2019 has featured plenty of “Big Moves” from a man who has become well respected across the indie CHH landscape
J-Phish has dropped nine singles along with two EPs and now is set to finish the year off with a new project. He gave us insight into all of this as well as what is more important in life than the music.
“It’s been a blessing to see the music grow as well as watch it all happen.”
“I feel great about any level of success I’ve had and the reason is because my sole goal was to impact and influence. It’s never been about numbers or money, or any of that. I just want a godly message to be spread via a popular genre. So it’s awesome to have had some success!”
Part of the change for J-Phish this year actually began late in 2018 when he began creating alongside indie start-up Enoch Flow Records.
“The partnership with Ted and EFR has been really cool. I wasn’t really looking for a label or anything, but Ted came along and really believed in my vision, content, and sound. He’s been with me since. He’s a guy who just really loves the Lord and hip hop. I’ve been blessed to have a mutually beneficial partnership with him and EFR.”
For J-Phish, it is that love of the Lord that fully drives his musical ministry.
“The only reason I do hip hop is because of Jesus.”
“He radically changed my life in 2012, as I started to look for music alternatives from Childish Gambino, Lil Wayne, Kendrick, etc…I found Andy, Lecrae, and others. The music impacted me deeply. Because of that, I felt motivated to use my voice to do the same. So for me, music has NEVER been about anything other than the message.”
“I’ve had the temptations of making more mainstream sounding music, many temptations to work with artists who don’t glorify God…but in the end, I have one goal. So I’m not going to compromise.”
“To be honest, I’d rather work with a secular artist than a ‘CHH’ artist who really isn’t about the ‘C’ part. One of those is lost and I can speak truth, the other is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. My basic principle is this – does the track glorify God? If it does, I’ll be on it. If it doesn’t, but the opportunity is a good one, I’m still not going to do it. We have to trust that. The Bible is full of examples of people walking away from a worldly opportunity in favor of God, the book of Daniel comes to mind.”
Driven by his convictions, J-Phish still maintains specific intentions for his music as well, but it always comes back to that main purpose.
“My two main goals [in 2019] were to have multiple tracks individually pass 100k streams and for my second album to hit top 20 on the iTunes Christian chart, which should be coming in December.”
“Shine’, from my last EP, is over 100k between all sites and soon should pass 100k on Spotify alone which will be my first song to do that! God is good. ‘Wit Da OG’ and ‘How About Now’ are both flirting with 100k between all sites, so we haven’t quite hit the goal but very close. The fact that our numbers are even close to this is a blessing from God, that’s for sure.”
“Album is a day or two from being completely done, most likely December release. Every song on this project is next level. From content to production, emotion to hype it’s all there. True life coming through death and dying to self.”
“God has, over the last few years, really laid it on my heart that I can’t claim this faith and only half live it out. Jesus is an all or nothing Lord.”
“He literally rejects lukewarm people. So for us to experience true life, both here and for eternity, we have to die to our old selves. Unfortunately, as I pastor at my church and invest in the CHH community, I see a lot of people claim faith in Jesus but are really dead and don’t even know it. I want this album to speak to those people.”
“We have to pursue Jesus before music. If you wrote music and casually incorporate your faith, call it CHH but don’t spend time with Jesus, then it’s probably a safe bet you are in that category. Anything we do should start with an awe of God and flow from that.”
“Nothing with Christ involved is ever dead. The only people saying ‘CHH is dead’ are the same people who fall into that ‘lukewarm but call themselves Christian’ category. For us to say anything genuinely representing Christ is dead is to not understand who we serve.”
“Be involved in a local church. We are in a culture (even Christian circles) that downplay the importance of being invested in a local church. Yes, the church is the Body of believers, not a building…but church buildings provide the establishment and structure necessary for effective and sustainable ‘church’. So get plugged into a good church and you will find people willing to walk alongside you.”
“Anything with the title ‘Christian’ attached to it immediately has a new set of standards which the Bible is wildly clear that we are supposed to hold each other accountable to those standards. [For CHH], some of the pockets I’ve chosen to associate in definitely [are doing that]. Others that I’ve intentionally stepped out of, not so much.”
“We can individually begin pursuing Jesus infinitely more than we are music or whatever else.”
“I can promise, no one who puts music as their first priority (and to be clear, priorities are shown by time spent, so you can claim Jesus is #1 in your life but if music gets 40 hours a week and Jesus gets five-minute phone devotionals then Jesus is nowhere near your top priority) is going to be able to help build up a healthy CHH culture.”
“It’s the people who go to Jesus first time and time again, and let that flow into their music, who will make the difference. A few who pop to mind are Steven Malcolm, Kevi, KB, Dillon Chase, Flame, etc.”
“As someone who just recently entered into pastoral ministry, I just want people to know Jesus is extremely real and loves them, wants the best for them. We have a role to play! Make time, strive for something bigger than yourself!”
After a conversation with a crazy amount of depth to it, I had to find out about where the name J-Phish came from before wrapping things up.
“First show I ever did, I didn’t have a real ‘stage name’ yet. After the show, a guy came up to me and just said how the message really impacted him and was needed. I called my then fiance and told her, was all excited because I really felt God had prompted me to start hip hop as an opportunity to impact. She said ‘look at you out there fishing for Jesus.’ I was like, ‘J-Phish’ lol. Clicked just like that, stuck ever since. The ‘Ph’ is because my name is Phil, so it personalizes it a bit.”
Keep an eye out for J-Phish’s upcoming album. If you want a taste of what to expect, check out the single “Big Moves” that recently released that will be on the project. You can listen below!
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