Corey Red and Precise Take Hip Hop to a Spiritual Level
Artist: Corey Red and Precise
CD Title: Resistance Iz Futile
Reviewed by Jon Minners
Buy Music from Corey Red and Precise
Before Jesus walked for Kanye West and hip hop fans were welcoming back Reverend Mase, Bronx resident Corey Red and his Staten Island cohort Precise were revolutionizing the industry with their form of Christian Rap.
The duo recently released their latest album entitled Resistance Iz Futile, a CD they hope delivers a positive message of inspiration based on deep Christian values, mixed with the hard thumping beats people have come to expect from established hip hop acts. While not shying away from the raw and emotional street lyrics that have made acts like 50-Cent and DMX household names, the duo casts those street exploits in a new light, one that attempts to depict how Jesus has led them down the right path and past the obstacles that have claimed others.
However, the spiritual route was not always the way for either rapper. Growing up around Fordham Road, Corey Red went to P.S. 85, I.S. 137 and then Roosevelt High School and throughout it all, his grandmother "dragged" him to church, but religion was not that important to the Bronxite. "I thought of it as cruel punishment," he recalls. "I didn't get anything out of it. Truth is relative and I believe in Jesus, but the whole Son of God stuff…I was just so suspicious of everything. Then my life hit a brick wall in 1991."
Corey Red wanted money and chased the check the street way until he was stabbed in the chest and lay dying on the operating table in Bellevue Hospital. "I felt that if I was going to roll my dice, I might as well roll them on Jesus," he recalled. "Yo Jesus, if you are real, save me. I will do good; whatever. Two days later, I woke up and I couldn't out rule divine intervention. Afterwards, it was a slow process, but I started changing my life and caring whether I died or not."
Precise led a similar life, one of crime that lasted until 1995. "In 1995, I personally met Christ and after the experience, it changed my life," said the Staten Island native, not elaborating on the experience. "Before then, a lot of my rhymes mirrored what you hear on the radio already. Hip Hop expresses life as you feel it from your own personal experiences. My life took a turn and I was now walking life with a relationship with God, so I started rapping about how he is true and how he does care for me."
Corey Red started to rap about spirituality, choosing that as his way of ministering to the public. The duo met in 1997 when a pastor from Brooklyn brought different rappers into Coney Island to talk to people. Corey Red was a soloist and Precise was part of a group called Kindred Spirits. "We didn't think of doing music together," said Red, who currently lives in Hunts Point in The Bronx. "We just talked to each other, but when his group broke up, he became a soloist and God showed us that there was work for us to do together."
The rest, as they say is history, as Corey Red and Precise started rapping together, but also discussing their faith in God at churches, prisons, colleges and everywhere else they go. "We are trying to get out the true understanding; the true knowledge of who Christ is," said Precise. "There are many stereotypes and stigmas on Christianity and Christians as a whole, but many have an interest in wanting to know about God and we can help them through our words. We are not pushing religion on anyone. We are just telling people that if it was not for God, we wouldn't be where we are today. We are just sharing our life experiences and what God has done for us."
In the few years that they have been together, the duo has achieved some notoriety, not just in the United States but also in the UK and Iceland where the old school style of Hip Hop with a message still has significance. For Corey Red, it doesn't matter where they are heard, just that they are getting heard that matters. "I just wanted to get a fair shot," he said. "I have never been the type of person who got upset if someone heard us and didn't like us. I would rather be heard and not liked than not to have been heard at all. I am like a mailman in that I just deliver the mail. If you see that it is a bill and you rip it up, it's ok, as long as I was able to deliver the message."
The group has also received the respect of their peers, touring with the likes of Donnie McClurkin, Yolanda Adams, Mary Mary, B.B. Jay, The Cross Movement, Tonex and Byron Cage before getting the once in a lifetime chance to open up for Bad Boy recording artist Carl Thomas at the Doug Banks Jam Session. However, for Red, all that matters is playing their brand of music. "Whether it is for 80,000 people or just eight people in a room, I will not be satisfied until the whole country and the whole planet knows about us and our message," he said. "We hear a lot on the news about priests molesting children, but what about when we played in front of gangstas with their bandanas and how when we got our message delivered, they threw their weeds and bandanas down and started praying to the lord, asking for Jesus. Why can't that be shown? That is what matters to us; when our stories reach people."
With their new CD, Resistance Iz Futile now out, they hope to reach an even greater audience. The CD has received praise from peers, fans and the secular industry, which has seen a growth in Christian Rock and could soon see a rise in Christian Rap with the recent Kanye West offering Jesus Walks and Mase tracks already receiving mainstream play. Setting themselves apart from other Christian acts is the fact that despite staying away from profanity, the devaluing of women, talk of bling bling, the duo does deliver their message through hard, rough and rugged lyrics meant to make a listener think and they make no apologies for it.
"When you hear the single, Christ Out, which was serviced to radio last month along with other tracks such as Da Matrix, Scattered Sheep and We in Here, which have received continuous airplay across the country, we are intentionally exposing you to who we used to be, while, at the same time, revealing who Christ purposed us to be," said Precise.
"We are more like Wu-Tang Clan in the respect that we are rapping about the streets and we are not going to be passive about it," said Red. "There is no half-stepping the issue. When people rap about being a drug dealer, they're like, 'I'm a drug dealer, what?!' It's the same thing for me. I am rapping about being a preacher, so it's like 'I'm a preacher, what?!"
The rap duo are now in talks about getting a video done to promote the CD and are hitting the streets to get the word out on their new collaboration. They are already getting the recognition from the lives they left behind. "I run into people who are like, 'I remember you from when you used to get drunk on the corner. I always liked you, but now I really respect you,'" Red recalls. "They tell me, 'we need what you are doing out there. You are my hope that Jesus is real.' There's always hope through our ministry. All we ask is that you listen to our message."
For those who are curious about Corey Red and Precise, listen to five of the 14 tracks on the CD by logging on to http://www.redprecise.com/.
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