If you think hip-hop and gospel aren't synonymous, Ka'Von Grace is proving naysayers wrong.
The 24-year-old Savannah native, also known as Amazin Grace, just released his debut album with 12 tracks through the independent record label Tate Music Group.
Titled "My Journey," the album features some of the more prominent names in Savannah gospel hip hop and veers away from the stereotypical rap prose with expletives to bring a more simple message to youth, Grace says.
DO sat down with Grace to talk about his music, what it's like juggling a night shift at Kroger while also writing and what it's like to see his name in the iTunes Store and Amazon.com,
DO: As this is your first album, you must feel a little shell-shocked.
Ka'Von Grace: It's a feeling like no other. When the anticipation builds up and you've been preparing for it this entire time and it's finally here it's like ... I just want to scream. Everybody's asking you (when will the album will drop?) When you have that date to tell them, it's like no other feeling.
You started with a group of your close friends back in 2005 called Goodfellas, is that right?
Yes, it was a gospel rap group with me and two of my other friends, one of them I went to school with and one of them I went to church with.
Eventually all of us started going to the same church and were like, 'We should start rapping. We should start a rap group.' And from there that's what we did until later on as we got older.
What happened afterward?
It kinda faded off. It's not like we had set out and were like, 'Hey, we're going to split. We're not going to do this no more.' It just stopped and that's how it was. We were still close friends, but it just wasn't there. Our minds were on different things at the time.
But you personally ended up pursuing it.
I decided to, yeah. I knew that's what God wanted from me. I just kept on doing that and here I am again. There was a time I stopped completely, when I was finishing school, being rebellious.
I wasn't living right, chasing girls and whatnot. My heart wasn't in it at the time. I took a while off before I started back in 2010.
Your heart wasn't into it?
I was never really a drinker or a smoker type. My thing was always girls, especially in high school.
I wasn't really focused on what God wanted from me.
That's just where my mind was at. It is what it is.
But you've got to fight that temptation off. That's all it is.
And that's basically the message behind most of the tracks on "My Journey?"
Basically. You really have to explain like, hey, God is the only way. A lot of my songs are directed toward youth between the ages of 13 and 25.
It's basically saying just give your life to him and you'll have a better life than what you expected you would.
It's really better than what you would be experiencing without actually serving him. People think it's a bad thing, but it's not. Since I gave my life to God, it's been so much better than what it was.
Now that your first album is out, I'm willing to bet the girls will be chasing you now.
You managed to produce the album with the help of a friend as you were working the late shift at Kroger.
It's really not that difficult. It's how you balance your time.
For me, I get off work, sleep, pray, write a little bit, spend time with family and do it all over again.
Greg Bratton, he has a big study that he built personally and has it up in his attic, has the whole sound booth in there and the soundproof walls.
I recorded with him when I was back in the Goodfellas, so we knew his work was good.
All I did was book time and went in there and got it done. It's not hard, just can't let laziness get the best of you.
Any message for the youth out there who may have fallen on hard times or lost their way?
What I would tell them is think about what you're doing before you do it.
It's as simple as that.
Me, when I was that age, I didn't think a whole lot about what I was doing and you've got to think about your future.
It's as simple as that. You've got to think about your future and what you want out of yourself. You don't want to be in the street all your life.
There's nothing positive that's going to come from that.
Ask yourself: Is it worth it?