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Hip-hop artist to give Easter performance at People's Church NW OKC

Hip-hop recording artist Gregory Jerome [Photo provided]
Hip-hop recording artist Gregory Jerome [Photo provided]

Hip-hop recording artist Gregory Jerome will be part of the Easter worship experiences at People's Church Northwest Oklahoma City on Sunday.

The musician, 37, is known for his socially conscious rap style and dedication to using hip-hop to uplift and educate those around him. He will perform at the 10 and 11:30 a.m. worship experiences at the church, 8512 Northwest Expressway.

He recently performed a set with the Oklahoma City Philharmonic as part of its “Discovery Family Series” program on Black History Month.

During an interview this week with The Oklahoman, the recording artist said he plans to perform “Glory” a song from his upcoming album, on Sunday.

Though he was raised in Texarkana, Ark., he has Oklahoma roots. He was born in Oklahoma City (His real name is Gregory J. Arnold) and graduated from Edmond Santa Fe High School.

The recording artist recently returned to Texarkana to present a week-long course on hip-hop creative writing to high school students there, as part of the “Musical Inspiration Creative Writing Workshop.” During the course, he worked closely with students to help them find their own messages and transform them into hip-hop performances.

He said he knows first hand about transformation and renewal , two powerful themes of the Easter season.

Q: How did you connect with People’s Church?

A: The musical director at People’s Church spoke to me last year at some point. He felt like I would be a good fit for a performance at the church so he basically asked me if I would be interested in making a guest appearance. He contacted me recently about doing this performance for Easter.

 

Q: What are your thoughts about performing for Easter? You have to know that this will be the church's biggest crowd of the year.

A: Well, I think it’s a great opportunity. My message is so universal and so is my music so I believe it’s good for other individuals to hear different artists instead of the normal or traditional performances.

 

Q: Tell me a little bit about the piece that you will perform, “Glory.”

A: The “Glory” piece is actually an Easter program that they put together. It’s basically about resurrection.

 

Q: When did you decide that you wanted to be a hip-hop artist and express yourself through this type of music?

A: I was about 16 when I first wrote my first rhyme. I was really a challenged kid basically, being raised in a single parent home, no father, I had a lot of frustration and I didn’t know how to deal with that. I had no outlet. I found that I could use the pen and the pad as an outlet to express whatever I had on my mind or on my heart. So it was therapeutic for me and that’s how it really started.

 

Q: When did you know you had a talent for it?

A: Right at the beginning. I gave one of my rhymes to a good friend and he like 'Man, you got something. You need to do something with it.' I then got into some groups and started writing with them, recording with them. But I was more of a (socially) conscious writer and they were more into street-life, gangster rap.

 

Q: How did your rap style evolve into the socially conscious rap or was it always that way?

A: It was bits and pieces because I was a gang member at one point in time so I still had some lyrics that targeted that -- but it was still real. Street life is real. It’s reality. Eventually, I moved from Texarkana and relocated here and that’s when I really had to find myself instead of being with a group. That’s when I started focusing on more socially conscious issues and more interpersonal issues.

 

Q: You say you used to be a gang member. How did you go from being a gang member to a socially conscious rapper who has performed with the Philharmonic?

A: Honestly, what changed my whole perception of life as a whole was when I was 19, I had a son. He died when he was five months old and the first time I was able to see him was when he was actually in a casket. That made me reflect on what I was doing. I had another son who was a year older than him (the deceased son) at the time and that changed my whole perception on life and what I give into the universe. I thought how do I want my son to perceive me when he gets older.

 

Q: So you  wanted to leave a different legacy?

A: Yes. Everything is a transition. It’s a choice to accept the change. You have to accept what changes are about in life and understand the lessons within the transition. What are the benefits of that transition? Are these elements of transitioning beneficial to you to propel you to the next level? For me, it took a while for me to transition. I started doing stuff that I needed to do, like finishing high school. At Edmond Santa Fe, one of the coaches at the school sent some letters out for me to play ball in college. I had a lot of letters come in from that. I went to an Oklahoma college and eventually transferred to another college Middle Tennessee, for music, where I eventually graduated. I got more in tune with who I was as an individual.

 

Q: What are you expecting from the church crowd?

A: I have performed in churches before so it’s nothing new to me. People are people, no matter what culture you come from or what religion  you claim. I believe music is a universal language and people relate to lyrics that are real, that are relevant, basically. I make sure that I give it the best that I have and make sure that I do it with passion.

 

For more information about Gregory Jerome, go to  https://www.facebook.com/gregory.jerome.14 or follow @GregoryJeromeOK on Twitter.

For more information about People's Church's Easter services and other activities, go to www.peopleschurch.tv.

Carla Hinton

Religion Editor

 

 

 

Carla Hinton

Carla Hinton, an Oklahoma City native, joined The Oklahoman in 1986 as a National Society of Newspaper Editors minority intern. She began reporting full-time for The Oklahoman two years later and has served as a beat writer covering a wide... Read more ›

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