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Applejaxx Interview

  Applejaxx Interview on Christian Rap Music and Mainstream Success
(May, 2005)

After hearing the Wyzeguyz produced "Get Ready" off of Applejaxx's 808 P.O.P. EP you'll know without a doubt that the Nureau Ink Movement founded by R&B artist Tonex has got some heavy potential. Among the artists in the movement of faith, stands Applejaxx.

Despite Apple’s humble beginnings on the small college campus of Campbell University in North Carolina, he would soon share the stage with artist such as Tonex, The Souljahz, Grits, Sev Statik and Glue. His biggest shows to date include the TV performances at the MGM Grand with Tonex and “Pass the Mic” in Nashville, Tennessee.

His affiliation with Grammy-nominated artist Tonex has even earned him a mention in the pages of Billboard Magazine.

Among Applejaxx's many songs are included appearances on WOW Gospel 2004 and the acclaimed Higherground Soundtrack: Hip Hop reformed & reborn.

Like many an aspiring rapper with a unique style, Jaxx longs for the day that Christian rap music will will make waves in mainstream hip hop.

We caught up with Applejaxx for what turned out to be an interesting interview touching on christian rap music, mainstream acceptance, and much more.

Check out the interview below and as always get back to us with any questions or comments you may have.

"A good beat is a beat that
can put you in a zone."


(Below is a sample of Applejaxx's music. Please double click to play the song)
   Applejaxx - Get Ready

The State of Hip Hop: First, thank you for taking some time out to spend with The State and all of our visitors from around the world.

Though lots of visitors to TSOHH can name dozens of underground hip-hop artists, your name wouldn’t likely be on that list even though you’ve had your name on the pages of Billboard, worked with Grammy-nominated R&B artist Tonex, and appeared on a motion-picture soundtrack. How important is it for you to stay true to yourself when it can be so tempting to “sell-out”?

Applejaxx: It’s imperative to remain genuine. Authenticity speaks through the music. I have to make sure that I’m giving people APPLEJAXX and not a carbon copy of anyone or anything else.

TSOHH: How did you first meet Tonex?
Applejaxx: In college I produced and promoted concerts. In 2003, Tonex was the featured artist for one of the shows. After getting an edge up and taco bell, we chilled and talked for a minute. I became officially apart of Nureau Ink based off the conversation. Two months later I was in San Diego creating hits.

TSOHH: Since “keeping it real” is valued so highly in the hip-hop community why do you think spiritually conscious rappers get so little acclaim while they seem to keep it “realer” than anyone else?
Applejaxx: Conscious emcees normally don't produce singles that will magnetize people to them. Initially, it's the beat that hooks people, and then the lyrics take over from there making the song meaningful and enlightening. The strategic move conscious rappers must execute is to generate hot radio singles/club-bangers to get people to listen. This compels the listener to pay attention to the emcee's deeper lyricism. One has to appeal while simultaneously staying true to their message; Conscious thinking.

TSOHH: Alright so you appreciate the value of a good beat. What then defines a good beat to you? Do you produce?
Applejaxx: A good beat is a beat that can put you in a zone. The intro has to be catchy, the rhythm of the music has to be hypnotizing and the outtro must take you out gracefully like a pastor with the benediction. I also like beats with animated sounds in the background. I am working to get my production game up. I’ve been studying the craft for a couple years and will bring music out within the next year.

TSOHH: What do you think has contributed the most to your success so far?
Applejaxx: GOD, wisdom and knowledge have helped me. I keep Christ first; apply his wisdom to my life. Humility is also a key factor in the success. I’m confident but I have to remain humble too.

TSOHH: Not to box you into the category of “Christian rapper” but 2006 is coming soon and already this past year we’ve seen Mase’s return, Kanye West dropped “Jesus Walks” which blew up huge, the Pope’s death was major in the news…what do you think about this trend of openness to religion in music and in general?
Applejaxx: I think people are ready for something new in the mainstream. The world needs music with substance, melodies that can change lives and empower individuals to rise to the next level. I think its dope that people are being successful even if they mention Jesus in their rhymes. It shows that its not that people don’t want it, it just has to be presented in a way it can be received.

TSOHH: What qualities do you appreciate most in other emcees, either personal or skill-related (flow, rhyme scheme, emotion, etc.)?
Applejaxx: Emcees with a passion that pierces the heart with rhymes that make you reflect on life. I’m feeling emcees that can give you radio friendly tunes but are still hood. Stories that are life changing and girl songs that make dudes want to find wifey!! {grin} Balance is important.

TSOHH: The music and radio industry can be tough on new artists. How has it treated you so far?
Applejaxx: Things were difficult at first. We are still working to get radio to hear our music. Some stations have their pre-programmed artist they play. This gives no room for independents to shine. We believe it’s only a matter of time when people will hear what we have to say.

TS: Some people see Christian rappers as isolated, doing their own compilations, etc., while others see them as a more close-knit family, much like Nureau Ink. With underground mix-tapes providing great exposure for new rappers, would you consider collaborating on a mix-tape or anywhere else with artists outside of the Christian-rap genre?
Applejaxx: Yes, I want to get more exposure and spit the heat that I bring. Networking can allow people to see who THE JAXX is and know what I’m about. Being set in a box of familiar faces can only take you so far. Jesus reached out to others that the “church-folk” would not. So I want be able to reach out.

TSOHH: What rap advice, tip or pointer would you have appreciated getting five years ago that you feel could have saved you the trouble of learning through your mistakes?
Applejaxx: Not trusting everyone out there. When I first started this dude was suppose to help me out financially and musically. To make a long story short he was greedy and lied about his position.

TSOHH: So what was Applejaxx doing five years ago? What are your goals for five years from now?
Applejaxx: 5 years ago I was a freshman in college. The goals were to graduate college, create a company and plan for life. 5 years from now I want to be married, running a corporation that is multitasked with music, clothing, real-estate, basketball operations and other investments

TSOHH: That's a pretty good assortment of goals. How do you go about gathering the knowledge you need in order to succeed? How big of a role do curiosity, reading, observing, or having a mentor have?
Applejaxx: Education is a vital part in learning. The standard school system can provide a blueprint for achieving success. But you must gain wisdom and knowledge outside of the system in order to be more successful. Curiosity sparks a person to take risks. Reading expands your mental capacity and allow you to be knowledgeable about various subjects and concepts. Observing will show you what and what not to do. An old proverb said: “learn by watching others or you will make the same mistakes.” A mentor can help guide you in the right direction. Throughout your career everyone will need someone to keep them focused on the task at hand. Education, reading, observation and a mentor are key components that can assist anyone in exceeding their goals.

TSOHH: Any final words that you want to send to all the on-the-rise emcees that’ll be reading this interview?
Applejaxx: Diversity & balance are key to being a productive emcee. A lot of emcees are just underground, just club, or what ever. Learn to stay true to you and the art. We are always learning in life, so don’t get to the point that you can never learn or you’ll never grow!!

>> For more information on Applejaxx the 808 P.O.P. EP, and the TRON collaborative check out his website here.