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July 27, 2004

*Editors Note-There are many productive students on the campus of SSU. Recently SSU student Dartise Johnson sat down with one of them, The Messenjah, and conducted a one on one interview with him about his new CD, "Neighborhood Good Guy."P>

I hear you have a new album out?

The name of the album is called Neighborhood Good Guy. It's the newest edition to my music. I put a lot of effort into it to make it right, and I've gotten a lot of feedback, to hear what the streets are saying and they're feeling it. The majority are feeling the music and feeling the message that is going across.

What is the message?

Being positive. Letting your light shine through your craft. Not always being the norm. I think my music is different than the next guy's, because of certain things I incorporate into my music and style. For instance, there is no cursing in it. A lot of people say that takes away from the album, but in actuality I feel that brings to the music, because you don't have to sensor stuff.

How many tracks are on it?

Right now there are six. It's a work in progress. As I go along I'm incorporating more songs onto the LP. I'll probably reach about twelve. I've completed another two or three songs.

Right now it's an EP, but when you're finished it will be a full album?


Is the title going to stay the same?

It probably will. One of the first things that I'm trying to push is this is your neighborhood good guy. The chorus on it is "this your boy." Some of the people who heard the song say that that's a catchy phrase. "This your boy, this your boy. This your neighborhood good guy."

So tell me about the neighborhood good guy. Is it you?

You could say it's me. I'm just trying to do positive things for myself, and the community. As a senior marketing major at Savannah State I'm just about having fun and doing big things with my music and trying to shed light on the game, the hip hop industry. You know the hip hop industry has a tendency to get a bad rap for people's actions. I'm just the latest edition to the game.

Why buy your album?

Because the message I'm bringing is positive. I believe the music ends, the lyrics have longevity. It's something to ride and listen to. I believe it's worth your time, your support, to listen to the LP. I produced it myself, I wrote the lyrics myself, I went through all the procedures of basically formulating the whole album on my own, and I'm a producer. I get a kick out of doing music. I do it for the love, and I know that when you incorporate business, as far as the love for it, or rather the talent, if you would put it on a scale, it would probably be 90% business, 10% talent, as far as the industry goes. I love the music, whether I'm out selling CD's or not, I'm just constantly preparing, constantly staying on the ground with the music, coming up with new stuff, because that's what other producers, like the Neptunes, do. Missy Elliot does it. They're always working. They're always in the studio coming up with something new to stay ahead of the game; otherwise, if you don't do something one day it's like losing 10 days. You just got to stay on it constantly. Sometimes it does get hard, because you got other things going on in your life, and you might want to play a video game, or whatever, but in actuality, the music is there waiting for you.

These other artists that you named, that's their job. Their job is to go into the studio to try to stay constantly ahead of the game, but you are a student, and you are trying to make it.

I want that to be my job as well, from the production standpoint. I produce beats like it ain't nothing. That's just the gift I've been given. I want that to be my job. I know I'm in school for marketing, but I want to use my marketing to push my music production.

How can people get your music?

I have a website. It's When they go onto the site, it's a basic site, not a lot of bells and whistles, basically what they are looking for. There is a link on there where they can download samples of music from the EP. I have my email on there. It's and they can send me feedback or get in contact with me if they want a CD. I know when it comes to getting a CD through the internet it can be real sticky, because you don't know the person they're sending their money to, you're going to wonder if that person is legit. I have a dialogue with that person and if they want an LP from me, they're just going to have to trust me. That goes a long way. This is my craft. This is what I do. I stand behind my name. You can send a money order, or a check. It's only $5. It's not like they are ordering a new PS2 or whatever. Once it's received, I'll get the music out to them.

So you do have it so that a person can purchase the CD online?

Yes. At the website.

Would it be better for them if they are here on the yard to purchase it from you?

Yeah. If they can see me in person, if they can dialogue with me, we could hook up somewhere on campus, and I can get them the music that way.

You're a Christian from my understanding. Does that play a role in your music?

Yes it does. Its biggest role is setting an example,to live a life from a Godly perspective, showing them that you can be a Christian and still have fun. You just set limitations for yourself;you don't do everything that everybody else does that may not be pleasing to God. I'm just out there to show them we're living the same life they're living, except we answer to God through his son, Jesus Christ. We got all kinds of struggles to go through. We're no different. I'm no different than anybody out on the street. This is my gift, just like somebody else has another gift. I want to use my gift to set the example, let my light shine.

What would you like to weigh more the music or the message? Am I listening for the message, or is the message just there?

You're listening to the message, and it's there. When people listen to music, and I know I'm not speaking for everybody, a lot of people listen for the beat. Once the beat is hot, then they'll listen, and listen, and listen. And I'm speaking about everyday issues and matters and then I tactfully rap things. If you got a situation, your God's there. God sent his son to have mercy on me because I know I've done a lot of wrong things. I'm still living this life day by day, and it's a struggle to do the right thing, versus doing what's natural.

Is there anything else you would want your listeners, your fans to know?

I'll say keep your head up in all situations. Trust and ask God for help, whatever it is you want to do. Whatever vision you have, no one else is going to see that vision but you. You have to make it come to light, you have to birth it. Even when times are hard, keep on it, keep on the grind, and it will come through, whether it's school, or making it in some kind of profession, or whatever, just work at it. Once you find out what you want to do in life, go after it with a vengeance. Work at it and perfect it. Because if you keep sewing seeds in that area and that direction something's going to happen;it's got to.

- By M. Dartise Johnson


New Era, Peace, Neighborhood Good Guy


Feeling a bit camera shy


Steward Clinton a.k.a. “The Messen-jah” is a hip hop artist who has a sensational lyrical style and sound to his music. He began perfecting his craft while attending Savannah State University. He has a BA in Marketing and currently preparing to use his skill to make some noise in the music industry. The Messenjah has had his music played on 93.1 (Cumulus Broadcasting) and 90.1 Tiger Beat Radio in Savannah, GA. The Savannah State Newspaper has also done an interview with The Messenjah. What sets him apart from other hip hop artists is his love for music, people and his ability to convey powerful messages through his music. He speaks on matters concerning our society today. His career started performing at local talent showcases and churches Savannah, Ga. The Messenjah is also an aspiring actor. He has been in several plays at Savannah State University. He has a great ear for putting tracks together that make you move on the floor. He plans to help other aspiring artists with music production. TheMessenjah aspires to be a role model and leader. He desires to touch and inspire people with his music throughout the US and the world.