Is the West Coast Wearing a Chip on their Shoulder against DaSouth.com? Tre9 gets to the bottom of some heat brewing up from the West Coast by chopping it up with West Coast rapper Sevin.
First let me say that I am very serious about Proverbs 22:1 which states,"A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches….." I live and die by that. So when I hear anything that could damage my reputation or anything I am associated with, I am quick to nip it in the bud. Over the last 3-4 months there have been little indications here and there from fans and artists alike that we are biased against exposing West Coast artists on DaSouth.com. I decided to do a search of DaSouth.com's past coverage for West Coast based artists. and found that we have posted info on several. From The G.I.M., the BREAX, 2 Five, Braille, Nicole Franklin, JustMe, IMAJJ, Transparent, K9, Easop, K.A.L.I. and a host of others to the King FM's Radio Show playing on our radio network, we are far from discriminating against anybody on the West Coast.
Most people assume the name "DaSouth" means we cover the southern region of the U.S., but by now we hope that has been proven a misconception. The point is, our site staff rarely looks at what city a person is from, and simply posts content that is relevant to the genre of Christian hip hop. If someone sends in professionally published news worthy articles/press releases, quality music and/or videos, or something that people are interested in knowing about, we will generally let the public know. However, at this present time, we are experiencing an overwhelming amount of content submitted, so it is possible that some may fall through the cracks. Persistence pays off! Most people know that in the music industry, you have to be aggressive in marketing to get what you need exposed by media. A few simple follow ups can solve many of these oversight issue's. Oh and be nice about it. A non-confrontational approach always works better than a challenge of someone's character. "A gentle answer turns away wrath but a harsh word stirs up anger (Prov. 15:1).
Back to the article at hand, I had to look into why on earth we were getting these circulating rumors about being biased against the west coast. There is a cat named Sevin who has been aggressively representing the west coast for several years. Coincidentally, he had been reaching out to me to connect and build a relationship for ministry purposes. After having a phone conversation with him, I decided an interview with him would be a great way to find out what this was all about. So here it is.
Tre9- First off, can you tell everyone at DaSouth.com who may have never heard about you, how long you have been doing CHH and a some of your music history?
Sevin- Well, I have been doing this for going on 11 years now. I started off with the Kenoly Brothers back in 2000 and branched out from there. I’ve just been tryin to use the gift God gave me to minister to anyone who can relate to my testimony or my method of getting things done.
Tre9- I remember when I.D.O.L. Kings, T Bone and Gospel Gangstaz were in the forefront of Christian hip hop. Now we don't see or hear much from them. From the West Coast, who is stepping up to lead the Christian hip hop movement there? We know that there are many artists out there, but can't find any leadership. Do you feel this is a problem and if so why?
Sevin- I don’t really think there is any one “leader” out here. The way kali is, its one state with multiple different sub-cultures, (gangster, hyphy, d-boi, hip-hop, jerk, and many more) what we have now is a collection of artists who speak for these different sub-cultures. It has just recently been placed on many of our hearts to begin to reach across and build with other brothers and sisters in the Lord. I am really trying to push for this unity. I feel that I have sacrificed enough and proven my love for ministry and for California enough that people will listen to me on this matter. I think our biggest problem, aside from the fact that a lot of katz want to be rappers more than ministers, is that we are being extremely judgmental of each-other's calling. People act as if their opinion of something or their personal preference is “gospel truth”. Just because you don’t agree with how I’m doing something, or its not the way YOU would do it, doesn’t make it sinful or wrong….its merely different. The arrogance out here is a major problem as well. There is a spirit of pride that makes an individual feel like he/she doesn’t need to get down with anyone else, or that their ministry is more relevant than others. We don’t value each other out here, and we think we are doing more than we really are. This mentality perpetuates division.
Tre9- With regards to one of the longest running CHH record labels, Syntax Records, they are based in San Diego and we love them. However, it appears their styles are so different from the West Coast music most people are familiar with. Is there a divide between the styles of music coming from the various parts of California, since I rarely see ya'll coming together for collab's and shows with artists who have different styles?
Sevin- Absolutely…but the fact we do things differently is a good thing, it is a fair representation of kali. The problem is that we look at these differences from a negative perspective. These differences don’t cause the division…our attitude toward things that are different is what causes it. It's completely our fault. Kats out here don’t understand the value a “net-work”. There are over 52 million people who live in the “west” region. If you think you are gonna reach them on your own you are ignorant and delusional. It's gonna take the “west coast” to reach the west coast.
Tre9- What do you think has lead to some of the rumors that DaSouth.com is not showing the West Coast love?
Sevin- For one, it's the name. I can't even lie, when I first heard it I automatically thought, “Awe, they ain't finna carry my stuff, I'm not nearly from the south”. Plus we will often attribute the fact that we didn’t git our stuff placed to the fact that we are from the west. We get hated on so much, we expect it even when it isn’t there. It's like having Obama as President, if anyone says anything bad about this dude, its like, “awe, you just hatin on our black President”. And in some cases that’s true, but in other cases its really because he’s doing a terrible job!! But we are so used to racism, we expect it from all angles, and that is dangerous. Maybe its not because of where we are from all the time, maybe its because of how we present ourselves when certain doors aren’t opened for us. Because if we’re going to be honest we would have to say that a lot of cats in kali are still performing at a low level of quality when it comes to their music. Now its not all their fault, we don’t get ANY support out here, its all Hollywood now. Its about who can pack the building and fill the seats so the offering is nice and chunky. You have Cali artists born and raised out here in these communities that can't get ministry opportunities at their own churches, or if they do, they get a hot dog and some kool-aid and told “God bless you brother”. You can't pay for studio time with a ballpark frank and some cherry kool-aid. So naturally we suffer when it comes to being able to afford great quality stuff. Then we will send it to a site like “dasouth.com” and ya’ll be like, “this stuff sounds garbage, I can't put this on my site”. And I’m not saying that you or any other site should be more lax in your standard of excellence, I’m saying that the west coast better realize that we need each other to be successful for the good of the whole west coast mission field and ultimately the Kingdom of the most high God. The church must recognize what we do and respect the methods by which we bear good fruit. And the artists need to be more than just “rappers” and set themselves up in order to receive support when it comes.
Tre9- What do you feel has lead to the decline of West Coast hip hop's popularity in both Christian and secular markets?
Sevin- PEOPLE HATE ON THE WEST COAST; that is common knowledge at this point. Some do it for what they feel is a valid reason; some are just prone to hating anything different. But I feel like this: if the West Coast would support itself, it wouldn’t matter who else does or doesn’t support us. That’s why you will NEVER hear me using it as an excuse for failure. A lot of these kats take, and don’t give back. Period. They come out here do their shows and leave without as much as a thank you to us for all the planting and watering we do in these streets everyday. Then they have the audacity to go home and judge us after we just showed you hospitality. There ain't a state or country in the world now that don’t have kali’s fingerprint in it some way or some how. But they will take what we offer and never return the favor. Also, I gotta keep it real and say that there are very few “lyrically” talented cats over here that the rest of the world knows about. So from the outside looking in, you would say, “ain't nobody out there”. But the problem is that there are no platforms in California for the California artists to become recognized for their talents and hard work. We have platforms, but a lot of kats out here don’t even mess with the west coast. We operate like the world, in the fact that, its all about the ratings. Just because a bunch of Christians can bob their head and dance to it, doesn’t mean that it is reaching the streets. I believe one is not more important than the other. We need to build up the body as well as reach the lost and hurting. But people think that just because an individual is “hot” in the Christian market, that the streets is listening, and that is just not the case. We need to promote what is relevant to the mission field as well as the base camp. We need both equally. But like I said before, I’m a firm believer in this: if no one supports what you are doing, its your fault. It’s because you haven’t given anyone reason to support what you are doing. And you gotta have out here hustle mayne. Stretch a dime to a dollar. Nothing worth speaking on comes easy, but if God is truly in it, you wont wait for approval, you will pick up your cross and go. That’s what inspires people.
Tre9- How have you survived as a Christian hip hop minister coming from Cali?
Sevin- The only reason I have survived period in life is because of the grace of God, let me say that first. But also the fact that I NEVER STOP, unless the Father sais stop. If I quit every time my bread didn’t look right, or life dealt me a raw hand, or people condemned me and said I had no place in ministry, I would’ve never gotten anything done. The truth of the matter is, obedience is not circumstantial. True obedience is “no matter what”. And that’s how I get down, failure is worse than death to me. But I’m really from here, I’m a product of this Jungle, so I understand it, and it understands me. I know how it moves and what it likes, we have a relationship. And that relationship allows me to not only survive, but to thrive with in it.
Tre9- Word is you have relocated to Texas, how do you feel your music will be received in this new region?
Sevin- I don’t know…my music has never really been bound by this stereotypical box people would put it in. I talk about “real lyfe”. I do what I call “ministry music”. That means that I never pick up a pen and write something in order to prove that I’m a Christian, or Gospel rapper. I do what I do to minister to people. Weather its and anthem that ministers to Christians, or weather its an incredibly sad story that ministers to someone whose been through similar tragety. My music is accepted everywhere by all types of people because my music comes from the one thing that ties us all together with out exception, EMOTION.
Tre9- What would you recommend that your fellow West Coast MC's do in order to succeed in Christian hip hop?
Sevin- First and foremost, GIT RIGHT WITH GOD. Take the time out to let him do a work in you. Second, have a plan for your vision. AND YOUR VISION MUST BE MORE THAN JUST RAPPING. What is the goal of your ministry? Because that is what this is all about. GOD WILL NOT BLESS THE WEST UNTIL WE UNIFY…. PERIOD. I am doing all I can to bring us together and I know there are others doing the same. But there are believers out here with recourses we need that need to start kicking in and laboring with us for His kingdom, not ours.
Tre9- As a whole, what would you like to see more and/or less of in CHH?
Sevin- More love, more unity, more accountability, more structure, more relevance, more integrity….. MORE CHRIST.
Tre9- Our aim is to take the CHH industry to the forefront of Hip Hop. How do you feel DaSouth.com could improve our services to artists in other regions so that it becomes clear that we are on their side?
Sevin- I think you guys need to inform the artists about what they need to do to get on your sites, or how to package themselves better….do articles on that. Interview successful artists on those types of issues. Make them give back to the game that gave so much to them. You got so many people who love the lord and have talent but are just ignorant to what the next step is. I say educate then enforce.
Tre9- Thanks for taking the time to do this interview. Is there anything you would like to add?
Sevin- Yes, I want to thank you for taking time to build with me and for doing what you have done for ministry music. I also want to thank the world in general for supporting this movement, maybe you didn’t support me personally, but I'm happy when my brothers and sisters are succussfull as well, so thanks for all of your support of this musical revolution we call gospel rap or by any other name. We as Christians are a family, and we have a responsibility to one another. Let's be better. Let's make this something we can be proud of again. Put the mirror down, you ain't that cute…the only thing beautiful about you is Christ, let's walk in His way. Myself included. Mob’n
Tre9- How can people reach out to you?
Sevin- You can reach me at hogmobministries.com, myspace.com/hogmob, facebook: sevin hogmob, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'd also like everyone to check out our 1st Annual West Coast Unity Conference. Details will be available soon on our website.
In conclusion to this topic, please keep in mind that our staff at DaSouth.com is growing, but not at the rate where we are able to handle "every" submission with our undivided attention. We work hard at what we do, but as with everything in the Kingdom, "the harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few." There have been many individuals who have stepped up to the plate to volunteer their time to assist DaSouth.com in many areas, but so often times they grow weary. I have been serving faithfully in the CHH movement for over 12 years now, and it can be very challenging to continue on when their are so many other things pulling at your time.
I have to constantly remind myself of the eternal rewards that my heavenly father will give me one day for all the ministry work, including DaSouth.com. This is what drives me, and allows me to move forward. It's not the money, the fame, the power, or the pats on the back. My partner Zee and I are always encouraging one another that in spite of what anyone says or does to offend us, we are blessed to have been given this responsibility. We are blessed to have others on staff with us who are doing it for the glory of God. We hope that God finds all of us at DaSouth.com diligent and faithful enough to move the CHH movement to the next level. We know that many of you are counting on us, and we are certainly up for the challenge. In the meantime, please be patient with us as we learn and grow in our calling. We appreciate all of your support, prayers and encouragement because we know that the majority of you love us and care about our success.
We'd like to thank Sevin for taking the time to "clear the air" for us and understand this controversial issue. We believe that going to one another in love, is always the biblical way to solve any differences. And for the record, we love our west coast peeps who are representing our Lord through hip hop. Keep up the great work in ministry, DaSouth.com is here for ya, "West Side!"