EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW with Tneeks – Stormzy’s beats always suit my rap-style perfectly

1.         Can you share the inspiration behind choosing Stormzy’s “Mel me do it” for your latest freestyle cover?

I often search instrumentals by popular rap artists to freestyle over for fun & Stormzy’s beats always suit my rap-style perfectly – so I was rapping over it for fun & ended up writing to it.

2.         How do you feel your style as a female Christian rapper adds a unique perspective to this particular cover?

Hmm, as a Christian in general I’m always grieved by many issues were facing in the U.K. and overseas, especially when  they are contrary to the bible & so I touch on a few in my lyrics! Growing up watching rap culture I know that it has always been a genre for poetic freedom of speech & so I embrace that using music to engender change or atleast to create awareness of what is right or wrong according to the word of God.

3.         What motivated your comeback in 2021, and how has your journey shaped your approach to music since then?

In 2021 I was invited to feature a single on ‘What’s New in Gospel Volume 1’ by Global Music Link and Red Revolution based in America and South Africa. The compilation featured, Sarah Teibo, Volney Morgan, Jonathan McReynolds, Mali Music, Todd Dulaney and more.

Since then I took an intended break to refresh, reset, spend some time seeking God regarding music ministry and a lot of focus at home with my growing family.

4.         Can you elaborate on the significance of faith in your music and how it influences your lyrical content?

The significance is 100%, this is the reason I do music. My personal intention was to enjoy being a wife and mother and venture into other ministries, however, God’s plan and our own can be misaligned when we’re not walking ‘in purpose’. So the purpose of my music is to impact society with fun faith based music to challenge & promote a better way of living, with Christ! Which means my lyrics must have a faith perspective on the topics I am writing about. I believe as Christian’s it’s important we have a voice & one that is heard in all industries.

5.         How do you navigate the intersection between your Christian identity and the themes commonly found in rap music?

Interesting question! As a creative it can be a challenge but I try to keep my music relatable for ‘everyone’ and not just Christian’s. This means I do need to consider some of these themes but address them in a way that reflects who I am as a follower of Christ. I never want unbelievers to not understand what I am talking about; Jesus kept it simple – that is my intention also.

6.         Tell us about the creative process behind reinterpreting Stormzy’s track and infusing it with your own personal touch.

It really wasn’t that deep hahaa. I was literally on my lunch break playing a few instrumentals I downloaded (as I work from home) and a few lyrics came to me and the rest followed. Think I just tidied it on another day or something.

7.         In what ways has your musical style evolved since your last release, and what can fans expect from this new freestyle cover?

I’d say I’m moving into more authentic rap now, as in the style & genre. I’ve decided to leave the drill & trap music alone and stick to what has always organically been me which is authentic hiphop at its roots. But as people do love a little freestyle here and there, I’ll still jump on what’s current – just for fun. This freestyle is a prime example of me rapping for ‘fun’ whilst mentioning what was on my heart at the time.

8.         As a female artist in the rap scene, what challenges have you faced, and how do you overcome them while staying true to your artistic vision?

The challenges have been, thriving in male dominated spaces with confidence, knowing you may not always be the ‘man dem’s’ choice of feature on rap songs as a female rap voice/tone isn’t always desired, it’s like a speciality. Also, being bombarded with comments, opinions & voices of experienced people who have ideas that are contrary to the vision that God has given me. These are not always easy to manage, plus keeping my own humility in check – it can be a lot of mental pressure!

To overcome this I stay focused on my vision & the purpose God has given me as that is what keeps me aligned.

9.         Are there specific messages or emotions you aim to convey through your music, especially in this latest freestyle cover?

The main message I re-emphasise generally is that I’m not doing this in vain and that it’s all about God regardless of how swaggy it may look or sound. It’s taken some dying to ‘self’ so it’s been a process. In this particular freestyle I ask if people are trying to save souls in their ministries or solely entertain? Also about us being given access to plenty of opportunities because of the windrush generation making the U.K. our home for us to thrive, yet many of us Brit’s still live mentally enslaved. Another point I mention is if I wrote lyrics about slackness I’d get more music streams & popularity. I also mention myself being outspoken and sometimes having lyrics that make people feel uncomfortable or potentially convicted, hence being called a ‘rebel’. Lastly, my grievance with society not allowing us to give our personal opinions on child gender dysphoria and the LGBTQ+ community while we have many speaking against our faith!

10.       Looking ahead, what future projects or collaborations can your fans anticipate, and how do you see your music evolving in the coming years?

I am concluding a short ‘solo’ project so I’m planning single releases leading up to that.

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