hoppie, and Q2Honest.
Outside of music and ministry, 5ive considers himself a movie buff. His favorite movies are Little Giants and Avengers: Endgame.
This summer 5ive is traveling the country on the Family Business Tour with many of his friends including Mission, Torey D’Shaun, Plain James, and Kevi Morse.
Get or stream Family Business here.