SACHH shares interviews on the music and lives of Christian Hip Hop artists every Wednesday in In Sync. This week we get in sync with Michigan CHH Artist Deonte Hall.
In His hometown, Kalamazoo Michigan Deonte witnessed the lives of many teens and people he grew up within his community being taken due to the high volumes of gang-related activity and violence. In 2010 Deonte got incarcerated for some time and as he sat in a jail cell he began to ponder about his life and his future and he wanted to make a positive change and do better for himself he just couldn’t figure out where to start. In April of 2011, Deonte met a pastor who was out doing street ministry who shared the gospel of JESUS CHRIST with him and Deonte made a decision to accept JESUS as HIS personal Lord and Savior. The ex-drug dealer CHH artist with a message for the streets is definitely someone who can identify to the struggle of people who have been raised in the streets and involved in gang violence. From the time he was saved Deont Hall joined his pastor in reaching out to those who have been incarcerated and are in juvenile institutions. He accounts that one of his most memorable performances was at a Juvenile institution where after he shared his testimony and performed 50 kids gave their lives to Christ.
The artist behind God Over Money shared that his musical influences are as diverse as his musical style, they include Lecrae, Bizzle, Steven Malcolm, The Temptations, Michael Jackson (for how he used to entertain), and Stevie Wonder. “My music is diverse, I can rap fast… and have done some trap gospel and even rapped to worship music,” added Deonte. Deonte shared that what makes a CHH song a hit is the content of the song, “they have to know that it is giving them substance, that even if it talks about real issues it points the listener back to Christ.” His song God Over Money applies the same sentiment, it is about how Deonte made the decision to stop selling drugs, repent and give his life to Christ even though it was a struggle because Deonte needed the money, he chose to put his faith and trust in Jesus Christ. Putting God Over the Money, the song is an inspirational anthem and a real-life testimony he hopes will be a blessing and encouraging message to every listener out there.
We got to discuss the current hashtag surrounding police brutality in America and what the response of Christian Hip Hop artists should be in helping the situation. Deonte explained that “God has given us the boldness to talk about it…there are a lot of Caucasian police officers that love God and have families. But as the Bible says “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places,” so when I think about all the crazy stuff that is going on in the world like police brutality and black on black crimes; with people in the community killing each other. I feel the enemy is using the media to highlight the police doing it, in a way that stirs up a racial war to create the division between races… Because when a video goes up with an unarmed African American male and a white policeman putting his knee on his neck and is put up like that it causes emotions and I am not saying that we don’t have the emotion but there is a different kind of way to fight, we have to go in fasting and pray and we have to come together and be unified and fight this. Because racism still exists, even though some will say it doesn’t, it still does. But the media can paint an image that every police officer is a racist officer but it’s not like that, for there are a lot of good officers but as they say, one bad apple spoils it for all of them. My heart goes out to the man’s family who had to see him like that, whether he was black or Hispanic or caucasian because at the end of the day we are all God’s children. I think what we as CHH should and are already doing is speak and defend what is right, also the best thing we should do is Chron 7:14, pray and seek God and we will begin to see some change but we should bear in mind that the Bible did say all these things will happen and we need just disciple and set a good example in what we are doing.”
He suggested that we be on the lookout for Andre Wright, “he is a solid brother in Christ, we are both in the Holy Gang Records and he really loves God,” TJ God-fearing, G-Musik, “who speaks to you where you are, he makes relatable music” and JT Brown. I think SA CHH can use a lot more support, they should connect with different blog sites and even platforms such as this one. “Someone in this other Facebook CHH group asked why is it that CHH artists in America don’t reach out to South African Christian Hip Hop artist for a collab and I was like yeah we need to make it happen.” he further added that he is willing to work with anyone who is from SA who has a likeness in vision; which is to reach out to the lost.
… making sure people leave with substance, that people leave knowing who Jesus is, I like to show people something different, to connect people to Christ through music they can enjoyDeonte Hall
Deonte transparently shares that the challenges he faces as a CHH artist are mainly “Balance, between financing the ministry and providing for my family, and time to do both because you have to think of the people producing, distributing and promoting your music. And I don’t do this for the money, it is a ministry that most my audience is kids who don’t have money and I literally give CDs away collectively costing up to $1000s… ” He encourages South African CHH artists to “Keep going, I know it can be discouraging as artists when you don’t have support; like you have this dream and this vision but not much means… there was this meme I saw on Facebook that really encouraged me it said that God never gives you dream that is within your budget, He gives a vision that is greater than your budget, that is impossible to do so that you know only God can do it, so just keep having faith in the Lord, if God has called to this just make sure that your intentions are pure, don’t come into it with the motive of focusing on blowing up and making money ’cause I see that a lot in the CHH people but as the Bible says “when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all people to myself.” so be in it for saving souls. Keep lifting up the name of Jesus and spreading your gospel to friends, family and people around you. Then God will enlarge your ministry and allow you to reach more people.”
The Husband and Father to 10 children; loves to spend his time with his family, he shares that is his first ministry. He has most of his music up on SoundCloud and has made a few music videos. He shared that he is currently working on a collaboration with a well known CHH artist on a song about worldly possession and fixing our eyes on what is eternal. You can connect with Deonte Hall on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. You can find his music on all musical stores and subscribe to his Youtube channel for more videos. Deonte’s down to earth and Godly perspective should encourage us to seek God first over everything and give people God first over everything.
SACHH raises the flag and raises the bars.