Jesus freak Hideout: Peace of Mind is a new project that just seems to have snuck up on the CCM scene. It's a different kind of project for KJ-52 to be so heavily involved with considering it marries hip-hop and rock quite nicely. How did this opportunity come about for you? (what inspired it?)
KJ-52: It was more or less just an idea I had been kicking around for a couple of years,
Brandon Ebel (president of Tooth & Nail, the label I'm on) just had the vision to follow through on it.
I said if I was going to do it, then we need to do it right. I wanted the best people on it, and I got it.
How could I say no?
JFH: How did your experiences with POM differ from, say, your most recent solo album, Collaborations?
I actually wrote most of the record to hip hop instrumentals and then they stripped it out and put in
the guitars, drums etc..
The basic difference is that I can interject more emotion to it and can be a little more experimental than
the typical hip hop LP. It was a growing stretch but it definitley helped.
JFH: On POM you work quite closely with industry heavyweights Pete Stewart and Todd Collins. What was it like to work with them?
Well, I work with Todd all the time. We actually do everything pretty much hand-in-hand when it comes to
music (his stuff and my stuff). Pete was really cool to work with (even though we never met face-to-face at all
on the record) and he really MADE the whole LP. I knew they would be the best for the record, that's why
I went with them.
JFH: Although POM involves several different people from several different
backgrounds, how much can you say of KJ went into making this record?
All of it. All the song ideas were mine. As far as musically, though, that was 90% Pete, Todd and Rick May
JFH: In the album's credits, the band is pretty much comprised of Pete, Todd, and you. So the question remains: While you are recognizably in the photo on the album cover, who is everyone else with you?
KJ: hmmmmmmmmmmm... wouldn't you like to know? The cover has me, Todd, Reid Shippen (the guy
who mixed the LP) and Steve Lotz (OK, he had nothing to do with the album. He mixed Collaborations though.)
JFH: What inspired the song "Don't Ever Give Up"?
KJ: Just seeing people around me quitting and struggling. I wanted it to be an encouragement to them.
JFH: What is the story behind the song "We Gon A Make It"?
My parents divorce... simple and plain, and how God was my healer.
JFH: What's the deal with "Will You Go Out With Me?"
AHHHHHHHHHH!! Middle school frustration? Just me having some fun.
JFH: OK, Peace of Mind aside, and on to KJ-52... last year on Collaborations, you wrote a response to controversial rapper Eminem's "Dear Stan" with your own "Dear Slim." Is it true that a copy of the song has actually ended up in Marshall's hands?
KJ: Yep. There was a road pastor backstage who gave him a copy and talked to him. He walked out with it in his pocket.
JFH: How have the relentless comparisons of your music to Eminem effected your work as an artist?
KJ: Well... at first it was frustrating. Now it's just like water off a duck's back.
I don't even think about it too much. If me becoming your "Christian Eminem" helps you grow closer to God
then whatever... I'll sacrifice my artistic pride to help you grow.
JFH: With all of the current turmoil around the globe and involving our country and the Middle East right now, do you have a word of encouragement for those who are being unnerved by all of the recent events?
KJ: "You will hear of wars and rumors of wars..." He is still in control no matter what.
Simple as that.
JFH: What scripture verse has had the most impact on your day-to-day in Christ?
KJ: Proverbs 18:24. It talks about a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
JFH: What is your favorite movie?
KJ: Monty Python and the Holy Grail... yep, I'm a geek.
JFH: What is your venue to perform at?
KJ: Good? Probably Crossover Community Church in Tampa, Florida. The only hip hop church
in existence. Awesome vibe there.
JFH: What has been one of your all-time favorite on-the-road moments?
KJ: hhhhmmmmmm... Not one in particular, just seeing kids saved and touched is what
it's all about. The road gets old real quick. That's what keeps me going is the kids.
JFH: With me and my fiance looking forward to a June wedding this year, do you have any advice for newly weds?
KJ: Get ya money straight, learn to forgive, learn to communicate and, most of all, enjoy it!
JFH: While on that topic... have you ever been to Disney or Universal in Orlando?
If so, any suggestions for a couple of honeymooners with
any must-see stops while in those parks? :)
KJ: A zillliiion times! I was raised in FL. Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure,
two dopest parks, no doubt. The Bible Theme park is kind of cool too.
JFH: Do you have any favorite Christian artists?
KJ: Too many to list. :) I listen to everything.
JFH: I really appreciate your taking the time out of your busy schedule to
answer some questions for us. Are there any last comments you'd like to make?
KJ: Thanks for everything!