Tell us about yourself and your art.
Ezekiel – My name is Ezekiel. I live in Los Angeles, California. I am a full time husband and father. I like to talk about those things first because I believe God has given me that as my primary means of stewardship. I also do spoken word and ministry in different capacities and God is blessing me in that.
My art, I would say, is really just a vehicle to transport the gospel. My hope and desire is to bring people back to the heart of God and I don’t take that lightly. I think it’s an honour that we are vehicles of the gospel and God has called us to that as disciples. There are different things that people enjoy about it. People say that I’m theatrical but it’s just really how I am and there’s not much I can say on that.
When did you discover your talent for what you do and when did you start performing them? How has the journey been since?
Ezekiel – I started writing rap lyrics when I was 13 years old. At that time I just really enjoyed doing it but it was when I got into high school that I got into battle rap. I became obsessed with that. When I got into college I started doing gospel rap, if you will call it that, and shortly after I graduated from the university, I was introduced to spoken word. ‘Almost Saved’ was my first poem. After that I’ve just been doing it ever since, and it’s been one window after the other. From writing lyrics for fun to now doing spoken word and traveling doing it.
The journey has been great. It’s been stepping out on faith. Everyone wants the security of a full time job where you are sitting behind a desk and getting benefits and things like that so there have been challenges but God has been providing. As far as the reception I’ve seen, the genre of spoken word, particularly Christian spoken word. has grown tremendously in the time that myself and P4CM and everybody have been involved. I’m not saying I’m a catalyst to that but I have been a part of that and it has been dope.
Did your experience in Nigeria validate your perceptions about the country or did they change?
Ezekiel – I don’t know what perceptions I was supposed to have I mean that is home, it was exactly how I thought it will be. Home is home;my people are my people. I didn’t get to visit my brothers, sisters, cousins and aunts but the people I did get to see I considered them family as well. Even though we were in Lagos and my people are scattered from Port Harcourt to Imo state, I enjoyed being on the soil and I look forward to being there again. I don’t have any stained perceptions about Nigeria that are outside or crazy or away from the truth. You know every nation, every people has its flaws; everyone needs Jesus. So there are no perceptions that I had that were foiled by my experience, it was really consistent with what I expected.
What do you have to say to your fans in Nigeria?
Ezekiel – I would say “Hey look forward to this event! It’s gonna be unique. Me and Janette…ikz came to Nigeria the first time in 2014 and it was a great reception. I think this is gonna be more dynamic ;we are gonna be bringing some new stuff to the table so we are hoping everybody is prepared. Tell your friends this is not one of those things. It’s gonna be great and the Rhyme and Reason team is just phenomenal so they are gonna of course give a phenomenal show and I can’t wait to see the other acts that are gonna be performing that day as well.
What should the attendees of Rhyme and Reason 2016 expect from you?
Ezekiel – Like I said, something new, something fresh. Definitely 100% from myself and the whole team, we are gonna be coming to glorify God and that is our heart.
Word of advice to people who want to do what you do and to those already doing it?
Ezekiel – I would say be faithful to God. I always think about the story of Abraham and Isaac. If poetry or rap or any creative outlet can be your Isaac, that which God promised you to use to cause you to be great and whatever the case may be, God promised Abraham Isaac, he waited for it and when he finally got it God told him to take Isaac to the mountain to sacrifice him. I think God is calling us to that very thing, and at that mountain point God allowed Abraham to raise the knife but didn’t allow him to kill Isaac. It showed that Abraham was willing to obey God and there was nothing he wasn’t willing to surrender at the cost of that and I think if we put our gifts at that altar and raise a knife to it and God sees where our heart is, He doesn’t kill the gift but instead He uses it for His glory because then He knows that its not our god and we don’t make an idol out of the things that He gives us. So be faithful to God first, and also be faithful to where He has put you. If God has you doing spoken word or rap in a small capacity, that may just be where God has you, He may not even increase your platform but we have to be able to say that God is getting maximum glory even with the small capacity. It sounds whack to say, especially from someone who has a lot of followers or what the case may be but my soul is not tied to what I do. My soul is tied to Christ and if he says “drop that” then I have to be willing to do that, and if He says “okay now you be a youth minister and get off Youtube and Facebook” then I’m gonna have to do that and I can’t be soul tied to those things and have my heart broken if He pulls me from one sector to the next.
See you in Lagos, Nigeria come June 11, 2016.
Ezekiel – see you guys in June 2016, peace.