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Brigitte James gets serious with ‘Shofar’

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Like many kids growing up in Brooklyn, Brigitte James was going to be a rapper. It wasn’t until a spiritual calling became a spiritual journey that the Guyana-born James took the name “Serious” and is today a sought after Holy Hip Hop artist.

This summer, she is preparing to release her next mix tape, record “Shofar” her first album and perform at Higher Calling 2K12 in Brooklyn’s Herbert Von King Park, Saturday, July 28.

“My music,” she says, “speaks to those who are not necessarily found in church on Sunday morning, youths dealing with life’s tougher problems, being homeless or prostituting to survive.”

On “Set Up,” lyrics come from personal experiences, describing how her anger led to finding herself. Serious starts with the question “Have you ever been set up?” before the beat kicks in, rapping “I cried hard, so hard, sometimes I ‘member, the fuel in my fire was the struggles with the paper” putting in words the frustrations felt as a young teen, followed by the chorus “He’s setting me up for a take up.”

Her “take up” occurred at 17 years of age. On a Sunday morning, “I got up, dressed for church, sat there and began a conversation with God, simple as that” she said. Its a conversation that continues and grown stronger. Since that day, she has gone on to become a news and sports reporter, married mother of a four-year-old boy and a radio host before realizing her childhood dream, and not in the way she imagined.

Although one of her most popular songs “Light it Up” is a reggae Gospel song, Holy Hip Hop or Christian Rap has not taken hold in the Caribbean community or in New York City as it has in other regions, James finds herself performing out of town more often than not, but hopes to have an impact on local audiences.

Her set at Higher Calling 2K12 is a step in that direction. The concert showcases Urban Gospel, Christian Hip Hop, and Spoken Word artists, 25 in all, including Gauge, Prodigal Son, Leavin Stephen, Blood Coalition, 3D Remedy, The Rich Boys and more, Saturday, July 28 at 4:00 p.m. in Brooklyn’s Herbert Von King Park.

Kingdom Time Entertainment has made this an annual event, attracting 500 to 600 hundred fans from the tri-state area. This year expectations are high as Kingdom Time CEO Marcus Hall feels the time has come for Urban Gospel calling it a “growing subculture starting to break through to the main stream.”

“Shofar”, on Holywood records will be Serious’ trumpet call to reach out to new ears. She goes into the studio in Florida in August. “Sound the alarm! Let the enemy know we are at war!” is the hook, it will feature a grittier harder sound she says. As for the title, in the Old Testament, the Jews blew a shofar to send troops into battle, she explains. It originated from a dream over two years ago and is taking shape still, but the new lyrics will exhort listeners “to not let others dictate whether you pursue your dreams” but to “Blow your own horn...what ever gift God gave you.”

Serious’ first mixtape “Brooklyn Edition” (Are You Serious?) can be found on iTunes, ReverbNation, or downloaded free at: www.datpiff.com/mixtapes.

Updated 4:38 pm, June 4, 2012
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