Im Jahre 1993 traf G-Wade aus Washington DC hinter Gefängnismauern eine Entscheidung, nach der nichts mehr so sein sollte wie es einmal war. 12 Jahre später haben wir das Gründungsmitglied der mittlerweile aufgelösten Street Sweepers zum Interview gebeten. Eine Bestandsaufnahme.
What’s up G-Wade, introduce yourself please…
This is your boy G-Wade from I-66 Entertainment. I just wanted to say what’ up to all my fam’ out here in Germany holdin’ It down!
I was very impressed by the positive power of “M:22″ – why did the Street Sweepers break up?
Basically, we were solo artists before we came together as a group. We believed that God had brought us together to do work in street ministry but we’ve always said that when it was time for us to go our separate ways, we wouldn’t try to force the group to stay together. When we felt that we had run our course in ministry as a group – we heeded to what God was telling us to do so we started pursuing our solo ventures.
Maybe you should decypher the Title “M:22″ for our readers.
M:22 came about based on a piece that we would always chant at our shows “We God’s peeps spittin’ a couple of Ac’ pieces/No matter what you say son we speakin’ God’s thesis/You don’t know God until you’ve met our Jesus/Please believe us Matthew: 22 Street Sweepers.” From the book of Matthew chapter 22, we referred to ourselves as those servants that the king sent out to invite those people that “the church” is too afraid to approach or don’t know how to go out and reach – those who are drug dealers, crack-heads, gang-bangers, just lost and confused about the trueness of Christ.
The members of the group come from different cities – you’re from Washington, R-Swift and Ackdavis are from Philly – how did you three come together?
The way we met might seem confusing but when God is putting something together, He knows just how to make it happen. Swift and Ackdavis met at a crusade in Philly, me and Swift met at an event in Rhode Island, and me and Ackdavis met at an event in south Jersey. But the crazy thing about it is, we all hung around the same folks and never really connected until those specific events. That’s when you know God has His hand in it all.
Could you imagine doing another album with the group?
I think that thee is another album in us to do, but as far as when that would happen, only God knows. We’ve talked about it before but because God has us on separate paths right now, we must remain faithful to our personal journeys.
Your latest release goes under the title “RECREATION: Anatomy of the Remix”. What’s the deal with this record?
“RECREATION: Anatomy of the Remix” came about when I saw P. Diddy of Bad Boy release his compilation CD “We Invented the Remix” For some reason, I would keep repeating this slogan, “we didn’t invent the remix, we recreated it.” That’s when the light bulb lit up! Since I hadn’t seen an all Holy Hip Hop remix project put together – I mean, artists have done remixes but never an all remix CD – that’s when I decided to make it happen. Because I have relationships with a lot of artists in the Holy Hip Hop community, I just reached out to them and they responded with overwhelming support.
If I got it right, you’re currently working on your first solo album “He’s Still # 1″. What’s the state of the recording process?
I am currently working on my solo project, “He’s Still #1″. Right now I’m doing a lot of writing and getting beats together for the project.
Will the music be comparable to the sound of the Street Sweepers? What’s different, what’s new?
The great thing about Street Sweepers is, we all had our own unique style – so on my project you’ll definitely get that street edginess and the boom-bap that Street Sweepers brought you, but you’ll also get a smoother feel to the music. So to compare my project to M:22, I couldn’t because it’s a totally different flava. More of my personal experiences will be on this CD. I mean the things that you only talk about to your close friend. I’m being very transparent on this one.
Christian life is the principal topic of your music. As far as I can remember the lyrics on “M:22″, you were basically rapping about an extensive change that took place in your lives. So where do you come from and where are you at right now?
I know we hear a lot of cats say this all the time but I’m from the streets. I grew up in one of the roughest sections in D.C. I did my thing on the block in one of the most notorious neighborhoods and seen a lot of stuff go down. So when you heard me rap on the Street Sweepers project, it came from years of bottled up things that I’ve done and seen. I’ve grown a whole lot since then and God has done some amazing things in my life mentally, spiritually and emotionally. So what you’ll get on my solo project is what I like to call “half man-half amazing.” I don’t mean that in an arrogant way but simply that God has done some amazing things with this man.
The gospel-rap-scene has it’s own labels, it’s own awards, festivals etc. – the whole thing reminds me of something like a parallel universe from time to time. Can you relate to this assessment?
I think that that’s a good assessment. We’ve some how managed to parallel the secular industry but we’ve done it all with good intent and with purpose in mind. The award shows and festivals aren’t done so that we can gain self-recognition or to get a platform to speak. Because what we do for God is suppose to be a selfless act, however, it’s also a wonderful thing to be recognized and appreciated for your work as an artist. The Bible does say to esteem one another higher than your self. So to have your brothers and sisters acknowledge and pay homage to you as an artist, it’s a beautiful thing. We do have to remember that his is still a business and certain things do come with the territory. Now this doesn’t excuse us from our responsibilities as Christians, we must still honor, respect, and glorify our heavenly Father because that’s where our affections should be. He is the reason why we do what we do. Otherwise, we could’ve continued in the life that we were living and still rapping about the things we’ve done and NEVER offer the answer to life’s most sought after questions. Jesus is the answer to our challenges in life. This doesn’t mean that the struggles in life stop after accepting Christ but what it does offer is “life” after the death where there won’t be any struggles to deal with.
Shouldn’t there be more interfaces with the secular scene? How could this be accomplished?
This question takes me back to your previous one about how M:22 came about. Yes, we must intermingle with the secular scene. Yes, we must go into those places where God isn’t being represented. And yes, we must stand as that beacon of light in dark places. And in many cases, we’re doing that. But just like in Matthew 22 as the servants of the king were shunned and beaten by the people after being invited to the king’s feast, we can’t force anyone do anything they don’t want to do. God isn’t after those who are able to serve Him but rather He’s after those who are willing to serve Him. God can work with a person with a willing heart.
What are your thoughts on the state of affairs in the secular rap-scene in general?
I think the state of the secular rap scene is where it’s going to be. The Bible says, “be not conformed to this world but transformed by the renewing of the mind” (paraphrased). The Bible also says, “be in it and not of it.” So when your mind hasn’t been renewed by Christ or you are born after this world and not after the spirit – then you’ll get what the world produces. I’m not shocked or surprised about where things are when man’s heart and mind is still in love with the world.
You’re also involved in the work of various charitable organizations. Could you give us a little insight in their work?
My passion for doing charitable work I believe stems from the way my grandmother treated people in our neighborhood. I would come home from school and there would be homeless people and drunks sitting and sleeping on our couch and floors. She would feed them, love up on them and just open up her heart and home to them. So I guess that was the first lesson I was taught about humanity. I believe in giving back and helping those less fortunate than others. I didn’t grow up in a rich home or in a well off household, we struggled with money and with keeping food on our table but my grandmother gave what little we did have. So volunteering for different charities just comes natural to me. That lesson has compelled me to launch Rock House Outreach Center (a community-based organization helping those less fortunate) and I Shine-U Shine Foundation (a grants and scholarship organization committed to giving back to our youth aspiring to be musicians). That’s where my heart is in ministry.
What’s has been the most beautiful experience you’ve made during your career as a musician?
The most beautiful thing that has happened to me has been meeting so many different wonderful people of God. That may sound a little corny but it’s the truth. Through music, I’ve been able to meet people from all over the world unified with the cause of spreading the Gospel. I’ve been to great places and seen a lot of lives changed by the word of God. But more importantly, I’ve been able to see myself change from a person carrying street sweeper to a person street sweepin’ the streets for Christ.
Could you recommend some blazing gospel rappers we should check out by any means?
Of course you should definitely check out myself “G-Wade” (shameless plug) you can learn more about all our artists at www.f4ts.com. You know, there are so many artists that I could recommend that I could fill-up your whole page. But seriously, you can do a search for Holy Hip Hop artists and many of them will pop up in your search.
Do you have any last words or shout-outs?
I just like to shout out to my family and friends, all of the I-66 Entertainment family and all the staff who help us out in so many ways. Much love to Jenelle and Damon O’. I thank God for His faithfulness even when I start trippin’ on Him. Also, I like to thank all of the good people who support us through prayers, words of encouragement and by purchasing our music. We only have one objective here and that’s to see people lives changed and God being glorified. Thank you so much for this interview… it’s truly appreciated – for real!! God Bless!