I (C.E. Moore) have been a long time fan of the hip-hop duo known as GRITS (Grammatical Revolutions In The Spirit). I have each of their albums and have always wanted a chance to pick their brain about what it means to be doing what they do. I recently caught up with one half of the duo, Bonafide, and here’s what he had to say.
TCM: First, we’d like to thank you for taking the time to answer some of our questions.
Bonafide: Not a problem at all!
TCM: Tell us a little about your faith walk. How did you come to know Jesus as your Savior?
Bonafide:?I was exposed to the things of God as a child, but it wasn’t until I was out on my own, independent, that having a relationship with Christ became a reality in my life.
TCM: Before we talk a little about your new project and Revolution Art, can you tell us a little about what keeps you going in the industry after all these years?
Bonafide: The people’s response to our music. To hear that our songs are touching people’s lives is a privilege we live for.
TCM: How has your relationship with each other changed over the years?
Bonafide: It really hasn’t, but we have changed definitely as men. We have walked through a lot of growing pains together.
TCM: Alright, let’s switch gears and talk a little about your newest project, ‘Reiterate.’ This album marks a departure from Gotee Records and the first release from your own independent label, Revolution Art. How would characterize the difference between this project and your previous efforts?
Bonafide: Honestly, the biggest difference is that it’s the New one,…LOL…but along those lines we kept it consistent lyrically, grew musically, but it is I feel our most accessible album for the whole industry to date.
TCM: You guys collaborated with some interesting people on the album, such as Third Day’s Mac Powell, Martha Munuzzi, Jars of Clay’s Dan Haseltine, Britt Nicole, Iz, and one of Revolution Art’s first signings, Jade. In the past, you have not often collaborated with many artists, choosing instead to stand on your own. What precipitated the change and how do you feel that has stretched you as a creative force?
Bonafide: Really it wasn’t much of a change beside we just collaborated with more popular artist this time around. Normally, we’re breaking talent. As far the stretch…it’s never a stretch for us cause musically we’re fearless, we’ll at least try it once.
TCM: Do you have any particular track on the new project that has significant meaning to you? A track you’re eager to perform live?
Bonafide: Fly Away, it basically became testimonial for me. Same.
TCM: In the past, your music has been featured on MTV television shows and in such films as “Something’s Got To Give.” With the shift from Gotee to Revolution Art, are you aiming for more of a mainstream push or is a new label a harkening back to Gotee’s more urban days?
Bonafide: Revolution Art is definitely a mainstream label, who also services the christian market, but our artist are committed believers young and old in faith.
TCM: It seems like all of the early acts from Gotee’s first days have moved on, with you guys having been the last hold out. Do you all still having a working relationship with the label?
Bonafide: Oh yea we work with Gotee on many levels label to label and will, whether we like it or not they do own our full catalogue of music for over the last 10 years…LOL
TCM: Tell us a little about Revolution Arts’ signings, Jade and Stephan The Scientist. How did you all connect with these new artists, what can listeners hope to hear, and when will their new albums drop?
Bonafide: The unique thing about these guys is that they were in our fold if you will before the label. These are gifted people we been workin with over the years who family now. Expect something New as always with us and now from them, let your ears be the judge but it is some HOT HOT stuff cooking. JADE will be out in June 09, Scientist in Fall 09.
TCM: Christian hip-hop is really beginning to get a lot of respect within the church. Can you draw a line from your earlier experiences as a Christian hip-hop act to the atmosphere now?
Bonafide: That line my friend is still being drawn. Yes the church is more accepting but we still have to have that impact be made industry wide. But it has been a long road and I’m glad to be here to still help change it.
TCM: Within Christian hip-hop circles, “theological rap” seems to be the more popular form, specifically the acts on Reach Records and Cross Movement Records. As such, those who have a broader approach are sometimes criticized for not mentioning Jesus enough. Have you run into this problem? If so, how have you handled this?
Bonafide: Run into this problem? My friend we are the “poster boys” if you will for those who are a “broader approach” like we started it or something. Listen, God has a way paved for all in His Kingdom, the hand can’t say to the foot, should I even go on?…
TCM: As you straddle the line of Church and culture, what are some of the pitfalls you had to be careful to avoid on either side of the fence?
Bonafide: Giving either one preference over the other. There has to be a balance.
TCM: What are some doors that have been opened to your message in the larger culture?
Bonafide: Put it like this the only closed ones have been in the church.
TCM: What advice would you give to young guys who are thinking about joining the Christian rap game?
Bonafide: Don’t do it to be a Christian artist, do it cause that’s what your heart has been molded and shape for, to offer something to the world that changes culture as it touches people without having to label it anything other than a blessing.
TCM: You’ve been so gracious in spending some time with us. Just one more question, though. If Jesus were to comment on your life, what would you want him to say about you?
Bonafide: That I was His friend.
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