Everyone who knows me knows that the professional hip-hop junkie is much more than a catchy title. I have be a fan of hip-hop since before it was recorded on vinyl and sold by record companies. I was an emcee during what is often referred to as the Golden Era. So when God lead my into the forum on Holy Hip-Hop or Christian Rap, I was very disappointed in the quality, production and lyrics when I first heard it, was looking for that boom bap and emcees that could spit and flip a metaphor or two! I search and searched and didn’t find anything that moved me. Then I can across a few emcees, Pro, M.A.J.O.R.S and a few others. But one of the first songs that had me from the first time I heard it was, Man On Fire by Sean Slaughter. He wasn’t the first nice Christian rapper, but the first I came across.
I was reminded of the classic hip-hop joints of yesteryear and started to say maybe there is something here. The last few years I have come to appreciate many other emcees like Mouthpi3ce, Willie Will, J.A.Z. (Justified And Zealous), Fro, Corey Red, HeeSun Lee and too many others to name here. I am happy to say there are many more quality emcees and producers now, but something about Sean Slaughter (one of Spiritual Minded Magazine’s 10 Holy Hip Hip Artists Every Hip Hop Fan Needs To Know About) always made him stand out for me.
I hadn’t seen many articles of Sean Slaughter that really dug deep, so I decided to look him up and interview him via email. I sent him a few questions I wanted to get his take on and he filled out his answers and sent them back, below is our online conversation…… enjoy!
For those who still don’t know who is Sean Slaughter?
Sean Slaughter is a Husband, father, rapper, entrepreneur, and servant of God.
Who were your influences? What emcees made you want to pick up the mic?
Early in life, my influences were Run DMC, KRS-One, Rakim, and Big Daddy Kane. Nas really made want to write…he could really tell a story. Rappers like Biggie, Jay-Z and Wu-Tang officially sealed my interest in picking up the mic!
What’s in your Ipod or CD player right now?
Johnny Lang, Dave Matthews, Gnarles Barkley, Jason Champion, Ravi Zacharias, and Mark Driscoll.
When did you know you wanted to be an emcee?
At the age of 16, I wrote my first rap and produced my first beat. I rapped it to my homeboys and they went crazy. I was all in from there.
What is the difference between a rapper and an emcee?
Rapping is a job; Emceeing is a craft. All emcees are rappers but all rappers are not emcee’s.
What do you think is missing in HHH?
Originality. We need more people that make music that infects culture verse mimicking what has already been done.
Holy denotes being separated for God’s purpose, conforming itself to the will of Christ. Hip Hop can be used for God’s purpose and can (via its users) conform itself to the will of Christ
Why is HHH not accepted from the church or the industry?
HHH is now widely accepted by most mainstream and even religious churches. Those churches that don’t except HHH are still in the dark ages lol. As far as the industry, their main goal it to make money.
And sin makes LOTS of money. I believe there are many people in the industry who want to do good but choose to support sin because they either lack courage or need the job. This problem is not a music issue but a moral, American issue.
If I can put you on the spot a little, many Christian rappers lately have been attacking secular rappers in their songs. I strongly believe that Jesus came for the lost and never remember him attacking the sinners of his day. How can HHH be effective if they are attacking the very people they should be reaching out to show them the way so to speak?
They can’t be effective when attacking artists within a song. They can make headlines and get other Christians to rally around their cause, but at the end of the day, the song will turn few from listening to the artists they attack. It will most likely fuel fan’s dedication to the artist.
I have heard you speak of the lack of a support system for the HHH industry, from our elders if you will, speak on that a little!
Elder…lawd! Anyway, HHH has a weak support system. For instance, artists like Kirk Franklin and Mary Mary were rejected by the Christian community, then accepted, then supported. HHH artist were rejected by the Christian community, then accepted, but not supported. The reality is, it takes major support from our major leaders and large churches to push HHH forward. Artist like Da Truth, KJ-52, and Lecrae are perfect examples of artists who have gained this support and have made major stride with their ministry.
I see other forms of Christian music do big things like Rock The River, do you see something of that magnitude in the future for HHH?
Yes, but it will happen when those who have influence and resources support HHH. Remember, most artists do not create these events…investors do.
I know you used to be a Youth Pastor for 2 years, but you rather minister through music. Some don’t consider it ministry unless you turn off the music and speak to the crowd, share you’re thought on that!
I do not agree. Ministry comes in many forms…some just prefer one form of ministry over another. Also, I left Youth Pastoring because it was not my calling. I have the HIGHEST respect for Youth Pastors and what it takes to be one. But I love teens and through my non-profit media arts program, I am able to evangelize and mentor teens.
You also have a radio show, What The Ham Sandwich, talk a little about that, where can people hear it and how did you come up with that name?
You can check out the What in the Ham Sandwich?! Show
at www.thehamsandwichshow.com. “What in the ham sandwich” is a country saying I learned when I moved to Virginia. People say it when something crazy has happened that left them flabbergasted! The show is brutally honest, engaging in topics about pop culture, social issues, religion, politics, and the ridiculous stuff people do. I love doing this show so ya’ll should listen
I know you do a lot of work with the youth, sort of a mentoring program, tell us a little about that!
I am a 1/3 owner of JPS Entertainment, a media arts program that works alongside the city of Newport News Virginia. We offer inner-city, low-income youth an opportunity to learn recording, beat production, entrepreneurship, theater, and drumming. Our goal is to redirect the passions of these youth. The youth gain career skills, technical skills, and life skills. We also have the opportunity to share the love of Christ with the youth we mentor.
I noticed their isn’t necessary the same attention paid to promotions, packaging and marketing of HHH. Many Christian rappers are not on top of their business or realize that this is a business, please speak on that.
Most artists are not business people, so we cannot necessarily blame them. We can blame them for not getting people who are business savvy. This is critically important if we want people to take us seriously, but it is also expensive. Ultimately, it is a fool that does not invest in himself.
Can’t let you go without talking about the new album, The Prototype!
Yessir! The Prototype is my 5th and best solo album to date. Entirely produced by Pros, I think I found the DJ Premier to my Guru! We received 5 stars on Dasouth.com and we were in the top 50 albums in the country on itunes. God has really blessed our ministry. A prototype is a concept that is designed, such as a car that duplicate cars are modeled after. In the same way, Jesus is the prototype for the way we should live. We also should be prototypes as well, allowing people to see our lives and view the light of Christ.
What advise would you give those who desire to do what you do?
Connect with God everyday, follow the passion he has placed in you, and be CONSISTENT (aka integrity)
Any last words for the people?
This interview has cramped my hands.