How To Be A Christian DJ Series : Do You Know Your Verbs? An Interview With Knowdaverbs
In the electronics section of a local department store, a parent attempts to purchase the latest releases from JA RULE, EMINEM and MYSTIKAL that her kid has been whining for. A Christian cashier attempts to point out the parental advisory sticker. The parent responds, "Well, they gon'e hear it anyway and they all curse." ... Not all of them.
Mike Boyer a.ka. Knowdaverbs has proven with his releases, "Syllabus" and "Action Figure" (his latest) that a bumpin' beat mixed with a classic R&B sample does not have to equal to tales of killing your wife. Nor does he have to lace his cuts with expletives to "keep it real".
Individually, as well as with the members of Grits, Knowdaverbs takes his unique gift of storytelling, combined with his burden for youth and passion for ministry and turns the joint out time and time again. Get to know his heart in this exclusive interview.
LA ZERIC: How is The Action Figure different from your debut album? By the way, it took me two years to figure out where the sample used for "Syllabus" came from (Rufus featuring Chaka Khan).
'VERBS: Well, I look at The Syllabus as a project that was more centered around informing people of the benefits and the duties that we have as followers of Christ. An educational process on what God has told us as His people. The Action Figure is a project that is meant to challenge the listener to live out and put into action what the Word
LA ZERIC: How is the record doing? Has the response been favorable?
'VERBS: The record been doing well and the single, "God Is Big", has been doing well on radio. All in all the response has been good, we're really trying to focus on getting it in the ears of the folks that normally wouldn't pick it up; create more of an awareness of the music. Don't want to get too comfortable with only pushin' it to the Saved kids, but also get it out to those who don't know Christ, and sometimes that in itself can be a challenge.
LA ZERIC: Your desire is to incite a positive change in people's lives instead of just merely entertaining them. But are there times when you just go out on stage and just let the songs speak for themselves? Or do you feel like each time, that you need to encourage aside from the song
'VERBS: I usually like to set songs up then go into it. Just assure people the music is all Bibliocentric. I do try to write the lyrics as clear as possibe so you can pull out the message with no mistake about it. I guess it's kind of like watching T.V. with the sound up and the closed caption on, ya know? I do think that it is important for artists to minister as God has called them --what ever their style may be --along with having a on point presentation, though it is possible to make the package look dazzling, and have nothing of substance in the box.
LA ZERIC: You've been compared to Mainstreamers, MOS DEF and COMMON --some "deep" cats. What emcees on the Holy Hip-Hop side do you consider to be the lick? The ones that you personally wish were lighting up shows like "Rap City"?
'VERBS: Personally I tend to graviate to groups who really take the art or the talent of emceeing serious, because it definitely comes through in their licks. There 's a duo from Boston --brother and sister --called New Breed who are fierce on the mic. Emcee's like Solo from The Gangsters, Jurny from LPG, 4th Ave. Jones, just to name a few. I pay
attention to the the different components of emceeing, like content, delivery, word usage, rhyme patterns, stuff like that.
LA ZERIC: There are a lot of pop culture references in your songs. I love that kind of stuff. It makes the songs easier to get into. Was that intentional?
'VERBS: Definitely. I throw them in to hopefully make the listener relate, identify and bring them more into the song.
LA ZERIC: Did you write the lines on Grits' second album about "Patrick Duffy/Bobby Ewing" and "Starsky with no Hutch"? Or are y'all just on the same vibe?
'VERBS: Being part of the same fam, that vibe starts to rub off on each other. Really that's sort of reflective of how we talk on a normal basis when we're just chillin'.
LA ZERIC: I know that there are projects in the works by Tonex, Carmen and some other cats. But in your opinion, what would it take to get more movies/magazines/tv shows that celebrate the culture of Christianity? Or do you even feel that it is necessary?
'VERBS: Personally, I think we need to focus a little bit more on the QUALITY of the stuff we put out as Christians if we're wanting the world to take notice. As reps of the
kingdom, we need to show them something that looks significantly better than what they are chewing on now.
LA ZERIC: Any plans for you to infiltrate some soundtracks in the future?
'VERBS: Hopefully so. Gotee is active in trying to get the artists' music placed on soundtracks and television shows. There was a Brooke Shields movie that actually placed the songs "Good Measure" and "Equeena" (from 'Verbs first release) in the movie. I haven't seen it. So I don't know if I recommend the readers to check it out yet. Ya know? [editor's note: Recently, music from Verbs was featured on the FOX drama, "Boston Public"]
LA ZERIC: Is there such a thing as a Gospel hip hop groupie? What has been your experience with screaming female fans?
'VERBS: I would like to think that there aren't Gospel Hip-Hop groupies. Although there are people who will come out and support anytime you roll through their city. If there were any screaming female fans it was probably because I accidentally stepped on their foot. Ha! Just kidding.
LA ZERIC: What's up next for the man of action?
VERBS: Myself and DJ Maj will be doing these high school anti-violence assemblies called, "Rage Against Destruction" in select cities. You can hit up, ragead.org or KNOWDAVERBS.com to see if we are coming through your city. Other than that, I plan to just keep advancing God's Kingdom any way I can. Wordup.
LA ZERIC: Stay up my brother and continued blessings!
VERBS: :) Appreciate the questions. Slay 'dem giants!
TruSoulDJ is a self proclaimed expert on all things trivial to the Mainstream. He is an avid classic comic book reader, non popular music lover and tv-show-on-dvd binge watcher who shops the clearance racks near and far to find the best deals. He would like to think he knows everything important within the realm of Pop culture. But in actuality, he only knows about 99.9 percent of what he thinks he knows.