Malachi: I remember listening to your music years ago when you were a part of Phat KATS so I know you have been in the game for years. What are some things you know now that you wish you knew when you first started recording?
Sivion: I wish I knew how wack I was back then. HAHA. Just kidding. But seriously, when you're an up and coming artist, you always think your junk is doper than it really is. And it's good "for you" because you're still growing and improving. So every milestone is like your best ever. But that doesn't mean you're ready for a record deal or ready to hold your own as an artist. I think "patience" is probably what I wish I had more of back then. Toward the latter years when Phat KATS was nearing the end of our run, that's when we really got to the point where we could hold our own as a legit hip hop group. But unfortunately, that was the time when life started to change and grown-up responsibilities took the place of Wushu's passion for keeping artistry as a priority. No hard feelings though. He is an amazing husband, father, and Christ-centered head of his household. And I love him to death. Phat KATS forever, bro!
Compare Christian Hip Hop today with how it was when you first started listening to the music.
That's a great question. It's like night and day! When I first got into Christian Hip Hop, the underground sound was much more prevalent, especially with groups like Cross Movement and Grits making big moves at the time. But the problem back then was that there were only a handful of acts that had enough legitimate skill and talent to compete with secular artists. And I think that's part of why the secular kids kind of clowned the Christian game a bit. There also was a bunch of comparisons that made no sense to me. It was like every label had to make comparisons in hopes that new Christians would by their CDs (i.e., if you're a fan of this secular rapper, then you'll like this Christian rapper because they sound the same). And honestly, I know there was pressure from some labels to try to emulate some of the secular sounds, but it all just came off as a very weak alternative or just low-quality copy-cat music. But nowadays, it's the opposite. I really think the Christian side is brining much more passion and talent than the secular side. We're still a ways off from getting the true respect that the genre deserves, but with artists like Lecrae getting Grammys, I think we're getting there slowly but surely.
What were your 3 favorite albums to drop in 2013 and what did you like about them?
Honestly, I really like Shad's "Flying Colours". Love the transparency in his writing and the honesty in his delivery. A lot of people were kinda hating on it for having more of a mainstream vibe in the production, but I loved it. I'm open to all types of music if the presentation is honest and from the heart. Most music these days lacks that. I also like Beautiful Eulogy's "Instruments of Mercy". Braille, Odd Thomas, and Courtland Urbano are an amazing combination and they continue to raise the bar. The other one that I think is RIDICULOUS, from my Illect Recordings label-mates, The Battery, is "Two". Holy Moly! Jurny Big and Peace 586 did it RIGHT on that record. Masterful lyrics and great production. That's the combo you want for a dope hip hop record. Illect Recordings, let's get it in!
Other than the Bible, what are you reading nowadays?
The fam and I are about to start reading "The Chronicles of Narnia" again. We did it years ago and it was so much fun. Now my kids are older and we're going to do it again. We all take turns reading chapters and it just keeps everyone on point with reading skills.
Do you feel reading helps to make you a sharper emcee?
Of course. You can't have mastery of the English language if you're not reading. Emcees need to have broad vocabulary and reading helps with that. Now, there are rappers that don't read and have limited vocabulary. You can definitely be successful without it. But in my opinion it helps a TON if you give yourself more bullets to shoot with, so to speak. Ha Ha,
How did the supergroup known as Deepspace5 come to exist?
That's probably a better question for someone like Manchild to answer, since I was literally one of the last additions to the crew. I know that him and Sintax the Terrific were in the very beginning stages. Rumor has it that Ozay Moore (formerly Othello) and I were both in consideration for the last spot, but my connection to Freddie Bruno and Playdough helped me win it. But honestly, I know Deepspace5 would have gone much further with Ozay, cuz that dude got some serious rap skills! I'm a fan, for real.
When can we expect another Deepspace 5 album?
That's another good question. Not sure. I'll tell you this, though.......I've been asked this question on every single interview I've done since dropping Group Therapy. So that tells me that there are still people out there checking for DS5 material. Very humbling and encouraging. So I'm going to get with the crew and see what their thoughts are. We've all been so focused on our own solo stuff, and as we get older, life gets in the way a bit for trying to coordinate collaborative music from a group that's 10 deep. So we'll see what the future holds. I miss having us all converge on Dust's house for "rap camp", so another project would be such a blast and long overdue.
Your Butterfly Sessions remix project was ill. What made you decide to re-release and remix that album?
Freddie Bruno did a remix for "Brand New Day", which was extremely ill. It changed the vibe of the whole song, so much that it almost seemed like a totally new song. So we got to talking one day and we both agreed that it would be fresh to give that project some more legs by releasing a remix record. And of course, the hope was that people would pick it up and then go back to check out the original, as well, if they hadn't already heard it. Fred did a fantastic job on it and it really became almost a totally new project based on what he did.