Joshua Webb presents
My debut solo album is a collection of songs revisited from my journey through faith and rap music as a young fella in Auckland, New Zealand. It has been 20 years in the making. This album has a youthful energy to it with 10 of the songs being originally recorded between 2002-07. Some of them were released on the CD-only EP titled ‘Nothing In This World’ in 2008. This is an empowering album from someone who had suffered a lot of rejection for being different. I share stories from my own battles and the battles of others. It’s ultimately about overcoming and being a champion. The album is packed with talent from the Pacific, based in Australia and my native New Zealand. It also features a mix of guests from the USA and the Philippines. It’s the first of a series of albums, with a reimagined version to follow on August 1 with remixes of all the songs.
Let me introduce the songs on ‘Kingdom Rap’:
Rock The House
This is both the oldest song and newest song on the album. It was originally written in 2002 after I came up with the music on a keyboard. It wasn’t until I saw a video clip of me performing it in 2004 that I decided to update it and add it to the album. It was a late inclusion and ended up being a great song to kick the album off. This rock-inspired rap song is about drawing strength from God to defeat the devil. It sets the theme for the album. Romans 8:37 – “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”
Being originally written and performed in 2003, this is the second oldest song on the album and continues the bold theme set in the first song. John 14:30 – “…. for the ruler of the world is coming, and he has nothing in Me.” The music production has kept true to the sound of the original version which was created by a friend on the Playstation! African-American female rap artist (Michigan/Texas) L-Ganhs joins me on the last verse to bring the fire! The song was released as a single a week ahead of the album featuring a couple of remixes.
We Can Make A Change
This song was originally written in 2004 but never performed. It was an unreleased demo on my hard drive that I had originally overlooked for this album, but I’m thankful I ended up including it. The music was updated and my Filipina wife Ramina Webb sang the hook. My friend and music artist Dee Rooki added a third verse to the song. He’s also based west of Brisbane, Australia and originally from Auckland, NZ, although of Samoan descent. The song is about making a difference in the world by making good choices and features some playful lyrics and metaphors. Romans 12:2 – “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
STOMP If Ya Standing
This song turned out to be an anthem for NZ-Samoan artist Switchman and me back in 2007/08. It’s about making a strong stand for God when the political environment is going against such values and beliefs. Ephesians 6:13 – “Therefore put on the full armour of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand..” This is the original recording which gained us radio play in NZ and the USA, along with a live performance aired on TV in NZ. It was released as a CD single in 2007 and featured on the ‘Nothing In This World’ EP in 2008.
This is the theme song of the album and the only song I wrote outside of that mentioned five-year period. I put pad to pen in 2012 for my verse and the chorus before finally recording it ten years later with American-based Filipino artist Saint Klutch of Wisconsin. I took a personal angle, talking about overcoming challenges to become a champion. Saint Klutch speaks about what it takes to be a champion. The key is in believing. Proverbs 23:7 – “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.” Backing vocals are provided by Switchman and Ramina Webb.
This is an interlude by my long-time friend Jeremy Toomata to talk about who is the ultimate champion who conquered death. 1 Corinthians 15:55-57 – “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting? For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Jeremy is a veteran of hip-hop who once had commercial success in NZ as part of the Samoan duo ‘Double J and Twice the T’ in the late 80s/early 90s. He, like me, is now based here in the state of Queensland, Australia.
Society Is A War Zone
In 2007, I wrote an intense song that dives into the real-life experiences of a NZ-Maori girl in her late teens. It’s about her battle to escape being caught up in a world of domestic violence and my efforts to help her. Singing vocals by NZ-Filipina singer Janna Cachola, who is also an actress. She was a perfect fit for the song. Switchman did the voice-over at the beginning. This version on the album was reproduced in 2020 and released as a digital single, which includes the original version that was part of the ‘Nothing In This World’ EP.
Hating On Me
In 2008, I revisited this song from my EP released earlier that year with NZ-Samoan pro producer Emmanuel Ensink. We turned what was a hip-hop banger into a rock-rap song. Switchman features in this song (known as K.O.D. [King of Dreams] at the time) which we wrote in 2007 about the disappointing lack of support we received from some people who were on the same team. We spoke about how we were standing strong. With God’s support, we are an unstoppable force! I’d been overlooked as a performer at times in the urban church largely due to my image (not fitting the ‘rapper’ picture) rather than my ability and character. Matthew 20:16 – “So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.” This picture however did change somewhat after our breakthrough STOMP song previous to this collaboration.
Reach For The Cure
I recorded the vocal demo of this song while in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, in 2006 along with another unsexy song called ‘Abstinence’, both written the year before. Saving yourself for marriage was always God’s plan but of course not fashionable in the world. It was a family expectation for me to be a virgin until I was married and something I achieved. 1 Peter 2:11 – “Dear friends, I urge you, …. to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul.” How many fewer problems would there be in the world if we all practised this faithfulness to our future spouse? The 2022 release features African-American rapper Seanie Ranz from Delaware and Australian-Filipina singer Rhea Elle from Sydney.
In 2004, I wrote this song about people I knew or knew of (not necessary well) at high school that tragically took their own lives. It’s a message that we can all do better to read the signs and do something before it’s too late. Ramina Webb sings the hook.
Nothing In This World
This song was written and originally recorded in 2007 and was released as ‘Nothing In This World (Part II)’ as it was the second version of the song, created to feature African-American rapper God’s Baby Girl (G-Baby) from Miami, USA. This was my first international collaboration. I also invited Switchman to rap on it and NZ-Maori singer Arlea to sing the chorus as she did in part one. Both parts were on the EP with the same name but this version was a remix done later in 2008. The song is about encouraging women to be pure and virtuous rather than the opposite is more commonly expressed by male rap artists. Proverbs 31:10 – “Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.”
I Can’t Get My Head Around You
This is a reflective song about God, how big He is and that I can’t comprehend that! I also talk about my relationship with God and what I am learning as well as the challenges I face along the way. He is a good father! Isaiah 55:8-9 – “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” NZ-Tongan singer Pelenaise Cook helped with the chorus. As was with ‘Society Is A War Zone’, this version on the album was reproduced in 2020 and released as a digital single, which includes the original 2007 version that was part of the ‘Nothing In This World’ EP.
I would like to thank everyone involved to help me put together this album. I am a fan of all the singers, rappers, writers, producers and audio engineers that contributed their skills and talent. I encourage you to check out music from/support the featured artists by clicking on the link below:
L-Ganhs – features on ‘Explosive’
Dee Rooki – features on ‘We Can Make A Change’
Ramina Webb – features on ‘We Can Make A Change’ & ‘Lost Souls’
Switchman – features on ‘STOMP If Ya Standing’, ‘Hating On Me’ & ‘Nothing In This World’
Saint Klutch – features on ‘Champion’
Jeremy Toomata – features on ‘Ultimate Champion’
Janna Cachola – features on ‘Society Is A War Zone’
Seanie Ranz – features on ‘Reach For The Cure’
Rhea Elle – features on ‘Reach For The Cure’
Here’s the album review from Jaw-Dropping Radio.
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