What Am I Willing to Co-Sign With?

As a music producer and follower of Jesus, the question of what I’m willing to co-sign with has been a guiding principle since I started producing music for others. It’s a question that forces me to dig deep into my values and beliefs, and it’s not always easy to answer in an industry that often prioritizes profit over purpose.

For some, the answer is “you co-sign with whoever gonna pay you.” I understand that. Others believe, “You do anything you gotta do to get exposure to make more connections”. One platinum producer recently said, “If you’ve been doing this for 20 years and have no plaque, something is wrong with you because this isn’t hard.” The point is we all have motivations behind what we do.

But here’s the thing – they often overlook the content of the music being created. Nobody talks about that. So, even if it bothers them, they chose to turn their heads and compromise to gain clout, money, or both. That’s for them to sort through with the Lord. I’m not their judge, I’m just an observant. But for me, I can’t turn my head. I know that isn’t my purpose.

On the flip side, I know of producers (who are believers) who say “I won’t do anything ungodly anymore”, but that is after they got their notoriety from producing gold or platinum records from some ratchet music. I mean, the change of heart is honorable, but isn’t that like someone who gets rich and famous from doing something illegal but then uses the fame and riches to do good with it? Honestly, I don’t know. Again, it is just an observation. Minimally though, it is more proof that this is a hard question for many creatives to navigate. 

The Devil Made Me Do It

I started off rapping in the church and taught myself music production because I wanted original beats for my music. The drive to be a better music producer led me to beat battles, discussions on forums, and making a few connections. One significant connection was with the late actor and rapper Deezer D, who shared a reflection with me on being a Christian in the entertainment industry. He would often face questions about his faith due to the roles he played that weren’t deemed ‘godly.’ His response was simple: “Someone has to play the devil in the church play.” Point being, you have to step back and look at the bigger picture to understand the role and impact of a creative work. Playing the devil in the church play where Jesus is glorified is different than playing the devil where the only one glorified is the devil.

 

Godly > Secular > Ungodly

So, how do I manage this? I believe the most impactful songs are created between people of the same spirit – whether it’s the Holy Spirit or the opposite. Some good things can still be done when there isn’t spiritual alignment (e.g., a Christian producer working with a non-believing artist or vice versa) due to God’s anointing, but never as impactful as when there is unity. Unification creates impact. Still, good things can come out of situations where the music created is not ungodly. 

To help with understanding my viewpoint, there are three defining categories for music: 

  1. Godly Music: Music that glorifies God, encourages worship, and aligns with Christian values and teachings.
  2. Secular Music: Music that is not specifically religious or spiritual, focusing on everyday life and human experiences without referencing God.
  3. Ungodly Music: Music that contradicts Christian principles, promotes immoral behavior, or contains blasphemous content.
 

Many Christians automatically treat secular music as ungodly, but I’m not one of them. For instance, the song “U The 1” by Hunxho on the album For Her is a secular song, but I don’t think it is ungodly. When I hear it, I feel moved and think about my wife. Based on this, would I love to work with Hunxho on a song like that? Absolutely. It points to Truth because it speaks to commitment and doesn’t promote blasphemous content which is ultimately my answer to the question. I’m not willing to co-sign with is ungodly music.

Conclusion

I know some will say I must think I’m better than others because of my stance. While that wouldn’t be true, it could just be that my faith and values are more important to me. They are what guide my choices and has kept me out of a lot of trouble. Staying true to them not only honors God but also creates music that can genuinely impact and uplift others. So, whether it is through Godly or secular music that points to Truth, I want to continue to produce music that reflects integrity, positivity, and respect

As a producer, I would love to be able to say I have a gold or platinum record to my name. I would be surreal to be able to pay off my mortgage and cars from producing a hit song. But what I really want is found in Matthew 25:23. I’m going to call this the Infinity plaque because there is an inscription that says “Well done, good and faithful servant.” That’s the ultimate goal right now, and that covers my whole life. I have a ways to go still but I’m working toward it. What about you? What drives and motivates you as an artist or producer?

Back to Deezer D

Lastly, I want to turn things back to Deezer D (real name Dearon Thompson). It has been a few years (2021) since Dearon passed away and there is a tendency for people to be forgotten with the passage of time. But I want to tell a quick story. Deezer would sometimes call me and leave voice messages with songs he was thinking about when inspiration hit him. In 2015, he called about a song he wanted to do called “Thank God”. It was about how people basically turned their back on him, especially after he was having some serious health issues. There is more to the story but below is what we created. Chris Gunn (On the One Productions) out of LA recorded and mixed it. I’m sharing it because I think it does a good job of highlighting why I make the decisions I do. I hope you are blessed by it. 

On the flip side Deezer! 🙏🏽

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