For over fifteen years, hip hop duo GRITS has been making an impression on the genre with their own brand of
rhymes. Jesusfreakhideout.com's own Kevin Hoskins got a moment to chat with one half of GRITS, Coffee, to discuss
the band's latest record Reiterate, their self-launched record label, and more...
This interview took place on: 1/6/09.
Jesus freak Hideout (Kevin Hoskins): GRITS are pioneers in the Christian rap game. How do you remain on top of the ever evolving music scene?
To stay current and relevant, you have to know what's goin on. The
music scene changes every day and the artists change constantly, so to be a
part of it, you have to be willing to evolve with it.
JFH (Kevin): Who would you call your biggest musical influences?
My personal biggest influence is Hip Hop music in general... I came up
on Run DMC, Eric B and Rakin, A tribe called quest, De La, etc.... but
the energy and passion is what got me hooked.
JFH (Kevin): Can you talk a bit about your new record label, Revolution Art? Are you
looking to sign a other artist to the label as well? What kind of vision do you have for RA?
Revolution Art will facilitate other artists as well as GRITS... our
motto is "Redefining a Culture," which means we want to bring our touch of
class to music - not just hip hop, not just urban, but on a worldwide
musical level. We are getting behind artists with integrity, and who
have a true heart for songwriting and making great quality music.
JFH (Kevin): How was it different producing your first record (Reiterate) under Revolution Art apart from Gotee?
It was such a different experience doing an album apart from
Gotee, simply because we were responsible for EVERYTHING this time
around. No upfront money or advances, no team in place waiting for us to
just turn in songs. We had to write and perform the music, then turn
around and market and promote... but when you have the drive and freedom
to do things how you want, it's not a bad deal at all... and the payoff is
JFH (Kevin): Reiterate seemed to have more of an R&B feel thrown into
the hip-hop sound we all have come to expect from GRITS, much more than on any of your previous releases.
What made you decide to take that route?
Coffee: We went into Reiterate with the mindset of doing a different kind
of record. We've had 8 releases during our career and we know we can do
a great hip hop record, so we thought we would stretch ourselves a
little bit. We are more than rappers, we're songwriters and musicians
as well. And to be great, you have to commune with greatness. That's the
reason for the collabs and different sounds. We travel a lot and get to
see what the world is vibing to, so we wanted to implement that into our music.
JFH (Kevin): Can you share some about the guest vocalists on Reiterate?
For example, how did it come about for artists like Dan Haseltine from Jars of Clay and Mac Powell from Third Day to guest on a hip hop album?
Coffee: We simply called up Dan and Mac and invited them to be a part of the
record. We have done shows with Jars of Clay and Third Day and there's a mutual
respect we all have for one another. And those guys have always treated us
with respect when others didn't, even though they were on more of a
major level. That spoke for itself, and we reached out to them...
JFH (Kevin): Can you tell us about the new music video you shot for "Beautiful Morning?"
Coffee: We shot "Beautiful Morning" in a few different locations - Atlanta,
Nashville, Vegas, LA. The concept is simple: despite the woes of life,
dealing with a weak economy, bailouts, etc, we need to stop and take
time to be thankful for the days we are blessed to have in front of
us. There's always a silver lining.
JFH (Kevin): We heard you guys are planning a World Tour for 2009. What kind of plans do you have for it already -- including what bands? -- and what areas of the globe are you shooting for?
Coffee: We are shooting to do a world tour, and we want to go
everywhere. This music needs to be heard and we are pooling all our
resources to do just that! We are taking Jade Harrell and Scientist with
us. Their albums are coming out in 2009. There are some other bands we
are planning on touring with... still up in the air...
JFH (Kevin): What's life on the road like for GRITS? And what keeps you spiritually grounded and focused while touring?
Coffee: Tour life is what it is! LOL... but we are so used to it... staying
grounded isn't the hard part, getting rest and being comfortable... now
that's hard! We are older men who have been doing this for over a
decade, we are solid in our faith and we know how to respect each
other's space. Every day we wake up and begin a new journey with God.
JFH (Kevin): What has God been teaching you lately?
Coffee: God has been teaching me to not be caught up with trivial
matters. Being in the industry for so long, I've seen believers AKA
"church folk" being too caught up with who believes what, and who's
church is bigger, who's more saved... And in the process, they can't even
get along. A very bad example has been set and only those with a
healthy balance of spirituality and reality will come out on top.
It's time for the world to see a different, more healthier model of
Christianity... and we are playing our part to present that.
JFH (Kevin): Any other future plans for Grits & Revolution Art?
Coffee: The future plan for our company Revolution Art and Grits is
simple... Keep pressing forward. Set goals with no expectations. We
leave the expectations to God. What He has in store, our simple minds
JFH (Kevin): Thanks so much for your time, Coffee. Do you have any last comments?
No more comments... LOL
Have a blessed day!
GRITS' latest album, Reiterate, is in stores now!