Christian Rap Artist FLAME Talks Kendrick Lamar, Christian Voice In Today's Pop Culture, New Album

For nearly 15 years, Marcus Gray, better known as FLAME to his followers, has been boldly spreading the gospel through the avenue of rap music. Ever since his first album in 2004, the self-titled Flame, Gray has continued to grow in maturity and popularity, as he has since become one of the most well-known artists in the Christian genre. Promoting his current tour, specifically his upcoming appearance in Columbus, Ohio, on May 10, Flame sat down with the Inquisitr for a poignant interview.

Inquisitr: What are some pointers of [being] a husband?

FLAME: "That dynamic stems from a personal commitment to God, prioritizing humility before Him, service before Him. And that just postures your heart to be a good husband. To provide or cultivate the kind of environment that [you want], to submit, because you're humbled underneath God's care. You want to bring that same environment for her. So, it kind of trickles down in that way. I'm not a father yet, so I can't speak to that, but I imagine that it is a similar dynamic, [since] you're a child of God and you remember how you function in that way, and you want to nurture in the same way with your children, I imagine."


Inquisitr: What stemmed you to know that Christian rap is the way to go, and why have you remained in the Christian genre?

FLAME: "I chose this approach because I wasn't like a terribly ambitious kid for the limelight, prior to my conversion. When I became a Christian, my ambition was more evangelistic, and having had my foot somewhat in rap music, I was like, 'Man it would be great to couple these two together.' But my true passion was sharing my faith, to be expressed through my secondary passion, which is music. Those two things came together in that way.

"What's kind of keeping me in this lane really is, I'll give a more contemporary answer, which is, when you look at Kendrick Lamar. His album is already at a million sales, it just released, and the central theme of his album is, humanity has a problem (in particular, he's talking about African-Americans, Hispanics, and Native Americans, but overall, he's still addressing humanity), he's saying that they have a problem, they're cursed under God's curse, and if they don't live by the law, then they're gonna be condemned. How is it that, arguably, one of the most popular rap artists in the world has a theo-centric album, and he's from California, which is a region that would like to keep this conversation at bay? So, for me, it's the most relevant topic right now. People want to talk about sin, and struggle, and pain, and the curse on humanity, and the complexity of the human experience. They look at the answers, and I feel like this is the perfect opportunity to communicate a biblical, Christian worldview with answers to those questions that people are obviously interested in."

Inquisitr: What have you noticed regarding the trend of the celebrity having a resounding influence and the Christian being more silent?

FLAME: "I think it's that, you know how you always swing from one pendulum to the next, I think there was an appearance that people, Christians in particular, probably felt like they didn't want to come across too strong, and that's why people aren't responding to our faith. So, therefore, let's get rid of the intensity of it, the exclusivity of it. But, it's kinda swinging to to other [side of the] pendulum in the name of problem solving. When the reality is, you're kinda creating another problem. So that's what I'm kinda noticing right now.

"I think people feel like, 'Do I have the liberty to do this? And I think this is going to serve the Christian culture better if people can just see us as normal, regular, not all fanatical about our faith. Then we'll have a better influence in pop culture.' But, again, it seems like, at least I can name you three to five mainstream hip-hop artists right now that are upset with a Judeo-Christian conversation. And I think it's just a bad time to abandon the Christian message, because, it's the hot topic right now. It's the perfect platform to communicate God's heart through the gospel, rather than abandon it."


Inquisitr: What was the vision behind the latest EP, Revival?

FLAME: "That was a record, well a short project, that Mike REAL and I wanted to release something together, because people have heard us feature, but not really on a project like that. Well, 'Jesus or Nothing,' but ours exclusively. And we wanted to really ask God to bring the revival, both personally within the believer, and culturally that Christianity would just re-arrive and made an impact. I think it came out really cool, and I was hoping that it would whet the whistle as well, while I work on my next project in preparation to releasing that. I wanted this to be something to kind of hold people over. And it seem like it is, but people are definitely ready for a new FLAME record. So I'm in the studio working hard, so if you guys think about me, pray for me. I'm really trying to release it this year."

You can tune in below for the full interview, as he also talks about his most influential album, as well as his most popular song.


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