The world of Christian hip-hop is one in which few females tread. V. Rose is out to change that. The urban hip-hop songstress blew away critics and fans with her self-titled debut in 2011, which she followed with 2013’s The Electro-Pop Deluxe. This is set to be her year though, as her dynamic album, Forever After, bears the fingerprints of her mentor and executive-producer, FLAME, as well as collaborations with the likes of Shonlock, KJ-52 and Da’ T.R.U.T.H. CCM caught up with the singer-songwriter to get her take on her sound, her message and what forever looks like to her.
CCM: What is your goal? Your sound is decidedly not typical CCM-fare. Who are you trying to reach?
V. ROSE: My goal is to make great, quality pop music with a Christ-centered message that my peers will love dancing and singing along to.
CCM: Where are you from? Has music always been a part of your life?
V. ROSE: I’m from Sacramento, California. I started singing in the church choir when I was 4 years old. My mom sang and played the guitar and piano, so naturally I was inspired to follow in her footsteps with singing, as well as becoming a songwriter and musician.
CCM: Tell us more about the themes on the record.
V. ROSE: I based the record on Revelation 21, which talks about the beautiful things God has in store for us. The chapter talks about Heaven and eternity with God and how there will be no more tears, death and crying because He is making everything new. We will all spend eternity somewhere; and what we do in this life does count for something, so don’t throw it away believing the “YOLO” lies. Everybody lives twice.
My hope is that this record will cause people to see their lives in relation to eternity, to stop and think about the things they say and do, and ultimately realize the realness of Christ and His return. It is important for me to communicate this message because I know young minds are easily persuaded by things that look harmless but are actually very dangerous. If I can be any kind of light or role model to combat the attractive—but damaging— messages being shoved in people’s faces, then I will.
CCM: What are your favorite songs from the album?
V. ROSE: My favorite songs right now are “Am I Trending” and “No Better U.” On “Am I Trending,” I address some of the issues we face today, like being obsessed with social media and what people think about us. People say things about you that get in your head and can either make you feel great or make you hate yourself. It’s so easy to get caught up in what other people think of you. ‘’How many likes do I have on my Instagram? If I get more than this person I must be better.” These are the kinds of thoughts that no doubt easily corrupt our minds. I wanted to call attention to it in this song to show how silly it is when you say out loud what you are thinking. It’s so important to keep each other accountable. Through the song, I want to challenge listeners to put nothing before God.
“No Better U” is one of my favorite songs from the record, and it comes straight from my heart. I’m transparent about my everyday life and share my feelings about the pressure I can sometimes feel to want to be someone else. I feel like hiding out underneath my hoodie some days; I feel horrible about how I look and insecure about everything. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in what we wish we looked like because we see someone else we think is perfect. I know the feeling, trust me. But that’s when we have to stop and remember that we are not average; we are fearfully and wonderfully made. It was a beautiful realization for me to understand that no one in the entire world could be better at being me than I could. No one can be a better you!
CCM: You’ve worked with some incredible artists throughout your career and particularly on this album. What did your collaborators bring to the process?
V. ROSE: FLAME, Da’ T.R.U.T.H., Shonlock and KJ-52 each brought something fun and new to the album. FLAME’s lyrics always challenge you to be better; Da’ T.R.U.T.H. is featured on a worship song, which complements his style very well; Shonlock’s voice completely takes hold and makes you stop and listen; and KJ-52 knows exactly what to do with a party song, so he really gets my music! Overall these artists helped make the album diverse in sound; plus it always helps to have people standing behind you when you are standing up for something. Reinforcement!
CCM: FLAME served as executive producer on the record, but it seems that his influence has extended even beyond the music. What do you feel you’ve gained since working with him?
V. ROSE: FLAME and his wife, Crystal, have been tremendous mentors in both my life and music. From day one I knew they were going to be my new family. I am very careful who I trust, and I knew instantly they were people I could trust and learn from — people I can ask any question. They are so gracious about everything; there’s never a moment when I feel like I have let them down, and even if I have, they walk in love.
I would say I’ve grown light-years in the stage arena, learning from FLAME about how to engage your audience and how pointing people to Jesus is the ultimate goal of it all. However, I know most of all I have grown spiritually from this mentorship. I’ve been faced with questions I’ve never thought about, things I never knew; and, because of it, my relationship with God has become stronger than ever. I’m really grateful to know such wonderful people.