TCB Exclusive: Hostyle Gospel Talks Music Industry & New Music

Recognized as the inventers of Christian battle music, Hostyle Gospel started their journey in 2003 and since then has been on fire for the Lord. The group is comprised of Proverb (Raynard Glass), Big Job (Fontaine Pizza) and King Soloman (Demetrius Morton). Since their debuted in 2003, Hostyle Gospel has released four studio albums, four mix-tapes and has worked with other Christian hip hop artists such as Flame, Da T.R.U.T.H, John Givez, Gemstones and MC Jin, just to name a few. In 2015, their journey led them to perform on the Bobby Jones Gospel Show. Dr. Bobby Jones applauded the group for being part of the Christian hip hop movement for the youth and also for their help with educating the older generation about Christian hip hop music. In 2016, the group released their single “Skittles & Iced Tea featuring John Givez” which played on radio stations across the United States and was featured on Rapzila’s Chris Chicago’s Radio Show. The group followed that single with another radio hit entitled “Clap” which featured Gemstones and was produced by Christian hip hop producer Tone Jonez. Hostyle Gospel is set to release their latest single “The One” this fall and is planning shows across the country. Hostyle Gospel recently took a few minutes to talk with us about their music and what they have planned for their fans in the near future.

Could you all explain the Hostyle Gospel sound to your listeners?
Sure. The Hostyle Gospel sound is hardcore drums set to instruments that are arranged to create [a] war type of sound, similar to orchestras or symphony. After the instruments are recorded or played out, we record hardcore rap lyrics to the track. The second types of music we produce are hardcore spiritual lyrics set to energetic beats. This style is similar to hardcore hip hop or Crunk rap.

Hostyle Gospel has always been considered a secret musical group. Can you guys explain why the group chooses to be incognito to the public?
I wouldn’t say we are incognito but rather a group that is not engulfed in the music industry. We try to put more emphasis on promoting the brand of Jesus Christ rather [than] the brand of Hostyle Gospel. That’s how we have always approached our music careers. We all decided that Jesus has to always come first, family and friends come second and then after that we can address our music. So sometimes we will have to miss a music award show or a famous dinner party, but understand it’s nothing against our supporters or family and friends; however it’s something we do to keep the balance in our personal lives.

Are any or all of you trained in other forms of art beside hip-hop?
Proverb: Trumpet, drums
King Soloman: Trumpet, piano, educated in Music Therapy
Big Job: Guitar, Bass
We can all play the piano and percussion drums but we aren’t all trained in those instruments.

How much was music or the arts part of each of your lives growing up? 
For all of us, it played a big part in who we are today.
King Soloman has been in bands and rap groups all his life. King Soloman was influenced by his uncles to rap at a young age and rapped in secular groups in high school and in the early part of his college life. He has been playing the trumpet since he was a boy and that became his main instrument while he was getting his music degree. Proverb was influenced by both Christian and secular music when he was young. He had to listen to Stephen Wiley and Preachers in Disguise. But he also listened to groups like Outkast and The Roots. When Proverb was young, he rapped with his brothers and cousins which strengthened his knowledge on production and rapping.
When Big Job was young, he was influenced by his mother and older brother. His mother, aunts and uncles had a successful Chicago based R&B group in the 1970’s and 80’s and that Big Job learned from. His brother was a local Chicago rapper who introduced him to hip hop and rap production. He produced beats and rapped on other peoples' tracks in college.

Hostyle Gospel connected with John Givez for “Skittles & Iced Tea” recently; how did that collaboration come about?
We had a junior public relations worker name Blessing who was a big fan of John Givez. While we were in Tampa Bay, Florida performing at the Flavor Fest, he suggested that we check out John Givez as a potential person to work with on our next album. At first, we weren’t trying to work with anyone on our album, but we gave in to Bless’ request to listening to his music. And after hearing a few tracks of his work, we were sold on putting him on our "Skittles & Iced Tea" single. So we reached out to his representative with the track and concept and he got back with us and said John Givez was on broad of collaborating with us on the track.

Did you guys feel forced to approach hip-hop or lyrics differently after you all became Christians?
Yes, because prior to serving the Lord with all our strength and all our heart, we were rapping about some crazy stuff in our secular hip hop career. Music was a joke to us. We rapped out fighting, killing, sex, drugs and other outlandish things that quite frankly weren't how we were truly living. So when we were called to the ministry, we figured we should start rapping and repping something that was true to our heart.

What do you consider to be one significant positive aspect of the music industry, as well as one significant negative aspect of the music industry right now?
Man, where can we start. What we consider a positive aspect of the music industry is the freedom to produce music on your own terms, the way you want to, without having to wait for a recorder label to tell you to do so. For instance, you can produce a track in your bedroom or in a multi-million dollar studio and if you are great at the art of recording, no one would know the difference. The negative aspect of the music industry is there are a lot of copycats in this business. Don’t get us wrong, we know copycatting other people’s work has been going on since the music business began. However, there are less people trying to be unique and more people trying to be like people that they heard on the radio these days. It’s best to have different styles to keep things fresh. Imagine, if you went to Baskin Robbins and you only saw one flavor, your experience might not be all that exciting. The current way we produce music waters down beats and lyrics. If we turn on the radio and leave it playing for an hour or two, we will get the same type of beats and content for the entire time I stream that station. That is just wack to us.

What do you guys hope fans take away from your music?
That we are all in for Jesus and we are in the business of edifying, empowering and encouraging people to fight through our music. When you listen or come see us perform, know that we are having fun worshipping the Lord and doing what we can to contribute to the Kingdom of the Lord. God gave us these gifts, [so] why not use them for his glory.

What’s next for the group?
Our next steps are doing these upcoming concerts, releasing our upcoming singles, doing more recordings and we are talking about writing a book in the future.