Fire Proof? That's right. FTF (Fighting Temptations Fa' Sho) take on the mantle figuratively, with reference to the fiery furnace episode experienced by Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego not affected by any fiery darts the enemy throws at them, thanks to the blood of Jesus Christ.
Dr. Cheddar Continues In Interview
Take a listen or three, and you'll know that there's another meaning too. You better be fireproof yourself, as this seventeen-tracker blazes hot with its Southern flames, exploding lyrics and New Orleans bounce-ability. Call it one of the hip hop flashpoints of the year, in fact.
The FTF duo of Dr. Cheddar (aka Jerome Singleton) and Fila Phil (aka Philip Anthony) bring their considerable experience to the table, with production from the likes of DJ Dickey, Blaq Gold, Jinx and Gold Fingaz.
Dr. Cheddar explains the production connections: "DJ Dickey did the majority of the production. He's an original part of F.T.F. Dickey's lyrics used to run circles around Fila's and myself's lyrics. Beats are just half of Dickey's efforts. God is doing something with Dickey right now, but yall just hold tight! The rest of the production was just God's favor for F.T.F. We knew Jinx for a while and that was automatic and Blaq Gold is GrapeTree's house producer, so that worked out well."
Tracks such as "Seen It All" and "Bout That?" make their mark with their considerable ability to make you move and latch rhymes into your consciousness. Typical throughout the project is the dry rattle of percussion and piano loops that back tight flows that find a pocket between song and recitation.
Guests pop up on "Ryda" (with Prime Minister) and "Live By, Die By" which has some added vocals from Glenn Morris. And on "Real Woman", Cheddar and Fila Phil flip the script on the standard woman-diss found on the other side of hip hop, and offer a tribute instead.
As for tracks that speak the most to FTF themselves, that would be the last one of the CD ["One Way, Shaggi! (Paradise Or Da Snake Pit!)"]. Cheddar says, "we witnessed the Holy Spirit live in action, giving an invitation to heavan. It wasn't written on earth, but it was manifested here for us all. Next would be "Fire Proof?". It talks about the death, burial and resurrection of our Messiah, Friend, and Lord Jesus!"
"[And finally, there's] "Murdered My Pain"; while mixing that song the Holy Spirit allowed me to see a CD sitting on the mixing board in front of me, and the CD moved from side to side. And the Holy Spirit said that "Murdered My Pain" would do [just] that on radio stations worldwide. This really happened."
The FTF duo deliver testimonies on disc with abandon. Dr. Cheddar continued that aplenty in his interview with GospelFlava.com, which continues below.
"I'm from the projects, New Orleans, Press Park, 9th Ward. I combined with
Fila Phil on his second secular album. We sat down with Master P. and tried
to work out a deal, but good ole' God broke it all up. Through out my life, I
witnessed all the violence, killings, drug dealings, poverty, prostitution,
etc. I sold drugs, I used plenty drugs, cocaine, water-water, heroine, crack,
cigarettes, all types of liquor, did some jacking, got jacked at gun point
several times. Nearly lost my life many times. The fingers of God (angels)
were there to protect me. I went to jail a few times. I had witchcraft,
voodoo, and warlock spirits cast on me. I've simply been there and done
that, God be my witness. He saw it ALL. He saved me. No man can ever get
"Our church homes are in Austin, Texas and Tulsa, Oklahoma. In Austin, it's Miracle Faith Ministries with Apostle A. Petterson and Prophetess S. Petterson, while in Tulsa, it's the Sanctuary Evangelistic Church, with Pastor M. Carter and Apostle E. Carter. Both churches are heaven sent. They contain servent-attitude type bodies and spectacular leading heads. The Holy Spirit is Boss, and very much welcome in both places. So I'm in LOVE, ya heard me!
"[Grapetree artist] D.C.P. met us in a concert in Tulsa. I approached him and told him my
opinions about Christian rap music. And I gave him a sample of FTF, and told
him to listen to it and feed! He loved it so much, that he gave it to Grapetree. And over 8 or 9 months talking to [the label], we decided to do something."
[Fila Phil and I] do our own writing, and we feed from each other. Depending on the verse/song, we're working on, Fila might have the right chemistry to open up
the song or vise versa. We give insight to each other when one of us is
coming too weak at the moment. Iron sharpens iron.
"We are definantly after the un-saved, un-FireProofed, and plainly, the walking
dead. We are sent to feed God's people our love, true service and the fear of
God! We don't discriminate, we attack all with love."
[For those who are uncertain about the legitimacy of Gospel rap], or who haven't had their understanding opened up by God; I would say, If a person is preaching salvation, leave God's anointed alone or be judged. God said, my people die for the immaturity of their knowledge and understanding. Some people still are too traditional and they are leaning on their own understanding. They need to let God be God, and not just allow Him to fit inside of what they limit GOD as!
"Be prepared to see a quite a few collaborations coming from us: Amani, Soulja Boy, Smallwood, Sharon Bryson, NUT & Maihem and some names I won't even get
into right now. But you will be shocked!
Producers: Blaq Gold, DJ Dickey, Jinx, Gold Fingaz
album release date: October 2000
review and interview by Stan North —
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