Cephas joined FiveTwenty Collective on a live stream earlier this week and shared about his upcoming music.
Menace Movement artist Cephas dropped his debut project ‘America Shall Be Saved’ in March 2022. The release was a joint venture between Menace and Cephas’ own imprint, GO! Records. Not long after the release, he talked with FiveTwenty about the album and its purpose. As the year is wrapping up, Cephas is hard at work on his next project.
During a live-stream interview on November 8, 2022, Cephas announced his next album is coming soon.
“Cephas and the Resistance: Pushback the New World Order [is] coming soon,” shared Cephas. “World-class artwork, getting it pressed to vinyl. A bunch of usual suspects plus some features that will throw y’all off. I’m just really excited to continue to make music in this space.”
The upcoming project is once again a joint release between Menace and GO!. It also fulfills the two-album commitment with Menace Movement. After Pushback the New World Order, the focus will be specifically on building the GO! Records imprint.
“When I originally signed on with Menace Movement, you know, Datin is like my best friend,” Cephas explained. “It made sense for me to start releasing music on his label. He always knew, and I always knew, that I had in the bag my own record label. Menace is the squad, but it’s semantics.”
For the new album, the help of a Spain-based artist was enlisted to collaborate on the artwork who has worked with the likes of MF Doom, Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole, and more. It is also going to be Cephas’ first vinyl release. It is easy to see that he is going all in on this transition album.
While there is no official date for the project at this point, there is a single that, in his words, is “around the corner”.
In addition to sharing info on his new music, Cephas also addressed one of his recent tweets and the response it got from the Christian hip-hop community.
Hello and welcome to the eleventh installment of The DIVE Series*. I am your host, […]
There’s nothing quite like addressing the current status of society in America. Especially doing so through the medium of hip-hop.
For Menace Movement artist Cephas, his debut album does just that.
America Shall Be Saved is a 13-song journey through the eyes of Cephas. One that incorporates faith, politics, and lyricism. Recently, Cephas spoke with FiveTwenty about the project.
How are you doing now that the album has dropped?
“[I’m] feeling extremely grateful. Grateful that my latest album is no longer decaying away in my hard drive and finally got released.”
“Musically, [listeners] should expect a blend of jazz, funk, gospel, and vintage hip hop. Message wise, expect to hear an urgent call from the Holy Spirit to a deeper relationship with Jesus. A call to draw close and participate in a coming revival that’s about to sweep the country, directly following a great rise in persecution against the Body in America.”
“I took a trip to the Reinhard Bonnke School of Evangelism. I heard a sermon called America Shall Be Saved and it stuck with me. It’s estimated that Reinhard has won over 74,000,000 people for the Lord. So for him to shift from Africa (where he did ministry for 40 years) to America, and for him to say that revival was going to hit America, [it] influenced this album heavily.”
“I wanted to create a versatile palette of moods and vibes. Create a fluid listening experience from beginning to end. I didn’t want it all to just be boom-bap. There are heavy elements of Gospel, funk, jazz, and soul woven throughout. Even though I have a distinct vintage style, that doesn’t mean every song has to sound the same. I was very intentional in making sure every song was unique but fit into the rest of the project like a glove.”
Approaching Controversial Topics
“I’m not looking to offend people merely for shock value, [or] clout.”
“On the other hand, if what I believe is true ends up being controversial, I’m not sure I can stop that.”
“I pray over my material heavily throughout the whole creative process. That way He’s the one liable for any issues caused (lol).”
“[I] was a little shocked how divided we areally were once I started putting my own content out as an emcee. Equally surprised how many people felt like what I was saying was needed. [It] felt like could offer some balance to the game. Since I’m not a Democrat or Republican, it’s never a Left vs. Right thing with me. People can trust that I’m not just regurgitating the current divisive media headlines.”
Christians and Politics
“It’s mad important!”
“Probably more important than ever before in our nation’s history.”
“This is it. The last stand. Do or die. If not now then when? If not us then who?”
“I genuinely feel like it only takes a small handful of us to take a stand for the rest to follow. People just need to see others are doing it first. It’s in our nature.”
Being a part of Menace
“It’s been dope! D [Daitn] and I have been brothers for 7-8 years at this point. When he started Menace it eventually just became a no-brainer. Started off as creative director, just assisting where I could with different projects. The next logical step was signing. Its cool cause from the start D agreed I shouldn’t get rid of GO! Records, but co-brand as a collab with Menace for all my releases. That way, I can retain the GO! brand for when it makes sense to transition. He’s been mad supportive from the jump in that way.”
“He understood I had a vision for GO! so for him to allow me to co-brand was super gracious.”
“He’s been mad gracious with his platform in general. He isn’t just that way with me. He shares freely with his label and close friends too. Haven’t seen anyone else with his platform doing that. Another way we lead from the front. We are truly a community, not just a label.”
Goals for the Album
“America has a lot wrong with it.”
“Anyone following me knows I’m not shy about her flaws. But, it also has a lot going in its favor.”
“My goal was to restore faith in God’s heart towards the American church and the entire church by in large. Times are getting darker, but I think God wants us to shine brighter as a result instead of growing dim. This album was written to stoke the flame in hopes that we brighten up a bit. It’s a lofty goal.”
“People have been craving substance for a while, so I think this project fills that void. Also, people have been hungry for that authentic hip-hop sound. This seemed to fill that void too.”
“All the singles came out better than expected.”
“I made this album with zero singles in mind. It was meant to be, and is, a project you listen to from intro to outro. I had to go in and try to pick out singles from that kind of album. In the end, it was hard but, all of them were received well. I never focus on the singles; the radio; catchy hooks or trying to ‘make a hit’. I pray and seek God. He gives me downloads.”
“Usually titles to songs or song concepts (lyrics, sounds, instruments, etc.). Then everything flows from there, with purpose. The end result is usually a body of work that all ties into itself with a cohesive them. As opposed to ‘expressing myself’ through music, I try to empty myself. So I can express God through my music instead.”
“As long as society stays open, we’ll be rocking a city near you this summer.”
“Shout out to the Menace team and my creative team. Without all of us working together, none of this would’ve happened.”
What do you think of America Shall Be Saved? What are some of your favorite songs from the album? Let us know in the comments!
It started with eight nominations for our 2020 Rookie of the Year. After a fan […]
A title born from a sermon by German-born evangelist Reinhard Bonnke.
Never heard of him?
America Shall Be Saved, the latest project from Menace Movement artist Cephas, is tied to Bonnke’s ministry. Bonnke reached more people with the gospel than anyone in history. Over 74 million in Africa alone. Don’t believe it? Bonnke holds the Guinness Book of World Records for speaking to the most people face-to-face publicly. He spent all of his money on outreach in Africa instead of TV spots in the West.
While attending the Reinhard Bonnke School of Evangelism, Cephas was blessed to hear the man in person.
Bonnke delivered a powerful sermon about revival sweeping America. The 70-year-old preacher was yelling at the top of his lungs “America shall be saved!” The place erupted with worship. The moment marked Cephas forever.
The phrase is now the title of Cephas’ debut LP.
Entirely self-produced, the album contains elements of a “concept” record. What does that mean? It is designed to be listened to from start to finish as a single work.
The 13-track LP features beat switches, intriguing interludes, samples of preachers from times past all weave a palette of various “golden era” hip hop styles together. Through it all, it tells a story of a coming revival hitting America. Sonically, the album is extremely detailed. Cephas co-engineered the project with Joe Nardone (previous work includes Kanye, Dilla, and Talib Kweli).
GO! Records and Menace Movement joint released the album in March
America Shall Be Saved features artists Eshon Burgundy, J. Carter, D-Maub, and Yaves Ellis. Artwork and promotional rollout were done in collaboration with Zxmbiac (John Givez, Ruslan, Dream Junkies, Alex Faith, Angie Rose). The LP is currently available everywhere music is streamed. Check it out below and let us know in the comments your favorite tracks!
If you haven’t heard his name, you’ve probably heard his production.
As a producer, his soulful arrangements garnished the attention of CHH’s lyrical elite: Bizzle, Eshon Burgandy, Datin, Selah the Corner, and K-Drama among others. In 20129 Cephas stepped out from behind the bards. He began writing, rapping, and singing.
Cephas dropped the mixtape “We Will Go” in 2020. The project was met with critical acclaim.
Ultimately, Cephas desires to use his gifts in music and art to share the gospel of Jesus Christ. An evangilist at heart, he preaches a clear call for salvation. Anyone who has digest his lyrics can tell you that is his heart’s posture.
Hello and welcome to the eleventh installment of The DIVE Series*. I am your host, […]
After more than a decade in music as a producer and DJ, Cephas has released his debut mixtape as a hip-hop artist.
The Ohio-based Cephas recently signed to Datin’s Menace Movement label. He is the latest, and perhaps most unique, addition to a growing roster.
Cephas blends soulful, jazzy production with an extremely clear Gospel message. This is where real hip hop and evangelism meet! Spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ is the single most important goal for Cephas. Tens of thousands of young people have heard the Good News through his platform.
When they tell us to tone it down with our Jesus raps, our reply is ‘NAH” !!!!
While I have been familiar with Cephas for a minute now, I can’t say that I had fully dove into his work until recently. But when my guy Pacaso tells me I need to listen to a project, I know I need to pay attention. That was the case with We Will Go, Cephas’ first release with Menace.
I guess we’ll find out if it lives up to the hype!
From the start, I love that the project is available on Bandcamp!
Artists take note, use tools like Bandcamp that can give you greater return on your content. It may take a little extra time, but you can control how consumers access your music. That’s probably a different conversation…that we may have had.
Where to Start
We Will Go is a 13-track project.
The last three are bonus cuts which also happen to be Parts 1-3 of “KNGDM State of Mind”.
The opening title track sets the tone with a wonderful combination of sample and melodic intro. Cephas clearly has his roots in classic hip hop. This is feel-good music that draws you in from the start. Some may call it a throwback, others boom-bap, but no matter how you choose to classify it, the sound is refreshing.
Next up is the 2020 single “New Day” which reminds us that each day is another opportunity to dwell with our “good, good Father”.
Track three is a record that is much needed in the Church today.
“Four Walls (ft. J. Carter)” may be one of my favorite records on the album.
Cephas gives us a reminder that “we’re one big family” as he declares we need to get back to the foundation of the faith. J. Carter croons on the hook “it’s not about the four walls at all”, something that a large part of the Body seems to have forgotten over time. It’s time to remember that the church building may be a home base, but the mission field is the world. Who’s willing to look a little different in order to fulfill the commission of Christ?
“So Good” rounds out the opening sequence of the album. It’s a simple track with a simple message: God has been so good to us. Johnathan Baker delivers a solid feature verse while Cephas works in a pleasant melodic element in the hook. The record even includes a prayer breakdown, something that is typically reserved for the end of a project. It is a unique touch that adds to the feeling of shifting to a new phase of the album.
The opening of “Spell” has a cinematic feel. As the song unfolds, the sonics hit you like a blend of classic Nas mixed with the Dramatics. The next chapter of We Will Go is an expertly crafted example of storytelling.
This three-song stretch includes “Nah” which Cephas dropped a visual for. It’s a record with a statement. Cephas is not looking to let money or the music industry control him or who he is as an artist. Check it out!
“I seen a pastor cut his outreach budget sheet/ cause helping the needy doesn’t always equal butts in seats/ if I’m not careful, I be thinking if it were up to me/ I’d pull his whole family out the house, to make ’em slum the streets” – The Forgotten / Windows Up
As skilled as Cephas is at creating a mood with his production, he is equally gifted in his ability to share a tale. The final installment of this three-song set is a mash-up of sorts. Cephas tackles topics that are honestly easier to avoid. From holding leaders of the faith accountable to looking in the mirror and being honest about how we treat the less fortunate of God’s creation. “The Forgotten / Windows Up” may not be the ideal record when it comes to marketing, but it is a track that all Christians need to listen to and reflect on.
StefanOtto, Bumps INF (God Over Money), and the head menace Datin all join Cephas over the next couple of tracks.
“Divine Messengers” and “Stop Us” bring that raw, gritty sound that one would expect from a Menace Movement release. Even so, Cephas keeps his signature jazz samplings hanging close in the background. It’s an eclectic mix that does an excellent job of bringing the listener down the homestretch.
The main tracklist comes to an end with the record “New Day Reprise”.
The reprise is a fitting, compacted reimagination of the second track from the album. Adding in lo-fi elements that bring a satisfying, would-be end to one of the year’s best projects. However, it’s not over yet.
Over the past year, Cephas has given us a trilogy of releases known as “KNGDM State of Mind”. Parts 1, 2, & 3 are anthems for followers of Christ. Are we wrapped up in the temptations of the world or are we focused on our purpose?
It appears like a no-brainer to include these records on the album. Bonus cuts or not.
Cephas goes against the grain at every opportunity on We Will Go. At least as far as the majority of CHH is concerned.
Where are the trap beats? How are you going to have songs that are three minutes long? (Some even push towards six!) Don’t you know that the boom-bap/backpacker sound is dated?
Criticize all that you want, but this is the type of record that the space desperately needed.
We Will Go connects with the old heads while being completely relevant to today’s musical landscape. There is a freedom in the sound that has been missing for too long. Cephas showcases his impressive talents while also, unashamedly, putting Jesus Christ at the forefront. I’ve heard people ask, “if you were sharing CHH with someone who has never heard it, what would you play them?” While the answer is fluid, We Will Go wouldn’t be a bad choice by any stretch.
But this is just one man’s opinion.
What do you think about We Will Go? Hit the comments and weigh in!
Act 1 was meant to set up the story. With ‘Dreaming Wide Awake: Act 2’, […]
Christian hip-hop artist Cephas celebrates his recent signing to the Menace Movement label with a new mixtape. We Will Go is a 13-track release that features Datin, Bumps INF, StefanOtto, Johnathan Baker, and J. Carter.