THIS IS PART 2 OF OUR MY EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH SIVION. FOR PART ONE CLICK HERE.
Malachi: Why did you call your new album "Group Therapy"?
Sivion: I work in the healthcare staffing industry with physical and occupational therapists. One type of treatment that we see in this field is "group therapy". So when I decided to make this record one that would feature collaborations on most of the songs, I adopted the familiar term for the title. My music has always been considered "feel good" hip hop and I've been told that it puts people in a good mood and helps them get into a more positive mind-state. So this record is providing that same therapy but from the efforts of a group of like-minded artists willing to share their love for the same God I serve. "Group Therapy" fits perfectly with my vision for the project.
I read an interview where you said the main concept behind Group Therapy is “unity”. I feel like that's something that is missing in Christian Hip Hop. What lead you to want to use that concept?
You hit it right on the head. I agree with you totally. There's not enough unity in Christian Hip Hop, so I wanted to create some unity, not only among the artists on the album to promote future collaborations among them, but I also wanted to remind the genre of some of the pioneers who helped build it. There are lots of younger cats getting most of the shine right now, but the veterans on my record from crews like Deepspace5, Tunnel Rats, Future Shock, etc. have been around for decades. Some of them might not currently have the same label resources backing them like back in the day, so I wanted to showcase them in the hopes that it promotes collaborations with some of the artists that are hotter right now......thus bridging the gap between the old school, new school, underground, mainstream, etc.
What do you feel needs to be done to create more unity in Christianity and in Christian Hip Hop?
I think it just comes down to everyone loving on each other more and stopping all the judgmental behavior. We all serve the same God and love the same Savior, Jesus Christ. So it doesn't matter what we're doing to advance the Kingdom, as long as we're doing SOMETHING to advance the Kingdom. Everyone has different gifts, talents, and responsibilities. If everyone does their job and encourages and supports others in doing their job, then there'll be more unity, no question. So if I'm doing underground rap and you're doing mainstream rap, then we need to support and encourage each other in our faith and in continuing to do what God has called each of us to do, even if I personally don't connect with the angle that you're using to get the job done. That's unconditional love and support. We need that more in The Body.
Back in the day an album cover was a work of art. People even collected album covers. But now it seems like artists don't care about album covers like they used to. I have even seen projects that didn't have a cover. The cover for "Group Therapy" is a real work of art. Did you work with the artist to create it and what message are you trying to send through the piece?
Yes, I specifically enlisted Samax Amen from ghettomanga.com because I knew he could take a pic from one of my photoshoots and turn it into a work of art. The idea was to create an image that would be memorable and fun. For the cover, instead of having a group of people following a superhero down the street, we thought it would be really fresh if we had a group of superheroes following a normal dude down the street. So Samax got in the lab, worked hard at it, and ended up doing an amazing job pulling off that cover concept for me.
Of course, you have a lot of ill emcees on the album but you worked with some amazing producers too. And you play with different flavors as far as production goes. Were you involved with the production process or did you just pick the beats you liked?
For the most part, I picked beats that created a specific vibe or mood with the production elements. Though I didn't sit in on production sessions with the producers, I did do the sequencing on about half of them, so I like to think that I was a part of the post-production process. These producers really came with it and I am honored to be able to work with such talented beat-smiths, several of which are doing things at a much higher level than myself, winning Grammy and Dove awards.