Back in 2014, upon releasing his album Well Wishes, Christian rapper Bizzle publicly pledged to donate 100% of the sales of his record towards building water wells in Mozambique. Keeping to his word, Bizzle recently put a check forward for this very noble cause. The generous act is certainly one that we don’t see as a common gesture in music today.
We caught up with Bizzle to discuss his philanthropy and the Christian hip-hop scene.
RESPECT.: Was it a big decision for you to donate the profits of your Well Wishes album?
Yes it was, but the decision was made before I knew what it was going to be for. I knew it would probably put me in an awkward situation financially but I knew that no matter how rough the storm got, the Lord would not let me or my household go under, so I just chose to walk by faith.
RESPECT.: Why did you feel that the water wells in Mozambique were the most worthy cause of your donation over others?
Well, I knew I was going to donate 100% of the profits from the next album to a cause, but I didn’t know what cause. One day, I was praying and I asked God to show me what He wanted me to do with the money. Immediately afterwards, I picked up my Bible and began to read about Jacob and Rachel meeting at the water well; and that’s when it hit me. And I had a close friend that was already in contact with someone who did work in that area, so we connected.
RESPECT.: How important is it, in your opinion, for successful rappers to balance their wealth with philanthropy?
I think it’s not only important for rappers, but for people in general. Of course I want to challenge rappers to give, because in today’s hip hop, all we talk about is how much money we have and how we “make it rain” and it’s almost intentionally done to stunt on the next person who doesn’t have as much as you. We have the influence, and the opportunity to be able to make such an impact around the world. And it’s us who often claim to come from the bottom and have so much love for the people at the bottom. So my hope is that after seeing such a smaller independent artist like me do it, other artists would be inspired to do the same. But again, it’s not just rappers, it’s all of us. We tend to look at America as if it’s the whole world. Even our athletes are called “World Champions” when they win here. We don’t have much of a global view here, and when we get to see a glimpse, our hearts are pricked for a second but then we change the channel and go on with life. But the people living in these conditions never get to change the channel. And with 80% of the world living off of less than $2 per day, even the average US citizen is able to help provide the needy with water, food, clothing, the things we usually tend to take for granted.
RESPECT.: Do you have any plans to work with other charities?
Well, with left over money from the project, I’ve sent pallets of water to Flint, donated to Charity Water, and I am in the process of launching my own non-profit called the Paper Planes Foundation. We will continue to do the work commissioned to us by the Lord which is feed the hungry, clothe the poor, look after the sick.
RESPECT.: How do you think the Christian hip-hop scene is fairing in 2016? Do you think it’s dying or out or do you think it’s becoming more appealing to rappers?
I think Christian hip-hop is definitely growing and becoming more appealing to rappers. I just pray it’s for the right reasons. I signed up never knowing that there was even money to be made in Christian rap. I think it kept my intentions and motives pure. If rappers will pretend to be drug dealers or a thugs to get a mainstream record deal, I’m pretty sure you have people who will pretend to be Christian too once they see money in it. Only time will tell.
RESPECT.: How is the upcoming album coming along? What can we expect from it?
Man, the album is coming along great! I don’t think I’ve ever even said that before. I try to balance the “deep” with the “fun” on this album. I also got the chance to work with a couple of artists like Dee-1 and Jonathan McReynolds who I’ve always had love for. I’m even threw a “God Over Money Cypher” on the album showcasing my whole squad, produced by Boi-1da. I’m definitely excited for you guys to hear this one October 21st.
RESPECT.: Who and what has inspired you with this project?
This project was inspired by a lot of things, just depends on the song. I have a few inspired by pain, some inspired by love, some by moments of triumph, and others by moments of weakness. Most importantly though, like every album, this project was inspired by my relationship with the Lord.
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