New Breed: The rap evangelists

Monday 1st July 2002

NEW BREED's Elsie was quizzed by Tony Cummings.

New Breed
New Breed

Tony: Give us the lowdown on how you started rapping.

Elsie: Macho and I started rapping together at about ages 15 and 16. He was putting something together with some other guys for a showcase night at our youth group and when it wasn't coming out the way he wanted he asked me if I'd perform with him instead because I'd been sitting in on their rehearsals. I said cool and we did this song called "Time To Make A Difference". It was our first time and we got an amazing response. We were asked to do it again and then started getting calls from people to go here and there... before we knew it we were a group and had to come up with a name. We've done countless churches, outreaches and community events... We've traveled a little and finally got to a new beginning - the start of where we want to be!

Tony: There are some veryhard hitting tracks on 'Stop The Music'. Single out a couple and tell us a bit of the inspiration behind the songs.

Elsie: The title track, "Stop the Music" comes from the fact that people often miss the message of the song because they're listening to the beat so this song is a battle between the lyrics and the track. "Papi" is from our experience as kids. We thank God for our Dad's life and his sobriety and everything we've gone through and learned. We decided to share this because it's such a common thing. We hope someone will get something out of it. "My People" is just a song celebrating life and culture... not just ours (although it's the focus) but everyone's.

Tony: We're hearing a lot at the moment about Christian radio not giving fair exposure to holy hip hop. What's your take on the situation?

Elsie: I think they play what the majority of its listeners want to hear and honestly I don't know that the hip hop audience makes up a big percentage (although I could be wrong). Also the Church or many Christians still aren't believers or fans of it and don't see or acknowledge its rightful place... I don't think it's fair to ignore such a big movement because it's not traditional - those who don't suppport it are missing an entire generation and population of people.

Tony: There seems to be a big stylistic difference between hip hop emanating from the east coast of the States and the west coast hip hop. How would you explain the difference?

Elsie: Difference between east and west?... Besides the obvious of the beats and flows I think the main difference is the feel of the artist and the vibe behind what they're saying. I grew up in Boston and now live in LA and I can see the difference in the urban life between the two - the difference in mentality and culture which is what shines through on the music that gets all the airplay. To me, west coast music seems to be more laid back just like the whole vibe out here.

Tony: Do you see yourselves primarilly as evangelists?

Elsie: We want people to get a new awareness of God and at the least start their own relationship with him. We're not a "preachy" group. We want everyone to get something out of what we say whether it's a life changing experience, hope, inspiration or just enjoyment from what we're doing. We want to offer something real that people can relate to.

Tony: Ever thought of coming to the UK?

Elsie: Are you offering? :) i'm sure we'll be there if the opportunity arises. CR

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.
About Tony Cummings
Tony CummingsTony Cummings is the music editor for Cross Rhythms website and attends Grace Church in Stoke-on-Trent.


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