Tedashii on keeping the Lord first, rap second
CT: You’ve been in London collaborating with some rap artists here. How was that for you?
TA: It’s been an honour to do what I do. A lot of people assume because you rap then you’ve always been rapping but I was an American football player. It was my life and my love and God kind of removed that idol from my life when I became a Christian and from that point, music was something to me that would draw me in as I worshipped the Lord. I wanted to do something and speak in a way that was relevant but I wasn’t the best singer in the world so hip hop was a way for me to do that. Early in my faith I started rhyming for the Lord but it wasn’t until about five years ago that it became something serious for me. Now it’s what I do full time.
CT: Were there any struggles in this process?
TA: Yes there were. I grew up in a single parent home. My mum was the only one to encourage me to do stuff. I didn’t know my father and it was only me and my young sister, and I was the oldest without any guidance and direction. The oldest one either runs headstrong into things and makes mistakes or they cower away. Well I was the one who cowered away and I ended up really having a lot of insecurities and struggles internally concerning who I was and what I would be about and it wasn’t until later on in life after becoming a Christian and being with older men in the faith that I really started to find direction and purpose. So the struggles that came about for me were not necessarily musical and I praise God for the people around me who do music with me like Trip Lee, Lecrae, Sho Baraka. My struggle was more to do with who I was and what I was and a lot of that comes through my music.
CT: How do you stay focused in your faith?
TA: The primary way is to stay focused in my home. I’ve been married for four years, my wife and I have a beautiful baby boy and for me that roots and grounds me every day. I can’t run away to a concert or overseas and then come home and try to play the superstar role at home. It doesn’t work. I still got to pay bills, go out and work in the yard, clean the home, learn honour and cherish my wife and raise my son. For me that grounds me. Secondly, the community of believers that I am a part of. My wife and I go to a local church and we serve locally in our community, sharing the Gospel with our neighbours, loving people who are in need and getting together with other Christians, going through Scripture and also having an accountability. Those two things ground me so that I don’t try to assume something that I am not.
CT: What do you try to convey to your audiences?
TA: My main heart and purpose is to really try to communicate to people whether they are Christian or not a Christian, we are all born in sin and we will all stand before God one day. Only Christ will determine whether or not you will stand before him as an enemy or as a son or daughter so for me I really want to convey that message. Also in the book of Galatians in chapter 3, Paul really tries to communicate to the church that you somehow think you are okay even though you are not, you end up serving something other than Christ, and you end up heaping wrath upon your head more because of the very sin that you do that and you try to clean your own self with your own standard and it does not work.
So I really try to share that heart for those who are around. A lot of young people wrestle with their identity, with who am I about, who am I to become, and they wrestle with whether the person they currently are is worth anything. My hope is to help them examine themselves by putting themselves against the backdrop of Christ.
CT: What was London like for you?
TA: London has been good. It was different because I was here once before and the entire time it was rainy and gloomy and I was told it was normal. This time it was sunny all the time! But on a sincere note the hospitality, the love and the fellowship within the community of the believers here has been amazing. It’s really encouraging when we meet artists who are fighting for godliness and holiness and that Christ is worshipped in a real way. That spurs me on and I really want to live it. The hospitality, the service, unity, all of that for me has been a real encouragement.
CT: Rap artists are always collaborating. How important is it to have a deeper unity between you guys?
TA: Unity is very important. It’s so funny because I was talking to someone about many different Christian artists that I meet in the United States and a lot of them want a relationship through the music, but for me I feel that the music changes. So just like the music will change, the dynamic of our relationship will change and if the foundation is solely upon music, then eventually if you do something that really offends me it may or may not be as close as it once was. But if my foundation is in Christ, if I’m rooted and grounded in that, then there is a spirit of unity and a bond of peace and I think we will have a long lasting relationship as brothers in the faith. The bond has got to first be out of the love of Christ and secondly about the music. As long music stays secondary and I can come to your house and I can talk through life, marriage, your family, how you are serving your church, your walk personally with the Lord, then we can talk about what we rap about later. For me that’s fine.