Lil Dre performs in Houston last year.
Photo by Sketch the Journalist
Sketch: You were born in South Park and raised in Bryan, Texas. What is it about this part of the Lone Star State that fosters so many Christian rappers?
Lil Dre: From what I’ve experienced, this part of the south is open to the diversity of individuals being themselves. The times I did hear cats like Bun B (a rapper from the mainstream group UGK) at school, they seemed to push the issue of “trill” which is all about being who you are. So it always seemed that as long as you kept it real, with who you are and what you spit…people would support you. Recognizing that really allowed me to confidently stay in my lane and try to represent Christ in all I do. In music, basketball, and just everyday life my friends would say I acted different but I was just trying to keep it “100” since our parents raised us in the word of God.
Sketch: You told me before that, unlike many in this genre, you actually started out as Christian rapper and didn’t attempt a secular music career before this. How do you think that has impacted your art and ministry?
Lil Dre: Honestly, I think it’s bittersweet because there was a negative and positive impact for me.
Knowing and accepting who I am in Christ at an early age allowed me to build the foundation I’d need later in life. So regardless of my shortcomings, I have no shame of sharing them with my friends and family to assist me with accountability and as a testimony to those in similar situations.
On the flip side I believe my craft could be that much better if I were to use multiple styles and genres of music to study. For instance, when I wanted to get better at basketball, I went to the hoods where I knew the ballers were…not just my church camps.
Sketch: Under Construction is your second album on Church Boy Entertainment. What’s changed since you dropped Strapped Up?
Lil Dre: Musically: my knowledge of the business. Being able to share with a broader audience has brought some joyous adventures and some situations I’d like to forget. Unfortunately it comes with the territory so it has grown me. Ced [Church Boy’s CEO], Aslan [the label’s resident DJ] and the older men on the team have always been there to teach and guide.
Personally: EVERYTHING! Ha! A new position on my job, marriage, new roles as a man (husband/father), and another baby girl due September 8.That’s what took so long from the last project, I was (still am) doing so much adjusting I had to lighten my load for a while until I learned how to properly balance.
Sketch: What’s your take on recently-revived “Christian rapper/rapper who is a Christian” label debate?
Lil Dre: On the cool I don’t have much of an opinion on the matter. I think there are more important issues to be tackled – like potty training my daughter! Help!
In all seriousness though, I say “to each his own.” It’s cliché, I know. Personally I just don’t want to try and determine what kind of tree it is without checking out its contents (or fruit). I’ve just always used the “Christian rapper” label because, no matter who hears my music, they can hold me accountable to it. I’ve been “called out” a few times.
Sketch: Be real, how hard did you pray for the OKC Thunder to win the NBA Championship and how hard did you cry afterward?
Lil Dre: Haha! Let me first say I love Oklahoma. They are amazing here. With that said, I’m a proud Miami Heat fan since 2004 when I left high school and D. Wade left Marquette.
Did I mention how much I LOVE Oklahoma? #HeatNation
To learn more about Lil Dre and Under Construction visit churchboy.com.