Just heard the news a few moments ago. We’ll keep you posted on any new developments. Here is what Japhia had to share…
“I’m sitting in front my laptop eating some cereal and trying to figure out how to start this letter, so I’ve decided to just speak from the heartâ€¦ Some of you have been looking forward to my upcoming album Westside Pharmacy releasing on March 20th, but unfortunately it is being pushed back. A few others have been already asking if it would be pushed back. The main reason for the delay of the release is that there is still some final recording and mixing that needs to be completed, and I am essentially working on other people’s time. This is an album I consider to be my first release since my 2006 record Fountain of Life, and I refuse to give you guys this album prematurely. I know that some of you are probably having a hard time rapping your minds around the concept of it being released prematurely, due to the fact that it’s been a project that I’ve been working on for some time now but trust me, it is! I do appreciate everyone who purchased Nazareth, and that is a project that I put together that was mainly fan favorites that weren’t available for purchase until then, a few unreleased songs produced by Kid Classic and Saint Man, and a couple of newly recorded songs “Does Anybody Know” and “Turn My Back”. A lot of people still hit me on Twitter, Facebook, ect telling me stories about how some of the songs on Nazareth found them in a very dark place and were able to reach them were they were. I tell people that know me that any time I hear one story of that magnitude I view the album as a success. For those of you that may be wondering, I’m 100% unsigned and independent now. Labels have been reaching out, and we appreciate everyone who has expressed interest, but I will continue to be indie until the right recording contract comes along that I feel is best for my brand and my team as a whole. That being said, the indie lane has its pros and it def has its cons. When you’re an artist like myself that doesn’t cater to the genre that you’re in its difficult to put a lot of stock in what type of financial return you’ll get from the records that you release, and the amount of concerts that you will be invited to. So when Nazareth did as well as it did the first day of it’s release I was caught totally off guard, because for as long as I can remember my music has been a total contradiction to the genre that I’ve been in.
I’ve been telling people in the Christian hip hop market from day one that I don’t consider myself a “Christian rapper”, but when you rap and a significant amount of people enjoy your music, and your content is littered with Christian themes at times, its hard to shake the label, lol. People have asked me “What’s the big deal about you being called a Christian rapper”, and have said things to me like “You should be proud to be called a Christian rapper”. And the more I hear these things, the more it becomes clear to me that they have no idea what I believe I’m meant to do culturally. Most of the people who’ve said things like this to me seem to think I just want “fame”, or seem to be more concerned about me “Repping” the Christian rap community than me just being an artist that makes music that doesn’t contradict his faith, and that’s a problem! They also seem to have not been following my music for very long at all. Because if they were, they would’ve known that my first project Pages of Life was released in 2000 through a “secular” hip hop label called Ready Rock Records who released vinyl with artists like Ras Kas and Dilated Peoples, and I’m happy to be able to say that I still have vinyl of my first record, and that it was compared to two classic hip hop albums (illmatic & Reasonable Doubt). So for all intents and purposes, I came in the game as a hip hop artist first, not the other way around. The reason I was even noticed by people in Christian hip hop, fans and artists alike, is because 90% of the people in the chh community listen to hip hop, and because of the references to my faith that were clear through out that project. Similar to rock bands like Switchfoot, The Fray, 4th Avenue Jones, One Republic, ect. And to take it a step further, I’m not even concerned anymore if other Christians feel the message (or lack there of) in my music is clear or unclear. The more I grow as an artist, the more abstract my music seems to become, so I leave my art open to the various forms of interpretation that it will fall under. As long I know the heart behind it and God green lights it, I’m good! Life is to short to try and explain away my art to everyone Christian that finds something wrong with it, and I will probably explain my art less and less the more material I release. I’m reminded of Michelangelo and the scrutiny that he was put under upon his unveiling of the Statue of David, and how he ultimately went on to affect the entire culture of Italy, and ultimately the world.
I have honestly approached the releases of all of my records with apprehension feeling like there will be large amounts of people who will choose not to purchase my albums out of resentment and spite, being as though my music doesn’t cater to their Christian or rather their religious sensibilities, but I have been proven wrong every time, lol. I can honestly say that I’ve developed what is referred to in music as a (cult following). A significant and unique group of individuals who enjoy what I do that grows with every release, and I’m content with that. They don’t follow my brand or purchase my music because I say what I think they want to hear, or because I preach via my music, or because I say what they expect me to say as a Christian. They enjoy what I do because they know that I make music that is authentically meâ€¦ They appreciate what I do because I don’t have to change who I am so that I remain relevant in the Christian market. When you do thatâ€¦ It really shows! I’ve always felt that there are perspectives on music held by many Christians that are biased and even unhealthy, and I’ve told myself that if I’m going to be named among the artists in chh, I will make it part of my duty to break the mold and even be a kamikaze, if need be. That saidâ€¦ I really feel that this brand new album Westside Pharmacy will be one of my best releases, and that it will be a reflection of my growth as a man, as a friend, and as an artist. For the record, it will still be released This Spring and we have a prospective release date in mind that we are extremely excited about. I know that a lot of you have been patient, and I really appreciate that. I feel like God has really given me something special this go around, and that I’m on the cusp of something groundbreaking, if I stay faithful to what God has uniquely carved me out to do via music and the arts as a whole (music, fashion, film, ect.). I’m excited about the different producers that I’ve worked with on this new album. Some of you reading this have already heard the lions share of the album, and I’m grateful for the feedback that I’ve gotten thus far. Stay tuned, we will continue to keep you posted. You guys have been the bestâ€¦ This album is gone be Crazyyy!”