Tony Cummings spoke to F.E.R.N. and Marty of hip-hop evangelists and funsters SOCIAL CLUB MISFITS
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Marty: We're definitely trying to break the stereotypes of, "Hey, sexuality and Christianity is a bad thing." Listen, when you get married, it's the best thing; there's sex involved - it's the real thing. Our dream day would be hanging out with some people, laughing, telling stories: that's the culture we're trying to make. Instead of feeling like that's bad, let's ask why is sexuality bad, why is the world craving all this sex talk? We want our life to be a life for people to say, "Wow! I want to have that. I have to know what real commitment is. I want to know what it feels like to be married to one person and to be committed, to have kids and to build a life together." I've been single for 20 years, I just got married. I was with my girl for a year and a half before we got married; to be honest with you, I know how it feels to be like, "I don't know about commitment." But now that I'm committed, now that I'm sold out - it's almost like being sold out to your relationship with Jesus Christ. If you do it half, like one foot here, one foot there - one foot in Christianity, one foot in the world - you'll never get the full experience. Dive in: that's when everything makes sense, that's when everything starts to get better. It's a journey: life is not a destination, where you hit the point. We want fans to know that - real life! You're going to fail, you're going to do great; you're not going to be perfect, you're going to be work in progress. That's OK. Let God work on you: you're not finished now. Today you might have failed, but that's not the end: keep going. As long as you have air in your lungs, the Bible says there's new mercies every morning.
Tony: There's a song on 'The Misfit Generation' called "Kumbaya". Is that anything to do with the old song people used to sing around campfires?
Marty: No. It's funny because one of our favourite artists, Cam'ron, a mainstream artist, has this line, "I'm the realest since Kumbaya." So this song "Kumbaya" says in the chorus, "They say they're the realest, but we don't believe you." We hear all this music on the radio, and they brag about everything they have - all of the women and jewellery and money - and the truth is we don't believe you. There's a generation that wants real. They don't want fake; they want real. I used to get picked on in school because I started going to church. I remember someone telling me, "The only reason they're picking on you is because they want to see if it's real or not. If it's real, it'll last. If it's not, you're going to cave in and say, 'Yeah, yeah, forget this. I'm not going to church.' If you can stand the test, it'll be real.' Our generation wants to test to see what's real, because there's so much fake around. "Kumbaya" is about having a real relationship with God, having a real life. In the first verse, when I'm rapping, I'm talking about the real life - being with my girl, and the ups and down. Real life is not perfect and it's not all terrible, it's in between - valleys and hills.
Tony: On your earlier project 'Misfits 2' there's a song called "Coogi Sweater" which we played a lot on Cross Rhythms. What's that about?
F.E.R.N. As you may know, Bill Cosby made coogi sweaters famous. We tied that coogi sweater concept to the Scripture of Romans 8:28. The many different threads in the coogi sweater, those are the different threads of life that we're going through; the Lord takes those, takes the good and the bad, ties them all together and works them out for the good. We like to understand that regardless of what you're going through, God is going to work it all out for you in your favour - if you seek him, if you love him. That song's been a highlight in our career. Our brother Andy wrote that joint. We want to take stuff that we learned through God and put it through music to be able to relate with people. Everybody doesn't know what Romans 8:28 is, but they do know what a coogi sweater is. That's been one of the greatest songs to perform.
Tony: Another thing that's mystified me for a long time is this guy George on the front sleeve of 'Summer Of George' in what looks like his underpants. Who is this man?
Marty: Our favourite television show is Seinfeld. George is a character in this show played by Jason Alexander. We're huge Seinfeld fans, so every song on the album, the title is a Seinfeld theme. We wanted to have fun with our music. That CD is just different. At the time people were doing very intricate rap about the Scriptures; there was no laughter, there was no fun in the genre that we're at. We love that - that's awesome - but we also felt that there has to be a balance. So we made a Seinfeld-themed album called 'Summer Of George' and on the front cover is George Costanza from the show, and he's laying across the couch. We wanted to take the chance to have fun, and it was worth it, it paid off: a lot of people got the joke. We don't take ourselves seriously. We're serious about what we're serious about, but we love to have fun.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.
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