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'HipGosp' artist J.Locke among acts slated for NC Music Movement Festival

The Fayetteville Observer

Posted: Wednesday, August 26, 2015 7:23 pm | Updated: 7:19 pm, Thu Aug 27, 2015.

By Brooke Carbo Weekender Editor

The lineup on the stage at Festival Park on Saturday just might be the best music you've never heard.

The NC Music Movement Festival is putting the spotlight on hip-hop and R&B artists from around the state and beyond. The goal is to give independent artists some much needed exposure, and the opportunity to make connections in an industry that's all about labels.

"The major labels are not hiring indie artists the way they used to," said Music Movement Group founder Rondell Terry. "We're here to help up-and-coming artists make connections at a professional level."

The festival's headlining act is Greenville hip-hop artist J. Locke.

Although he began making and recording music in 1996, Locke is still something of an up-and-comer since his 20-year career took a spiritual turn.

"It's what they call gospel hip hop," Locke said. "But I call it hip gosp."

Weekender spoke to Locke by phone about his Fayetteville performance. Here are excepts:

Q: So what is hip gosp?

A: It's completely different from what you hear in hip hop.

Today's hip hop is so negative and speaks about violence. Not all of it, but the mainstream version of it is very negative. We need to get away from all that negativity, from negative stereotypes to the way we talk about our women and to our women. There needs to be a balance. It can't all be bad. Life is not all bad.

We make positive music, and the bottom line of that is the gospel.

Q: Why did you decide to get involved with the Music Movement Group?

A: They're productive, and they bring unity to the North Carolina music community, which pound for pound is one of the strongest music platforms. If you look at the music community, North Carolina artists have proven to sell very well, from Fantasia to J. Cole to Petey Pablo, who's from Greenville - the list goes on and on. I believe that this is the next hub, the next major scene.

But getting back to your question, it was also the fundraising. (Proceeds from the event benefit the Boys & Girls Club, the National Arts Education Association and the American Cancer Society.) I do believe that we owe our community and we need to give back. And more importantly our children, who are coming up under us, need to see us giving back. They need to adopt that because the more you give the more you receive. It sounds cliche, but that really is the way of the world.

Q: Tell me about your new album, "God Sent Me."

A: It took close to four years to make this album. I have about 10 to 13 artists featured on it, and it's very diverse. Every song is different, but every song is powerful within itself. It's soulful, it's dynamic.

We're in the process now of putting together a campaign called the Good Music Campaign, where we want to give away copies of the album to the community, churches and nonprofit organizations that deal with kids. We think it's important to put positive music in their ears and let it do what it's supposed to do, which is to make people feel good. That's what music was designed for. It's not supposed to keep you negative, it's supposed to uplift.

Q: What can we expect from the show?

A: The most important thing with any concert is to just have fun. We want the message to be powerful and settled. We don't want to preach to anybody. We just want to have fun. We want our presence to be an example and whatever is meant for you, hopefully you'll get.

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