Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Stephen the Levite: The Interview (Part 2 of 2)

Picking up on our interview from yesterday with Lamp Mode Hip Hop artist, Stephen the Levite:

BTB: It seems like you tackle a pretty wide range of Christian doctrines. Are there any doctrines that you've tried to rap about, but just couldn't make it happen, for one reason or another?

STL: I had this one song I attempted to write years ago where I compared the tower of Babel and Babylon to Hip Hop Culture. I started off talkin' about Nimrod and the tower, then moved to the time when Daniel and the three Hebrew boys were there and wouldn't bow to the idol, then tried to make my comparisons. It was a cool idea, but it just didn't sound good. In retrospect I think it just may have been too conspiracy-theory-ish and I'm glad the Lord never let me put it out.

BTB: In addition to doctrinal subjects, it seems like you have quite a passion for addressing the sort of cultural problems which are going on in the church - especially the more materialistic American church. What areas do you think are in greatest need of being addressed?

STL: Without repeating my answer for the first question, I'd say the need for the gospel to penetrate and affect the way we view and do culture is a huge need. I've never been so convinced of the fact that the gospel is the solution to the legalism that fleshes itself out culturally, and the road blocks that it creates for the church in trying to reach others with the gospel. In America we don't seem to do a lot of cross cultural mission work, but I think we would if we were more willing to be all things to all men like Paul was. But that won't happen until we understand how the gospel and culture work together for the mission.

BTB: Back to the Lamp Mode Records album The Church for a moment. When you are working on a conceptual album like that with so many other artists, how do you all decide who was going to address which subject; for example, how did you end up addressing the topic of church membership and church discipline?

Basically, we all got an email from the Brian, who works at the label with a list of the topics and I tried to respond as fast as i could to get the topics i wanted. They were topics I was the most passionate about so I made sure i was the early bird. But i think even from the label's side, when you have a deadline, it's best to have the artists write about something they want to write about. I think the project turned out as well as it did because everyone got topics that they were either passionate about or practically living out in their own lives. Artists need that freedom to be authentic.

BTB: Has there been any negative reaction to the rhetorical line "If you're not a part of a church/ how do you know that you're saved?"

STL: The first time I performed it, I definitely got some funny looks. People came to me afterward saying that they could see it on the face of others as well, but nobody's really come to me personally about it. I noticed from " die is gain" that even though a lot of people are out there that disagree, most of them won't tell you. Either they just avoid your music, or they are intimidated, or they are convicted and just don't want to talk about it. You're actually lucky to get people that disagree with you. Pluralism is such a part of the world's culture that it's easy for people in the church to personally interpret your songs in a way that's more comfortable to them. People who actually disagree with you will enjoy your music and never realize what you really mean.

BTB: More congratulations are in order as well, since I understand you're a new father! This does lead me to my first part of my last question. Any chance we'll be seeing any songs about catechizing your babies on your next album? Also, any idea when we might be seeing your next solo album?

STL: Ha! Probably not catechizing, I'm a little more organic in my approach to the scriptures. I didn't learn Christ that way, so I probably won't teach Him that way. My Pastor teaches his son that way though so I'm not dissing it or anything. My son's only 6 months old, so we're still trying to get him to talk and crawl and stuff, but we'll see.

I have an EP coming out in September called "The Forerunner EP" and hopefully I'll have a full length solo project out next year, the earlier the better.

[You can find the first part of our interview with Stephen here]

No comments:

Post a Comment

Before posting please read our Comment Policy here.

Think hard about this: the world is watching!