Christian Hip Hop Artist KB Talks Weight & Glory
I remember the day I first learned that Christian Rap existed. I was still fairly young and went with my church to some youth ministry workshop. I remember the day I found out that there was Christian Rap actually worth listening to. I was riding in the car with a friend when I heard my first Lecrae song. I was since then schooled that there were more men boldly telling of the Gospel of Jesus Christ through dope lyrics over Hip-Hop beats. I fell in love instantly.
Kevin Burgess also known as KB is super talented Christian rapper who is signed to Reach Records and part of the infamous 116 Clique. He recently dropped his debut album entitled Weight & Glory, which debuted number 2 on the Itunes music charts for Hip-Hop as well as number one on the Christian billboards. In the midst of all of this excitement he took a little time out to chat with me. Peep the interview below!
Well, first things first, I’d like to say congratulations on your album debuting number two on the Itunes Hip-Hop charts! That is big news! How did you feel when you heard the news?
Well, I was excited. I actually had some brothers over. I had a brother and his wife and some other brothers over to the house. I just cooked dinner and we kind of just hung out with our wives and stayed up all night until it dropped just to kind of celebrate. We were kind of watching it up to about midnight because the pre-loaders were moving up and I was like man let’s just not think about this anymore, don’t show me anymore of what the chart is saying. Then, around 12:30 or something like that they continued to look at it but tried to hide from me and then they were like “Oh my goodness,” and I’m like “what?” and they’re like “I can’t tell you,” and that is when they showed it to me and I’m like man, praise God. I’m just grateful and a lot of people are being exposed to the Gospel and the realities that I am talking about in my music. That’s a main aim so it has been a super exciting and grateful time for me.
Wow that is amazing. So at this point in your life and success, if someone were to ask you who is KB what would you tell them?
Mmm who is KB? I would say that number one I am a recipient of the grace of God. I am no more or no less than that. I have just been changed and that is the most important part about me is my relationship with God. Then, after that, I’m a husband, I love my wife. I’ve been married for two years and that is my core central to my mission on earth. Happy wife, happy life.
And, I am a rapper. I do music. I’ve been gifted with it and I love to serve people with that gift. I’m a small time theologian. I love theology. I love studying God’s word and I love sharing it with people and that is kind of who KB is.
What influence you to pursue Christian Rap?
Well, I became a Christian at 16. I met this dude at school. He told me he was a Christian and I saw him outside one day eating lunch and he had a CD on the table with a dude who had dreads and a red bandana on and all of this stuff that in my mind I thought was anti-christian. So I’m all like man you a hypocrite, what’s going on? And he’s like “Nah, it’s just Christian music”. He let me have the CD and I took it home. It had eight songs on it. Eight songs of a gospel presentation, which the Bible says that the means by which God brings people to himself is the good news that the weak can be forgiven and freed from our evil plight and I believed that and He saved me. I have been walking with God ever since then. So, my kind of entering the kingdom was through the means of somebody doing the very thing I’m doing now. So, that was the main influence. Even after that, I still didn’t think I would be doing this, but what I found what that as I just kind of dabbled in it, people were liking it and affirming it and it has opened up doors. That’s how God works and before I knew it I had a little profession going on. And that is what influence me to get to do what I am doing.
Were the people around you supportive of you or were they kind of like ehhhh… ? Like, what was the response and feedback your received from the people you’d already known?
Well, I never thought that my livelihood would be Christian Rap, I mean if we’re gonna call it that. Let’s just put it like this, I never thought that I would be living off of Hip Hop. I never thought that would be a profession, maybe something I did kind of on the side. I mostly started to do it as a bridge to connect with the people that I was trying to reach. I graduated high school and I felt like the Lord was calling me to go to Bible college, to study the Bible and become a missionary. I actually wanted to become a missionary in South America, and spend time planting churches and using Hip Hop as a means to gather people and another form of communication. So that is really the main thing that people around me were questioning. They were kind of like “Uh, you sure you wanna go do that? You wanna be broke for the rest of your life”. That’s the thing that people were kind of struggling to support. But, as far as me jumping in and saying “I’m a professional rapper,” I only kind of embraced that once I signed with Reach Records.
What inspired you to title your first album Weight & Glory and what does that mean to you?
Good question. What inspired me to title my album Weight & Glory were two things. Number one, it is where I am in life and where I strive to be in life everyday. I want to have the weightiness of God and His glory, His beauty, His wonder, reaffirmed in my heart. Everyday is like a fresh twenty-four hours to spend in awe of God. The Bible makes it clear that is the means by which we enjoy him. I means that’s just a principle of life, you don’t enjoy something that you’re not enthralled with. So if I can taste and see that the Lord is good in His word and my everyday life, then I’m alive. I live. Then, on the other hand, I know I want to be responsive to the culture and be relevant and I can see as far as those that really could’t care too much about God or God is kind on the side to add to everything else they got going on. We live in a culture where God is essentially boring. There’s really nothing else you can do besides giving yourself to Him and actually kind of structure your existence around who he is. It just doesn’t make sense and people ask me “Why are you wasting your life? Why are you wasting your time? YOLO… You have one life to live.” And what I wanted to do with that is kind of turn that question at hand on it’s head and ask them that same question. Because if there is indeed a wonderful, glorious God, that surpasses all satisfaction that can be found under the sun, why in the world would you waste your time looking for things underneath the sun to make up your reason for being, your purpose, your reason for pursuit? Why would you do that? That’s actually dumb, what makes the most sense is giving yourself to Yahweh God who is absolutely weighty and glorious. To be with Him is to find life, not to waste your life.
Perfect segway into my next question, which is what advice can you offer young people seeking to live a life acceptable unto Christ in a world that does the exact opposite?
Mmm, that’s good, that is a great question. If you’re trying to please Jesus, you should know as well as I know that there is nothing in this world that is trying to help you with that. There is not a lifestyle that the world can offer you that can encourage godliness. There’s only one thing in this world that can get you where God is trying to take you and that is the Word of God and all of the things that come from His word such as church, good teaching, good fellowship and things of that nature. It is all centered around that book, the holy, holy, holy Word of God. I would say you should give yourself to that. What comes to mind is Psalms 1199, which says,
“How can a young man [or woman] keep their way pure? By guarding it according to His word. I have sought thee with my own heart, let me not wonder from your commandments. I have stored your word in my heart that I might not sin against thee”.
That is God’s prescription to living a life that is glorifying to him. Living the bless life or as the Bible puts it “the happy life” as a young person. Stay in the book, be saturated in it, and know more about that than you know about anything else. Memorize much of it and meditate on it. Think through it, discuss it with other people, proclaim it! That is how we survive in this culture.
Open letter is such a dope track. I listen to it over and over. It is so heartfelt and transparent. What pushed you to make such an intimate song?
I think that by the grace of God I am just a very empathetic person. I’ve always tried to be someone that sympathizes with folks, because I know that is what Jesus does with us. A few years ago I was struck by a situation that seemed to be very provocative and very common in the church and the world today. One was the battle with understanding and living a life that is aligning with God’s view of sexuality. And then with me personally, I was a young man. I thought I wasn’t that bad looking. I still think I’m not that bad looking (laughs), and it was like how do I kind of navigate living for Jesus and having a lot of opportunities to sin, especially when you’re trying to draw near to a woman for the purpose of marriage. How do I kind of manage that? I wanted a song where we could have a to it where we are actually praying for these folks after they’ve reached out to us with a little like this is our situation can you pray for us? So one verse discusses a young woman struggling with her sexuality and then Swoop’s verse talks about a guy trying to stay pure until marriage, and then Trip prays for both of them at the end. My verse is based on a conversation with a sister of mine, Suzy Rock and I told her what I wanted to do and she had some insight o it because she had a friend who was going through that same thing. So that is a true life story and I think that is why a lot of folks can connect with it because it is a real life story.
Amazing. So finally, how can people find you? Facebook? Twitter? Website? How can they learn more about KB?
I’d be honored if you all want to learn more about me. You can find me on Twitter @kb_hga. I can also be found on Facebook at Facebook.com/KB116. You can find my music, my debt album Weight & Glory almost everywhere where music is sold, Walmart, Best Buy, most Christian Bookstores, and Itunes.
Jazmine Denise is a New York City based freelance writer. Follow her on Twitter @jazminedenise