'Behind the Musik' with KJ-52
By Jennifer E. Jones
Even if he is “feelin' old” at 29, being an adult never sounded so good. KJ-52’s hot new album, "Behind the Musik", looks at the man behind the rhymes. I found this rapper at a cafe in Nashville with his heart on his sleeve.
Jennifer E. Jones: Behind the Musik was such a personal album. Was it uncomfortable to put yourself out there?
KJ-52: To some degree but I wouldn’t have done it if I didn’t feel that being transparent was worth it. I knew there was a purpose behind it. For the fans, they want to go behind the music. Also, you can say, “God can heal divorce” or you can say, “I’ve been through a divorce [with my parents]. And God healed [it].” People will always relate to the second statement more than the first. It’s not easy. The bigger picture is what you gain.
Jennifer: What have you gained?
KJ-52: Personally I’ve gained a lot. Doing this album opened up dialogue with my parents that I haven’t had in years. When I say on the record, “You wanted to call me Sky?” I never knew that. I didn’t know until she told me that.
Jennifer: You’ve got a song on here called “Fivetweezy”. Now between this and It’s Pronounced Five Two, no one could possibly still be calling you fifty-two.
KJ-52: You say that but it still happens… A lot of it is just having fun. I say a lot of outlandish things on that album. “I tried out for American Idol.” I never did that but people believed me.
Jennifer: The TRL thing?
KJ-52: The TRL stuff was true. The "Bilbo Baggins" is unfortunately true [laughs]. The whole thing about a mic, a DJ, and my iPOD is true. That’s how we used to tour. We’d rock 5,000 people.
Jennifer: My favorite was “Call on You”. I was listening to it in my car and just sat in the parking lot until it was finished. It really got to me. Where did “Call on You” come from?
KJ-52: It’s funny you say that. I wrote the hook almost immediately and then the rap. Then I just sat on the song. I hadn’t gone to the studio with it. When I did, I still wasn’t a huge fan of the song. I’ll never forget this. I was just like you, sitting in my car, listening to a mix of it for the first time. I broke down. I don’t think I’ve ever really cried from one of my own songs. It turned out being one of my favorites. Just to know that God loves us that much… that’s a good thing.
Jennifer: Have there been times in making this record, in touring, and in promoting that you’ve had to really call on Him?
KJ-52: Totally. I worked on this record for six months, which is the longest I’ve worked on any album. Literally everyday, I said, “God, you’ve gotta give me the songs, lyrics, hooks…” This was not only a hard record to make because of the personal nature. It was hard because here I am coming off the last record. I won a Dove, sold more records than I ever had before. "Dear Slim" helped push that but obviously I’m not going to write another "Dear Slim". How do you top that? I’m on four albums. You’re gonna run out of things to say. I really had to make sure that I was calling on God.
Jennifer: You have a large youth audience, especially when you do Acquire the Fire events. What do you want to let young people know?
KJ-52: Whatever they’re facing or going through, God is the answer to every single question.
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