Interview With Amani
Dealing With Da Issues
What motivates a man to boldly go where no one has gone before? It certainly
takes more than a Star Trek infatuation. To travel down uncharted waters with
this industry takes courage, tenacity, and pure desire. As we are knee deep
in 2000, one artist looks to take avenues not traveled in an effort to bring
people closer to Christ. In times past, certain subject matter was considered
taboo. However, Amani addresses several life issues on his recent project,
aptly titled Issues of Life.
— interview by Gerard Bonner —
The hip-hop vocalist began his career in a humble fashion. "I started
my career opening up for rappers Lil' Raskull and Nuwine. I'd sing some
original tunes before they would perform," says Amani. In the midst of
his travels, Amani was encouraged to record his own music and share it with
the world. However, throughout the course of his musical journey, he
found himself led to address varying issues that address the total person.
"My music deals with what we as humans go through. As the body of Christ,
we have to combat issues head on. We can't run away from the things
that we face," declares the artist. "My album deals with all of the
issues of life. From celebration to relationships, I'm charged to
deal with this subject matter."
One of the subjects that Amani often addresses is interpersonal
relationships. His recent project features several love songs that
reach both single and married persons alike. "There has been a real void
for Christians as to music that addresses relationships. I had a huge battle
within me. I used to listen to secular music with my wife. God revealed to me
that this music is not edifying for us to share love in. With that in mind,
God inspired me to search the scriptures and find out the meaning of true
love," he declares. "R. Kelly can't bring and keep marriages together.
Therefore, I felt led to provide music that can minister to all couples.
This music is God inspired."
Amani knew that writing and performing music that is geared toward couples
would ruffle some feathers. However, he has prepared himself for the potential
fallout. " I'm not trying to please traditional ears with my music. I'm trying
to do what God wants. My confirmation that I'm in His will is that when I
was in the studio writing this music, Bishop T.D. Jakes released
his Sacred Love Songs project. That showed me that I was doing exactly
what God lead me to do."
Bishop T.D. Jakes entered the Gospel love song market in 1999 with his high-charting
Sacred Love Songs project on Island Inspirational, featuring
numerous guest artists. See the
In 2000, Minister Chris Byrd forged with might into the same territory, with his
Between The Sheets being the first in an urban-styled series for married couples. See the
The Diamond Cut/ Grapetree artist feels a strong responsibility towards
both married and unmarried couples. "I believe that marriage counseling
should start when folks are young. So many folks don't understand the purpose
of marriage and sex in marriage. There are many Christians who are really
struggling with having sex before marriage. I want to show folks that sex
is not a bad thing when it's in its proper perspective. People don't
understand intimacy or what the Bible says about sex. I believe that
you should be able to enjoy what God has given you. For many, this music
serves as a preventive medicine and an agent in God restoring marriages
and relationships," says the St. Louis native.
on relationships has resulted God using him to impact greatly in
many lives. "Since the album's release, I've been asked to do
marriage conferences and have seen my music used in weddings.
There are also many folks who have just wanted to say thanks.
People are excited because there is finally an
alternative to secular love songs," he declares.
But while he has found success in addressing these issues
from his heart, Amani has also received his fair share of criticism,
and has found many things that go the industry
to be a bit disheartening. "There are too many artists who
are compared to each other and pitted against each other.
[Some] media outlets [can be] more concerned about hot beats
than actual ministry. One magazine ripped my project
to shreds. They just dogged me and it hurt because this
music is from my heart," says Amani."
"Too many artists want to be celebrities and superstars.
We have to remember that we're all servants for Christ
and that Jesus Christ is the only star. None of us have
the right to be a star. We have to begin to edify one
another and not minimize our efforts. I want to be the
best that I can for Christ. After all, God may really
be our only audience. How would we react to Him if we
realized that He was our only audience?"
In the midst of the obstacles that he faces, Amani continues
to grow strong and accomplish his mission. He recently toured several
colleges and was slated to
make an appearance at the recent Azusa Youth Conference
sponsored by Bishop Carlton Pearson. He's also in the
studio working on his second project, where he will
continue to address Christian relationships. "The new
project will be geared toward anyone. For those who
are married, it will solidify your marriage. For the
single, the project will take away the fear of marriage,"
With his courage and desire to follow God's
will is destined to solidify him as one of hip-hop's boldest
soldiers and a unique Gospel talent. Indeed, Amani
is successfully handling the "Issues of Life".
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