Exploring the Intersection of Faith and Hip Hop with Ron iRonic Lee,Jr.
Welcome to another exciting episode of the Church on the Block. Our special guest is Ron iRonic Lee, Jr., a music producer and emcee hailing from Detroit. We delved into the world of hip hop, its influence on our lives, and its intersection with faith and the church.
The Birth of a Hip Hop Enthusiast
Our guest, Ron iRonic Lee, Jr., shared his fascinating journey into the world of hip hop. Born and raised in an urban environment, Ron was surrounded by music from a young age. His household was filled with the sounds of various genres, including jazz and funk, thanks to his father’s influence. However, it was hip hop that truly resonated with him and sparked his desire to be part of this vibrant culture.
A pivotal moment in Ron’s life occurred in high school when a classmate played him a cassette tape of himself rapping over a DJ Premier beat. This experience ignited a belief in Ron that he too could pursue music seriously. Another classmate, Nick Abraham, introduced him to the world of beat-making and production, opening Ron’s eyes to the possibility of creating his own music.
From Basketball to Beat-Making
Ron’s journey into music production took an interesting turn when he decided to stop playing basketball due to concerns about his height. This decision opened up an opportunity for him to delve deeper into music. He started as an emcee and later learned how to produce beats.
Ron’s basketball coach, who tried to change his game due to his height, played a significant role in this transition. Initially, Ron felt his coach was undermining him, but he later realized that his coach was trying to help him reach the next level. This realization led Ron to focus on music.
Faith and Hip Hop
Ron’s journey took another turn when he decided to shift his focus to Christian hip hop. After saving up to buy his first beat machine, an MPC 2000, he formed a crew called Unbelievable Entertainment and began his journey in hip hop. However, his faith led him to transition from secular hip hop to Christian hip hop, aiming to glorify God through his music.
The Importance of Authenticity in Hip Hop
As we delved deeper into our discussion, we touched on the importance of self-reflection in hip hop and life. We agreed that the direction of hip hop is determined by an individual’s personal growth and journey. Hip hop is not just about the artist’s message, but also about the connection between the sender and the receiver.
We emphasized the importance of expressing oneself authentically, even if it means going against societal expectations. Artists should let their hearts and spirits guide their creative process, resulting in lyrics that are Christ-centered and relatable.
Challenges Faced by Christian Emcees
We also discussed the challenges faced by Christian emcees, particularly the pressure to conform to certain expectations from the church or their faith community. This pressure can limit their ability to address real-life issues and connect with their audience. We highlighted the need for emcees to bring a level of realness and honesty to their music, while also staying true to their faith.
The Business Side of Creativity
Currently, Ron is focusing on helping creatives and artists with the business side of their creativity. He wants them to benefit from their work instead of others profiting from it. He also provides assistance to creatives through his website.
To wrap up our enlightening discussion, I shared a story about Laila Ali, the daughter of Muhammad Ali, who was a formidable fighter just like her father. This story served as a reminder of the power of determination and the importance of staying true to oneself, themes that resonated throughout our conversation with Ron iRonic Lee, Jr.
Join us next time as we continue to explore the intersection of hip hop, the church, and the streets on Church on the Block. Please leave a comment and let us know your thoughts on the show. And remember you can join the discussion Sunday mornings at 10 am est. | 9 am est. on Holy Culture Radio Sirius XM, Channel 154.
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The Journey into Hip Hop [00:04:20] Ron discusses his upbringing in an urban environment and how hip hop became the soundtrack of his life.
Discovering the Ability to Create Beats [00:09:12] Ron shares how he connected with a classmate who made original beats and realized he could create his own music.
Taking the Next Steps in Pursuing Music [00:09:37] Ron talks about the evolution of his journey as an emcee and his determination to make music a reality.
The journey into hip hop [00:09:54] Ron discusses his journey into hip hop, including his decision to stop playing basketball and start pursuing music.
Learning to make beats [00:11:51] Ron talks about learning to make beats and purchasing his first beat machine, the MPC 2000.
Using hip hop to honor God [00:16:20] Ron discusses how he uses hip hop as a way to honor and glorify God, and the intentionality behind his music projects.
The Journey of Hip Hop [00:19:44] Discussion on the direction of hip hop and the importance of personal growth and self-reflection.
Expressing Authenticity in Music [00:20:09] Exploring the process of creating music that reflects one’s true self and experiences, and the importance of being transparent and relatable.
The Role of Elders in Hip Hop [00:26:43] Examining the influence of ageism in the culture and the significance of listening to and learning from elders in the community.
The culture of Christ follower emcees [00:30:03] Discussion on the challenges faced by emcees who follow Christ and the pressures they face from both the church and the streets.
Speaking the truth in love [00:31:57] Exploration of the importance of speaking the truth in a loving manner and the impact it can have on others.
Finding authentic and transparent music [00:34:47] Expressing the desire for music that is both authentic and transparent, and the struggle to find artists who address real-life issues without tiptoeing around them.
The Union [00:41:29] Ron talks about his organization, The Union, and the work they do in the metro Detroit area.
Ron’s Journey [00:40:46] Ron shares where people can reach him and talks about his involvement in music and helping creatives focus on the business side of their creativity.
Inspiration from Muhammad Ali [00:42:23] Pastor Phil shares a story about Laila Ali and how she was inspired by her father, Muhammad Ali, to keep fighting and not give up.
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