Don’t be fooled into thinking that because Still Trill Christians make gospel music, they don’t go hard. All four members are ministers. Their greatest objective is to spread the word of God.
But between pushing praises to the prince of peace, quoting scriptures and promoting abstinence before marriage, STC got you bobbing your head, clapping your hands and on your feet.
Made up of JT (Joshua Dillard, 23), ACE (Antawan Moore, 24), Prince AJ (Albert McQueen, 20) and Erupt (Elwyn Dillard, 24), the group has gone from performing their infectious lead single “No Sex” in churches around their home base of Houston to appearing as musical guests on BET’s 106 & Park.
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In the midst of awaiting the release of their independent debut album Trill As It Gets in the Spring, they are gearing up for a “No Tour” across the South. The first stop is New Orleans, where the performance will be filmed for “Dr. Bobby Jones Gospel Show” on the Word Network.
Indeed this talented team has come a long way from the sleepy town of Humble, Texas where they first formed only four years ago. In a virtually short period time, STC has covered a lot of ground and got a lot more to go. But nothing will stop them from saving souls. They got an edge on the competition.
Hip-Hop Wired: What type of reaction do you get when people see you perform or hear your music for the first time?
JT: It’s more of like a mouth-dropping, wow type of reaction because people have never seen Christian rap with dudes that got swag, know how to rap and the production is on the same quality of those not doing Christian rap. People don’t realize that there are rappers that got swag, sending out a good message and can rap. That’s not known in a lot of places.
Ace: If the people haven’t heard of us, they’ll probably give us a hand because we’re Christian artists. But they’re still in their seats. But after they hear the music, the quality and the sound, they are on their feet, applauding. A lot of people haven’t heard gospel music done like this before.
Erupt: It’s just an awe seeing a group of young men representing. We’re not holding back. We’re not sugar coating it. We’re telling it like it is. It’s what people want. It’s truth. We’re relaying the word of God. We’re just doing it in a way that it’s understandable to young people. People are receiving it in churches and out of the churches. Our job is to save souls, and they’re loving it.
Prince AJ: When we get on stage, we’re not doing any great revelation that has never been done. We’re doing what the Bible says, preaching the gospel to every man. When we do that, it has no choice but to cause change. It’s like dynamite. When you throw a stick of dynamite in a building, everything changes. And that’s what STC does when we step in the place. We’re going to cause change in the whole system because we’re bringing the word of God, destroying deception and we’re doing it in a swaged out way.
Hip-Hop Wired: STC performed nationally on BET’s 106 & Park, not as contestants but as special invited guests. Even Fantasia gave the group props. What was it like being the first gospel rap group to grace that stage?
JT: It was exciting. It was really a humbling experience for God to allow us the opportunity to be on there. But then again, there are a lot of sexual things that are promoted on BET. So for them to even consider putting us on there, it shows that people support us.
Ace: It was nobody but God. “106” has been on the air for a while. I used to watch videos all the time. And now for me to be on the platform that’s aired across America, that was a very powerful experience.
Erupt: It was amazing. It was definitely a great opportunity to reach so many people.
Prince AJ: It was powerful. We set a mark in history. What made it more exciting is when God’s work is being manifested.
Hip-Hop Wired: How does Still Trill Christians plan to change the at-times negative perception of rap music and Hip-Hop culture?
JT: We plan on giving Hip-Hop a different look. When you look at Hip-Hop now, it’s more about money, cars and women. Hip-Hop can be a bad influence. You have Hip-Hop artists trying to defend Hip-Hop but through us, you can say all Hip-Hop is not negative. It’s just some of the Hip-Hop is like that. Hip-Hop is not just one thing. Hip-Hop is changing lives.
Ace: Like any secular artist who puts his all in his music, we put our all in our music. We’re doing this for God. This is the way we’re getting the gospel out. It’s more than just rapping. A lot of rappers talk about how big gangsters they are but haven’t seen a pistol a day in their life. We’re actually living what we’re talking about. I even see some secular artists who are household names… I see a lot of their lives being changed.
Erupt: Just sticking to the word of God. There’s nothing we can say. We’re strictly sticking to the word of God and giving it with knowledge and understanding. There is no playing games with it. We’re going to tell you about the blessings. God desires every soul to be saved.
Hip-Hop Wired: With artist like Mary Mary and Kirk Franklin making hits, are secular audiences becoming more receptive to gospel rap?
JT: A lot of people have a Christian background. A lot of people were raised in the church or have some type of Christian background. That’s why I think a lot of people are receptive to it.
Ace: We’ll be out passing out flyers and CDs, telling people about the music. People say they don’t listen to gospel music but when we let them hear it, they say ‘that go hard.’ People say it’s not gospel because of the beat. We got an up-tempo, urban sound. But the anointing makes it gospel music along with the lyrics.
Erupt: It’s not accepted the way it needs to be. It should be accepted more at a broader level. Kirk Franklin and Mary Mary are more of an R&B-type of gospel. But we are on the rap side. I don’t think the rap side of gospel music is at the point where it needs to be.
Prince AJ: It’s an acceptance… especially when you make it fun to live this lifestyle. To make it cool to be a Christian, it’s accepted by all. But we don’t compromise. If we compromise, we lose our anointing. It becomes tainted. We don’t adapt to the atmosphere; we change from the atmosphere.
Hip-Hop Wired: How do other Christians feel about you doing gospel rap? Is there support or opposition from other Christians?
JT: A lot of people are more receptive to it but some of the Christian community doesn’t want to compromise.
Ace: Some people who disagree with it and say that gospel Hip-Hop shouldn’t be in the church. But there’s a scripture in Acts 5 that speaks about these men preaching the gospel but there was a crowd of people disagreeing with him. Then, another man stood up in the crowd and said leave these men alone because if they are not of God, they will fail. If it is of God, then you may find yourself opposing God. And if it is of God, then it’s gonna manifest itself. So sit back and watch what happens. We’re been going on for four years now. A lot of lives have been changed. People are supporting this movement.
Erupt: They’re accepting it. They are open arms to it. They’re behind us and supporting us.
Prince AJ: The only opposition we get from the church is because a lot of people are scared of what they don’t know. The Christian community is starting to accept us now because no sex is a strong message. We’re humble but we have to say what God wants us to say.
Hip-Hop Wired: Continuing to spread the word of no sex, the group is planning a tour of the Southern region. Tell me a little more about that.
JT: We will be in your church, in your state spreading the gospel and hopefully bring some souls to the kingdom.
Ace: We are spreading the message of having no sex until marriage. We are not ashamed and we will stand on any platform and let people know that we are promoting no sex until marriage. It’s a very powerful thing going on. People’s lives are being touched and changed. We are four nice-looking young men talking about no sex until marriage.
Erupt: Since we started spreading the word of no sex, so many kids are grasping on to the message. It’s something that they’ve never heard before. We’re making it cool not to have sex. We’re taking this to the limit. It’s going to be life changing.
Prince AJ: Our main goal is to spread the word but do it in a way where we start a following. People love to jump on something that’s moving. We’re going city to city, state to state and let the world know about the word of God. People are getting touched. Lives are getting changed. Souls are getting saved in a way they have no choice but to receive us.<