Rapper Anton Talks New Project Overcoming Doubt
Ten years ago when nineteen-year-old Anton Roberts moved to Florida to escape the perils of his high-crime hometown city of Flint Michigan, he knew he was escaping death but he had no idea he would also find life, eternal life that is! What started off as just going to church to please his dying mother, eventually turned into God drawing Anton into a place of total surrender. Today Anton,29, founder of L4:18 serves God fervently and is being used by Him to preach to the poor, heal the brokenhearted, set the captives free and help the blind see, just as written in Luke 4:18, the scripture which the ministry’s name derives from.
We got to sit down and talk to Anton and speak about his new project, E.P.I.C, how he overcomes discouragement, and also how prayer divinely brought him to his call as a rapper. Here’s what we found out!
How does the verse Luke 4:18 correlates to your ministry?
[In that verse] Jesus was basically showing the prophecy in Isaiah 61 of proclaiming the year of the Lord has been fulfilled. He was saying, “Hey, I’m that Lord.” Jesus ruffled some feathers by saying that because they received him as a man of God but he was now coming proclaiming that he was Lord; that’s what our ministry does. With what Gospel music and music, in general, has turned into we really want to proclaim what we believe in, that Jesus is Lord. There’s no sugar coating and it will ruffle some feathers. One of my favorite parts of the story is that he closed that book and gave it to the minister and I feel that in that we’re that ministry that He’s passing on that cloak to.
Did you always know you were called to be a rapper?
No, it came through prayer. When I first came to Christ that was one of the first things that God enlightened in my heart that, “Ay, you got to change some of the stuff that you listen to,” and I seen just how music had a big influence on youth, even on myself. I remember being in a church service and we had a guest prophet and he pointed me out and he says, “You! You’re gonna get people together and you’re gonna do Christian Music.” From thereon [music] really became enlightened to me. I felt like Dr. Seuss, everything that I listened to I was like “Man, why am I feeling all these words come together?” I ended up meeting a guy named Anthony who used to do music with a rapper named Nelly and he said he wanted to start doing “positive” music. After nail-biting and teeth pulling he pulled me into a little studio that he had in an apartment walk-in closet along with one of those old big-body Mac computers and an internet mic; that is where we recorded our first ten songs.
Tell us about your latest project? What is the story behind it?
The new project is called EPIC, Everyday process in Christ. This is a story of a Christian. Our lives are basically looked at as perfect sometimes but they don’t see the process we go through. There are songs about the highs and the lows, being abased and abound.
You’re gonna hear songs like ‘Hold On’ which came from a place where I was just so weighed down by everything that was going on in my life, everything was going wrong and He just told me to hold on. Then, there are songs like ‘The Return’ that shows the zeal like when you just got out of a good church service, and the word was good, and you ready to just preach to the world. [The album] is really just the EPIC story of being a Christian.
What do you want to be known for as a Christian artist?
Our music is counseling music; it’s not too much for those that are looking for feel good music. What the Holy Spirit has always given me is music that is going to reach out to people, set the captives free, and break chains; that’s what it’s about, not trying to make everybody dance.
What’s the hardest part about being a Christian artist?
Going to church with [your music] is the easy part; they’re ready to receive you and they don’t even have to hear you. On the other hand, when you’re trying to reach the lost souls and you put the ‘Christian’ in front of your art then it’s kind of shunned upon. That’s the hardest part is trying to get people to get to a place of even wanting to listen to you because you can tell them this song is just hot but if you tell them it’s Christian they’re just like, ‘I’m not even touching that.’ I don’t run away from that though, it is what it is.
How do you overcome doubts or discouragements in your Christian walk?
By the word of God. Nothing can be broken or destroyed unless it’s by the word. I think the hardest part is getting to the word. When we deal with an issue, our first thing is to deal with it in our mind, instead of just going to the word but the word restores that. The other thing is church, I know there are times church is looked down upon; people say they don’t believe in church, or they don’t need it, but fellowship is a strong tool you need to grow as a Christian so you can express what you’re going through to someone in the light with faith like our faith. Also, God gives answers in different forms and if you’re not fellowshipping you are actually blocking a way for God to give you the answers that you need.
What advice would you have for Christian rappers?
Just stick to the path. I know we want to go to different places and like any ministry, we have to expand but don’t forget the sole purpose of what you’re doing. It’s not for money, fame, nor accolades! You’re in it so you can proclaim the name of Jesus Christ. When the money isn’t going right, and you got the studio time and you’re looking at the bills, just remember what you’re doing it for. Paul told us we have to be abased and abound. You can’t always think that you’re going to be at the top- that’s what the world wants us to think. [Don’t] try to fight for that top spot and do whatever it takes to get there, that’s not the Christian way.
What about for young Christians in general?
Understand that God allows you to do the unthinkable things. A lot of us as young Christians we get discouraged because we think that our outcome either has to be a pastor, deacon, or a teacher inside the church and our hearts and our desires are not to do that sometimes. I just want to encourage you that whatever your passion is give it to God, do it unto Christ and he’s going to open doors that you can’t even imagine. Take Steph Curry, for example, He’s a Christian and he plays basketball. Naturally, you look at it like what does basketball have to do with Christianity? Naturally, they don’t line up but In his faith and who he is, it shows who Christ is and he’s able to proclaim that gospel in his field.