FAITH WORTH MORE THAN MONEY, FOREVER.
Coming from the street life of Detroit to the pulpits of the church, Christian Hip Hop artist Dre Is Blessed is an audio evangelist sharing the good news of Jesus to the same streets that Christ saved him from. His approach to music reflects the struggles, triumphs and conversion of his life. He doesn't hold back, and that makes the music that much better.
When did you first start rapping?
Well, I've been rapping ever since I was eight years old. It's funny because right when I started, Bow Wow came out. It made me feel like kids could have record deals.
How did you come up with the name Dre is blessed?
Really man, just life situations man. When I was rapping, I used to go by the name Domino Da BreadWinna. When God called me to do this music ministry that I have now, I knew that I couldn't keep my old name because I had so much tied to it. It's like the Uncle Reece song where Uncle Reece says that God change his name. Everyday I wake up knowing how blessed I am by God. So, I made my name Dre is Blessed.
How did God call you?
I speak about this a lot because God was working on me even when I was in the world. I grew up in the church. My mom actually passed away when I was 12 years old. No, actually, I was 13. My mom passed away in 2002. When she died, you know, it was kind of like... I strayed away from it. I was mad at God about some things. I ended up being off in the world selling drugs and doing everything that a child of God wouldn't do.
They say, “Raise up a child in the way that he should go and he will never depart from it.” Even though I departed for a while, He still brought me back. Even when I was still out in the streets, I was doing things like paying tithes. I had an understanding of the principles of God, but I still wanted to do what I wanted to do. But when my daughter was on her way, and I wasn't going to a church, I knew I wanted to get my daughter Christened. I started trying to find a church home. I was doing it just to get my daughter Christened, period. I didn't know that it would have an affect on me. I just wanted to get my baby Christened. I at least wanted to make sure that she was alright; I wanted to cover her.
So I started going to my church in the city of Detroit called House of Praise, and I would just go by myself on Sundays — not doing nothing, just going. One of the elders at my church, in the middle of my prayer about finances or something, asked me if I was a musician. I looked at her like she was crazy because I didn't know this woman at the time. I know her very well now, but I didn't know her then. She said, “God says that he knows you got some songs on your heart, and he wants you to start writing again.” I looked at her crazy because I had actually quit rapping for two years. I was in the streets happy.
I wasn't thinking about rap. Everything I had ever wanted from rap I was getting while I was in the streets. I had cars. I had jewelry. I had money. I had women. So, I was like, bump rap. So, I say to her, “God didn't tell you nothing like that about me.” You know, I didn't want to do it but... That was in January of this year. In February, I was just on my knees, on my face, seeking His face and His will over my life. And then it was clear as day, He basically said, “I want you to do it for Me. Your life is not going to be anything unless you do it for Me.” I've been going ever since.
What impact does your music have on your community?
I think my music has a big impact or will have a big impact when everybody catches hold of it because it's still kind of new. I tend more to the streets because that's where I come from. I feel like God has called me to a ministry to talk to these guys that are out here chasing money. My tape is called, Faith Is Worth More Than Money. For me to leave the streets, I had to step out on faith. Not to boast, but I was really making money and a lot of my peers are still out there doing their thing, but the impact that I'm having on them now is real. God has me walking up to people asking if I can pray for them. That's not common where I'm from.
I'm new in Christ and I wanted to know what could I leave with these guys other than spitting a thousand Bible verses at them. He just reminded me about the music, like speak to them through the music. A lot of the guys that I speak to don't even feel like they have a relationship with God. But I stress for them to have a relationship with God even though I know that you can't push anything on anybody. I just let my walk speak for it and let them see the change. This whole tape is just my testimony. You know, Revelation 12:11 says that we overcame by the Blood of The Lamb and the Word of His Testimony. You have to be more vulnerable to people than they are to you, then they become more susceptible to hear what you have to say.
Were you raised in the church?
My mom was a heavy believer and really just stood on her faith until the day she died. She died October 20, 2002. She actually passed away in her sleep. I have no doubts in my mind that she's with the LORD. I'm actually making a song for her now. I think about how we were always in church, all day on Sunday, revivals, Bible studies... We were in church so much that when my mom passed, I had nobody to make me go to church. So, I was like, we ain't gotta go? I ain't going then. But church was always with me though. I got people that will testify to the fact that I would be in a drug house with a gun and a Bible. I remember times when I look and think back about my transition. I used to pray everyday for protection. Street dudes are religious. To live that life you've gotta have some type of faith. I know that. I was praying all day, everyday. There were so many things that could happen to you. I used to listen to the church songs at night. But I wasn't trusting God, and that was one of the main things that made me walk away from that life. So, I walked away.
He's Jehovah-jireh — my Provider. The hard thing is when you're so used to doing things your way, but now you gotta just fall back and trust God. He didn't say that it was gonna be easy.
Do you remember when your mom first told you about Jesus?
I don't remember necessarily her telling me. I just remember us being in church all the time, and me just having a spirit for the Word. I think about my daughter now. I have an eight-year-old son and a one-year-old daughter. My son actually saw some of that lifestyle, but my daughter only knows about church. She doesn't know anything about my past. I just remember being like that, going to church. Really to think about it, we didn't really have too many conversations about it in the house. My mom just knew that we were in the church listening. I saw my mom praying and reading her Bible. I'm learning to preach in my house, to do Bible studies within my own home. I just purchased a comic book Bible for my son.
What's your favorite book in the Bible?
Right now, it's the book of Job because I feel like I'm going through a Job moment in my life right now. It's all for the good. I just think about what Job went through. The worse things get, I just know that God is working them all together for my good. I had a lot of things that I acquired while I was out in the world, and I don't have them anymore. I know that God is gonna give them back to me in a better way. It's nothing wrong with having nice things, but not to be in love with them. I used to be in love with them, not anymore.
Do you have a favorite Bible verse?
Revelation 12:11, “They triumphed over him by the Blood of the Lamb and by the Word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.”
Right now I'm not a Bible scholar, but I do know my testimony and what God has done for me. I can give people that. For some people, they aren't ready to hear what God did for Shadrach, Meschac and Abednego. They wanna know about what God has done for you. God is still moving today. He is still the same God. I just feel for the people I'm talking to that don't know; I think this matters a lot.
When you have time to relax and listen to music who do you listen to?
I'm a praise and worshipper. I listen to a lot of praise and worship songs. I was a big Kirk Franklin fan as a kid. Right now I really like Deitrick Haddon and Tasha Cobbs. I'm new to the Christian hip-hop scene. I listen to Bizzle. I listen to secular artists, not for their music, but to study the enemy. I know the target and the people that God has called me to speak to, and I know that they listen to that type of music. So, I have to know it. It's really not affecting me because I know my goal. I'm into lyricists. I wanna take secular songs and turn them into church songs just like how Ray Charles took church songs and turned them secular.
What songs do you feel like represent you the most?
I'm gonna give you one from a Christian artist, John P. Kee, “Standing In The Need Of Prayer.” I listen to that every morning. Prayer is so important. I really learned that we have to pray without ceasing. A secular song from Future called, “Dirty Sprite,” I don't why, but that song just does something to me. He's got a line in that song when he says, “dirty fried in a Styrofoam/ spend a day to get my mind blown.” I'd flip it saying, communion juice in a Styrofoam/ say a prayer to get my mind blown. I put my twist on it, giving glory to God. The peace that I have now on my life, you can't buy this anywhere. I can't really explain it because it's something that you have to feel ― especially in my city, when I can be on the side of the police and not be worried because I know that I'm not doing anything wrong.
How would you describe your flow?
I feel like I got that smooth, laid back, slow flow. I got a Detroit style. Our Detroit artists are flashy and talk big. I still incorporate that into my music because I'm trying to catch the ear of the people right now. I feel as I do more projects, my lyricism will get better. In fact, I don't feel like I wrote this project. Before I did this, I just asked that the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in His sight. I know I just want to grow with God.
Are you up for a freestyle battle?
Actually, I'm not a battler. For one, especially with Christian hip-hop, I feel like there’s no competition because it's for God to get the glory first and foremost. Also, I can't compete with you about my testimony and your testimony because God took you through some things that He probably didn't take me through. I could never compare or compete with you through my music because it's not about us, and if I am talking about myself, it's about the glory of God. I never battled, even when I rapped in the world.
What is your greatest fear?
Trying to do it without God. I know that I'm only here because of Him, and I see how easy it is to forget, especially when you're going through it, and then God brings you through. You start walking and thinking that it was you and not God. The last song on my tape, “No Days Off,” is really me crying out to God saying, I can't do this without You. I know for a fact that it is only because of You that I'm here. So, that's my biggest fear is trying to do it on my own.
Retro Jordan or New LeBron's
Road Trip or Plane Ride
This is hard, because I've never been on a plane and I'm eager to get on the plane. I like the road too, but I'm gonna say plane, because I've never been on a plane.
Computer or Notebook
Chipotle or Panera #greentea
Android or iPhone