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- Posted on Mar 15th 2010 8:00AM by Tina Smithers
How did you get into the music business?
I grew up listening to as many rap albums as I could get my hands on. While in high school, I met a guy who taught me how to record and make beats, which led to me recording my first album. By 1996, I had recorded four songs, but I never really had the chance to do anything with it because the next year, the Lord found me. While renting out my sound equipment to a local church my sister attended, I took interest in the words spoken by the pastor.
Next thing I knew, I was a born-again Christian and had to change up my lyrics because they just didn't match my new lifestyle. Upon discovering the lack of Christian-based record labels at that time, I decided to start my own. So in 1998 I founded Much Luvv Records and released my first Christian hip-hop EP, 'Thy Kingdom Come.' My record label has since released over 12 albums. I also co-own the largest Christian hip-hop web site in the world, DaSouth.com. As I mention these accomplishments, I do so with all humility, because they came at a high price. It wasn't easy building a name for myself in an underdeveloped and underserved music genre, such as Christian hip-hop.
How would you describe your sound?
My lyrics reflect the truth of who I am and where I am going in life. I always want you to hear the truth in my music, which is based on my relationship with Jesus. Music production has always been a diverse journey for me. I like beats from all over the country--I was influenced by South, East and West Coast rappers growing up, so I guess that's why my sound is so diverse, yet very original.
Who are your musical influences?
Early on, I was very influenced by old-school rappers such as KRS-One, Beastie Boys, Rakim, Heavy D, Run-DMC, Ice Cube and a host of others. Today, I am influenced by my labelmates, who are always encouraging me to keep writing, even when I'm busy. Von Won, Gifted, CY, S.O.M., 007 and ColCutz have been a major influence in my decision to work on a new album this year. Lyrically, all of my content is influenced by the Bible--the standards and principles that I live by, they are all written in God's word, and it is the most influential part of my life today.
How did you choose your name?
Tre meaning three, which makes 39. This serves as a reminder of the lashings Jesus took for me.
What's in your festival survival kit?
I must have my Bible with me so I can feed my spirit. Also plenty of Ozarka water, Snickers bars and grilled chicken sandwiches from Jack in the Box. Oh, and a gym where I can do some weight lifting to relieve stress.
What's the craziest thing you've experienced on tour?
While I was on tour in England, the kids there were so excited in my ability to beatbox. I think I'm a terrible beatboxer, but they couldn't get enough of it! I don't think I've ever felt like a star because of my beatboxing abilities, but over there it was so appreciated. In the U.S., I would get booed off stage!
Who was your first celebrity crush?
I always saw celebrities as untouchable, so I never wanted to put myself through the emotions of having a crush on one. Plus, I got married when I was 19 years old, which kept my eyes from wandering!
What's your guiltiest pleasure?
I guess I take pleasure in serving God and people as if there isn't going to be a tomorrow. It may sound boring to some, but it is the most exciting and interesting life one can live. I wouldn't trade it for a million bucks!
Tina Smithers is a contributor from Seed.com. Learn how you can contribute here.