At the time of this interview, I had just had a meeting with my pastor where I was explaining to him some of the legalities of the music industry. I had completely forgotten that he was a former traveling minister in song and was quite thorough in the music biz. It came back to my remembrance as he just looked at me and smiled. My point is, because of the humble personality of this next artist (Hansoul) you may tend to forget just how thorough he is regarding the industry having been signed to Epic Records in the mid 90’s. Hansoul has rubbed elbows with some of hip-hops’ heavyweights yet because of his new life and love for the Lord Jesus, he doesn’t boast. His humble character just smiles…
Shine: For the readers who may not know you, why don’t you go ahead and give us your background on how you got started.
Hans: First of all Jesus saves. From a secular standpoint I got started in hip hop from what people would call the Hey Day of hip hop. I guess I became a fan of it in the late 70s and early 80s. I started rapping and signed my first record deal with Epic Records in the 90s and have been apart of the culture a long time. As an emcee doing secular music in ’95, I gave my life to the Lord and of course with the conversion into the Lord I changed the way I did music. So that’s a little of my background.
Shine: What have you been up to since then?
Hans: Well in ’95, some of the people that were used early on in my faith walk to kind of let me know that I could do Christian rap were Ambassador and Phanatik of Cross Movement at the time. Prior to that, my experience with rap music was so destructive that it was hard for me to see that it could be used in a redemptive way. In ’96, I started recording my first studio session as a believer, but the material that I recorded then didn’t get released until 2001. Part of that was because of a very intense time of sanctification and being set apart with the Lord. I really had a lot of issues that I believe that the Lord was addressing and some of them were just me. I believe I was myself prolonging it due to my fear of getting involved with music again based on fear of past life experiences. I had been involved in music in such a destructive and demonic way being on Epic and Loud RCA. Then after that I started a label that was funded by drug money with major distribution. It was hard for me to really come to grips with using this tool as a medium to engage the culture. I was still dealing with guilt, shock, trauma, depression and a lot of things. But God through the fullness of time gave me the grace and the understanding that this is what I’m called to do or at least part of my calling.
Shine: What’s the concept behind the current project?
Hans: Well this new CD is called Jesus is God and I took a systematic theology course where they were talking about the Deity of Christ and the question was asked “Does the concept of Jesus being God and man still apply to today?” “Does it still apply to todays culture and this post modern society that we live in?” So from those questions is where the title comes from. The first song Jesus is God is like a deep seminary paper where I’m addressing the reality of Christ being God and man. Every song on the album isn’t addressing that topic but I just thought that it was a good title to really affirm in a culture/church where many times people don’t view Jesus as God but will call Him “Lord” or “Son of God”. People kind of shy away from calling Him God or the second Person of the Trinity but scripture is clear to show Him as God. Also, it wasn’t easy to title it Jesus is God. I had some other titles that I was toying with, but I felt like that’s where the Lord was leading me.
Shine: What do you want people to walk away with after hearing this project?
Hans: Well, I definitely want them to walk away with a better understanding of the Deity of Christ. I also want them to understand that in God you can always change and that there is always hope in Christ. Also, if you’re living and breathing then there’s always time to change. I want them to be grateful like the song Jesus I’m grateful just deals with gratitude. In every situation there’s something that you can thank God for.
Shine: Prior to your marriage (in your testimony) you mentioned being in a relationship that you had to cut off. What were some of the dangers?
Hans: Well for me it was a detour. I can say that because I believed in the Lord for a great period of time or since I could remember. I believed in Him but I was not a disciple. Jesus wasn’t necessarily my Lord but my Savior in a sense that I wasn’t giving Him Lordship. I wasn’t living a lifestyle that would’ve proven that I was truly a follower of Christ. I was serving other kingdoms and other things in the way I was living speaking and dealing with other people. The person in that relationship was not a believer of Christ so it was detour for me. I would have to tug from God but then I would be in this relationship. As you look at Solomon in the Bible, he was a strong believer. He came from a believing lineage, yet when he began to deal with women of other faiths he got twisted. When you’re in a relationship with another person who’s not a believer it’s hard to be sold out for God. So it’s a detour or a prolonging because it causes you to be married in a sense. It’s not like a marriage from Gods view but a yoking is taking place and you’re beginning to take on the other person’s ways and characteristics. Even if you’re not totally intimate there’s still a type of yoking taking place. So you’re becoming one to a degree and it can become a great hindrance and detour towards your destiny.
Shine: What’s your current view of CHH?
Hans: I think a positive is that it’s much more in the mainstream and accessible. Sonically the quality is much better. A while back DJ Official (who use to be with Cross Movement but now with Reach Records) and I started a radio show on 103.9 The Beat. I had brought in DJ Official to deejay and back then, we would have like 10-15 projects per quarter that we could play if that. There was music out there but not a lot of quality stuff. We were on a secular station and wanted to make sure that our quality was at least up there with the secular music if not better. Nowadays you have a lot of good stuff. I see and hear a lot less of the religious stuff meaning just dogma and the letter but more of the Spirit and relationships. But on the flip side some of the dangers that I see is that there’s a lot of people experimenting with a lot of things. I notice artist experimenting with secular music or experimenting with not being a labeled as a Christian emcee but rather a rapper who’s Christian…
Shine: Explain the whole rapper who happens to be Christian point?
Hans: My reason for having toyed with the idea at one time was I felt I could reach more people. My heart was pure in that I wanted to reach more people but the danger that I see in that is that there’s a safety in the name of the Lord. The Bible says that “The name of the Lord is a strong tower…” (Proverbs 18:10) As we look in our school systems now and the way that we’ve taken His name out and the trouble that it’s caused, there’s a safety in saying that I identify with the Lord. Sometimes we think that the people in the world will not hear us if we say His name and that’s and incorrect analyses to me. It’s an incorrect analysis of people in general of God and the culture. I think the culture is more offended at the church than of Jesus Himself. So when you take the name of Jesus out you lose the authority factor. As a school teacher I’d tell a student that you can’t do this or that and because of legal reasons I can’t say because of Jesus. So they respond saying based “On what authority am I not to do A, B and C? Who says I can’t do this?” “The culture does it so why can’t I do it?” I can’t respond saying Jesus says that you can’t do it or God says that you shouldn’t. So as you see when you remove His name you remove the authority and He’s the final authority. Now remind you, my project Jesus is God, it wasn’t easy for me to title it that. (Laughs) I’m an emcee and I’m into creativity so I wrestled very hard with that. But I felt like God was telling me to do it. Whatever His reasoning is I’ve got to be obedient to that.
Shine: Any final thoughts?
Hans: Yeah, if there’s a generation of cats that I have missed meaning I’m not on your radar or you’re not on mine and we have not linked up, I would really love for you to link up with me. Grab the album, give me your feedback because I’ve got an ear to the culture and I always want to get the feedback of the people.
Shine: Well Hans, Thank you for taking this time out to speak with Holyculture.net and as always continued success.
Written by Shine