Listen: Sam Robinson interviews hip hop artist Andy Mineo on the launch of his new album.
Christian hip hop artist Andy Mineo may have topped the charts with his first two records — but he’s still not comfortable about all of life.
That was his admission in an interview with Hope Media’s Sam Robinson, on the launch of his second album, titled, Uncomfortable. The title of the new disc, inspired largely by his own experience, is a message to fans that it’s OK to not have everything in life sorted. In fact he believes discomfort it’s a healthy part of life.
“It just kind of feels like a word that sums up where I am in my life,” he said from his hometown in New York City.
What Makes A Rapper So Uncomfortable?
“Every day I’m trying to live a life that I believe that God desires me to live, and at times it’s uncomfortable,” he said, “but instead of running from that discomfort and chasing my own pleasures, selfishly, I’m trying to embrace that discomfort and say that it will make me into something better.”
“[It’s about being] uncomfortable with the state of music and wanting something more, and wanting to push boundaries.
“Being uncomfortable with my own comfort; uncomfortable with the new changes happening in my life, like getting married, travelling a lot and creating music, and the pressures of carrying a banner. I’m not just carrying my own reputation, but the weight of something much bigger than me.”
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Making Waves In Both The Secular And Christian Worlds
Andy (pictured above in an Instagram post with fellow Christian artist Lecrae), is a rapidly rising star in both the gospel and secular music scenes; taking the American music charts by storm with his boundary-pushing records.
His first album, Heroes For Sale released in 2013, topped both the US Christian and gospel charts and, more significantly, reached the top 5 in the US Independent and Rap Charts.
Now Uncomfortable has topped the USA’s Christian and Independent charts too, and peaked at number three on the US Rap chart.
Getting Past The Trivial Realms Of Social Media
His new album also draws inspiration from a quote by author Cesar A Cruz, who said, “Good art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable”.
“That’s something that I was really aiming for on this project,“ he said. “To comfort those who are disturbed, and to disturb those who are comfortable. To let my music be a conversation starter, for meaningful conversations and meaningful things.”
Clearly he’s a man of depth, wanting to bypass the trivial waters of social media culture and dive into the deeper things.
“I feel like we live in such a trivial world with, you know, tweets and Instagram posts, and those are great things,” he said, “but they’re very trivial compared to the deeper, more meaningful things in life. I just want my music to be a segue into meaningful conversations for people.”
A Fresher, Deeper Sound
The new album – whose cover features a picture of Andy Mineo’s face squashed against the glass plate of a scanner – has a more mature sound compared to Heroes For Sale’s many party anthems.
“Both personally and artistically I’ve grown and changed,” the writer-producer-artist said. “I really wanted to push the limits of my artistic ability, and I think one thing that has been a phrase for me is, “In order to innovate, failure needs to happen”.
“I’ve seen what’s really worked for people in the past and so there was a temptation on this album to really create the same records. But I really just wanted to be free to create whatever I felt like at the moment.
“I’m not trying to follow any formulas, I’m just trying to create honest music. If people want the party anthems, they can listen to the ones I’ve already made but I’m trying to grow and change and find a new sound.”
A Song For His Deaf Sister, Grace
One of the new album’s songs, Hear My Heart, is dedicated to Andy’s sister, Grace, who was born without the gift of hearing.
“Grace was quite a few years older than me, and so me and her never really got to connect very much, and one of the reasons for that was because there was a barrier because of language,” he said.
“She couldn’t understand what I was saying, she would often have to read my lips. In order for me to get in touch with her I would have to stomp on the floor or run around to get her attention. She does very well at reading lips and the communication that we were able to have that was because of her tremendous skill, but our relationship has never been super tight because our communication has always been limited.”
An experience Andy had with Grace when he was about 25 years old had a deep impression on him and was the inspiration behind the single.
“She introduced me to her friends, and they all began to speak sign language. For the first time I feel like the outsider.”
“I was hanging out with her and she introduces me to a community of her friends, and they all began to speak sign language,” he said. “I was like, wow, for the first time I feel like the outsider who doesn’t understand what everyone else is saying, and I got a little glimpse into her life, and how lonely that must feel to not be able to hear what everyone else was saying.
“That’s when I kinda grew this compassion [and thought], “Oh my gosh, I can’t believe I’ve never taken the time to learn ASL (American Sign Language), to be able to speak to my sister – I just kinda brushed it off.
“It left quite an impression on me, so much that I wanted to make a song about it and apologise to her for that.”
The Pros And Cons Of Being A Christian In The Spotlight
Missing my queen. I love being married & building a life together with this woman. A photo posted by Andy Mineo (@andymineo) on
While Andy (above with his wife Christina Delgado) said being a Christian on the world stage brings with it a lot of scrutiny and criticism, he also loves being able to give a voice to genuine, Jesus-following faith in pop culture.
“In the Christian world we’re very underrepresented in the mainstream, and then when we are represented, we’re usually very poorly represented,” he said.
“We’ve got, like, televangelists or miracle rag sellers, you know, that’s most people’s perception of Christians in mainstream culture.
“And so it’s encouraging to be a face there and to offer great art and to offer an honest world view and perspective.”
Hear Andy Mineo’s song Hear My Heart dedicated to his deaf sister, Grace, in the Spotify player below.