A big contributor to both the CHH and CCM arenas, DJ Maj has been on the scene since 1997, producing holy hip hop and redeemed remixes. He’s known for his work with dc Talk, TobyMac, and recordings Boogiroot and Speckled Goats II. We thank him for the opportunity to talk! Without further ado…
Tell us about your beginnings and how you came to know and follow Jesus. When did your love for music and turn-tabling begin? Also, at what point in life did your passion for music and Jesus begin to intersect?
My process was more or a series of gentle nudges from God which peaked with my getting a girl pregnant and realizing that I had strayed from everything I was taught in church. I looked around a saw that everyone, including family members seemed to have two lives. One on Sunday and one for the rest of the week. It was a very religious environment. Like the Truman Show (movie) God sent a kid who was a preacher’s son. He was a Christian rapper who needed some Dj work on his project. I’m like, this is different. That relationship brought me in to an environment which allowed me to see authentic Christianity for the first time. It was real and it made me have to ask myself some tough questions. My back and forth to Nashville weighed heavily on the girl I was dating at the time and she miscarried. Although it was heartbreaking, I had to has both her and God to forgive me for my carelessness. It all brought me face to face with God in a way that revealed the fact that you can be in church, but have a heart that’s separate from God. Our relationship dissolved, I’m away from home – lost, and it all of it brought me to my knees. It was confession on top of confession and I asked God to make Himself real to me. Thank God for allowing me to be a part of a community who knew I didn’t know Christ, yet accepted me and allowed seeds to be planted. When the time came, I knew exactly how to pray and Jesus accepted me in.
As a DJ, the passion for music never changed. The only difference was my heart which lead me to want to use my talent inspire people towards God. It took years to figure out how to do it, but he gave me my own unique vision though mixtapes and a few years at radio.
Thank God for allowing me to be a part of a community who knew I didn’t know Christ, yet accepted me and allowed seeds to be planted.
Your stage name- “DJ Maj”- is there any specific, special meaning behind it?
I always had a passion to do illusions and I wanted to mix David Copperfield stuff with DJing. But I never could afford someone to design the tricks for me. I use to set records on fire….lol. That was dumb. The guys mentoring me at the time said I should call myself “DJ Majik” so I did. It evolved to Maj over the years. Wish I would have changed it somewhere along the way. Never thought God would use do anything of this magnitude. So, I never took the name too seriously.
As a Christian hip-hop artist, you seek to make an impact on the hip-hop culture with the Gospel. You’ve commented before on how even those in the culture, although not associating themselves as Christian, have brought up Jesus in their music. What would you say causes His name to be brought up time and time again?
I hate to sound cliche`, but most of the artists from an urban background, also have a church background. I think God is faithful to give those gentle nudges to people and it’s so sweet and indisputable that they can’t help but to give God his props. I’ve been studying on Matthew 24:54 where those who were just participating the Lord’s execution, went on to confess His position and “the Son of God.” I think God uses those who are not of the faith to speak to those who are not of the faith. He’s God. He can use whatever and whoever He chooses.
In relation to that prior question- what is your general discerning on the boundaries Christian artists have/should have when it comes to making their music appealing to the secular? Do we chiefly adapt to culture for the sake of spreading the Gospel, or do we lay out the Gospel untouched to change culture?
That’s a great question. My personal conviction on this is that a person should recognize the flock that God’s calling them to and then FEED HIS SHEEP!! I like John 21:21. Don’t worry about everyone else’s lane. Do what God says. If you’re called to the clubs, then rock that junk in excellence unto God. If you’re called to the household of faith. Do it. We need people serving all.
Don’t worry about everyone else’s lane. Do what God says.
Christian hip hop and rap music has received increasing attention in the mainstream, in one instance evidenced by Lecrae’s new “Gravity” album topping iTunes charts in early September. As fellow brothers in this ministry, this is exciting news. What is your take on this new surge?
Man, this is very exciting. Never thought we’d see it for a least another 10 years. LeCrae has exposed something that has been waiting to happen for a long time. It’s been a well organized effort on his part and God’s hand is on it. He’s taken the baton and ran passionately with it. On the flip side, it’s brought about some uncomfortable conversations where non-Christians are looking in to our world and asking “Why isn’t more of this music getting support?” My response “May be you can be a part of the solution.”
You’ve worked and toured extensively with former DC Talker TobyMac; how would you describe your bond with this fellow Jesus freak? Any future collaborations in store?
It’s an honor to work with T. I’ve learned so much about the anointing it takes to bond ministry and business. I’ve also learned the importance of being diligent in your lane. He know’s his role and serves it well and passionately. Blessed to be a part of His success.
From all these years of experience, do you have any advice or tips to offer to the young generation of artists rising, and to those aspiring?
We’re in what I like to call “The Age Of Authenticity” where people receive better from something that’s real. The culture is done with the fluff. So, I like to encourage the younger generation to understand who they are in Christ beyond the music. It’s only a tool. Don’t let it define you. Define it. I often wonder if the song is making the person of if the person is making the song. Who’s running who here (that was just a side note). But, be authentic by first knowing your role. Surround yourself with people who will keep it real with you. Healthy community if everything. Also, be a disciple maker. Invest in people’s lives. That adds so much to the richness of art. Feel people. Get off the stage and be planted in the lives of people. The rest will take care of itself.
I like to encourage the younger generation to understand who they are in Christ beyond the music. It’s only a tool. Don’t let it define you. Define it.
Your new release “Tumblin‘” is about facing hardship with gladness, with the power of God. Would you add to this description? Were there specific inspirations for this track? Also, how’s the experience of going on the mic?
Those “situations” in life are instances I’ve learned to label as FERTILIZER. It’s doesn’t look good or smell good. Yet, it helps you to grow. I’m a firm believer in Romans 8:28. It’s all about embracing an organic experience with-in the God walk. It’s living in the friction between the good and the bad the refines in to the character of Christ. I hope the song goes on to inspire as many people as possible.
For me the mic was natural. I’ve always rhymed, but I’ve very picky about words and approach. So, a song will be done and I’ll delete it…lol. I’ve come to understand that it’s been my pride and I need to die in that area. I hope to get more out there within the next year.
Anything else you’d like to let the world know?
Yes. Keep the love alive!!