I've been CHANGED, truth inside my veins. He came and set me free, now I can move without the chains. His Spirit lives inside of me, I truly got the flame. Yeah my life is different, boy, it's proof that I've been CHANGED!
I thought I had it figured out... I had my dreams in front of me and plans for what I needed to do to get there - and I had spent more than ten years faithfully sticking to that plan in pursuit of a secular rap career. BUT GOD!
I grew up in church, and genuinely considered myself a Christian. But looking back it's easy to see that while my lips may have professed I was a Christian, my heart was far from the Lord. My heart was set on the things of this world that I was chasing and pursuing - the money, the women, the fame... I was on the throne of my own life, which only meant that Jesus was not.
In 2014 I was invited to Journey Family Church, 6 times in total before I showed up... but once I did, God spoke to me clearly for the first time in my life. (not that He hadn't been trying to speak to me, I just never slowed down and pressed in enough to hear Him).
The way that He spoke to me through the pastor that Sunday was enough to bring me back a couple weeks later, partly in hopes to experience it again... and partly because I felt it was a fluke and couldn't possibly happen again. But it did! Before long I made a New Year Resolution to attend church every Sunday. I was still in full pursuit of my secular rap career - doing shows in clubs and venues across Michigan - nothing changed there, but I began giving the Lord my Sunday mornings.
After a few months of attending regularly I had been confronted with enough truth to realize I had never truly given my heart to the Lord. I professed Him as Lord with my lips... but my heart was never His. I then made the decision to make Jesus Christ my personal Savior and Lord! Some things began to slowly change in my life - but the biggest area of my life, my music, remained entirely mine and I continued pursuing my dreams of blowing up as a secular artist.
I'm thankful for the love and encouragement I received from Journey Family Church - even though I didn't hide my secular music and life outside of church, I was never condemned by my church family, only encouraged in the Lord. There were members who would say "I can't wait until you start doing music for Jesus!" To be honest it annoyed me at first, because I felt in my heart that is wasn't even a possibility. But they continued to speak life and encourage me in what the Lord had for me as they looked on and loved me with the eyes of Christ - they saw something in me I couldn't even see in myself!
Fast forward several months and I was getting ready to release my 7th secular album. There was a song on that album that ended up being (aside from one cuss word) a Christian/faith-based song and I was quite proud of it. To that point I had no music to share with my church family - this was something I was comfortable and excited about sharing with them! By God's doing I ended up having my Pastor in my studio to listen to this song, along with a few close friends and church family. I had pulled together maybe 3 other songs from my 10 years worth of creating music that I felt ok with sharing and in between sharing the music my Pastor was asking questions about my life and hearing my testimony (to that point).
As I started playing another song he stopped me. He pointed above my head and asked "what is that?". It was a large banner of the record label that I had started in Flint, MI years prior - Forever Fly Entertainment - it was my brand (and had become my identity). I shared how it was my label and everything I did in association with my music was tied to it, and
he said that’s kind of what he figured when he first walked into my studio but he had to stop me and ask because the Lord had just connected and confirmed something in his spirit.
This meeting at my studio was supposed to take place the week prior, but had to be rescheduled. I was unaware why but he began to tell me that he had forgotten there was a board meeting at the church. At the board meeting they were going over the “Unlocked” building fund campaign that was going to be introduced to our church the following weekend, and as a part of that Sunday service, everyone was going to get a key when they walked in. At the meeting they had a big bucket full of keys that everyone had been collecting. He said “they passed around this big bucket full of keys and I reached in and grabbed one… it was one of the weirdest keys I had ever seen. But the Lord told me to keep it. It didn’t make sense, but I put it in my pocket and I kept it. Then today when we were getting ready to leave the house I had the key sitting next to my wallet and my keys and the Lord told me to put it in my pocket. So I did. I forgot I even had it… you’re sharing your music and your testimony and there’s no doubt the Lord has given you an incredible gift and talent… but then I look up and I see these wings!” And he reaches into his pocket and pulls out the key… He said “the Lord wanted me to give you this key!” and he hands me a key that has WINGS on it! He said “there’s no doubt that the Lord has gifted you with music. Just in what you’ve shared I can hear it and I can feel it. Trust Him with it! He has incredible things He wants to do through you with your music… and once you give it all to Him and let Him use you for His glory… man! I can’t wait to see what He is going to do with it!”
And in THAT VERY MOMENT I was convicted and my life would be forever changed! That was just a week or so before my album dropped, and I had big plans to push it. I had got 1,000 CDs pressed up, ordered a ton of merchandise, had shows lined up all over Michigan… I already had it figured out… at least I thought! All of that was already in motion when that meeting had taken place. So I began to fulfill all the plans and commitments I had made… but I couldn’t get that key and what was spoken to me out of my head.
It wasn’t long until I began to really meditate on the words “trust Him with it” and “give it all to Him”. And as I looked at everything I was doing, as “successful” as I thought it was, I began to realize that I was not trusting the Lord with my music. Nor had I given any part of it to Him. It was all about me.
I slowly began to pull out of some of my engagements to do shows and stopped going out as much, and I felt the desire in my heart to write music for the Lord. I never denied the fact that my talent was God-given… I just did what I wanted with it. But He began to speak to me and tell me that He gave me the talent for a reason and a purpose. And I knew that my music to that point was not in line with that purpose.
So I started trying to write new Christ-inspired music… but was worried about what people would think and the fans I might lose and the connections that might be shaken if I went too far with it… so I tried to write music for the world, that all my fans would still like and all the clubs would still put in rotation… and just sprinkle a little Jesus here and there. And that didn’t work for now obvious reasons (you can’t serve two masters). But I was so worried about losing what I had built… I had been doing it for 10 years and had given my all to it. Whether it was for the Lord or not I had dedicated everything to it… and I wasn’t ready to let it go.
I spent almost 9 months battling with trying to write music that would be pleasing to God but still pleasing to the world, coming up with absolutely nothing, to the point where I was very close to quitting all together. I was questioning if maybe God was just calling out of music entirely because I obviously couldn’t do it anymore.
I spoke with Pastor Gary a few times during this transition and he would tell me every time… “you got one foot in for the Lord and you got one foot still in the world. You gotta go all in! Once you give it all to him you will find what you’re looking for!”. And as good as that sounded and as much sense as it made, I still wasn’t to the point of being willing to give it all up. I knew that’s what the Lord was calling me to do. To walk away from everything I had done and known prior… and I was still battling a prideful heart, so the thought of losing what I had worked so hard for was upsetting to me. (If you can’t tell, deep down it was really all about me, me, me… and that’s EXACTLY why it all needed to change).
After battling and praying and going back and forth the Lord finally gave me a revelation. He told me “you are so worried about what you have done and what you have built… when that’s all stuff you did without my blessing and my anointing. Those are the doors you were able to open and the things you were able to do on your own… just THINK about what you can do when I’M THE ONE opening the doors and leading the way! When your music is honoring and glorifying to my name, there is no limit to where I will take you and the things I will do through you!”
When I got that word from Him I realized I was holding on to what seemed like a lot in my eyes but in His eyes was microscopic. And while I was holding onto what was in my hands, I was unable to receive what was in His. Once He gave me that revelation, I had peace. I hit my knees and I gave it all to Him! My song “Your Will” was written the very day that happened!
I spent the next year completely removed from the music scene. Because even though I had made a decision and surrender in my heart and my mind… there was still a LOT that the Lord needed to show me, teach me, remove from me, add unto me… there were a lot of lies I had believed and things that I had worshiped and chased after that He needed to rid my heart and my life of. My focus was strictly on drawing closer to Him! I got in His word and started reading my bible daily. I asked Him to show me thing things in my life that needed to change, and I asked Him to change them or help me to be able to change them. I started chasing after Jesus with all my heart!
Almost 2 full years after I was convicted in my studio, and a year and a half of being completely removed from music… after He had done a complete work and changed me from the inside out and written a brand new song on my heart… the Lord called me back to the studio and back to what I loved! And I began working on my first Christian album titled “Changed”! I can’t even put into words all that the Lord has done in my life and showed me these past few years. I am just so thankful that He loved me enough to continue to pursue me even after I spent SO MANY years not even acknowledging Him.
I pray that my story of redemption, the music I write going forward, and more than anything the Jesus living inside of me would inspire people to take a look at their own life! I’m not here to condemn or speak down on anyone. I was living a life that was full of sin for so many years, so I cannot speak as if I’m better than anyone. I’m here to encourage! Encourage you to give your life and your passions and your dreams to the Lord… and just WATCH what He will do with them! And I want you to know that Jesus did not come to condemn anyone either, but to save them! The blood He shed on the cross was just as much for you as it was for me, and if He could reach and save me to then turn me and use me for His will and His glory… He can do the same for you!
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ he is a new creation. The old has passed away, behold the new has come. (2 Corinthians 5:17)