HOPE IS ALL I GOT
Detroit native Kemara Stallworth, better known by her fans as Kfire, is living a life of hope while sharing her spiritual journey with hip-hop heads from all over. She is unashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and loving the grace that has brought her into the best Relationship she's ever had. Here's her interview.
When did you realize that holy hip-hop was your calling?
It was in late 2013. I was just really in the Word. I was praying. I never took hip-hop serious, because for me back then when I saw hip-hop, it was never really about God or wasn't faith based. When I officially got saved and I was talking to God more, He just put it in my spirit to where it was like (I've always been writing poetry since I was nine years old, writing down my feelings), "do it for me. Talk about Me. Express your life circumstances. Reach people with this by using hip-hop, this tool, this gift that I've given you." It was really just Him showing me that it is a gift, and it's straight from Him. We should use it for His glory. That's how I got called really. It was just a conversation, being in prayer and feeling that in my spirit that it needed to be done. We need more positive influences in hip-hop.
How did Christ come into your life?
I wasn't raised in the church, but I came from a family on both sides (mom and dad) where they're both Christian people. My family has always been spiritual. They would always talk about God. My grandmothers especially, they would always talk about scriptures. They would talk about the LORD and what the LORD had done for them. So, I was raised with knowing about Jesus. I knew about God. As I got older I started to realize that it was much more than just knowing about Him. It was about developing a relationship with Him. As I went through different obstacles in life I strayed away completely from God. I really wasn't living as if I was a Christian.
When I hit rock bottom and realized that I really didn't have control over my life, I felt like man, nothing is really going the way that I want it to go. Depression started to wrestle with me. I started realizing that I needed to come to Christ. I needed to come to God to talk to Him about some of these problems that I had been going through. When I started to do that, that's when I started to recognize the relationship aspect and actually being in the Word and actually praying. It's important to go to church and to fellowship with other people. That's really how I officially gave my life to Christ. I always knew that I believed in Jesus, but I didn't give my life officially to Christ until I reached that point of actual relationship, and how important that was, and how real God's presence really was. It is in my life.
Do you ever share your testimony with people?
Definitely. It's all the time really, because a lot of people have that same demeanor that I had. They'll be like I know who God is or I know about Jesus. A lot of people aren't understanding that, it's more than just knowing of Him. Are you praying to Him? Are you depending on Him? Are you truly walking by faith in your life? Does your life represent what you think God wants out of your life? So, I definitely try for opportunities to share that. Really, my music is one of those big factors in terms of that, I talk about that a lot. I talk about who I really was before Christ. I talk about the struggle continuously, because people think that everything is gonna be gravy or good. It doesn't work that way either. More temptations come your way. Your past is always going to be brought up. It's a lot of different things like that. So, I use my music really to talk about it. I use my life in conversations. I do relationships with people, being friends with people, showing love to people as Christ wants you to do. Then, eventually a lot of times, those opportunities for conversations will come up. Where you're kind of talking about life and struggle, then people will share what their beliefs are. I always look for that opportunity just to say, well, are you praying to God? Do you truly believe that Jesus died for your sins? Do you know who Jesus was? All those types of things
What does music mean to you?
Music is really important to me, because I recognize just how influential it is. When I first committed to Christ, I remember I was listening to a lot of Bizzle (which is the God over money movement). I was listening to a lot of Lecrae. I recognized that music, it influences people, and it really can be a soundtrack to your life type of thing. Sometimes, we don't recognize it, but you'll be listening to something and before you know it, it just becomes a part of you. You can relate to it. It becomes a big part of your life. Everyday a lot of people are listening to music. Music is very important. The lyrics are everything. People can hear lyrics and it can really move them and touch them with the words you speak to them.
So, for me, my music is all about impacting people really to reflect upon their lives. I have no problem with making a song that's real chill that you kind of listen to it and feel good. A lot of times in my music, it's deep, it's lyrics that are going to make you think about what you're going through in your life or maybe an experience you can relate to or maybe a story that you like. Even if you're not a Christian, you can still listen to it and appreciate a different perspective. That's really what I do with my music. That's important to me to get people to reflect on their life, because when you start being real with yourself and start reflecting on your life, that's when change can start to come. You can start to think of certain things that you've never thought about before.
How do you think K Fire differs from other rappers (Christian or secular)?
Everybody has a different story. For me, I had a story that I believed hasn't really been told in hip-hop. I was bullied a lot. I recognized how that played a big impact on my life. I'm not afraid to talk about that. I'm not afraid to talk about my imperfections. That separates me on both sides, whether it be secular or it be Christian. I'm talking about different life circumstances that have really influenced me or have really effected me. I'm not going to shy away from it, even though it may be ugly. I'm not afraid to go in directions that other artists may not want to really talk about. I think that separates me, and just always being able to take my testimony and to take different situations I've seen and put that in music to touch people. I'm not just telling my own story, that's another thing. I tell different stories in general. I will tell stories in my music just to get a lesson across if I feel God has put it on my heart. So, I go back to that fundamental story telling aspect which is in hip-hop. It's from a different type of perspective. Sometimes, in Christian hip-hop you don't hear it. Some artists do it, but you don't hear as much as the story telling. I really try to tell stories. My stories separate me and the way that I do it.
Do you feel a sense of responsibility as a Christian hip-hop artist?
Definitely. I recognize that when God has blessed you with a certain platform, you should never take it for granted. I have to be in prayer continuously, because sometimes you can do things on your own and you can forget that it's not yours to carry. The load has already been carried through Christ, and God is carrying that load for me. He is just allowing me, it's a blessing to use a gift, but I definitely feel the responsibility in terms of that I have to stay super close to God. I always have to be real with myself and my motives. I have to keep my heart in check. The way to keep my heart in check is to stay in prayer and to keep accountability. That's a responsibility as an artist, with the lyrics I have to pray about it like, Okay God, is this the way you want me to say it? Is this gonna be a stumbling block for anybody? I have to be in prayer about all of those things.
Is there a particular scripture or Bible story that you feel drawn to?
Right now I'm really in Proverbs a lot. One of my favorite scripture is,
Proverbs 3:5-6, Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take.
I really meditate a lot on that scripture. I can't think right now of a specific story. I always had that David and Goliath type of mentality, but right now I'm really in Proverbs. I feel like that scripture in particular just means everything to me, because I have a tendency to trust myself more than God. Every time that I get into those types of modes, I have to remind myself that He's got this. He's gonna take care of you. In the season that I'm in, that scripture is my favorite scripture. I know I'm sure it's gonna change.
What does Christ mean to K Fire?
Grace. Grace is huge. People sometimes look at that as weakness, but there's so much strength in that for what God has done for us. I recognize that I'm not qualified to do what I'm doing. I recognize this more now than I think I ever have. I know I'm so imperfect, but to be constantly reminded when I'm in scripture, when I'm in prayer, to be reminded that, it's okay. I'm not going to ever be qualified in this life. Jesus already did it for me. So, for me, Christ means grace and Love in my life period. How I treat other people, and how I see myself, having that same Love and grace that God has for me and other people, whether they're nice or mean, whoever they are in their walks of life, however they treat me, I've got to remember all the times God has had tremendous grace on me. That's an amazing thing. Of course, I never take that for granted.
Is there another side to K Fire that we (the public) don't know about?
Well, K Fire, didn't come from music. Actually, the name came from basketball. One of the ways I was drawn to Christ also was through basketball, because I was focused on it and I loved it. When that didn't go the way that I wanted it to go, that was when I was like, God I know you placed certain gifts in me. What am I supposed to do, because that (basketball) is gone? That actually put me in that mindset. I was praying to God a lot during that time. I played here (Detroit) at a community college. I took that serious. That's how the name started when I was way younger. I had a good shot, so I used refer to myself as K Fire lol. It stuck with me and I just said I'll use it for music. That (basketball) side, I talk about a little bit. I try to incorporate that in my music, the same type of competitive edge. Yeah, so a lot of people don't know that my name came from basketball. The other side of me is hooping.
Are you passionate about any particular cause?
Yeah. I hope to one day have my own business and have like some type of rec center for people to go to and play sports. I believe God uses music and sports a lot. It can really discipline a person. You learn team work and how to deal with people. I really one day hope to give back to my community by putting a place like that in there. There's not enough rec centers or outlets for teenagers to go to and do something positive away from the streets. I hope that one day God can put me in a position to do that. Until I get to that place, I do eventually want to do some coaching, working with teenagers and young people sharing my story.
Will you be voting this year?
Quotable: Grew Up
"Say you got bands, but you never grew up./
Always dissin' fam cuz you never grew up./
Ask me why we couldn't keep in touch?/
Well, you never grew up."