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Q&A with Kingston Ho
Tell us about where you’re from and when, how you picked up on rap.
It was in Manchester that I myself started rapping at 17. I was playing basketball with a group of guys and after the game a few of them huddled up, one of them pulled out his phone, and they all took turns rapping verses over instrumental beats one after the other. Much to their surprise, I jumped in and jokingly started rapping famous lyrics I had learned from well-known rappers, and the boys said I sounded good, encouraging me to start writing my own stuff like they did. So that night I went home, began experimenting with some rhymes and wrote some lyrics – it went from there. It was very much through lyricism and some of the friendships I developed with other rappers in the scene that I would later come to learn about Jesus.
What was the inspiration for this song in particular, and what message do you hope to get across?
“My Friend” was the first song I wrote as a Christian. It came primarily out of a desperation to share the gospel message in its entirety from start to finish, uninterrupted, without any fragmentation. For sure, there’s always more that can be said, but my initial thought was: if I only had a few minutes to speak to someone who had never heard the gospel before, what would I say?
Hip-hop gets a bit of a bad reputation, particularly with modern iterations that focus on self-centeredness, materialism and misogyny. How do you respond to that, and how do you hope to reclaim it as an art form inclined to God’s purpose?
I’d say that all gifts are from God. How we use them, whether for evil or for good, is down to the choices we make, but more so the condition of our hearts. As Christians whose hearts have been changed and are continually being changed by God, we are called to be a light in a world of darkness. The negativity that comes out of hip-hop is birthed out of that same darkness, so hip-hop as an art form and as a culture has been used to glorify evil and is in need of God’s redemption as much as any other area of this world that hasn’t been reconciled with God through the redemptive power of Christ.