"My mother was like 'Look your attendance in school is awful. And you're 16 and you're going to the 8th grade, it's not looking too good. What do you want to do with your life?' I told her I loved music.
And that was a lot of reason why I would be absent; because I would be in the studio the night before working on stuff and then I would come home very late and I couldn't wake up in time for school. So my mom was like 'Look we could just leave this whole school thing alone but you're gonna have to promise me one thing. That you're not going to go out there and sell drugs. You're not going to go out there and be a loser, that you're going to be somebody in this whole music thing. If you promise that, then I'll go and talk to the principals and we'll try to get you some program and we'll make it happen.' And that's exactly what happened. That planted the seed in my music", says Cutlass, in this special interview with Gospelflava.com.
Enjoying the success of his songs "Puerto Rico-Ho!" and "Shake What Your Momma Gave You" and producing for some of hip hop's most famous artists like Method Man, Biz Markie and Busta Rhymes, Frankie was on top of the hip hop world when he received a different calling. His conversion was so drastic. it was a complete turn around and soon Frankie Cutlass was leaving everything he had known: his gang affiliation, money, cars and the music industry all in the pursuit of Christ's will.
It's been seven years since his last official release and July 2004 marked the emergence of this multi-talented music specialist. Back with his latest release New Wine, Frankie is ready to step up the rap game once again:
Gospelflava.com: Many Gospel Music fans will remember you from the remix you did with Nancey Jackson. What have you been up to between then and now?
Frankie Cutlass: I've been always been busy ministering and sharing my testimony across the country the states. And also I've been deejaying. Been doing a lot of that. And then now just the release of this new album.
Frankie Cutlass: The first two things I have to get out when I say New Wine is of course to talk about the new things in Christ.
Frankie Cutlass: New Wine is symbolic of Christ. There have been a lot of things taking place in this world even in the churches. Again, I think that we as Christians need to be careful at times of how we influence our sheep, doing certain things that are not biblical patterns. So when I say New Wine, I mean that Christ is going to come back and do some new things, not only in the body but also in this world. The other New Wine is being free in Christ Jesus. Just letting him do all these things in your life.
And the third thing is just for the rap game. That this is going to be THE rap music that is going to take over the world. Music of inspiration, music of hope, music of love, music of rest, peace just all the things that Christ has to offer. And this is going to be the new rap music, because when people are going to hear this they are just going to feel such an uplifting through hearing what Christ can do in our lives and what God is all about. That's a couple of reasons why I'm calling it New Wine.
Gospelflava.com: What are some of the challenges you've faced going from a successful "secular music" history to ministry?
Frankie Cutlass: Losing everything. That would have to be the hardest thing I had to go through. The cars, the money and going back to the old neighborhood. I don't like to compare the two because Christ has a purpose for me being stripped but it's sorta like that movie Rocky V, where he lost everything and he had to go back to his old neighborhood and all he had was his family that's the same for me. That was one of the biggest challenges.
Gospelflava.com: How do you define yourself? Who is Frankie Cutlass?
Frankie Cutlass: Good question. Frankie Cutlass is at times humble and at times he's passionate and at times he's very antsy and wants to get things done for Christ. I am a person who just loves to listen to people's testimonies and just learn from them. But overall, Frankie Cutlass is just a humble father - I have two kids. I'm a humble and loving father. I'm a person who just loves to see people do good. My joy is seeing people blowing up in Christ. Frankie is just a humble person. Always to himself. I walk alone like the prophets in the bible. That just the way God has me right now. Overall Frankie is just a humble loving person and sometimes he gets crazy when things don't happen right away. You might see him pacing back and forth sometimes.
Gospelflava.com: Having been in the music industry for many years do you have any advice for young artists that want to break into the industry?
Frankie Cutlass: First foundation is, put Christ first in everything you want and ask him to give you wisdom in everything you do. Second foundation is get a lawyer and be prepared for all the "hassle" that comes with this industry. Be strong minded and be wise in every decision you make.
Gospelflava.com: Do you see a division between holy hip hop and "rap" music. They think that they're two separate things. What are you views on that?
Frankie Cutlass: Well, biblically they are two separate, because what is holy is holy. The bible says that what God makes holy is holy and no man with dirty hands, no man who is defiled can enter the holy place. We understand that biblically and spiritually.
As far as music, hip hop is hip hop. Not separated. I think the reason why people have been putting separation on holy hip hop and hip hop is because a lot of the holy hip hop stuff that's out right now, my personal opinion on it is that some of the stuff has been very hard core and to the point where it's like they're condemning "secular rap artists" or dissing the church.
So when you talk about separation, nah, music is music. There's gospel music and secular music right, but I think if you use wisdom and you lay it down the right way then I don't think there's a separation. I think you'll get as much airplay as some of these secular artists. An example is Yolanda Adams getting airplay, Kirk Franklin with "Stomp" got major airplay. I just think you need to be wise when you put this stuff. But I don't think it's a separation between hip hop and holy hip hop. I have a problem with that. I call mine just regular hip hop we're just talking about a different thing.
Gospelflava.com: Because of your past involvement in the music industry, you could have chosen to use a label that's already out there to release this material but you chose to make GOD Squad Entertainment, and go independent, was that a strategic move?
Frankie Cutlass: I'm the CEO and founder of GOD Squad Entertainment. I did shop this album to a couple of labels. But then I decided to just put it out myself because I wasn't getting no help from some of the labels in the Gospel Industry. As far as secular, I never took it there. But I have experience with labels. I had my own little label back in 1994 when I put out "Puerto Rico-Ho!" And it became a national anthem and it became a big party album. And I just decided to do [this project] myself.
Right now it's a little hard, when you do it independently because of the funds, but I just thank God because of the reaction and feedback that I've been getting from the Christian community as far as churches and leaders that are definitely putting me on board to do stuff to get this thing out there. Hopefully GOD Squad will be a label that will sign a lot of the artists out there that are talented and can't get some of these major labels to sign them. Maybe we'll be the label they they'll come under. Hopefully in the future there will be a major distribution knocking on my door and we'll launch this thing together. And I'll be the person signing some of these Gospel rap artists and singers that are just for the generation today.
Gospelflava.com: How do you handle that as well as balance your role as a father and minister as well.
Frankie Cutlass: It gets hard for me sometimes. A lot of times I hear these quotes and people say 'Let me talk to your wife and your kids and then I'll let you know if you're a good leader or not.' That's the first thing that is going to dictate who you are in Christ and who you are as a person. Even everything else falls on top of that. And I think we're getting a lot of divorce even in the Christian community, and I think that the ultimate balance is if you can't take care of home then nothing else matters. At the end of the day when you lose everything, when you don't have anything and the only thing you have is your wife, or your husband and your kids.
Family is very important and a lot of people just don't understand that. It makes you who you are today. The women is the backbone of a man.
Gospelflava.com: You mentioned that you dropped out of school in the 7th grade, but that you've learned from that experience.
Frankie Cutlass: [Of course] I didn't have any experience to get a job, and I would probably have been fired like every second. Sometimes we get a lot of frustrated Christians. And you ask them why hey are so frustrated and they'll say 'Things aren't working out.' I learned from one of my mentors that wherever is your gift, that is where God is calling you to be. Don't look for something else that God ain't calling you to be. If you have a gift. I don't care what kind of gift, if it's drawing, sewing, painting or whatever it is Christ will use that as a testimony. That's your gift. Joseph was a carpenter, Jesus was a carpenter. He built. Ain't nothing wrong with that."
My gift was music. Everytime I heard melodies, I bugged out in my spirit. Melodies and music, the keys it just bugs my spirit. When I say 'bug', it means it will either bring me to sadness or make me happy. So that's why sometimes I have to filter certain things, but music is a powerful tool in this world. Where would this world be without music?"
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