Back in November of 2017, I was working as a startup editor to help a friend with launching her magazine. I dipped into writing from time to time because I do enjoy writing articles and doing interviews. I was thinking about who I could share with you this week and I thought of S.T.A.C.K. Zion. Since doing this interview below (which was first published in the November 2017 issue of Heart to Heart magazine), Michael has been in a play and has done some pretty great events.
Always a man after God’s heart, always honest and caring, he’s one of my and my daughter’s favorite rappers. (I’ll introduce you to our other favorite – Zabbai – next week to round off the Christian Rap segment before moving onto highlights of some other folks who are doing community work in other creative areas.) Michael’s lyrics are raw and tell stories that some of us can really relate to on a pretty deep level.
Before you read the interview from 2017, check out this video:
If you have been following hip hop in Connecticut, you have certainly come across S.T.A.C.K. Zion. And if you have, he has probably shocked you! Michael Stackhouse towers over you, yet speaks with a soft voice and possesses a humble nature. BUT WHEN HE RAPS… forget it. That voice comes through powerfully and with the confidence of a seasoned rapper. True to his mission of Seeking To Arm Christ’s Kingdom, S.T.A.C.K. Zion is doing great things in the Kingdom. In August, S.T.A.C.K released to his Zioneers and future Zioneers the long-awaited Project Z. And we love it! Let’s hear from him in this interview we had the chance to do with him recently.
Heart to Heart: You put a lot of work into this album, which is clear from the quality. From the beats to the lyrics to the collaborations with other artists, the album equips folks and motivates them to go deeper with God, whether that means accepting Him for the first time or becoming more involved in what He is trying to do in their lives. What song was your favorite song to record? And why?
S.T.A.C.K. Zion: What’s good, Shellz? Thanks for having me. My favorite song to record has to be “Disrespectful” because it was the first time that I had other Christian rap artists who are my Brothers in Christ on a track with me. We had a blast! Everything was just so very cohesive. If folks haven’t seen it, the video is up on YouTube if you search for “Disrespectful, StackZion”.
Heart to Heart: Great song Michael! I really enjoyed that one when you all shared it at an event I attended earlier this year. The energy was definitely high and you all vibed off one another so well! What would you say was the most difficult part of the writing and recording process for you?
S.T.A.C.K. Zion: The most difficult part of the writing and recording was not so much the actions themselves, but the constant wonder of whether the project would finally be complete and–most importantly–if it would be effective. Those were really my only concerns. But this project has definitely taught me the value of Quality, Patience, and Fortitude.
Heart to Heart: Great lessons to learn for sure! It sounds like an intense process. You waited for the Lord and let Him lead in this project, which resulted in a powerful album that addresses some topics the church sometimes likes to avoid. Specifically, you address the battle with sin when the battle is with “the enemy you like”. Many men and women struggle with lust in this age where pornography is so readily available. What advice would you offer to folks who are trying to walk the Kingdom life while struggling with lustful thoughts?
S.T.A.C.K. Zion: My advice would be to Fight for your life. Generally, in the sense of doing everything you can to overcome whatever you are contending against. We war not against flesh and blood, but with principality and powers of an unseen world that is spiritual (Eph 6:12). The spiritual realm has been around long before we came and our enemies are ancient. I would say the first step would be to confess what you are fighting with others who can pray and hold you accountable as well as to read Scriptures in spiritual warfare. Most importantly, just to stay close to the Lord Jesus. We’ll never be perfect, but we serve a perfect God who gives grace. Deliverance has to be a two-way street. To put it simply: it’s like having a relationship with someone who you love, but your ex is still working hard to get you back. Stick close to the Lord!
Heart to Heart: That analogy is fire! In “The Process”, you talk about how God designs folks to be who they are. You share the things the devil says to us to keep us down and how Jesus triumphs those statements and eradicates them. You talk about the process you had to experience. In the process of being a man who loves God, speaks out for Him boldly, and is doing his thing in the music industry, what words would you impart to those who feel called to the arts, specifically the music industry?
S.T.A.C.K. Zion: The words I impart to those who desire to express creativity in song for the Kingdom are:
- ALWAYS keep the Lord Christ first in your vision. Make sure He has the content, substance, and motives of your heart.
- Stay true to yourself. People will not get the full authentication of who you are unless you register with your own signature.
- Tell the truth. You will not be able to influence anyone if they can’t relate to where you’ve been.
Heart to Heart: You are involved in the community and building up other men. What do you feel is most rewarding about seeing other men grasp hold of the gospel and begin to grow?
S.T.A.C.K. Zion: Yes. I’m simply a doorkeeper for a men’s fellowship called Godhood Vs Manhood (GVM), Where All Men to come together without denomination to come share what it truly is to be a man in the Kingdom of God. Facing struggles at the work place, in the street, or even in ministry. We cover every topic, no holds barred. We help, encourage, and build each other up, and from it, it always is a reward just to know another man walked away wanting to return wanting more of what OTHER men were offering from similar experiences, causing us to form bonds that the Lord ultimately benefits from. Also for the younger men who attend who walk away empowered, knowing who they are more confidently.
Heart to Heart: Having accountability and a group of strong men to raise you up and pray for you is important to Kingdom Living. I notice you run with a group of folks you are tight with who have similar interests. How did you all meet and what would you say to other young men out there looking to establish a strong group of men to grow with?
S.T.A.C.K. Zion: To first make sure the Lord assists you in your Divine connections. We tend to click with the wrong people based on who we are, when it should be the total opposite. At time the Lord will put you around people who are the total opposite of who you think brings the best out of you. How I met my brothers and sisters in arms was through a youth meeting that was put together by the youth of different ministries and churches and from there we began unlocking gifts in one another, imparting gifts, prophesying, and praying. From there many, many strong bonds were formed and before you knew it, God begin to reveal purpose through those He would use. It was never forced it was more like a gradual transition. Not saying it will be the same for everyone, but the Lord will surely direct your steps.
Heat to Heart: This is a great perspective! I imagine many readers will stop and reflect upon that one. While we all know opposites attract, we seldom think to ask God to connect us with folks who challenge and grow us because they think, look, or act differently. You are so right that we tend to gravitate to what we know. That said… I know that I LOVE listening to Project Z and am so happy to finally have the final album on my phone and in my car! I appreciate all the work you put into it. I would not be able to end this interview in true Shell style without asking you this last question: Where can we come out and support you in November and December?
S.T.A.C.K. Zion: Lol. Well the dates are to be announced soon with a few surprises for Nov and Dec. Considering that these dates might change, please follow my artist page on FaceBook (StackZion) or my personal profile: (Michael L Stackhouse). I’m also on IG as StackZion.
Heart to Heart: With that last answer, I’ve determined I will be keeping a light calendar this month and next so I’m ready for those surprises! Lol Thanks for taking this time with us Michael. You are demonstrating to all of us what it means to walk in your calling while also enduring the process you must go through to get to the place of doing it full time. We look forward to hearing more from you in the future!!
S.T.A.C.K. Zion: You too, Shellz. And thank you.