Thomas DM recently had the opportunity to interview Dee Black for HopeBEAT.
Q: Thank you for taking the time for this interview bro, I know you are a very busy man so it is much appreciated. Now, let’s start by talking about the near future – the “I Am Hisstory Campaign”; please shed some light on this campaign and what we can expect to see.
Never to busy for you bro and thanks for considering me. The Campaign will consist of HiSstory artist and family which some call fans, giving an insight into how their life is a story told by GOD. The name HISstory is representative of our story in life and how GOD plays the author and director of that story. You will see videos and promo surrounding the campaign starting in June 2016.
Q: That’s interesting, we wish you all the best with the campaign and will of course be praying for you all. Are you working on any new music at the moment – share with us please what that is and if you have any features on the way?
I am working on a new album. Its entitled The Soundtrack. At the moment i have 5 songs done and some great features. Right now I am mainly concentrating on music and albums that HISstory will be releasing. I will be featured on those projects.
Q: I hear that you are about to introduce a new artist to Hisstory Music Group, I know that further info is coming soon but can you share anything with us on who this artist might be?
I can tell you he is well respected and a CHH veteran. Im looking forward to partnering with him on the upcoming projects. We plan on releasing a single early summer.
Q: What would you say your goal is with your music, HMG and the new campaign you are working on?
Our goal is to bring lyrical content with excellence centered around the Gospel. We will give you art but it will glorify GOD. The goal of the campaign is to bring all glory back to GOD through telling our story.
Q: You are working with Eshon Burgundy at the moment on his new album, what can we expect to hear from this new album?
I was blessed to help executive produce his new album. You can expect Classic material that will have a timeless effect. Eshon has set the standard for that lyrical excellence centered around the gospel.
Q: And how was it working with Eshon?
Our relationship is not based on music so its like working with family. I played the background and was there to support him in anything concerning this album. He is a one man company all by himself so I am privileged to play a part in his process.
Q: Now, we are seeing a lot of new artists coming through within the Christian hip hop genre… it’s a great thing. In your opinion, which artists do you think we should be looking out for at the moment?
New artist such as Shiwan, Jay Monty aha gazelle and so many more are setting a new standard. I listen to these guys and I am amazed at their creativity.
Q: Of course, the Christian hip hop genre is unlike any other genre – it comes with responsibility and accountability… with that in mind, do you have any advice for new artists who want to be a part of Christian hip hop?
Remain true to the mission of Christian hip hop and that’s to Glorify Christ through the music. No you don’t need to count how many times he is mentioned but let everything you say and do represent that title of Christian. If your goal is to be known or to make money then Christian Hip Hop is not a wise choice. Put Christ first otherwise its just Hip Hop.
Q: Now for just a moment, let’s take a step back in to the past, for those who don’t know your story; if you don’t mind please tell us a little about your past – how did you come to know Jesus? Were you raised knowing Jesus or is there a testimony you can share with us?
I wasn’t raised in church nor did my family attend church. During my teen years I did not believe there was a God. I lived my life according to that. I sold drugs, carried guns and did the typical hood story. I remember sitting on a church step that was in my neighborhood. It was also in a high drug traffic area. I would sell drugs right from that step. I had no respect or regard for GOD. My wife was instrumental in me knowing Jesus. We went to high school together so she knew how crazy I was. We remained friends and in spite of her being raised in church she never treated me like i was a terrible person. I loved her for that. She invited me to church one new years eve. I was sick so i decided to stay home and not party. I accepted her invitation and never looked back. I gave my life to Christ and changed my life. Later I was able to minister at an event hosted by the pastor of that same church where I sold drugs.
Q: If I am not mistaken, I understand you were making secular music before you made Christian music? how and why did you make the change to Christian music?
I was successful doing secular music. During that time when i got saved I also was recording and getting offers from major labels. I had to make a decision to leave while i was rising in popularity, fame and money. My content promoted the life I was trying to leave. I turned down deals and stopped doing music. I didn’t do any music for eight years before feeling the push from GOD to use my gift for him.
Q: And you turned down a major label deal… which label was this? And what were the reasons behind rejecting the deal?
I had a couple of offers from Koch, Def Jam and other smaller labels. I was working with okay players management at the time and discussing potential deals with them as well. I rejected the deals because I changed my life and could not continue to promote Drugs, Guns, Sex etc. That’s the artist they wanted me to be.
Q: On the topic of labels… there has been plenty of different opinions on Lecrae signing with Columbia Records. What is your opinion on this; and how may this – if at all, change or impact Christian hip hop?
I had a deal with Sony Red distribution and I was very close and involved with the same deal that Lecrae had with Sony. This Columbia deal is no different from what Sony Red did for Reach. Its just a different label and more publicized. Lecrae in general has allowed me to get into doors as an artist and executive because of his impact. Do I agree with all the moves they make. NO but Reach is making business decisions that we may never understand because its unprecedented. It will impact Christian Hip Hop because no matter what title they don’t want to be called, executives and secular artist I come in contact with call them Christian rappers. There are labels I know of right now looking for Christian rappers so they have impacted the genre regardless.
Q: Besides music, do you have any other talents that we may not be aware of?
I’m a producer and behind the music as well. I’m actually finishing my degree in entertainment business. So i know the ins and outs of the business.
Q: What is your favorite book of the bible and why?
James is my favorite Book. It gives practical advice to Christians who feel the pressure of society. It is relevant for all artist now. Ask me a year from now and it may change. My favorite is truly dependent on how it applies to my life at the moment.
Q: Ok, I wear a cross, on it is engraved “Matthew 22:37-40”, which helps me to remember that God is first and we must love Him with all our being and that we should love our neighbours as ourselves. Which verse from the bible is your favorite and why?
For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.
I live my life in humility and I am blessed because of it!
Thank you Dee Black for taking time out to speak with me and all of the readers on HopeBeat.net, it is truly appreciated.
Thank you for the opportunity. I truly appreciate you giving me a platform to tell my story.
Is there anything you would like to add as we end the interview here?
Sure follow me on twitter, instagram and facebook @deeblackmusic. You can also keep up with everything on deeblack.com. Keep praying for HISstory and we will be praying for the body as well.
Interview By: Thomas DM