The last time I spoke with Braille he had just recently dropped “The IV.” “Blessed Man” was in heavy circulation and “The IV” was even featured in an NBA Live ‘09 video game. In CHH, what more could we ask for? But recently after having spoken with Braille about his new album “Weapon Aid” and the changes that have taking place in his life since then, its how he’s dealt with the storm that makes us realize that Braille truly is a “Blessed Man”.
Shine: As always we want to thank you for taking time out to speak with Holyculture.net, So let’s just get right into it. “Weapon Aid” is out, right?
Braille: Yeah man, it dropped April 27th.
Shine: Where can it be picked up at?
Braille: Well (laughs) obviously it can be picked up at Holyculture Download, Itunes, Humblebeast.com and various web stores here and there.
Shine: Ok, so how long has it been since your last project?
Braille: Man, “Cloud nineteen” probably dropped (pauses) about a year ago, 2008 “The IV” dropped around April, so between March and April over the last three years there’s been a record dropping.
Shine: Gotcha, now what’s the inspiration or the concept behind “Weapon Aid”?
Braille: Well, “Weapon Aid” is essentially a healing record. It’s an aid from the weapons in life that serve you up hurt and disappointment and pain and all these things and as you go through them it challenges you to dig deep inside of yourself to see what God is trying to do in you. Our natural reaction when we get hurt is to run out and serve it to someone else which continues to just repeat the cycle. But when you look inward with a humble heart and a repentant heart you’re able to, despite the fact that you’re being treated wrongly, you’re able to see what the Lord is trying to produce in you. So that’s what that record is about.
Shine: Gotcha. Which leads me into my next question. You’ve got a track on the album called “Revenge the Right Way,” which is probably my favorite so far, so big ups on that one (laughs) but does that track echo your last comment?
Braille: Yeah it’s very similar. I’ve mentioned this in other interviews. I had the beat in October of 2009 but I had to sit down with some brothers to flesh out the concept, and that’s the only song where I feature someone on the album. It features Ruslan and Beleaf of theBreax. I had the hook but I didn’t finish that song until January of 2010. So it’s a very recent song. But it’s one thing to have a hook and the message but it’s another thing to try to translate it into lyrics. (laughs) I’ve had a tendency to try to write like everything was all good which is not real for a lot of people. So I was finally able to open up and find a balance to where I could talk about the type of things we fight and feel, and also get to the conclusion that it’s not worth it to try to take things into our own hands when it’s not ours to take. Then you can see God work in you, He’s going to work it out for your good and that’s ultimately going to be your revenge, your healing and your transformation.
Shine: So, as you’ve noticed in Christian hip hop, for the most part when an artist drops an album they direct most of the praise and glory to God. They’re thankful about what God has done in there lives. But on “Weapon Aid” you’re saying that even though were saved, we do go through some things. Do you feel there is a need for more transparency in CHH?
Braille: I mean, (pauses) its all matter of the calling bro. I try and write other ways, and I’ve been an artist for like 15 or 16 years, so for me to be transparent or to wear my heart on my sleeve on a record is really not a new thing. That style of writing just so happened to come out and was magnified this time based on my circumstances. You know what I’m saying (laughs). But I am a huge advocate of transparency.
Shine: I feel you.
Shine: So for the readers who may not know what you’ve recently been through, would you like to share a little of what happened?
Braille: Well essentially I went through a year of what first surfaced as marital unhappiness but then I realized it was deeper in the form of marital infidelity on the part of my wife. We basically then went through a restoration period which wasn’t what it seemed and it eventually kind of all fell apart. But essentially the end result after spending a year of seeking restoration, the marriage is ending in divorce. It wasn’t the option or the road that I was leaning towards. I wasn’t anxious to throw in the towel, but ultimately it got to a point to where God released me from the situation and produced in me what He wanted to produce in me through that.
Braille: These are some crazy times and unfortunately I’ve seen a lot of divorce around me. The bible warns us of these times and a lot of people get really discouraged. But for me I want to let everyone know and those who are married, to not get discouraged but to allow it to shift your focus. We make relationships idols and that’s not what they’re meant to be. A relationship becomes really disappointing when you’re expecting that person to worship you forever and you worship them forever, but it’s really about worshiping God together.
Shine: Well spoken. So what are some of your favorite tracks on the album?
Braille: The third song on the album that I wrote is called “Resurrect Me.” That song just kind of fell out of me. (laughs) It’s one the only songs I’ve ever written that I could sit back and listen to with headphones on and sing along with it that would touch me in such a way that sometimes it would just make my eyes water cause it was that real. It was a genuine cry out to God. It was like “God I don’t know what’s going on, my life as I know it is dying but I trust you to resurrect me.”
Shine: Okay, well talk a little about “Humblebeast.” What exactly is “Humblebeast”?
Braille: (laughs) Well, it’s a little confusing. It’s a collective, a record label, kind of like an “all in one.” Most of the artists involved play multiple roles. Their not just rappers on the label but actually have behind the scenes roles. Ultimately we want it to be a ministry minded label. There are a lot of plans like giving away all the albums…
Shine: (Interrupts) You said give away all the albums?
Braille: (laughs) Yeah, basically you’ll be able to go to the website and download the album for free or make a donation. The CD will still be available for purchase but there might be like a window of time where for the first month for two you can get it for free, so that the die hard cats might still purchase it in order for us to keep moving forward. But our back catalog and future catalog will be available for free so that anyone can get access to it that might have a curiosity about it.
Shine: So will it operate like a typical label? Will you look for artists?
Braille: Yeah, eventually what we hope to do is take on some younger cats and have the team pour into them because our generation will be eventually passing the torch. We’d like to bring in some younger cats and spend a year or two with them to teach them what we’ve learned before we just put them on. Humblebeast.com should be up in a week or two and it should have all the proper wording (laughs).
Shine: So what’s next for Braille?
Braille: Well it’s such a crazy season in life. Anybody who follows me on twitter knows that my daughter is a huge priority in my life. She’s only three years old and because I’m in a position to where I want to have as much time with my daughter as possible, unless God changes it, I pretty much refuse to tour and miss out on time with her. Yet God in His goodness has worked it out in such a way to where I can go out and still spend time with her. I’m going to Brazil, the U.K. and Canada and it all works out to where I’ll be gone for a little bit and be coming home for a while. So really just being a good steward, a good father and also building Humblebeast from the ground up. We also want to put out a lot of other artists. God-willing, we’ll be putting out a new record every other month. We’ve got a compilation in the works called “Humble Beginnings” and also new material coming from Othello, Odd Thomas, and SareemPoems. Then, as we get into the latter half of the year, we’ll be focusing on one artist at a time.
Shine: Well Braille it’s always a pleasure chopping it up with you. Once again I want to thank you for taking the time out to talk with Holyculture.net and as always, continued success.
Written by Shine