There’s a reason why Seun Otukpe, Lamp Mode Recording’s first international hip-hop artist, bears his soul so much in his music, which has been labeled as “emo rap.” S.O. knows he’s not the only person that has experienced pain, and he wants to show others how to find comfort in Christ during the storms of life. “That’s what I want my music to be,” S.O. said. “I want my music to be the music that comforts those in affliction, that brings joy to people, that encourages the heart, that encourages the soul.” Born in Nigeria, S.O.’s first recollections of rhyming…
There’s a reason why Seun Otukpe, Lamp Mode Recording’s first international hip-hop artist, bears his soul so much in his music, which has been labeled as “emo rap.” S.O. knows he’s not the only person that has experienced pain, and he wants to show others how to find comfort in Christ during the storms of life.
“That’s what I want my music to be,” S.O. said. “I want my music to be the music that comforts those in affliction, that brings joy to people, that encourages the heart, that encourages the soul.”
Born in Nigeria, S.O.’s first recollections of rhyming come from his grandmother’s party. He was about 6-years-old, rapping about how much he loved his grandmother in front of the family.
As a pre-teen, S.O. moved to London for greater educational opportunities. Whether it was reciting Will Smith’s Wild, Wild West at a talent show or battle rapping with friends in secondary school, S.O. continued to develop his craft.
After experiencing the death of several loved ones – most notably his own father – S.O. sought to see his gift for hip-hop used to advance the gospel.
S.O. created a huge buzz in the Christian hip-hop community with the release of the 5 Solas mixtape in 2009. The project is also what caught the ears of executives at Lamp Mode, which led to S.O. signing with the label.
One reviewer’s critique of the 5 Solas mixtape – that it wasn’t quite personal enough – is part of what inspired S.O. to pour out his heart on So It Begins, his first Lamp Mode project.
“With So It Begins, I was just finding myself still,” S.O. said. “As an artist, I was still growing and still learning art of song-making. The whole emo rap thing was still fresh. It wasn’t like a mantra that I was standing by at that point. Someone reviewed the mixtape and said it wasn’t personal enough – this, that and third – I kind of went overboard and made So It Begins overly personal, which is now what people kind of love about me.”
If 5 Solas was doctrinal and So It Begins was more personal, S.O.’s second Lamp Mode release So It Continues was a perfect combination of the two.
“So It Continues is the beginning of me figuring it all out,” he said. “I think it was like the best of both worlds. I had grown as a song writer, and (producer) G.P. and I’s relationship had grown. As an artist, the nerves were still there, but not as much. I knew I had somewhat of a fan base that would buy my album and push me and encourage me to do music.”
So It Continues climbed as No. 5 on the iTunes hip-hop/rap charts, No. 3 on Amazon UK rap/hip-hop albums, No. 24 on the Billboard hip-hop rap charts and No. 36 Billboard gospel charts.
However, as S.O. reflects on So It Continues, he realized that at some points he tried to follow a generic Christian hip-hop success model rather than doing music from the heart. That’s not the case with his newest project, So It Ends.
“This is me finally realizing I don’t care about trying to follow that Christian hip-hop formula,” S.O. said. “This album is for my fans, people who understand what I’m trying to do, people who want to continue with me on the journey. I think it’s just a great way to finish the trilogy. We made music that we wanted to make. We made music that glorifies God, and I made music that is true to my current situation.”
And his current situation, reflected all throughout his most recent project, is S.O. remembering that God has called him to be more than just a hip-hop artist. So It Ends has a strong relational theme.
“I’m a rapper. I’m a son. I’m a brother. I’m an uncle. I’m a Christian,” he says. I’m just somebody who wants to live for Jesus, and glorify Him with everything that I do, and I just want to make good music.”
S.O.’s prayer is that So It Ends – as well as his other projects – will stand the test of time.
“I don’t want my music just to be something that’s super trendy now,” S.O. said. “I just want to make riding music, where you can pop it in and not have to skip a song. There should be some cohesiveness to it. I want it to be where you want to take the long way home so you can hear the rest of the album, stuff like that. That’s what I want my music to be …
In five to ten years, I still want people to be playing Lows and Highs, and Passion and Purity, Where Do We Go From Here and London Dreams. I want people to still be playing my old stuff.”