flame (sitting)*With almost 10 years in the rap game Flame shows no signs of burning out.

The Grammy-nominated rapper, born Marcus Gray, continues to provide inspiration through his latest album, “Royal Flush.” While the title goes with playing poker, Flame cites a deeper meaning that carries a universal message.

“A lot of people in life talk about being dealt a bad hand. They feel like based on circumstances that happened in their lives they feel like they’ve been dealt a bad hand. And what I’m saying is that may be true. We’re born in a world that’s corrupt. Things don’t always go our way. We’re inconvenienced when we don’t want to be. And the Bible says that there’s a curse in the world. There’s things going on in our own souls. We fight against ourselves the things that we want to stop doing that we can’t. The things that we don’t want to happen to us that do. So we’re even affecting each other,” the rhymesayer explained to EUR’s Lee Bailey. “When I say royal flush, what I’m saying is you can be re-dealt the highest hand. You may feel like you got a bad hand, but through God, through Christ, you can be re-dealt the highest hand.

“And that’s what a royal flush is,” he continued. “In the game of poker, if you have a 10, a jack, a queen, a king and an ace all in one suit, you have a royal flush. You dominate. You win the game. So I’m arguing that that is what Christ can give you.”

“Royal Flush” is the newest resource in Flame’s mission to spread the gospel via hip-hop. The entertainer, who is pursuing a master’s degree in biblical counseling at Southern Seminary in Louisville, first emerged onto the scene with his self-titled 2004 debut, “Flame.”

In addition to his music, Flame has been active in reaching youth via The Gate, a St. Louis-based church the rapper says is dedicated to letting kids know that “there are young people like you that love the similar cultural ways of expression, but something happened in our lives that caused us to focus on the big questions. And that was through Christ that we began to understand this world, understand ourselves.”

royal flush (cd cover)In regard to his ministry connecting with those consumed with negative rap content, Flame acknowledges the challenge. However, he is confident in his art eventually reaching its target.

“When you think about a lot of these young dudes, they eat, breathe and sleep rap music. I don’t want to come down extra hard on rap music exclusively and say it’s the core reason for the problems because that’s definitely not true,” Flame stated “The Bible says that it’s within our own selves, our own sin, that causes us to gravitate towards things that displease God or are self-destructive. But hip-hop does play a major part in normalizing things that shouldn’t be acceptable.”

“If you’ve repetitively listen to a message every day multiple times a day that affirms within yourself that a certain behavior is acceptable, you’re gonna become desensitized and you’re gonna accept things that just are socially weird, taboo, and harmful and destructive to a community. So what I do is, I have the opportunity to connect with people that love rap music. The rappers are like the philosophers of the day…So I get to come in and say ‘I’m a product of us. I came from us, from the same environment, school systems. I know what it is like, I’ve been through it, but let me show you, hopefully, what life looks like on the other side of the coin.'”

Flame’s “Royal Flush,” which includes his latest single, “All In feat. KB, is available now on iTunes.