Rappers Calvin and KimberlyRice-Cofield recently released the music video for “I’m Straight,” a bangin’ hip-hop song riding tight gleaming synths atop a potent trap groove.
Yet there’s something different — an elevating quality — to “I’m Straight.”
Through personal encounters with God, the lives and actions of Calvin and Kimberly Rice-Cofield transformed. Instead of focusing on themselves, they focus on God and what he intends for their lives — inspiring others through music, praising God, and being vessels of the Spirit. They go where He leads.
Christian hip-hop is not an oxymoron. It’s the real deal: stylish, powerful, infectious, and galvanizing, as manifested in the video for “I’m Straight,” directed by Ray Knowledge. Watch it! And you’ll agree: the Cofields have it going on!
What they have going on is a certain mystifying magnetism that’s irresistible. To find out more about the source of their allure, I sat down with them to talk about hip-hop and the “God factor.”
How did you get started in music? What’s the backstory there?
Calvin: I got started in music as a young boy. I used to freestyle/battle rap with my older brother. I wrote my first song when a lady by the name of Essie passed away. She was one of the hairdressers at the shop my mom used to go to, and the name of the song was “Why did Essie have to die”?
Kimberly: My musical journey began as a child. I wrote rap music and ballads early on, and began recording when my Mother bought our first microphone and cassette recorder. Years later, I began writing gospel music at age 19 when I was a college student taking piano lessons. Shortly afterwards, I began my journey in Christian rap. God began giving me lyrics everywhere I went, and I recorded at our home studio. My first gospel song was entitled, “I Love You,” a song of adoration and love towards God.
What’s your favorite song to belt out in the car or the shower?
Calvin: My favorite song to belt out right now is a song by Todd Galberth called “For My Good.” It’s a song that speaks about the good, the bad and the ugliness of life and how it all had a part, but it worked together for good. So I can relate heavily to it.
Kimberly: As of the last few days, I love jamming to “Noel” by Lauren Daigle. It’s the perfect narrative of the Christmas Story and the birth of Jesus. I’m teaching our youth from church a praise dance to this song. Prior to that, “Open Heaven” by Maranda Curtis is a worship song that speaks life to me as I feel free to worship in His presence and dance before the Lord! It excites me! And seeing her minister this song live in Atlanta at Praise in the Park took me in!!!! So anointed!! Yesss!!!
What musicians/singers influenced you the most?
Kimberly: When I was a child and began rapping, I was influenced by various popular women rappers and women singing/rap groups of the time (during the 1990’s) such as TLC and Lauren Hill. Some have said that I tend to have an “old-school” delivery style in some of my music. However, as of late, as far as influence, I would say we go with the sound God gives us. We are not seeking to imitate or emulate the world. When I hear a particular flow or sound, I put it down the way I hear it or try to play it as I hear it on piano.
Most listeners don’t associate hip-hop with Christianity. What motivated you to combine the two?
Calvin: Well when I began music, I was talking about myself and things I was doing or wanted to do. I was also glorifying myself in/through all things, but when I accepted Jesus in my life, everything became all about Him and His will! So the very thing I used for myself before, I gave it over to Him alone!
Kimberly: God motivated me to create this emerging combination of hip-hop music with Christianity when He delivered me and saved me. As I mentioned before, I was already into rap music. But while a teenager, He took me through spiritual conviction and showed me myself, allowing me to repent and turn from my old selfish and sinful ways. It was during that time of transformation that he began to give me rap lyrics that were encouraging as well. He then spoke to me to praise Him in all that I do, and that’s when I birthed my company “Praise His Name Productions.” One of my first Christian Hip-Hop songs was written with my little sister in 2006, and is entitled “Adjust It For Me.” It’s a song that helps listeners know that God can take any situation that we are going through and work it out in our favor. In other words, He’ll Adjust it For me!
What kind of response has your music generated from listeners?
Calvin: We’ve been blown away by the responses from people! To hear people say how the music helped them is truly a blessing! To hear people 50 or above scream out, “I’m Straightttttt!!!” will never get old. It’s still mind-blowing to me that God can give you something from nothing (which is an idea) and manifest so many things from that idea. Just think, if we wouldn’t have acted out on the idea, we wouldn’t be talking to people about this, and we wouldn’t be blessing people like we are. We also wouldn’t be doing this interview right now!
Kimberly: It was amazing to see the initial reaction that listeners had when they first heard our song “I’m Straight” on my husband’s Directed P.A.T.H. EP. Lord knows, there were some things about the track that I would’ve done a little differently, but to see the response was encouragement that God was having His way. Friends called us up and told us we “snapped” on the track! They loved it, and quickly learned the lyrics, and even out of state friends called telling us their 5-year old children were rapping and singing the song. What a blessing! God has allowed the song to be favored among people, and put in rotation on several stations. When we first ministered the song at Pastor Canton Jones’ Church, he told his team to add it to his radio show as well. We are so humbled by the overwhelming support and love that was generated by this song. It was also a favorite of our late First Lady, Lisa Martin, who just recently went on the glory and Bishop at Power and Praise Deliverance Ministries. Our church Family really supported the song and rocked out with us when we ministered it at concerts, etc.
Hip-hop is by far the most popular music genre in the world. How do you keep your sound fresh and avoid coming across as derivative?
Calvin: At times, we can be inspired by a sound or concept and create around it, Moreover, we don’t try to stay fresh, rather we strive to walk in obedience. We do whatever God says to do, and we listen.
Kimberly: Just as God is the author and finisher of our lives, I’d say He’s also the author and finisher of our ministry through music. We seek Him for lyrics, a sound, guidance and direction. We pray over sessions and when recording. And even through dreams or visions, He’s given us new music, lyrics and concepts. God is good!
What is your songwriting process? Do the rhymes come first, or the music?
Calvin: It can be either or. Sometimes music comes first and you create to it, or you can get lyrics and build the music around it. It doesn’t really matter. As long as we create what God wants us to do!
Kimberly: The songwriting process varies. I love it when I hear melodies first, and I can hear an entire instrumental or orchestra playing- the strings, bass, guitar, drums. During those times, I may also hear the melody of a chorus, or how a verse might flow or be constructed. And in this process, I write words that fill those melodies I hear. Sometimes I hear the lyrics too. At other times, like in the case of my verse for “I’m Straight,” it may begin with the lyrics in a melodic way, and the music comes later. Then you search for the instrumental that complements your song, or create one.
What was the inspiration for “I’m Straight?”
Calvin: When I was writing the verse for the song, I pictured myself being on stages rapping the message to the masses all over. Like some of the lines say, “Go change the game. Blow the horns and light the flame. Make Me (God) known, and make it plain, even if they don’t want to know Me (God)!” And at the time I was preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ to a lot of people who weren’t trying to hear it. That was 2013/2014 when my wife and I wrote and recorded “I’m Straight.”
Kimberly: Back around 2014, I was standing in my dining room and meditating on some very encouraging feedback someone had given me. They were thanking me and telling me I’d made a difference in their lives, and it really touched my heart because I sincerely didn’t know that. And that’s where the lyrics began- and I wrote, “Look at me, I ain’t trying to be no hero; may not be a hundred, but I’m definitely not a zero. You say I make a difference and I didn’t even know; I hope that let you know, that I ain’t do it for the show.” That verse was built around those concepts and fleshed out around that idea, and swiftly written in the back on my planner. It was simple, melodic, and very true to my testimony. I was basically saying that I was simply being myself; the person God had created me to be, and doing what He’s called me to do since the beginning. The music came later when I told my husband I needed a beat to put this verse that I’d written on. He introduced this instrumental produced by K-Drama. The rest is history.
What do you want viewers to take away from the video?
The Music Video is fun and free-flowing, and in it you see my Husband and I riding around in a Red car, symbolizing the “3-wheel motion” mentioned in the chorus — The Father, The Spirit and the Son (Jesus). The song states that we’re straight on sin and anything that is not of God. In other words, if it’s not about God or in the will of God, we don’t want part in it! We just want to praise and worship Him, and do His will. The “I’m Straight” Music Video was filmed in Atlanta, GA by Ray Knowledge of Visionful Productions. It features footage from a concert we ministered at during Taking the City Tour in Florida.
What’s next for you?
Calvin: I’d like to do more music and tour more. We also have several award nominations and have been climbing the Neilson BDS Internet Radio Charts. I want to crack Billboard, and do more concerts, as well as preach all over the world, including overseas.
Kimberly: God allowed me to begin a Radio Show entitled the Kimberly Rice-Cofield Show. I’m looking forward to expanding this show and also going into Television in 2020, and to expand our businesses. We have clothing companies (I Love My HAIRitage and Directed P.A.T.H.), film and lighting companies, and also produce music. My husband and I plan to release our dual album entitled Royalty in 2020 and have an Album Release Concert as well. I also look forward to more concerts, ministry and preaching opportunities and international ministry as a whole. We are called for a time such as this. There’s so much to come! It’s time to walk in our blessed season!
Will you be touring?
Currently, we don’t have a tour planned, but we desire to tour all over, no matter if it’s a bunch of small tours or a few big ones. If God opens the door and says go forth and step into it, we’re all for it! #TheCofields #RoyaltyTour2020 #ComingSoon