So I decided that I wanted to do a ‘Meet the Artist’ series, where I would interview artists for my readers to get to know. Some of these artists I want my readers to know despite if they currently have an album out or not. I was able to talk with Reign Cannons and freely discuss some of the things that were on his heart and the last project he released entitled The Right to Remain Honest. I hope as the reader you get a new and better insight of Reign Cannons and hear his heart in this interview.
Q: At what age did you start rapping and who were some of your influences?
A: I started rapping in the 8th grade, back in ’98. I’ve been singing all my life and playing instrument. I started rapping after being dared at the lunch table. At the time, DMX was a heavy influence in my life, so I decided to rap the song ‘What these **** Want’ and everyone was so hype after I was through. After that I decided to take rap seriously, I got involved with battle rap, where my city, Trenton, would be against another city, and this took place all over the Tri-State area (New Jersey, New York and Connecticut). Not only was I influenced by DMX, but others such as Wu-Tang Clan, Method Man, The Lox and Cassidy. I got signed to a record label by the name of Won’t Stop Entertainment, which later became Street City Entertainment. I knew I was the best and that I was unbeatable and was focused on the game. Then one day I was talking to this guy from youth group that spoke to me about how you can’t serve two masters. I didn’t understand at first but when I thought it over, I decided to give my life over to Christ and as of 2000 I was on it from that point forward.
Follow up Question: First secular/Christian rap album that you bought?
A: My very first album was Flame’s first album was his self-titled, Flame. I had the choice between getting Da Truth or Flame’s album and went with his instead. Flame had the beats and his style was very different and he was a very tenacious artist which made me appreciate him in his craft. As far as secular music is concerned, the first album I bought was Wu-Tang Clan’s first album Enter the Wu-Tang: 36 Chambers because everyone in Trenton was listening to it heavily.
Q: Talk to us about The Right To Remain Honest, the title is obvious, but what was your heart behind the album
A: The five-fold ministry (apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers) was the background to this album. I wrote this album all in one day, it took me about 11 hours and was supposed to originally have 17 tracks, but due to production issues I wasn’t able to put all the tracks together and that’s how it ended up being 6 tracks instead. I wanted to talk about the things that were going on around us because the honest truth is that a lot of the things happening right now, the Lord had already shown me what was to come. This album was a charge because thee question is what are we going to do when we are confronted with problems that America covers under the rug. The Right to Remain Honest is me being confrontational because personally I take a stand and I don’t shut up about controversial topics. The Intro to the album is about the five-fold ministry, talking about the world looking for the manifestation of the sons of God. The word talks about when we minister or profess the word that signs and wonders will follow, but if signs and wonders aren’t following then some self-evaluation may be necessary. On the album I talk about how we aren’t living up to expectation, for example Evangelism, we are afraid to go out and speak to people and give them the gospel. As an Apostle we are supposed to speak things into existence, as far as prophets, we need to cast down the false prophets. The track Heart that Forgives, I discuss what makes people bitter and how we are so used to being hurt. We are supposed to help each other in healing and dealing with the pain, but we have a tendency to be so consumed in our own hurt and pains that we can’t help one another. I also talked about how hard it can be to overcome situations because when we find the courage to open and talk to someone about what we are dealing with, it always seems there is someone on the other side ready to use that against us. Xenophobia discusses the fear of strangers and people who are seen as unfamiliar or unknown. It’s ingrained in us that presentation is everything and America has shown that we are to focus on the first interaction/first impression. It’s funny that children can run around, play and interact with each other with no regard to race, gender or any of those such things but when they are older and supposed to be smarter, prejudices and boundaries are created to divide us. I just want to bring these issues to the light so that we can deal with them in a very real and honest manner. In the Question track, the song was based on a real life experience I had with people who I was ministering to, that asked me various questions about real life. Like questions revolving money and would I change who I am. Bad One was written after I heard Wale’s Bad, because it had me thinking about what exactly makes a woman Bad. In the first verse I talk about a girl who’s going to school and everyone has their opinion of her but nobody asked her what she is going through and what she is dealing with. Seeing her they can assume that she’s stuck up but nobody takes the time to know she’s may have been teased as a child, have low self-esteem, or some type of insecurity. I wanted to flip the definition of a Bad chick to be one who reverences God and follows hard after Him. I wanted to show that she doesn’t have to show skin to get attention or have herself considered as a bad chick because it’s not about her outward appearance.
Q: Are you currently working on any new music and if so what can we expect?
A: I’m currently working on a project that will be called No Games which will address a lot of things head on. I believe like Jerry Falwell Sr said,’If its Christian it’s gotta be the best.’ There’s going to be a little bit of everything, songs that are solely base on biblical and spiritual concepts, others will be historical. This album will like one of those gospel tracks that you pass out, because it’s going to be pure unadulterated truth. I desire to tell my story, to call things how they are, I want to people to learn from this new project. Honestly I know that there will be those who are going to be offended by this project but the truth is a hard pill to swallow. So I’m already anticipating that it may not go over well but I believe it has to be done.
Q: How do you feel about where Christian rap is and do you think it has an achievable or viable place in the music industry.
A: I honestly hate where Christian rap is right now. It seems that now everyone is switching their styles and sounding more like the world and so I’m disappointed. Just recently Flame dropped a new album, as an artist he’s expanded but I feel like as a fellow brother in the faith, he sounds like them. I understand the strategy but my question is this, Are we affecting the culture or is the culture affecting us. For example, I sound like me, I’m not gonna change but we need to sincerely ask ourselves have we really affected the culture enough. The artists who are putting out the gospel in their music like Stephen the Levite and Praise1 get no love. Because they are different and peculiar they are considered a threat. What saddens me is that the younger generation hears this music and think this is it and there’s no clear-cut difference between the secular and the christian music. I have yet to hear a song talk about studying to show yourself approved. I mean if we are supposed to be artist that happen to be christian then we are doing a great job, but if we are supposed to be christian artists with the intention of giving the gospel, I’m sorry but we have failed. We need to get back to delivering the gospel.
Q: Anything else you would like to add or say:
I just want to leave with Colossians 3:17, ‘And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.’ I just believe that whatever we do, we should do it for the glory of God. We need more fighters in the faith, we can’t affect this generation without fighters. Let’s get back to building the kingdom, we all play for the same team. The definition of building the Kingdom is reading, praying, fasting, creating disciples, accountability, discipline, and seeking wise counsel. Let’s do what we were intended to do.