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25 August 2002 No Comment

Peep this EXCLUSIVE interview!

For those who don’t know, can you explain who Lojique is and what is your purpose and mission as a hip hop group?

Nickels: LOJIQUE is made up of four members. BECAUSE (dj) NICKELS (dj) PAGE ONE (mc) & OTHELLO (mc)

The reason why we got together is (to me) that we all have been given gifts to use in Christ’s service while we are here on earth and the four of us were drawn together by God to use them together. We have all been called by God in the general sense by the Great Commission but we have been given the opportunity to go about that calling through music and the culture of hip-hop.

Because: Yeah, I wasn’t drawn in…I just barged in. LOL. Just to give a little history, I was the tour DJ for Lojique for about a year and a half and then they graciously let me come on as a full member.

But I think to add on to what Nickels had to say. God has given Lojique the opportunity to reach people for Christ through hip hop. But more than that, we feel that God has called all of us to excellence in all that we do, so Lojique tries to live up to that with every song, show, or interview we do.

Othello: As Nickels was saying, Lojique’s mission is to uplift Christ and to share the gospel in a way that is relevant using the medium of hip hop. We were created for this and enjoy playing our part in the culture of hip hop and the Body of Christ. Bottom line the great commission is our mission personally and as a collective.

We sensed through a couple of your tracks that it appears that “Gospel” hip hop artists are fed up with some incorrect perception of themselves. What experiences have brought that about?

Nickels: In a sense that is true. We catch a few cats still being like… “Oh, you guys are Christian?” and keeping the stereotype that Christian MC’s can’t be as good as the MC’s they hear on the radio. THEN THEY SEE OUR SHOW!!! After that we never really hear that type stuff anymore.

We have always made a real effort to have our music and all our songs be above the expectations of unbelievers.

Page One: I was way into hip hop for years before I became a Christian. I myself don’t feel like I have anything to prove, so I don’t really care about someone else’s incorrect perceptions.

Eastern Sky is a dope track but people are asking why the eastern sky specifically, is there something we are missing here? Why not the western sky?

Nickels: Page, you wanna get this one?

Page One: OK, The title Eastern Sky is a reference to the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ in glory. (“For just as the lightning comes from the east and flashes even to the west, so will the coming of the Son of Man be.” Matthew 24:27) The song deals with the fact that even as believers, we still go through our share of trials and tribulations in this world, and there are times when we really do get discouraged. We are not trying to portray ourselves as super-Christians, or convey a sugar-coated perception of Christianity in which everything is happily-ever-after once we accept God’s gift of eternal life. We don’t need to “sell” salvation — as a matter of fact, it cannot be bought or sold since it is a free gift. The message of Eastern Sky is that even when the things of the present-day corrupt world system seem too much to deal with, we have a blessed hope in the soon return of Jesus Christ, and we will reign with Him in a perfect world. Make no mistake — that day is coming soon.

Broken is another track that we cannot stop playing on our sound systems, we can certainly hear that there is a lot of passion that you bring forth in your music. You make the kind of music that hits home. Is that the intention? To make dope tracks while subliminally bringing the message of Christ under a veil for the sole purpose of obtaining new audiences?

Nickels: I am happy you guys like that song! Passion is something that I always try and incorporate into my tracks. That song just came together so nicely with the words. I think that the passion transferred very nicely from the track to the words. I hope the amount of passion we felt was communicated through that song.

There are a few more too that I hope the passion came through on. “Swallow Crow” & “Throne”….

As far as using the music as a veil… I never thought of it like that. I just make very emotional tracks…. I call them “Hermit Beats” because they are the type songs you can listen too at night alone in your room or car and just zone out and think. I love those moments when you just kind of find your self day dreaming and thinking with yourself maybe going through the day’s events and reflecting on life in general. I like to think that my music could be the soundtrack to those times…

Page One: I agree with Nickels… sometimes we just get to thinking on a theme, and the song sort of writes itself. I don’t think it would be accurate to say that we try to “veil” the truth, but we do use parables at times to convey certain points, as did Jesus Himself. The message is more blatant in some songs and less so in others; some songs are meant to plant seeds, others to water, still others to test and challenge (to use a familiar analogy).

Did you ever think that Lojique would be appreciated all over the world as a dope hip hop group?

Nickels: Did you ever think that Lojique would be appreciated all over the world as a dope hip hop group?

I remember two things the word says about stuff like that.

I remember Peter saying that in his own village he wasn’t accepted.

I feel like that is the case with us in the sense that we are better received outside our state and inside our state we are treated as local artists still… No down playing local artists but in actuality we aren’t local anymore.

The other was if people do not receive you then “shake the dust from your feet” and move on…. Keep going with what I have called you to. I try and take that approach to being received. Ultimately if LOJIQUE does blow up around the world that would be great and we would welcome it but moreover I pray that Jesus would be heard and seen from us rather than what we have become and that the world would be won for Christ.

I just wanna be a vessel.
I just wanna be a pot.
I just wanna be a jug.
I just wanna be a jar.

Okay you got the point! hehe

Page One: From an artistic standpoint, there has never been any doubt in my mind as to whether the caliber of our music is up to the standard of worldwide recognition. However, there is also no doubt in my mind that there are many, many talented individuals and groups who never achieve any measurable degree of recognition. So talent only plays a small role (as the converse of the above-mentioned point illustrates: there are many artists out there who do receive recognition though arguably not very talented at all). So God’s will definitely comes into play. There are some who credit it to chance, but we know better.

I would also like to say that there are times it occurs to me that we are assured by no less authority than Christ Himself that because of His name we will be hated by the world. So I think we really need to be conscious of our motives. If the world loves us too much, it may be that something isn’t quite right. (From the “Things That Make You Go ‘Hmmmm…’ Dept.”)

Do you ever participate in secular hip hop shows and festivals?

Othello: I participate in few, depending if it is an artist in which I appreciate as far as talent goes. Music is music to me, the only difference between theirs and ours is ours contains life. The appreciation of skills and talent is something I have learned to embrace as a God given gift, but I also recognize that the gift disconnected from the one who gave it is void of its power. The common ground we have being in hip hop is my means of sparking conversation and being able to relate with someone who knows everything about hip hop but as far as Christianity have only been presented wishy washy religion. If I can emulate Christ as far as dealing with those in the dark especially when it comes to this culture which has become god for many, I believe that just as Jesus met needs and conveyed Love in its most purest and unselfish form, we can also show heads that there IS something full of substance that compels us to love them unconditionally out of our comfort zone.

Because: Personally, I love doing secular shows. Don’t get me wrong, I love doing Christian venues and having the opportunity to build up the body of Christ, because I know even as Christians we all struggle. However, outreach is an important aspect of any ministry and especially of ours. Doing shows where Christians are the minority, gives me an opportunity to display Christ and be the Christian witness that non-Christians need.

Lojique’s goal (and I hope I can speak for everyone else) is to be the P.O.D. of Christian hip hop. We do a lot of secular shows where people have no idea who we are or what we stand for. But without exception, every time we are done with the show, tons of people come up to us and want to find out just what makes us so unique and what makes are music so powerful, giving us the chance to talk about God. That is a humbling moment and honestly, I got involved in Christian music specifically for moments like that.

Othello: I even hesitate calling ourselves Christian hip hop, We ARE Christians, our music is hip hop, We combine the two to speak the cultures language that we may communicate the gospel and a relevant way. I wish Gospel hip hop hasn’t dug itself in a hole by putting out stuff that isn’t fresh when it has the resources to be above and beyond whats happening in the secular realm. Those resources being the holy spirit and outside hip hop acts. I really believe that the reason it has suffered for so long is because it has cut itself off from examples of what the world is craving as far as music goes (not saying that we are to copy what they are doing) , but shoot the word says that we are to be as crafty as the serpent and gentle as the dove. It also says to take note of the gentiles (those without Christ) who are shrewd in their dealings. WE CANT CUT OFF WHAT WE’RE TRYING TO REACH. They are operating in they’re God given gift, take note of that. Its not like we gotta say what they are saying or act like they act, but music is music. When you fail to acknowledge what’s happening out there and teach cats coming up to do the same you begin a thread of foo’s that are so far behind that they shoot themselves in the foot. Understand there is balance. Health is a balance, Life is a balance, Our relationship with Christ is a balance, and Ministry is a balance… Be in the world but not of it. Work our your salvation with fear and trembling. Everyone must take note of his own limits and boundaries, this is important in maturing into the man or woman of God you’ve been called to be. Overall recognize ministry is sharing God’s love for humanity. Be in your word, stay in prayer and ultimately be lead by the holy spirit. Take God out of this Box we have limited him to. “God is BIG…Huge”- Knowdaverbs. 😉

The track You don’t know the half .com, what’s that all about for those who hadn’t heard the track yet?

Nickels: That is just a song where we just were hip hop…. No deep meaning just ruck lyrics to a beat we could get loose on…. The original was dope too! You should check that out too on Fashion Expo…. http://www.jydist.com should have it.

Because: If you haven’t seen this one in concert your really missing out.

How did you hook up with Syntax records?

Page One: Othello and Nickels (who were the only members of Lojique at the time) had some material on the Web at MP3.com. The people at Syntax heard it, and approached us with an offer. And now we have an album! By the way, you can still check out pre-Language Arts material at http://www.mp3.com/lojique

Is it frustrating to be overshadowed by so much bling bling rap in the music market?

Othello: Not really, because right now its bling bling, tomorrow it’ll be the love for Beanie Babies or something stupid like that. Trends come and go, in the end cats will recognize the illest stuff is that which had some longevity and has grown doing its own thang………werd. But actually It is frustrating because I see the effect it has on today’s youth. Kids are growing up too fast and I would definitely say it has a lot to do with the media telling them whats cool and whats not therefore corrupting the minds of these kids with hustling , pimping and making loot being their main concern in life. So we have kids dealing with drama at home and their escape becomes living fast like these irresponsible video rapist who wont acknowledge themselves being role models because that’s what the media has made them in order to make a buck. straight blinded and that’s what bothers me the more I run into little punk kids who have been fashioned after Grown men who don’t know how to use their publicity in a way to make change. -WErd.

If there is anything you want to achieve with this album what is it?

Page One: To me, the album itself is an achievement. My hope is that it accomplishes everything God would have it to accomplish.

Because: I totally agree with Page. What other reason does a Christian artist make an album for other than to honor God and further his purposes. Personally though, my hope for the first album is to generate a lot of excitement for our second album (since I didn’t have the fortune of being on the first – outside of having me and my wife’s kid pictures in there.)

When can we expect the next album, because I’ve probably played your album about a 100 times already and I’m hungry for more!

Page One: When it’s finished! =)

Ha ha, seriously, we are working on new material right now. It’s hard to put a date on it at this point, but I’d say things should be coming together within the next year. We’re staying pretty busy, and not just with the music either, so it will take some time. But it will be worth it!

Because: Be on the look out for Lojique vinyl. When you see the vinyl hit the shelves, you will know that the 2nd album is just around the corner.

(Question for Nickels) The production is extremely dope, what are your influences and how do you approach making beats. Can you expose your secrets by telling us what kind of equipment you are using. Any tips too?

Nickels: Thank you! I have many influences. I listen to anything I like. I don’t have a bias towards any music unless the quality is just musically un inspiring. Is that a word? Anyway. When I make a beat I think I approach it in a way that lets God do what he wants with it. I like to think of my roll as a producer as me just being the fingers God uses to make our music. Another way I like to look at it is that I am the Robin Hood of Christian Producers. I take what the world has used and turn it back to what it was originally supposed to be used for. That being Christ. I still want to take some junk from Harry Potter and use that in a song. That is 3/4 time though so that would be harder to flip. I suppose I would give that beat to Smoke. He is fresh over that type beat. All in all I can’t tell what the sound of the song will be like before I start. I just sit down and do whatever. If it is good I keep it. If I don’t like it I delete it. I have made people mad by doing that but hey… It’s just a standard I keep. As far as secrets… Hmmm.. I don’t think I have any secrets. There may be a few but I don’t really think of them as being secrets cause I’ll tell you what I did. There are a few beats where I just took things lying around the room and used my mic to create the beat. I used a box of pennies as the hi-hat sounding thing. I hummed the bass line and made feedback as the piano instrument thing if you will. Will you? There are others that are just straight up loops. ( cough cough number 11 cough cough) So yea I mean whatever is around I will use. The equipment I use is an EPS 16 + Ensoniq Sampling Workstation. Rack Mount. The advice I would use would be to use WHATEVER you have and freak it to the fullest. That way you can end up using vintage equipment and not even know it someday. Like my piece of ancient history. It would be nice to get a Triton or something though. People may say “that has a stereotypical sound, You can always tell a Triton sound.” My response would be “that is because you haven’t freaked it.” If you can freak it and make it sound like something it isn’t then you have accomplished something. I guess a good tip would be… “Make you music to please Christ and no one else. Create it as praise and worship to him. Put your heart into it or don’t do it. There are too many cats out there who make beats just because they can. Do it so it can mean something to someone. So it can move someone’s emotions to the point of realizing there is a God not that there is another dope producer. There will always be someone fresher than you are anyway. So make the reason why you make your music be to please Christ and to let him know you love him.”

That’s all I guess….

Page One: “There will always be someone fresher that you anyway…” Unless you are Nickels. 🙂

Nickels: Awe shucks…

Thanks for taking the time to talk to us, are there any last words?

Othello: Don’t limit God, find yourself in him. BE connected instead of trying to be competent as to what God is trying to do… Live from the heart of God. BE REAL! not a ball of cliché’s . love life and the time in which God has granted. Be willing to give life up for the sake of Christ. LIVE IN THE NOW, because it’s all we have. —WERd

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