Your taste for CHH may be more of an East Coast flavor or maybe your preference is a little more Midwest. Our West Coast brothers have definitely been doing there thing for some time now, and of course the South has just about taken over. Unlike the world, we celebrate and encourage growth of our industry no matter what side of the globe we hail from. The more the merrier. Yet each coast with its many artists can almost be compared to a shopping mall. You have outlets stores (the little ones) then you have anchor stores (the big ones). Mr. Del can be compared to that of an anchor store. I recently got a chance to talk with “The Powerhouse down South” as he took time out of his schedule to kick it with Holyculture.net
Shine: For the readers who may not be familiar with you, why don’t you tell us a little about your background and how you got to where you are today?
Mr. Del: Well, I started out musically with Three 6 Mafia. Those guys that I came up with in the same neighborhood were really like big brothers to me at the time. It was the typical story of growing up in a single parent household, being a gang member, running the streets, the thiefin and the thuggin, and just doing all that wild stuff that young dudes do. Basically after living that rap star life of being on the road and seeing all the things that I witnessed, everything that I thought I wanted to do just wasn’t fulfilling. When I came off the road I decided to go home and see my family. I decided to surprise them at church one Easter Sunday and as I was sitting there I heard the spirit of God speak to me and He told me to “Come out”.
Mr. Del: He told me to do the same thing that I was doing now, but do it for Him. At first I was a little resistant towards that because I knew very little about gospel rap but what I did know, I felt like it was corny. So I wasn’t interested in doing anything like. It wasn’t until he gave me a vision which caused something to just ignite inside of me. I told him if I do this you’re going to have to take care of me because all I’ve ever wanted to do is be in the music business and be a rapper. So by Him telling me to leave my dream and Three 6 Mafia and do want He wanted me to do, I was like “Yo, you got to handle this”.
Shine: (laughs) Right.
Mr. Del: After He said, “Trust Me” I made the decision right there and it wasn’t like an altar experience or an emotional experience. It was just like a conversation with God. It was Him revealing to me what my purpose was and me acknowledging that. Then it was having enough faith to step out the boat and start walking on water. So here we are 10 yrs later.
Shine: Was it a hard transitioning from mainstream into Christian hip hop?
Mr. Del: Well it wasn’t a difficult transition musically; it was just a difficult transition period. A year after I left I began to get death threats on my life. I was on the run for about 6 months; I lost friends and family members. So the transition was difficult and very trying and what I went through I don’t believe that I share the testimony of any other Gospel rapper. I believe that’s one of the major components that set me apart from the genre. Because what I’m called to and what I’m called from is not the same story that everyone else has. So I guess that would describe my uniqueness or my difference when it comes to other holy hip hop artists because I do notice that I don’t really fit the mold.
Shine: What is your opinion of holy hip hop? As you sit back and kind of look at the whole thing, what is your perspective?
Mr. Del: Well I don’t believe that I’ve ever really been apart of it based on the overall perception of who they think that I am. So I really don’t have any opinion about the culture, all I have is an opinion about what God told me to do. I’m not called to Holy hip hop. I’m called to a generation that I was once intoxicated with. So I’m called to my assignment, I’m not called to a culture. I believe it’s a kingdom agenda not a holy hip hop agenda.
Shine: I was reading where it said that you publicly called an end to the segregation between CCM and Gospel music?
Mr. Del: Yeah, I called an end the segregation meaning Christian music being white people and Gospel music being black people. It’s not just me but a lot of people feel the same way because it is just so obvious. When you’re talking about Christian music you’re talking about white people and when you’re talking about gospel you’re talking about black people. It’s divided, so that lets you know that racism is still alive even in the kingdom community of the music business. It’s something that I’m aware of and it’s just my report as an outspoken artist. I’m letting them know that I see it and how far are we going to go with that type of separation?
Shine: The bible does say that “A house divided shall not stand…”
Mr. Del: And that’s not just in the music business but Christianity as a whole.
Shine: Right. Now let’s talk a little about your work. Did the Thrilla album drop in 09’?
Mr. Del: Yeah, it dropped in 2009 and it was my first record that was ever nominated for a Dove Award. I’m real happy about it and it was my first record on my new deal with Universal. There were a lot of firsts on that album. It was my first time nominated and a first time being on a major label.
Shine: What have you been up to since then?
Mr. Del: Musically I’ve been working on my new album called “TennMan” which will be out 10/10/10. Ten for Tennessee, ten for my tenth album, ten for ten years in the game and ten for the date I was born. (Laughs) So it stands for all things ten.
Mr. Del: Ten songs on it for 10.99 (Laughs) that’s the new album.
Shine: (Laughs) I like that.
Shine: You’re also a Pastor, right? What was it like entering into that whole office?
Mr. Del: Well that was crazy because I felt like that was a trick. (Laughs) God will trick you sometime. He’ll call you for one thing but won’t reveal the next thing until you’re ready for it. That’s how I’ve seen him work. At first I thought it was all about the music and then a year and a half later I started to have a great desire for the Word of God. I was noticing at my shows that I was ministering a lot during my testimony and a lot of people were getting saved. Then it was prophesied that I would have a church. And just like the first calling I was running away saying, “No not me, not the kid”. But as God began to deal with me and talk to me, He’d give me a vision for it and that’s when I went to seminary and got a church. So I’ve been ministering for about 8 years now.
Shine: Now, operating in His completed work (by faith) as opposed to just sitting back and always waiting on the Lord? Do you think this is a big deal in CHH?
Mr. Del: Absolutely 100%. I feel like there’s a lot of lazy artist and not just gospel artist but lazy people period. They don’t even have the knowledge of God working in them. God has already done everything He’s going to do for us and it’s up to us to go out and work and stir up the gift in us. I do a conference every year and I’ve asked artist to come in and sit down with me. But there’s so much jealousy and envy, yet you could learn a lot from someone who’s been to the places where you want to go to.
Mr. Del: I’ve even said let me empower you, let me teach you how to go out and have what I have. You don’t have to come up under Holy South. You can go out and do this yourself because God has already put this in you. Yet you’d be surprised that no one wants to learn that and only a handful of artist show up. Yet every year I put on a conference and just pour into artist who have a similar calling as me, because we’ve been empowered to do this.
Shine: There’s been a lot of buzz surrounding the deal with D-Maub. Can we get your side of the story as to how that went down?
Mr. Del: Yeah well, I was at the Holy hip hop awards in 2008 and I was backstage preparing to go up onstage. I believe that he was being honored that year. I had seen his name and I had known he was cool with K-Drama, but I didn’t know him personally. So where back stage chillin then all of a sudden this music comes on and it’s bangin. (Laughs) I was like “Man, who is that?” So when he came off the stage I saluted him, gave him a hug and I congratulated him. And his spirit was so different than any other artist that I had ever met. God lead me to tell him “Whatever you need call me, I got you”. He prayed about it but told me later, that the moment I said it was when the Holy Spirit confirmed that we were supposed to do something together. He basically gave me his story and I saw that all he needed was distribution. He just needed somebody to help put him on.
Mr. Del: God didn’t just bless me for myself but to be a blessing to others, so it was a no- brainer.
Shine: We are blessed to be a blessing. That’s it in action.
Mr. Del: We can’t do this by ourselves and God told me to do the same thing that I was doing in the world and do it for Him. I’ve studied up under Russell Simmons and up under Three 6 Mafia, Master P and Cash Money. The way we do things is by putting people on. By providing opportunities for people and that’s what I want to do. In order for us to infiltrate the hip hop culture it’s going to take more than just one person. I’ve believed in his ministry and believed it was authentic enough to give him that plateau or better yet, God allowed me to pass it on to him.
Shine: Is it anything that you want to leave with the readers?
Mr. Del: If you support the kingdom, if you support me, pray for me, buy the record. And if you don’t, it’s ok. You don’t have to be a Mr. Del fan. I’m just trying to do what God has told me to do. So for those who are supportive of that and enjoy the music/ministry, that’s great, I love them. For those who don’t, I love them too. (Laughs) It’s not hard at all with me.
Shine: Well Mr. Del, we want to thank you for taking this time to talk with us at HolyCulture.net and as always continued success.
Follow Mr. Del on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/pages/Mr-Del/47979868191 and/or Twitter at http://twitter.com/mrdel
Written by Shine: firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow Shine on Twitter at http://twitter.com/shines140