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Andy Mineo talks “Uncomfortable” tour, Christianity and Kanye

Comfortably getting a fresh cut at a barbershop in Nashville, Andy Mineo answered the phone to talk about his “Uncomfortable” tour at Rocketown Thursday.

Starting off rapping by making parodies of songs and listening to Snoop Dogg’s “Doggystyle” album with his friends to releasing his 2015 record “Uncomfortable” — which ranks No. 2 on the hip-hop/rap iTunes chart–Mineo has evolved as an artist and experienced success. Although Mineo appreciates the achievement, he looks forward to upcoming projects.

“I think every artist enjoys that sense of validation that comes from the people, but you celebrate the successes and then you continue on,” he said. “I have way more things I’m ambitious about. There will be more albums.”

Already working on a children’s book and an album to be released in the spring of 2017, Mineo is a man of many interests.

Previously part of a church plant in Washington Heights in New York City, Mineo’s faith is integral to his music.

“I think my faith has certainly inspired my life in a radical way. My faith is central to my life and my identity, so it inspires and affects everything I do from the way I handle money, see the world, do relationships and do music. The themes of hope you find in my music are derived directly from my faith.”

Mineo’s “Uncomfortable” both provides a message of hope, stories of inspiration like his second single “Hear My Heart” dedicated to his deaf sister Grace and a challenge for the Christian community as a whole.

“I feel like the Christian should be the person who is most readily equipped to handle the complex issues of life like justice, racism and prejudice and be the forefront and leaders in those conversations,” Mineo said.

Some of Mineo’s lyrics address racism in America.

“My own people owned people, but they don’t own that. They say racism dead, man our president is black. Two terms in the White House, that don’t mean jack. If we still believe our present ain’t affected by our past,” he raps in his single “Uncomfortable.”

He also discusses the treatment of homosexuality among the Christian church in his lyrics.

“I apologize for Christians with pickets sayin’, ‘God hates fags,’ I promise Jesus wouldn’t act like that,” he says.

Mineo said the Christian community as a whole is not ready to hold productive conversations.

“What has happened is Western evangelicalism has lent itself to a kind of easy Christianity which is full of cliches and answers doesn’t leave space for more complex answers about life and faith,” he said.

With Kanye West’s recent release of “Ultralight Beam” featuring the 46-year-old gospel music artist, songwriter and producer Kirk Franklin, Mineo briefly discussed influences of the gospel on West’s album, “The Life of Pablo.”

“All of us are on a faith journey, either journeying either toward or away from God. He’s figuring some stuff out, he’s asking some questions,” Mineo said about West.

Although there are some lyrics in West’s album that he could not “condone,” Mineo appreciated the beauty in the album and West’s faith journey. He referenced Philippians 4:8, which states “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”

“Art made by all people, Kanye West included, can reflect beauty,” Mineo said. “Kanye West has proven himself year in and year out to be a brilliant creator, whether it’s in fashion or music or whatever. Artistically, he has made some great choices sonically and taken interesting approaches to this album and music that are noteworthy.”

Finding a balance between condoning the praiseworthy things while condemning things that are not is imperative for the Christian community, he said.

“I don’t think the Christian community does a really good job of letting people to have space, to have things wrong, or even to have some things right on their journey with God.”

For now, Mineo said communication is the first step of healing and connecting with others.

“I think one of the biggest hurdles for us is learning how to hurt with people, suffer with people, how to have conversations by just listening, and I think those are some of the things that we are going to be running into in the current state of culture and where we’re heading.”

As for Thursday night, Mineo said people can “expect a great show,” and he hopes even the “Nashville music snobs” can appreciate “Uncomfortable.”

Mineo tells rap fans to be on the lookout for upcoming artist wordsplayed, his opener, and his album “Clown Town.”

“He’s an incredible artist. He just dropped a project that’s really dope. I like him and what he’s about.”

To hear more from Mineo and wordsplayed, fans can attend their concert at Rocketown. Doors open at 6 p.m. Thursday.

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