“It’s been boring without him, hasn’t it?”
AN EXPOSITORY OF THE BOOK...
REECE Something like a phenomenon
JESSE MITCHELL Chain Breaker 2.0 dissected
This monthâ€™s highlights: an exclusive interview with Mali Music, exploring the phenom of Rhythm & Praise artistry - Uncle Reece, and introducing emerging artists Jay Allie and Larry Watson.
FEATURES 8 Jesse Mitchell 14 Jay Allie 22 Larry Watson 28 Mali Music 40 Uncle Reece 48 Hip Hop Corner
SEPTEMBER 2020 RYZE 3
T H E
H I P
H O P
C R E W
The Hip Hop Crew consists of the dynamic sibling dual Ray and Chris Brooks, who joined the RYZE Magazine family with the addition of the Gas, Fire, Pass Reviews. For clarity’s sake here’s the meaning of the signs. Gas... means it’s not what everyone’s saying... it is however a song that if listened to often will grow on us Fire... means it’s as HOT as everyone says it is Pass... means it won’t get played on our personal playlist and therefore not included in ours either.
4 RYZE SEPTEMBER 2020
WWW.RYZEMAGAZINE.COM IG: @RYZEMAGAZINE.COM FB: @RYZEMAGAZINE.COM
EDITORIAL Review Editors: Jay & Chris Brooks Editor-At-Large: David Quinones Managing Editor: Aulsondro “Novelist” Hamilton aka Emcee N.I.C.E. Editor-in-Chief: Enaysha (Naé) Thompson Valentine
READER SERVICES: Issuu - Digital Publishing Platform Subscriptions/Back Issues To never miss an issue visit www.ryzemagazine.com
ADVERTISING: ELEV8 Media Group email@example.com
PR/MARKETING: Naé Thompson PR | Management Grp. firstname.lastname@example.org
SUITS: Publishers Drs. Corey & Naé Thompson Valentine VP of Operations Roy “King” Jackson
6 RYZE SEPTEMBER 2020
NEW ADVENTURES IN MUSIC...
We chat Jesse Mitchell about his return, join Jay Allie in the studio and find out about Larry Watson’s smile obsession.
THE RETURN OF CHAIN BREAKER JESSE MITCHELL TALKS TO
RYZE ABOUT THE REINTRODUCTION With the full-length studio release, Chain Breaker 2.0, Jesse Mitchell ups the ante with a slate of killer songs, a brilliantly captured video, and the brutal honesty that undergirds his artistry. This candor is the touchstone of a body of work which has previously revealed a broken heart and a contrite spirit, testifying of test and trials, and the grace and mercy that covers us. He was thirty when his solo debut Internal Warfare: The Death of Jesse James (2010) blew audiences away with its alchemy vintage rap, Rhythm and Praise, and a potent injection of a take-no-prisoners attitude. Broken (2016) sustained and expanded on these themes. Now, Broken 2.0 (2020), written and recorded during one of the most critical seasons arrives full-blown, fully realized, and all Jesse Mitchell. RYZE caught up with Mitchell for this exclusive interview as he was 8 RYZE SEPTEMBER 2020
returning home after dropping his eldest son off at college. RYZE Magazine: Even in these strange times, you seem to be doing a lot of work. You recently released Broken 2.0 your third-full length solo project, “the reintroduction”. What made you come to the music this way?
Jesse Mitchell: There’s so much that influences me. I’m an 80’s baby with a 90’s music background. My influences are of course the greats like Tupac, Biggie, Usher, Jagged Edge, H-Town, that ATL sound as far as flow and delivery. But the gospel music that impacted me I would attribute to Yolonda Adams, and Mary, Mary, they were able to minister to
Jesse Mitchell: One of the main things I picked up on a long time ago is the atmospehere. It’s one of the things I love about this side of music. I can do a show and not worry about getting shot, or dealing with riots. You know at the end of the night I don’t have to worry about the effects of drinking and smoking (I can breathe) my kids can listen to the music, and I can bring my family with me to most of my events unless I’m ministering inside a prison or a heavy side of town that I feel isn’t safe or something like that. It’s a totally different environment. You have the love of Christ surrounding you for the most part. Now when you’re dealing with industry there’s a simularity to the dealing of the world and I had to learn that. You come in green, bright eyed and bushy tailed and you think everyone is a brother and sister so you hug it out, and it’s not exactly what you consider ministry... it’s industry, and these are industry people.
my spirit. But Canton Jones was the first Christian rap artist I heard that I really, really listened to whose album inspired me. I still listen to it today. RYZE Magazine: Jesse having been a secular artist sharing stages with those of reputation, and making the change, what’s different about being on this side of music, beyond releationship with Christ?
SEPTEMBER 2020 RYZE 9
RYZE Magazine: With all of the current changes in the industry sonically, what’s your message to up and coming artists? Jesse Mitchell: Endurance is key! We often think that the story ends perfect, right. We only see the rewards, the house, the cars, the relationship, everything moving in it’s proper place. But “Success is not a straight line, it’s a series of continual movements.” You have to find out through tests (I’ll call it process) what works and what doesn’t. How to promote. What to promote. When to release... How to keep going even when it’s not a pretty picture to see how things all come together in the end. “Keep building step by step, brick by brick, moment by moment.” This is how we see what GOD speaks over our lives. You have to keep moving to maximize the moment. RYZE Magazine: Tell us a bit about the new video. Jesse Mitchell: I wanted to create a visual for people to see what spiritual battles look like. A lot of us deal with insecurity, hopelessness, fear, lust, envy, really the list could go on and on but I was intentional with the story line to paint the picture of what happens in our minds daily. Honestly, I feel like I was sleep until now. I wasn’t really giving 100% of myself and now I feel like I’m woke! I’m focused! and I’m walking confidently in what GOD has called me to do with intent and determination. I want what GOD has for me and I want to encourage my brothers and sisters in the faith to do the same. 10 RYZE SEPTEMBER 2020
Born and raised amidst musicians and singers, Jay Allie is no stranger to the musical expression of his faith. Jay began singing lead in the family choir early on, attributing his vocal variance to the likes of Hezekiah Walker, Kirk Franklin, John P Kee, Donald Lawrence, Mississippi Mass Choir and Kim Burrell, with Daryl Coleman being one of his all time favorite artists.
14 RYZE SEPTEMBER 2020
What’s your favorite part of the music creation process? Production, definetly. I own a studio space in my home where I’m able to create the foundational ideas before working with other writers and producers. A lot of times God gives me songs in my sleep. I try my best to get up and create what I hear using the voice recorder on my phone or get to the studio.
What’s the driving force artistry? Well, I’ve alway music not solely as an ar on the business side, as m financing, and investing artists and musical ende ways been in the studio necessary components a ships with engineers, etc ed to do my own thing f and see how that goes.
behind your ys dwelled in rtist. I’ve been management, g in other eavors. I’ve algathering the and relationc., and decidfor a minute,
Jay Allie And go... it has. There really is no safer place for our lives than in the will of God. What would you say to other artists that want to get started but aren’t really sure how to forge forward? Continue to create. That was a hard spot for me. Sometimes we get lost in what others are doing, or maybe what the “status quo” is with the plight of the sound. It should be like this or maybe it should sound like that, but what’s in your heart is what you should put it out. Don’t worry about the opinion of others just continue to create. And when it comes to the business side of things be patient. Accumulating success without the proper foundation and knowledge (the overnight success) comes at a cost. Some don’t know or understand what should be happening and the lack of knowledge can be detrimental to your career.
What’s the tough space of being an artist for you? What I’m doing right now with you. Interviews... talking about the process. For me it’s always been a heart movement, my music comes from my heart, soul, and spirit. When I’m on stage ministering that’s a safe place but when it comes to sharing the why’s, that poses a bit of a challenge for me. How did “My Faith” come about? It was one of the songs God released to me while I was sleeping. I got up and laid the foundation down and called my guy Justin over and we got on the move and laid some base and I told him, “man I want it to be real real funky... let’s get a funky baseline on there!” And he put it down. Then we discussed the talk box, and Madison can over and wrote the lyrics/melody.
We knew this was not going to be a traditional Gospel song. It’s different, but I enjoyed making it. I let people hear it and they ask, “that’s Gospel?” Well I’m talking about God. I’m quoting Scripture, how He died on the cross, yeah it’s Gospel (LOL). What do you think about the new Rhythm & Praise genre that seems to be forming around the new sound? The idea of it all is to reach people where they are, to convert and win souls, to introduce them to God, right? And, if that’s done through a familiar sound that someone has previously enjoyed then so be it. There are people that I know that have never jammed a Gospel song but when they hear My Faith, the 808 is banging, they know what a talk box is (referring to T-Pain), I can really appreciate it the love they have for the music. People are getting introduced to different ideas about who God is. He’s not, in just the hand clapping, foot stomping, shouting music He can be found in a the more rhythmic beats as well... HE will meet you right where you are. Jay Allie has aspirations of collaborting with Donald Lawrence, John P Kee, and Kim Burrell. He’s currently creating a new project, releasing next year January, 2021. The sound will encompass worship in a variety of ways.
16 RYZE SEPTEMBER 2020
LET’S TALK: A LETTER FROM THE EDITOR Real talk: 2020 has left most with a dizzying
the tools and strategies they need to succeed. I am hangover and queasy feeling of uncertainty that’s thrilled to be at the forefront of RYZE’s mission to support indie artists’ growth and engage with not been all that easy to shake. Indeed, the fact our vibrant audience.” that we are daily invoked with racism and so N.I.C.E. is a seasoned multi-award wincial injustice leaves one to be reluctant in their thought process of future aspirations or does it? I ning and nominated artist, a music executive with remember clearly the Word of God sharing there considerable media experience, including time spent as the music curator at Stellar Award-winwould be days like this, and so my, our question ning radio station God’s House of Hip Hop is, “Do you believe what (the Bible) says?” Even with this seemingly cataclysmic shift, (GH3). He has contributed to several notable brands including the 3D animated music series we cannot—and must not—lose sight of our Da Jammies; and forged a successful path as an innate power given by the most high God. He is artist, achieving chart-topping success across able to keep us from falling as the source of our strength. He presents you (us) faultless before the multiple platforms, most notably on the Billboard presence of His glory with exceeding joy... I think charts. “We’re thrilled to have a talented editor we often forget where the power is. “The Word like N.I.C.E. move into the role of managing-edsays, do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is itor,” says Naé Thompson, president/CEO of your strength” (Neh. 8:10b, NIV). And with that said, God has sent help and ELEV8 Media Group. “Emcee N.I.C.E. has brokered some amazing partnerships and collaboraELEV8 Media Group could not be more excited tions. He has shown not only artistry expertise, to welcome our brother in Christ, Aulsondro but a deep understanding of our audience. I have “Novelist” Hamilton, better known by his stage been impressed with his ability to create innoname Emcee N.I.C.E. As RYZE approaches its vative content that our readers can connect with fourth year of publication, the newly appointed leadership not only accentuates the milestone, but across all of our channels, and I look forward to seeing him build on what he’s already achieved.” also promises to carry the media brand forward with intelligent perspectives, cutting-edge insights, and editorial integrity for years to come. “The CHH / Gospel Rap community is NAÉ THOMPSON VALENTINE rich with inspirational and informative stories Editor-in-Chief that I look forward to exploring,” says N.I.C.E. “The way music gets done is constantly evolving, Twitter: @ntpragency and we want to address challenges, celebrate acInstagram:@ntpragency complishments, and empower today’s artists with
Naé´ Thompson Valentine
SISTER MAGAZ INE
OUT NO W
LARRY WATSON ENCOURAGES READERS TO
LARRY WATSON Hi Larry. Where are you right now? I am at home in Pensacola. I’ve been to Florida a couple times but never to Pensacola. Pensacola is a great getaway spot; you guys should come. Your new single is called SMILE. Did you ever consider calling it something else? No, not really. What inspired SMILE? SMILE derives from a place of decision in my life, a crossroad if you will... I wasn’t in a great space. I was encouraged by an elder that God gives us the ability to have purpose and passion, both are equally important. When I wrote the song, I was writing prophetically on how I wanted to feel. I’m literally singing the song to myself. I believe David the psalmist was on to something when he said we have to encourage ourselves. And so, ‘SMILE’ became medicine for me and I believe it will be medicine for every listener, especially in these times of the pandemic and social injustice... that’s kinda my influence for SMILE. How would you describe your sound? I like to think my sound can be described as medicine for the moment. It exudes a fresh energy that inspires a vibe for accomplishing what you have to conquer with fresh eyes. Who’s influenced your music, who inspires you? I’d have to say I’m heavily influenced by my family. I grew up in church, I’m a PK. I come from a line of pastors.
My Dad, and grandfather were both pastors and my mother’s a minister of music. She gave me my starting in singing... and then being in atmospheres of listening to radio that cross pollenated my palette with soulful R&B artists like Stevie Wonder, Sam Cooke, Donny Hathaway, Anita Baker, Fred Hammond, and all the hymns of the church. I grew up Baptists so we’d start the hymns literally with no music during devotion. I was surrounded by music on so many levels. In school I was in band, and in chorus. I was indoctrinated in music. How’d you get your start? My grandfather introduced me to the industry. He too was an artist. I remember him selling his 45 records after church in Buffalo, NY. He was signed to MoDo records, and I always dream of going forward in music and God has opened amazing doors
“SMILE derives from a place of decision in my LIFE where I had to encourange myself” - Larry Watson
of opportunity for me to work with some great producers, who have created with and for Greenleaf, Jagged Edge, Keith Sweat, and Troy Sneed, (may he rest in peace) to name a few. And so, God has allowed me to be in the room with some amazing people as it pertains to the music industry. What’s coming down the pipelines for you? We’re working on ‘The Better Days’ album. The next single release, I believe will be the title track. It’s going to be great. I’m looking forward to getting through the pandemic and actually promoting the music. We believe ‘SMILE’ will have a long life
SEPTEMBER 2020 RYZE 23
run giving us the opportunity to connect with radio and supporters. What’s the process of creating like for you? Often times I hear melody before I hear lyrics and when the melody comes, I generally come up with the hook first, the verses and then the bridge.
and then I get my son ready and dropped off for school. I stop by the church for a few hours to do some administrative things, then pick him up. The afternoons leave some time to do studio stuff, focusing on what’s next and how to implement those things. I like to cook as well so sometimes I cook dinner and reminisce about the day with my family.
What’s a day in the life of Larry Watson look like? BUSY... I’m up early in meditation and prayer,
Are there any hidden messages in your music? No, even though the beats are catchy, it’s all JESUS!
24 RYZE SEPTEMBER 2020
“Mali Music Riveting. Eye-Opening. Mind-Bending” Completely out the book... On the eve of completing final details for the Book of Mali, Mali Music sat down with Naé Thompson and JeVaughn Martin to talk about how he’s moving forward “outside of the bubble”, making plans for a dynamic new chapter.
Tuesday, 2 August Where would you go if you had a chance to hang out with Mali Music? To the show, perhaps, followed by pictures, and then to the green room for a sit down to listen intensely? Exactly. Keep it simple. Make the most of him. On the airwaves, and through the heavily swarmed terabytes during the Covid-19 pandemic awaiting us in the comfort of his home is Mali Music, the soultry artist / lyricist who graces the cover of the Rhythm & Praise edition. Outside, it’s a muggy, rainy midweek afternoon off one of hip-hops most genteel high streets. Inside, it’s a quiet PM in a roomy, easy-going compile across locations. Mali strumming cords upon entry. “Aye, yo... can you hear me?” by way of greeting. “We can hear you.” “Hallelujah!” By anyone’s estimations, these are ideal gathering conditions. Mali has arrived today with his guitar in hand. In fact, he’s ready to go IN immediately with praise and adoration, “you see I
30 RYZE SEPTEMBER 2020
brought my guitar, if I’m plucking along, don’t be mad.” Mali looks great considering the complete shut down in LA. He’s fit, and healthy , a shaggy-haired, nicely weathered version of the singer an entire generation fell in love with at first glance as he stood legs apart, leaning into the microphone with his head and lips cracked open just enough to bawl, “All the glory belongs to You, all the glory belongs to You, oh God,” thus creating an atmospheric worship for years to come. We are here to talk ostensibly about that Mali, the Mali Music captured in the forthcoming BET, and Grammy award nominated music which focuses on life, having grown from rehearsal room to a name sake in the world in just two- and a-bit albums. But Mali’s been through a transforming experience since 2013, the man behind the music equivalent of the bends, and he has a lot to say about that as well. He has insight to share about his life outside the fast lane, about the inspiring nature of difficult
times, about the new sound inside his head and heart that’ll rearrange preconceived notions of him... and, of course, he has some thoughts about the lessons learned along the way. He hasn’t done an interview in awhile. Mali shared his elation for grabbing the cover, “Let’s represent,” he decides, strumming along... RYZE: So, who is Mali Music? Mali Music: I’m a vessel created in an attempt to get a message across. Like a batman suit... I can get beat up in school and come back as Mali (laughing) you get what I mean, and it’s a totally different situation. But, in order for that to happened I had to get the experience as Kortney getting mistreated and overlooked. Mali Music is an opportunity for me. Starting in Savannah it was definitely a way out. It’s also my personal expression of music because there’s choir music, praise and worship teams, band music, etc... What music do you do? I do music that’s me... it’s different from the rest, I call it Mali Music. Not wanting to be an artist but an area, a style of music that I evolved into. I became the representation of Mali Music. I became the country of music from the core of Gospel, (the nectar, and the seed) evolved into like a turnip opportunity, you know. You still get the same inflections from those chantey phrases with an evolution... we’re just taking it to the next level for the future. RYZE: Are you a rapper now? Mali Music: I think more of a poet...
and it was kind of annoying until I started to embrace it. I would just speak or respond to a question, and the response would be, “you’re a poet!” I think understanding music and learning how to syncopate lyrics with heart, depth, and intention through practice... you know we have a lot of people who dribble the ball, but then you have Kyrie Irving. It’s just different, like WOW! And we’re like how is that natural? And, it’s something I want to be involved in. It’s a lot that I want to say, so if they give me a slot, I will... RYZE: So, we won’t get into things that have been repeatedly discussed, we believe it’s ALL been covered enough. I think everyone wants to knowwhere you been. You’ve definitely
SEPTEMBER 2020 RYZE 31
transitioned in your music, and business acumen, share with us what’s been going on with you. Mali Music: Wow, (silently processing) It’s hard to say personally. But, geographically LA. And like New York, Atlanta, or any other city in my field or as a black man it’s going to make a man out of you. I’m so grateful for the foundation of my parents. The things that were instilled before I knew they were important, just like we all feel now, right? Like wait, there were some things I wanted to care about, that I probably would have done differently. I’m grateful that music and the touring pulled me away from things before all of this happened which was my personal and fam32 RYZE SEPTEMBER 2020
ily drought. I had a pull or instinct to respond and say you know what, “I want to spend time with my family. I want to watch my son grow. I want to cultivate myself in a way that causes me to be right in the way that I walk, in the way that I live, you know... in the way that I sing, the way that I date, the way that I move, and the way that I aspire. I just wanted to take the full weight of what it was or at least the part that I could pick up. The people that were responding to me, the veterans or the OG’s that grabbed me and shook me on my incline, it was kinda traumatizing... and it made me go back to the drawing board and recognize that music was is small.
things happened before the storm I believe gave me like a plus one, like the green mushroom on Super Mario where I started to run my life without fear because I knew I had another one and I started to see some things in a way without having that caution and I’ve just been on “my business! The Bible says “in business be men and one thing that was cool about it is, I would always hear it often so I identify with the back part cause I would hear it in church as a boy, I would always identify with the business part but just let men be in there, if you a man, in business is where it’s gone be... Whatever you have, manufacture it in a way that you understand whatever you are good at, whatever skill set multiple it, delegate and cause it to be fruitful to you, so nobody don’t have to say nothing to you about yo money, your wealth, or anything like that.” That, right there, caused me to not want to take from the church so there were certain gigs I didn’t take because I didn’t want to get money from the gospel, but I needed my life to be profitable enough for me to able to make moves. It started happening so I needed to get free from the situation I was in because I saw myself as an entity and wanted to negotiate on behalf of my artistry not as the artist, I wasn’t anymore... RYZE: What is the inspiration behind the title of The Book of Mali? It’s like a joy you know what I mean... like an ability. I’m always in the Bible. I reference it because I think it’s one of the coolest stories told, and I also believe it’s the truth. But David was also a warrior, that was feared on the battlefield, not just dope or beautiful, with some beautiful sons...man you’ll get cut before you know it, and there’s also the servitude side of him but I think it’s just honing and cultivating all of those things, going into all the scary parts that you don’t know about all the untold things about identity all the things that go back to the real story in my family and then it starts to go into the healing parts you know, once the grudges end and you get to the shores of forgiveness and you’re like, “oh snap” I thought I would be mad longer but now I need who that is I’m mad at you know what I mean, so all those
Mali Music: When someone releases a book, you don’t read a sentence from the book and say, “I get it!” Don’t look for the single to explain the whole story, it can’t. The one thing I like and hate about books is from one chapter to the next it can get solemn, like it can be a very happy prelude and then boom it’s a dark book for about three chapters because you need to realize some things and be honest with yourself. That’s normally when people close the book. I was inspired by my quest through books and give people the chapter, so they could not take just one song. SEPTEMBER 2020 RYZE 33
RYZE: What was the creative process like going into this album? Mali Music: I was very intentional with the music I selected. It’s all contingent upon how I see the lyrics ability to flow out. The way the beats came felt very familiar. However, I was not strict with the type of tracks. I wanted to experience a combination of sounds that gave listeners a unique vibe. Almost like a scene of a movie, I wanted to do that with the music, and make those kinds of songs. I wanted to drop my music on a cadence that would really be fly, fire and make people be like, why did he do that? I also wanted to tell my story... one thing I love about the rap world is the honesty, like you gotta come true, which is why I went under it, and why a lot of people don’t do it. They don’t want to reveal they’re corny, or that they don’t have the vibe. But if you do, and you brave then gone step to us...like when we all do the electric slide,
34 RYZE SEPTEMBER 2020
don’t matter how you turn around it’s kinda fly. So, once I went in there, along with the confidence of the Word, it being my sword and even the flow of it, coming out inspired by the Messiah and His message. With me not producing tracks, normally I’m in the studio with a full heart, like turn the lights down... but this time I was blessed and it’s like sending messages. To not be able to produce tracks, you know I didn’t have home equipment, I didn’t have all the stuff that I normally would to create references. So I was grateful to be getting all the tracks from other producers and challenging them along the way. It was DOPE! Because they had dope ideas, new drums, all these new stems that kept the tracks that I was getting very modern. Which gave me the opportunity to get cutting edge music put it with old school vintage lyrics and the tone just came in the middle, and that’s the image we have with the, “you remind me of Marvin Gaye, but I hear trap high hat on Let It
Go” and it was just kinda flowing like that. I feel it’s all a part of the evolution that me and Felipé have been throwing back and forth. From song to song with me not producing all outside of Cry, each song’s a remix and I think it’s balanced out nicely. Lord’s Will is one of the songs I’m most excited about lyrically. It’s not a sleeper cause it jams, but people might not catch it. One of my favorite verses is the second where it says, “young black solid Zion I’m old Neal, I single handedly one handed like Odell, I caught ‘em laughing with side-eye in my slow jams, I call ‘em classic I’m still slapping the slow jams.” Like a pro-ball player clappin’ in old gyms, I’m in church now back drunken’ on old rims, with the OG’s observing the old films, it’s raining outside still fit into my old Tims”, man like that’s what I want to hear. And then on top of it, you not getting some type of dirty hook that’s going to come in and change it... I get it done, cause it’s the Lord’s Will, so I just feel like it’s a reminiscent of I Hate You, Gimmie Gimmie, anybody who just like wanna turn it up, ganna end up right there in worship. So, it feels so good mann, that’s Tye Tribbett vocal in the background too.
MY GIFT WAS READY.... BUT NOT ME,
RYZE: You mention that in your teenage years, “My gift was ready, but I wasn’t.” What’s the mean? Mali Music: We’re blessed in this age to see the creative processes of those we admire. You can see Chris Brown practicing the dance routines. Verses Michael Jackson seeming like he was just born knowing how to do all of that. Like it was very late in his career that we were able to see the strict regiment of rehearsals, and the stuff that they were doing to actually be that tight. I believe that
it’s the same thing with me but at that age there were things I couldn’t envision, but the provisional steps... what I was feeling, and what I was wanting to do weren’t as accessible. We didn’t have phones to just go to Google and learn how to make anything so it was a different age where you had to be really desperate and curious and sometimes you could be, unfortunately lost until somebody would give you that one thing that kinda wakes you up. Me being young made a lot of people that experienced me okay with the fact that I was talented enough to make em say ahh, or way, but I wanted to record my music. In order to record my music, I need equipment that cost money, microphones and tools... people don’t associate $1200 tool with a 12-year-old kid. You just kinda want them to work around but I would see the mics that I’d sing in, if it was heavy, it sounded better. If it had a different type of quality and I would have to go to SEPTEMBER 2020 RYZE 35
certain recitals or stuff like that, that’s when I learned it (the sound) effected the gift. So, I had to just get of age to create the money I needed, or shake the people over me, to say hey I need certain equipment to be able to do this, you know. And 12 and younger was just difficult in proving it. But telling them that I was serious is what it was. I knew I was serious, but my voice still shook, I would still get nervous, I still had all of the things that would kinda be like I don’t know that we’re willing to invest $6000 worth of equipment. That’s the thing I was speaking to when I said that I was ready, but everything changed for me when it was unanimous that I was ready and it took much longer than the 12 years. RYZE: Tell us a bit about your new company K-Approved. Mali Music: Being real in it, bout to end it, man yeah that right there is about my business K-Approved which I am so proud of it’s like a Super Bowl ring... it makes me want to sing, I’ve been through many hard trials... it’s a company but I can relate to the squinting face of mothers that say the liberation of complicated birth would make them feel so blessed by the child, but the birthing they go is so intense, you be like stop talking about it. I think I have experienced like spiritually, creatively, which is most important how it feels to be clotted, attacked, poisoned, misused, exposed, abused, my gosh, extorted, imported and exported, man and to able to have an opportunity based on well, we don’t know whatever else is left you know, your decision and normally based on the trauma the pain is expected to be one of anger, one of greed, recession, or a hand of wrath to fall but man no, no, no, no I wanted power. I wanted power to be shown and I know I had none, so I was just trying to find out where to put the seed, and I wanted it to be good ground. The thing about it is I realize 36 RYZE SEPTEMBER 2020
that if you know how to talk you can send some things out, you can really cut some things down especially if you know who and what you’re talking to...that’s a powerful thing because you might in not even have to lift the sword. And, I was about to drop the ax... I’m really excited about the things we’re already doing this year. The company’s already in a powerful position, you know with RCA Inspiration that was a God situation, but it was sent and set up in such a way that I cannot explain and it was a year’s toil, but it probably just felt like a year, but I was able to get the blessing... but I had to wrestle with an angel I don’t know if the angel was light or dark but it had my blessing. And, guess I’m just a product of dedication, and a lot of times it’s like you see the results of working out but if you give it two more weeks and we never do. You know what I mean, and I’m like, okay, I’m willing to, and as soon as you do
that there’s another thought of irrelevance that you have to have strength because everything that came up quick fades and there’s a need for something that’s inventive, and I’m plentiful. And I feel SOOO blessed! RYZE: Mali, are you in a different place creatively than you were with The 2econd Coming album? Mali Music: Yes, because I had no creative restriction at all. And, there was no creative restriction I would except at all. There was no bar I would be associated with that did not exude excellence, and my mother bought in when she saw how dedicated I was. I would rehearse six days a week with my band there’s nothing else to do because by the time everyone else is finished with what they’re doing we solid. Come see us on a Saturday and see if your life don’t shake, break. There I gave by twos the measure of who I am creatively, because the first coming was too small. It had rock, alternative, and a Job experience... the hardest thing for me to do was con-
vince all the people that had spent money for me to be in business with them was to do what I had already done and proven I could do again. We’re just trying to show who the Gospel industry is, it can’t consume any of the other sides, so it just consumes everyone within it. God delivered me from something that was eating itself alive, and the thing that was left was a baby at the house when the Momma died...and it’s a fallen identity like Hip-Hop when the gangster picked her up and now we like, we love God... it’s a situation like the body is trying to find out what to do with her hair, we don’t know what to do with the glory... we all have these gifts but we don’t know how to synchronize. That’s our problem with hair, because this patch do this, and this patch don’t want to do this, some don’t want to lay down, and all we need is for everything up there to agree, and take on the strengths of the strongest you. I think it comes with relationship and a better understanding of His need for you and your ability to align yourself with His will for your life and then watch how your world moves. SEPTEMBER 2020 RYZE 37
UNCLE REECE SOMETHING LIKE A PHENOMENOM
42 RYZE SEPTEMBER 2020
We were all moved by your performance because we knew you meant it; you know what I mean? You left it all on that stage. There is a difference, right, in performance and ministry and you tapped right into ministry.
been bar-b-queuing like everyday and enjoying one another. RYZE: Tell us what’s going on, what’s happening with the new music.
Uncle Reece: I have new music... I’m always recording music, We’re excited to learn about all that’s a really big part of my life. that you have going on... I tell people when I was broke making $12 an hour at a collecUncle Reece: Me too, me too... tion agency calling y’all about this quarantine has been a y’all bills I was making music great time for people to gather every day, and I was content. I their minds. One of the biggest would say, God if I never make challenges people face is utiliz- it, I’m going to be making muing their time wisely and that’s sic for the rest of my life... peribeen completely eliminated in od! I have a collection of about some people’s lives; because you 40-50 songs done. I’m going to can’t waste time with people. put together about 16 and give You have a lot of time to think the people an album. I don’t and get your stuff in order, so I have the title yet, but I dropped think it’s a blessing to the peoone, “4 These Blessings” that ple of God, and to the world, song did really good on the you know. charts top 15 on Billboards, top 30, so that was a blessing. RYZE: We couldn’t agree more. I dropped a song called We believe God said, enough... “Make It Right” just as a re RYZE: Hey Unc., how get back to your family strucsponse to what’s going on... all you doing man? ture, which is or should be our the civil unrest. Some of the lyrfirst ministry. He called us to a ics are, “when we say black lives Uncle Reece: I’m BLESSED! checkpoint right. Where He’s matter, allow me to explain, Super excited to have this inlike I need y’all to recalibrate if all lives are important treat terview. Love RYZE! I had an and put some things back into black people the same.” That’s opportunity to check RYZE out, the right perspective... the way my opinion, it belongs to me, so you guys do some great work. they should be happening. So, if you disagree that’s okay, I love The stuff you promote and the disagreements. I’m cool with information you provide it’s all you have new music, and a confrontation; I actually thrive legit so I’m thankful to be a part clothing line, so many things that you could share. better in confrontation then I of this. do in peace. You guys can look for RYZE: We’re excited about your Uncle Reece: Well, my wife and agreement to be in this edition. I are best friends, we don’t have new music soon along with any kids, we’re dog parents (3 some videos that will be dropYou’re music’s amazing. We dogs) and we hang out togethping. I also have a clothing line had an opportunity to meet er every day anyway so it’s just with signature “Stupid Faith” you once before at Praise in cool now because we’re catching T-shirts from the WithoutJethe Park, Atlanta edition with Netflix, eating good food, we’ve susISuck.com— I’ve been very our sister publication ELEV8. n mid 2014 Uncle Reece’s debut single Until I Pass Out shifted atmospheres across the nation and virally. To have both Bishop T.D. Jakes and Steve Harvey mentioning his name simultaneously without even trying was beyond impactful, it literally changed his life. We had the awesome opportunity to talk with Unc, on what it’s been like these past six years after the debut single, his current endeavors, new clothing line, and current state in the midst of the COVID-19 frenzy. Energetic and happy Uncle Reece taps into the LIVE IG video with editor-in-chief Naé Thompson.
SEPTEMBER 2020 RYZE 43
blessed. I really want to say you never know what’s going to sustain you in this season or what’s going to make you prosperous you never know... it will be something you least expect. I didn’t even like making T-shirts, but I didn’t know during this pandemic I thought people were broke, but they’re buying more shirts than ever.
about, but now it’s not cool, you know. I just stay at the house and do nothing.
someone had gave me his CD, he has a song, I’ll never forget it, he says, “I ain’t got no horror stories, God kept me in my RYZE: I completely understand. youth, I give Him all the glory, People are like we’re sheltered my story wasn’t dope but now in place. I’m like I been shelI know the blood of the lamb tered-in-place. saved my soul and that’s my testimony.” You see where I Uncle Reece: Right, the only real come from when I used to hear thing that’s changed for us is Christian rap, I never liked it, I we used to have people over all would think, why are y’all still RYZE: You know the amazing the time. Now, I miss that... My trying to be hard? Cause we all thing is the Word shares, God wife and I throw dinner parties, know if you really a Christian will sustain us, and He’s conI miss that. But now we can’t rapper, you ain’t going to do cerned about what’s concerning cause it’s not safe. nothin’ to nobody. I’ll be real. If you... What’s a day in the life of you ever get some real money Uncle Reece like? RYZE: People have shared their you ain’t gone kill nobody. My love for your music, and the life too good to go to prison. I Uncle Reece: I wake in the way it helped changed their couldn’t handle prison today, morning; I work out as soon as lives. How did you know you maybe 10 years ago because I I wake up. I’m blessed because wanted to do music? was mentally there, but today... my wife knows that I don’t if I get locked up now, I’d be in really like to go out, so she built Uncle Reece: I’ve known I there crying. My life too good. me a full gym downstairs. We wanted to make music probably Once you’re removed from have bike trials around our since I was like 14. I went to a that thought process, dem boys community, so I ride my bike music concert my mind was will eat you alive in there. Or I at night with one of my good blown I had never experienced would have to become somefriends. Athletics is a big part. anything like that, and I knew thing that I probably wouldn’t I also make sure to play at least that, that’s what I wanted to do. be able to come back from. two-to-four hours of video I want to get on the stage and So, I would hear Chrisgames a day (LOL). I’m playing make music that people love. tian rappers say, “I used to do Modern Day Warfare right now, When I first started, I was doing this and that, bust a head, be in and for the most part I talk on what I saw everybody else do. I the streets, I’m like bruh, stop... the phone and communicate rapped about foolishness, you you not finna do that to nowith people... I’m blessed, I know the norm, womanizing, body, cut-it-out. So, Da Truth spend time with my wife, and drug abuse, violence, it’s funny was the first rapper I heard do my dogs. my old rap name used to be a song about being the corny Our printing equipment Young Reece Thuggin’ straight dude in highschool. He says, “in is here at the house upstairs. We ignorant (LOL). When I gave highschool the pretty girls ighave a complete printing outfit my life to God, I found Him at nored me, called me church boy up there so were able to work 20 years old, I didn’t even know but I wasn’t bothered normally, and complete orders here. And, you could be a rapper and love but sometimes I would hate then my studio’s in my house Jesus at the same time. My view living the life of a saint they see too so I don’t have to leave for of rappers was so demented I the Christian boy coming and anything... I don’t like to leave didn’t know you could make think right from the gate that unless I have to. That’s pretty Christian rap. I didn’t know it I would preach so they tried much a day in my life. I used was possible. But, then I heard to escape, but I guess that’s the to be like cool, right out and this rapper named Da Truth, price of professing yo faith, it’s SEPTEMBER 2020 RYZE 45
it’s like dat.” When I heard that I remembered that kid that use to have the sandals on walking around my high school talking about, “Can I pray for you guys?” And, we use to clown this dude... but I was like ohhh my God if he was a rapper this is what he would be going through. When I heard Da Truth that was the first real Christian rap that I heard because all the dudes that I knew, I’m like Bruh I grew up wit you and now you Christian rapping you talking about drugs, boy you wasn’t on that... stop... cut-it-out, so I didn’t like Christian rap cause I like real things. So, when I heard that, I was like God, maybe I could do this. And, so I wrote Until I Pass Out. See this is what people don’t understand about my career. My first song was the biggest song in the industry and changed everything. Like, I’m the Muhammad Ali of the Gospel industry. Muhammad Ali was a heavy weight who came into the boxing industry boxing like he was a middle weight. Boxers didn’t use speed and precision; boxers didn’t talk about how great
they were. My first song I ever wrote mess the whole system up. Gospel had never, matter-fact, my music doesn’t work on Gospel radio because what are you going to play after? When I’m on a Gospel program I got to go last, cause it’s like after this... every television show I’ve ever been on they’ve said to me, “Reece, we gotta put you last, cause if we put you on nothing can come after that because of the energy levels. My first song was the most honest thing I had ever said, because I had been saved at this point for three years, and I hated Christians... cause they was lame, they were corny. I remember... I got saved because I used to go to the top of this parking garage and I would worship God on the top of this parking garage every night at one o’clock, two in the morning and I
would just worship God there by myself cause I was a club goer, a rage aholic, like I have ADHD. So, before I was saved, like I was going to set it off... get the party started. When I got saved, I got saved reading the Bible by myself. I didn’t get saved at church. Nobody laid hands on me. When I grew up my parents were devout Christians but when I was twelve my parents sat me down and said, “son you ain’t saved man, you know all the Scriptures but we ain’t finna make another fake Christian.” I had the option to not be churchalized (LOL). I didn’t know anything about church culture. So when I got saved, I read
46 RYZE SEPTEMBER 2020
about David, and how he danced, and his clothes fell off and all these miracles and stuff and so I thought when I went to church, I was going to see the same stuff in the Bible. I went to church and sat in the back cause I thought everyone would be levitating and telling the Sun to stand still and then I had seen Benny Hen and the people falling out, I though you finna get bodied... but none of the stuff I read about in the Bible was happening. The people were just sanging hymns, sitting down for hours... then everybody go home. So, I was like okay I must be at the wrong church. I went to 25 different churches and I sat in the back. I was confused, I went and told my parents, like Mom the Bible is like this but every church I go to I don’t experience it... like when the disciples went out into the world, I used to go into the club and witness to people by myself. I couldn’t find no Christians to come with me! I won’t say they were afraid, they had good sense... I had this experience with the church, and I said you know what, I just gotta be me... So, I went to church with one of my friends and I said bruh, to be real with you I’m not going to just sit up here and not move cause I’m a dancer, that’s what I do, cause back in the day when I was in the club and that liquor got in me I would move, but now I have the Holy Spirit in me, and He’s stronger than that. So I went to church one day and during praise and worship I ran down to the front of the church and started doing back flips and they looked at me like... and after service a couple people came to me and was like son, you need to calm down... but then there was this elderly woman that came to me in a wheelchair crying and she said, “son you danced for me tonight and I thank you!” I went home so upset that I write this song about this experience that I had because one night I was worshipping God at one in the morning and I never went to sleep, and the next night I got off and went back to the roof top, I didn’t sleep for three days worshipping 48 RYZE SEPTEMBER 2020
God. I was trying to go for 40 days, and nights but on the third day I fell asleep, I think I passed out. And I ended up writing Until I Pass Out. It’s not a happy song, like Andre 3000 says, “y’all don’t want to hear me, y’all just want to dance.” Until I Pass Out is so real, I knew nothing about the industry, I was only making melody in my heart. I made the music video and went back to work. And two months later someone asked how I knew T.D. Jakes, I had no idea he was Tweeting about me, the president of RCA called me, said we need to talk. I said I can’t come Fri-
day because I have to work, he said you got a job? I didn’t know anything about the industry, but I did know I wanted to worship my King, for real, and I want to encourage those reading right now. You don’t have to play by their rules. Create your own rules... nothing in my career is by the rules even the way we’re doing this interview is not by the rules. You can really do what God wants you to if you have faith and allow Him to direct your path. He’ll do it for you and supply the need too. I’m a witness, I’m living my dream. SEPTEMBER 2020 RYZE 49
SEPTEMBER 2020 RYZE 51
“ THE REVIEWS ARE IN!
JAY & CHRIS T
A.I. THE ANOMALY DON’T FAIL ME (GOD OVER MONEY, 2020) Jay: I have to be honest it was fire from the jump but the hook threw it off to me. I have to give it a Gas. She has the bars, the track selection was excellent. The hook could have been better. I think the more we hear it, the bigger it will get but for now it’s gas.
PHIL J. RIDE A WAVE (NU AGE SOUL, 2020) Chris: I’m going with my gut, gas! I was going to say fire because he can sing and the runs he’s doing throughout the song. But the song did not grab me. I believe as I listening to it, it will grow on me. I feel that with if given a better song it would be fire.The talent is fire but the song is gas.
116 X ANDY MINEO X HULVEY X CELEBRATE MORE (REACH RECORDS, 2020) Jay: Fire, there is no better combo of people when featured on a song together in Andy Mineo and Lecrae, I think that Hulvy was a great sign to the label, What he brings as far as style and the type of music he makes is different and helps Reach continue to push forward.
STEVEN MALCOM FEAT. SHAGGY FUEGO (REMIX) (4 AGAINST 5, A DIVISION OF CURB, 2020) Chris: Fire! Steven Malcom is one of the best that the genre has to offer. The song hooks you at first listen. Adding Shaggy was a plus he killed that joint.
52 RYZE SEPTEMBER 2020
AHA GAZELLE X STARRINGO NO LIMIT (AHA GAZELLE, 2020)
Chris: Fire! These dudes as a unit KILL it! Aha Gazelle as always knows how to make a great song. Yes one can get ear fatigue listening to him. However, that does not mean he is not good. Starringo definitely added a different element that made it go to the next level.
JON KEITH FT. WAVEIQ LIMITLESS (KINGS DREAM ENT, 2020) Jay: Im going to have to say Gas! Waveiq, who is on the hook set the tone for this Boom Bap type track. I went back and forth after listening to the song 4 or 5 times. Maybe it’s a preference thing, but it didn’t seem like the right fit for Keith.
SENI FT. THOMAS IANNUCCI J. CRUM MONTYTHEHOKAGE (SMOOVY SOUND WAVEZ, 2020)
Chris: Fire! Straight up. This song is ILL. This guy THOMAS’ vocal tone and presence makes it hard for other artist to follow. And, CRUM?!?!? MURDERED it, when he hopped on. I would like to see a full collaborative project with them. Because the magic that they created was out of this world.
DISHA MCBRIDE FT. NOBIGDYL GET UGLY (THE RAP GIRL, 2020) Jay: Fire! Nobigdyl really drives how good this song is. His presence and nonchalantness really lets you know how good he really is, not to mention Daisha Mcbride is DOPE! The beat is crazy with an ATLanta Crunk vibe to it. This an absolute banger!
SEPTEMBER 2020 RYZE 55
RYZE Magazin: Rhythm & Praise edition is sure to move you with the likes of Mali Music, Uncle Reece, Jesse Mitchell, Jay Allie, and Larry Wa...
Published on Sep 1, 2020
RYZE Magazin: Rhythm & Praise edition is sure to move you with the likes of Mali Music, Uncle Reece, Jesse Mitchell, Jay Allie, and Larry Wa...