ABOUT THE ARTIST

Brail Brizzy:Stop with that one. I think he's probably so tired of that at this point.
Interviewer.:Hahahah. Aww, man.
Brail Brizzy:He's the one who named the album. I feel like I'm the one who needs to apologize to him though. I'm SORRY that people always bring up my name. It is my name though.
Interviewer.:It is the name! Some of the music I've been following says 1999 after he gave a friend of mine his CD at the Christology Layman term release party. And I've been listening to his music ever since. We were filming' a documentary called The Next Level. Which is the first Christian hip hop documentary and so I've been following him ever since. I'm here with the one and only Brail Brizzy. What's up Brail?
Brail Brizzy:Man. I'm chillin' at the legacy. Man. That party. I'll tell you a crazy story about the Christology in Layman's terms party. Now first of all, I knew a [inaudible 00:07:43] from back then. He was living' in New York and he used to send me beats. He was trying to send me beats around the time of life first but didn't land nothing'. There's a few songs I think on Human Emergency where I had those beats before they were on Human Emergency 'cause I was building with him before he was even building with Cross[inaudible 00:01:41]. So I was doing my relationship with him and I knew to go to that release party. And I went to that Christology in Layman's terms. My stepfather dropped me off in Philly. I lived in South Jersey. I didn't drive and I had no ride. I just got dropped off at the show.
Interviewer.:Right, Yeah.
Brail Brizzy:I'd never been to that area and I just told my stepdad I'll figure someone out to get my a ride home. And so I just asked around and somebody dropped me off at my house after that show. But anyway.
Interviewer.:Wow.
Brail Brizzy:Yeah, so. I was there. I didn't even realize the significance of that because at that time of my life I didn't realize that was a real important concert. You know what I mean.
Interviewer.:Yeah, right. *Chuckles*
Brail Brizzy:It was like I didn't even know what I was going to. It was my first exposure to anything Cross movement. I was just going in through my relationship with the [inaudible 00:07:43]
Interviewer.:Wow. Do you remember any of the beats that were featured? Do you remember what the names of those songs?
Brail Brizzy:Man. Well there's one where John Kennedy is speaking. It's like the interlude or whatever.
Interviewer.:Okay.
Brail Brizzy:There one that was called Warning. Could hear Warning scratched into it. Yeah. I can't remember now I'd have to listen back.
Interviewer.:Yeah, yeah. Hahahah.
Brail Brizzy:I just remember when I listened to it I was like, "I've had those beats for a while! I know those beats!" But he caught me in between albums I had just Life First and I didn't put out another solo record til 2004. Shades of Grey. So there was a big gap. If you gave me beats around that time I kind of sat on them for a long time.
Interviewer.:Ah, okay. I want to get to a fresh question. You talked about on Open letter, paraphrasing, you went from an optimist to a gospelist. Could you explain what do you mean by that, how did it reflect in your music, just life in general?
Brail Brizzy: So, I have a real optimistic type of personality. Optimism could fall under the category of a song like Bob Marley - Everything's Gonna Be All right. Now why is everything gonna be all right? No particular reason. That's just my outlook on life.
Interviewer.:Okay, all right.
Brail Brizzy:I'm an optimist. I see things like, you know what? It's just gonna work out. We gotta figure this out. We'll make it work. And so I was very optimistic. So I could believe a passage like "All things will work out for the good." Right?
Interviewer.:Right.
Brail Brizzy:But I believed it just as all things will work out for the good, but not through a gospel lens. I didn't see it through a lens of restoration. I didn't see it through a lens of like, standing before Jesus, perfected from my sin. I didn't see it through that lens of ultimately all things will work out. I was optimistic that like, "That didn't go as planned?" "It's all good." You know, I was an optimist. And that's what would come off as very positive, moral content. Right? It's like if you're just a good person, you do good things, good things will happen and things will work out.
And that was essentially the worldview that I presented through my life. That being a good person, and doing things the right way and trying to do things the right way you might face some opposition but things will ultimately work out.
Now I still believe things will ultimately work out, and I believe that you should attempt to do the right things but I see it through a gospel lens and I look at life through a gospel lens that my pain, difficulties that I go through. This is all part of my sanctification being conformed into the likeness off Christ. Even to the extent that if I would suffer, I'm not embracing the suffering from an optimism standpoint.
I'm embracing the suffering from a gospel standpoint. Lord what purpose do you want to use this for? How does this help advance the gospel? Not necessarily I will survive. Just 'cause everything will work out. It's like no, How is this going to be used to progress my sanctification? How is this going to be used to advance the Kingdom of God? And so that's the lens I look through life now. I look at life through a gospel lens. Not necessarily a positive or moralism lens.
Interviewer.:Okay.
Brail Brizzy:That's the distinction.
Interviewer.:So you would say, "Keep on yourself, keep on." You would say that would be more like an optimist song? Would you say?
Brail Brizzy:I don't know people have received on that song in different layers. On a surface level, if you cut out an understanding of the gospel then ... because people who don't love the gospel at all love that song. Keep On. They can relate to it. They can apply it to all sorts of things. They could apply it to a skateboard injury, you know? "I felt like I was gonna quit skating, 'cause I got injured, but now I'm gonna Keep On. Right? They could apply it to different things and there is a level in which that's beneficial. But to what end are we Keeping On. To what end are we persevering. Why do we persevere? What drives us to persevere? Persevering what? You know what I mean?
Interviewer.:Right.
Brail Brizzy:And so I feel like there's a level of encouragement but there's also a lot of unanswered questions. The answer to those questions has become radically important to me. You know what I mean that this encouragement is not just fluff, or that it's not just rooted. But man, the Lord has been gracious. I mean that Keep On song. I know that people who listen to that. There was a guy in Africa who emailed me once. He was riding his bicycle got hit by a car and was paralyzed from the waist down and was listening to the song in a hospital. I can't undercut that either, you know what I'm saying? There was a guy who had cancer, and was bed-ridden for so long that it jacked up one of his legs and he couldn't walk, he was listening to it in the hospital. There were certain emotions that were being communicated. Now, I just want to root those emotions in the gospel.
Interviewer.:Okay.
Brail Brizzy:That's the idea. So where it was eluded to, I can only do so much, based on my own understanding. I think my understanding of the gospel was not well-rounded. And so, I looked at Christian things but not all through the gospel lens. So it is a Christian truth, now seeing it through the gospel lens.
Interviewer.:Okay. So, second question; sort of related along with that. I mean, you have artists, such as Shag K. Your boy Jose Moore Orthello. Who are Christians, however you want to categorize or whatever. Where are you at now? In terms of the types of music that you do now. Because you're not that "underground" rapper that you were back then.
Brail Brizzy:Yeah, sure.
Interviewer.:So I guess, now, how do you related to the non-Christian underground hip-hip scene that you were in before? Are you still in that? Do you still view yourself in that? Just with the gospel lens that you said? Where are you at now? Beautiful Eulogy? Is that clear?
Brail Brizzy:Beautiful Eulogy. Yeah I understand the question, clearly. So, Beautiful Eulogy is unique because it's a group, you know? And it gives us an opportunity to make music that is reflective of where we're at now. Not necessarily where we were at. There is one sense where a 22-23 year old Brail with a Jam Sport backpack on, rapping over any beat he can get his hands on. There is a sense where I have grown from that stage of my life. But there's another sense where I'm not disconnected from people that I've had relationships with, over the years.
Interviewer.:Okay, Right.
Brail Brizzy:So I still have a lot of those same relationships, I just approach things differently. And I think that right now, the Lord is slowly forming in me what I would say is probably I sort of pastoral heart. For example, there was one guy that always used to be around me back in 2006, 2007, 2008. He knew me as Brail. And I was just a positive influence in his life. That's the type of relationship that my platform cultivated. Was for me to be a positive influence in somebody's life. We touch base now, just a few months ago.
We dove head-first into the gospel. This guy just getting out of drug rehab. And I watched life transformation. I watched life transformation. Disciple shit. And when I see that kind of fruit, I'm like, I'll deal with less people, but have more impact. Than more people. And that's just Brail that guy who's a good guy.
Interviewer.:Right, yeah.
Brail Brizzy:I'm not speaking for anyone else.
Interviewer.:Right.
Brail Brizzy:Because at that point it gets kind of personal. Now I have a desire. And I actually feel a burden, and I didn't at first. But I feel a burden to make some music that does communicate the gospel to the audience. That I spent so many years of my life developing a relationship with. I do have a desire and I realize that it some ways the Beautiful Eulogy music doesn't scratch that itch. If you were listening to Shades of Gray.
Interviewer.:Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Brail Brizzy:And at the same time, that era of underground rap in general, it's a different time. You know what I'm saying?
Interviewer.:Uh huh
Brail Brizzy:A record like Shades of Gray. I just feel like It's a dated approach to hip-hop. The audience for it is so small, that if I remade that record even with a little bit of ... I don't think it'd be as successful now, as it was back then.
Interviewer.:Right, Yeah.
Brail Brizzy:It's just a different era. But in terms of where I'm at relationally. I'm in pursuit of fruit. I pray, God, who would you have me be in a relationship with? Who would you have me to pour into. Because I can't just guess. I can't just call up somebody who made a beat for me six years ago, "Hey yo what up how you doing' let's chop up the gospel." You know what I mean?
Interviewer.:Yeah.
Brail Brizzy:I can't fabricate fruit. From an industry perspective. I'm completely dependent on the Lord. And so I pray. And that's what I'm in pursuit of though. At this point it's not necessarily just can I be known as a guy just on the surface with a bunch of people that don't really know me. I want to go in deep with the people that the Lord really causes to cross paths with me. You know?
Interviewer.:Uh huh.
Brail Brizzy:So I think it's all encompassing but my focus is a little bit more pastor than it would have been back then.
Interviewer.:Back then.
Brail Brizzy:It's caring for the whole person. That has to be the people that the Lord brings to me. I can't just try and play that role in somebody's life who's not asking me to play that role, if that makes sense.
Interviewer.:It does.
Brail Brizzy:You know if somebody try and come up to you and play a role in your life, that you don't want them to play, that ain't really gonna work.
Interviewer.:Right.
Brail Brizzy:So, I need to play that role in people's lives who the Lord brings to me to play that role in their life. That's what I'm searching for. Now I'm trying to love my wife, love my kids, love my church. And through that, that's going to affect the way I write songs because that's my world.
Interviewer.:Right.
Brail Brizzy:My world is in the underground hip-hop world. My world is my family, my kids. And building relationships with people that produce fruit. I still spit raps when I get the opportunity.
But I gotta prioritize, you know?
And I'm thankful that there's so many different artists that fill so many different places. And so it's like, man, I don't know. And the Lord's still shaping me man. I've went through so much change, in a condensed amount of time. ... That to translate all that artistically. Sometimes it's so overwhelming I don't even want to write. It's like, how can I even condense that into a rap? It's like it's all new. It's like a new life. With the Lord's redemption restoration. I'm definitely thinking how can I share that with some audience that's isolated from what I'm doing now in my old format. You know what I mean?
Interviewer.:Yeah, yeah.
Brail Brizzy:It's just a process.
Interviewer.:Okay. So that's it. Any plugs you want to put in? [inaudible 00:15:13], Twitter, Whatever?
Brail Brizzy:Man, no plugs really. I mean, Brail Hip-Hop is the name I go under in social media so whether that's Facebook, twitter, Instagram. I ain't really deep on social media I'm more of a goofball so you'll find that real quick. I don't know how to be deep in 160 characters. Some people are good at that.
Interviewer.:Yeah.
Brail Brizzy:I'm like, "I hope you're having a good day." I don't know how to say something deep real short. As you can see, I'm long-winded. So I just act like a fool, so if you want to have a good time, maybe you can find some of those videos. But anyway, yeah!
Interviewer.:All right, Thank you Brail, that's it. This is Percy[inaudible 00:15:51] Kobe Sutts and I'm out.
Truth.
Brail Brizzy:Wow, aight.