Arrested_Development rapper Speech*Arrested Development rapper Speech Thomas is putting his Grammy-winning skills and knowledge of the music industry toward a higher calling as a pastor.

In an interview with Jet, the entertainer, who serves as minister of the Fayetteville, GA-based church The Seed, speaks on his new calling as well as his desire to help teach and develop young entertainers in his recently opened art school, Victory Spot and the importance of positive messages in the music industry

Highlights from the interview are below:

JET: Why did you create Victory Spot?

Speech: My wife and I tour the world a lot. In our life of touring for the last 20 years or so, we have seen a lot of artists who have succumbed to the industry’s ideas for their career and have sabotaged their personal lives, their spiritual lives. They’ve lost their marriages and families in the balance. They’ve lost, sometimes, their sobriety in the balance…so we wanted to create a counter-balance, an art school that trains people on how to navigate the landscape of the music industry.

JET: Why is it important to infuse the music industry with positive messages?

Speech: (Someone) gave this quote “if you can get a country’s pop culture under control, then you have the country.” If you turn on the radio to any regular secular station that is playing today’s top songs and were to analyze the lyrics of those top songs, I guarantee you that you would be appalled at what is being marketed to kids aged 8 and up. The music that is being marketed to them is without question filled with very adult themes– from drugs to ménage a trios, to girl on girl, guy on guy, you name it, oral sex, anal sex, all of these things are being talked about bluntly in today’s music themes.

And I’m not talking about the late night shows. I’m talking about 2 in the afternoon and 5 O’clock drive time. And these are artists that are being looked at as household names.

JET: Over the years, you have utilized your influence in a number of ways in the music industry. Now, it’s Victory Spot. But, what are some of your most memorable efforts?

Speech: Writing songs like “Tennessee.” In a hip hop era, we talked about being “real stressed…[Lord] take me to another place, take me to another land, help me understand your plan.” It was a prayer. Here’s a song that talks about spiritual attributes and needing God. It was the same with “Mr. Wendal” that talked about being “strong, serve God only, know that if you do beautiful heaven awaits.” These were secular songs that literally shook the world. So, when I think of the things that I’ve done, I’d have to say that’s #1. The second thing that’s more on a regional or local level is the Arts and Entertainment Conferences. I have a deep appreciation for how the arts and the message of Jesus Christ intertwine, and how they interact. Conferences like the Arts conference, where we are specifically talking about artists glorifying God, was my second proudest effort. Third would be my book, What is Success? That book is specifically how to be successful God’s way. It helps to define for people success from a spiritual point of view instead of just a materialistic point of view.

For the rest of Speech’s interview at Jet, click here.