Updated: Aug 29, 2019
“Sing to him, sing praises to him; tell of all his wonderful acts,” Psalm 105:2. This next artist is following in his father’s footsteps and giving us a refreshing twist on gospel and rap! The DMV AUX presents to you, the lyrical distinct Christian Hip-Hop artist, J-Royal.
J-Royal was raised in South Carolina but is currently in the AirForce stationed at the Bolling Military base in Washington, DC.
Growing up, he was raised in a two-parent household in a small close-knit town. His mother was a nurse/cosmetologist and his dad, a retired marine. “Right around my house I could walk a 100ft and be at my grandmothers', a couple more feet and I'll be at my cousins',” he stated.
As a kid, Jay’s father, “Survival”, along with a close family friend began to make a name for themselves in gospel music, but not just regular ole gospel - “Christian Rap” Jay calls it. “I would go on the road, traveling around the country with my dad, and meet different big-name artists, like Lecrae, Andy Mineo, etc.,” he stated.
He recalls one Christmas when his parents bought him a karaoke machine “From there, on Friday nights, my family would get together to eat fish and play cards, and I would perform in front of everyone, which became a weekly tradition.”
After getting a 97 on the ASVAB test and joining the Airforce, Jay soon decided to follow in his father's footsteps as a Christian rapper. “I decided to take it seriously because I know the process, I know the game, and how everything works,” he stated.
Now on his own in DC, Jay finds himself writing and recording music in his car daily after work with the help of GarageBand. “Believe it or not, my last two albums were recorded/engineered by me with GarageBand using my phone."
Under his parents household, he was only allowed to listen to gospel music. However, he would still listen to rap ALL THE TIME. His favorite artists since high school and up have been leaders in the modern day trap music such as Rich Homie Quan and Migos. “I would listen to Rich Homie Quan every morning! I even started writing like him, then once the Migos came out, I felt like I could do whatever I dreamed,” he stated. Jay also pulls inspiration from many Christian rappers such as Lecrae, Flame, Tedashii, etc.
When it comes to his musical style, J-Royal differentiates from others with his melodies. As a rapper, he also vows to not pollute his fans with verses about violence, sex, and drugs, but rather life experiences and God's work. “I want to glorify him in that aspect, and enlighten him to others," he stated.
On the topic of being a Christian rapper in the DMV music scene, J-Royal feels “It’s hard for others to give him a chance. Nobody wants to go to the club and hear the gospel, but I’m going to continue doing what I’m doing."
Two years from now, he has a goal to keep pursuing music full time, mature in his faith, work on stage presence, and continue supporting himself. Jay is also working on two projects by the name of Holy Mackamole focusing on his relationship with God, and Lil-Survival concentrating on how similar his life coordinates with his father.
If he had to pick his dream collaboration, it would be with the American Christian singer, V Rose. “Every song that she’s on, I love and respect it,” Jay stated.
Aside from music, he enjoys reading books. As a kid, his elementary school teacher would read the “Magic Tree House” series. Hearing these stories sparked his interest in reading books such as Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief. “I used to come home, sit on the couch, and just read like I was watching TV.” Presently, he reads a lot about theology and books that enhance his knowledge.
When it comes to advice for aspiring artists, Jay would tell them, to keep pushing and don’t let anyone tell you, you aren’t good enough. “Your dreams are achievable, keep working and building yourself and never get complacent,” he concluded.
Read more about J-Royal with a closer look below.
What’s your favorite southern meal/item ?
Home cooked deviled eggs. I don’t know how to make them, but I appreciate those who do know how to make them right!
As well as baked macaroni!
What movie can you watch over and over again?
There’s a lot, but “Shooter” with Mark Wahlberg is my top favorite.
If you didn't have to sleep, what would you do with the extra time?
If I didn’t have to sleep, I would spend time in the studio, and record all the songs I have sitting on my phone.
What’s one of your biggest pet peeves?
My biggest pet peeve deals with people that are oblivious to what’s going on in our country right now.
With all the adversity, racism, and constant disrespect, I don’t like folks who turn their heads to that.
Would you rather Win $50,000 or let your best friend win $500,000?
I would let my best friend win $500,000 because he would give me a cut that would be more than $50,000.
Once I have the money, I’ll buy my mom a house, invest in real estate, save, and use what’s left for music.
If your having a bad day, what is something you often do to turn things around?
If I’m having a bad day, I always pray.
I also listen to my own music, because it’s a friendly reminder on why I’m here and doing what I’m doing, and who my God is.
Magnified topic of the week: J-Royal’s “Unbreakable” album
J-Royal's Unbreakable reveals the turmoil and obstacles Jay has faced in life. However, he has gotten so far with God by his side every step of the way! Conquering temptations, fear, and walking in righteousness, Jay has proven he is indeed, unbreakable. I mean, It's even tattooed across his chest!
Listen in to his top three songs, 'Worthy,' 'I'm Trying,' and fan-favorite 'My focus.' In the meantime, Check out 'My focus' below!
Written by Dejah Moné