Co-hosts Koji Steven Sakai and M. Martin Mapoma spoke with the minister and a gospel rapper from Atlanta, Georgia Minister Ju Ashley. He shared with the best or worst day of his life!
Be sure to follow and check out some of Minister Ju’s music videos at https://www.facebook.com/gatafamily/
Koji Sakai 0:12
Welcome, welcome. Welcome. This is the best or worst podcast and I’m Koji
Martin Mapoma 0:16
and I am Martin
Koji Sakai 0:17
and this is episode number 29 . We’re still under the quarantine in at least in Los Angeles. We’re still under the crazy quarantine so I’m not going anywhere but how are you man?
Martin Mapoma 0:29
I’m good. I’m good. I am relieved. They just got done with a two day test. I’m now a certified. Im now a certified speed and agility specialist. .
Koji Sakai 0:39
Congratulations. And today and today we have a special guests at minister ju Ashley from Georgia. Atlanta, right?
Minister Ju Ashley 0:51
Yes, sir. For me, I’m originally from Alabama. But yeah, I’m in Atlanta.
Koji Sakai 0:55
And I met
you and I met you in Los Angeles like how many years ago was I was Like a decade ago.
Minister Ju Ashley 1:02
Yeah, man, man, it was a little more than that. Actually. It was in like, 2001
Koji Sakai 1:09
Wow, that’s a really really long time ago. Sure is.
When I met you, you were you were rapping. I see. I see you still rap, right? Even as a minister yourself, right? That’s right. That’s awesome. Right? So why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself? So you’re from Alabama, but, uh, tell us a little bit about yourself.
Minister Ju Ashley 1:31
I’m originally from Alabama when I first actually moved to Los Angeles. It was a 2001. Um, you know, I like going on, on actually, when I was rapping in 2001. In an interview, I told him in five years, I was gonna take over the rap game and then do a gospel rap. So I didn’t I didn’t stray too far off, but now I’m a pastor. Hi pastor church in Alabama call Welcome Chapel C.M.E. but I live in Atlanta so I do a lot man I work for myself I do insurance but I do a lot of man I do
Martin Mapoma 2:16
that’s good. Good
Koji Sakai 2:17
luck to you. So you rap you sell insurance and and you and you lead a congregation that’s that’s amazing. You’re doing you’re doing
Martin Mapoma 2:25
Minister Ju Ashley 2:27
young boy right. stay busy man no time, man.
Martin Mapoma 2:32
What were you born and raised in Alabama?
Yes. Cool. So how did you choose Georgia?
Minister Ju Ashley 2:40
Well, long story man. Georgia’s whereas you know it’s kind of where its at so to speak. That’s why I chose LA. But as soon as I got to LA and got started good. Where is that move to Georgia. So A lot of things happening on in between and I ended up here or here.
It’s a pretty cool place though.
Atlanta Lisa, call it back. Right next door. Yeah.
Martin Mapoma 3:14
Do you still do you do you live in Atlanta or do you live close to Atlanta?
Minister Ju Ashley 3:18
I live in Fullton County.
Fulton County, just as
Martin Mapoma 3:26
Yeah, just as long as it’s not Forsyth County.
Minister Ju Ashley 3:29
You know, no not Forsyth,
Martin Mapoma 3:31
man. It’s you know, it’s just interesting, because there’s a lot going on in Georgia right now with that young guy, you know, being shot while jogging. I was crazy, man. Yeah, I’m on Aubrey. Yes, that you know that. I can’t believe that happened back in February. And the only reason why it’s getting traction now is because the video footage came out and you know, I didn’t want to watch it. But one of my friends, you know, you know, tagged me in a post and I happened to look at it before I realized what it was. I saw it and it just it just enraged me. That is crazy. And those guys those guys, those guys better go down or Georgias gonna burn I tell you
Minister Ju Ashley 4:10
right you know i it angered me when I want to watch it because I was hoping that maybe he was doing something suspicious or wrong to be accused of breaking in and stealing things with shorts and a T shirt on. Yeah, not only that you can see that young man was fighting for his life man. So the way I feel about that even as an even as a pastor until we stop ignoring things like that until we start standing up for ourselves things like this to keep happening you can you can look at the video and tell they were cowards
Martin Mapoma 4:46
Yeah, you could of course you could
Koji Sakai 4:48
and you know, and I mean in this day when when people are breaking into the state capitol with a machine guns, you know, AR 15.
Martin Mapoma 4:56
They werent even breaking in Koji they just walked in.
Koji Sakai 4:59
They will walked in I mean you could walk in with a with a white person can walk in with a gun
Martin Mapoma 5:04
and get ushered past this the the metal metal detectors you see that one
yeah and run another
Koji Sakai 5:12
detectors that’s crazy and a person running without a weapon is gone down for I mean that’s crazy that’s crazy you know?
Unknown Speaker 5:19
Yeah, yeah there’s
Minister Ju Ashley 5:20
there’s there’s no you know this is what we got to we have to we have to be careful to make the right distinction because you you said a white man can walk into Capitol with ar 15 and, and everything be peacefully but you also have to say a black man or a man of color running unarmed will get shot down. Exactly. Really. The people that wont admit that’s wrong. We have to be careful and understand they feel the same way. Oh, hey, yeah,
Martin Mapoma 5:49
those people I try to stay with those people. I try not to engage. I try not to engage them at all because they look at that video and they see nothing wrong.
Minister Ju Ashley 5:57
Unknown Speaker 5:59
there’s just no excusing it
Koji Sakai 6:00
as a minister How does you know? How do you how do you talk to your, your your people about about something like this? What What do you say to them during this time?
Minister Ju Ashley 6:11
Well, the thing is, I give reality all the time. So we talk about it a lot because it comes up in conversation. It’s a it’s a real strong concern in our community. So what I encourage people to do, first of all is try to avoid confrontation at all costs. But second of all, they do have the right to bear arms, I encourage them to go and get a gun license, learn how to shoot a gun and just be very careful and understand that when you use it, there’s no taking it back. So make sure that your life is in danger if you do but I mean in in in the south is a lot different from California we you know we can everybody can gun everybody is old enough to carry again does Yeah,
Martin Mapoma 7:01
I went to school I went to school in Kentucky and it’s the same way they’re you know, they everyone has a gun in Kentucky. Yeah. You know, but maybe not as much as Georgia but yeah, it’s I don’t know, man, that whole thing is
Koji Sakai 7:17
So minister tell us tell us about how you At what age did you decide that you wanted to go into to go into God’s work in terms of you know, did you always know that or did that come up later.?
Minister Ju Ashley 7:31
Well, um, I was raised in church, so it’s always kind of been a part of me, but I never knew that I was gone. I never had the wildest dreams and I will be a pastor or you know, even with the the reason that I wanted to do gospel music was because it helps you like when you get in, in the situation and you know, you thinking about right from wrong, you know, you think it should I go over the line. It helps. So when I And think about how when I get in those dark places, I thought that my music could help people come out of those dark places. But actually, I was going through something in my life, man, my life was upside down. When I, when I found out that the call was on my life What?
Koji Sakai 8:18
What age was that?
Minister Ju Ashley 8:21
Um, I think,
Unknown Speaker 8:24
man, I was in my 30s Oh, wow. Yeah, I was older. I wouldn’t wouldn’t young. I was probably about 34
Koji Sakai 8:34
Wow, I thought you’re like 20 still.
You look young.
Minister Ju Ashley 8:44
Well, no, man. I actually I turned 40 last year.
Koji Sakai 8:47
Wow. Congratulations. It’s I thought it was only Asian people that looked really really young for their age.
Minister Ju Ashley 8:59
A moment Men on it a little bit.
Koji Sakai 9:02
And also you have a family, right?
Minister Ju Ashley 9:07
Yeah, man, I’m married. actually had three children, man. And they’re all grown. Y’all gonna have a daughter that said, University of Alabama, in Huntsville. I have a son thats in the Navy, wow. And I have a daughter that works. Wow, works full time. Wow. Yeah.
Martin Mapoma 9:26
That’s crazy. Thank you. I’m sorry,
Unknown Speaker 9:28
can you How old are you? 40.
Minister Ju Ashley 9:30
I’m 40 I just already turned 40 in December.
Koji Sakai 9:33
Wow. That’s awesome.
Martin Mapoma 9:36
yeah, Koji whats the deal ?
Koji Sakai 9:39
at we’re at that point. We’re at that point where we asked we asked kind of our guests whether we want to hear the best or worst moment in our life. And you know, one of those moments is usually the best moments are not the moments that are like, you know, I met my wife or I had my kid because those are, you know, those are going to be everybody’s favorite moments. Yeah, they’re very easy, very easy, but so we’re looking for something else, but it’s usually the first time thing that comes to mind. So Martin, do you want to hear kind of the best or the worst moment?
Martin Mapoma 10:05
You know, I want to hear the best.
Koji Sakai 10:07
Yeah, I feel like I do too. You know, I want to be inspired this morning. I want to be inspired. I want to hear something that that will that will make me feel tear. I mean, I’ve been watching all the news about all this stuff. I’ve been feeling terrible about it. And I thought we’re in a better place, you know, but we’re not. Clearly we’re not so you know. So why don’t you tell us the best moment of your life?
Minister Ju Ashley 10:29
Well, you know, this, this one is easy, because my best and worst moments are connected. You know, we talked about being inspired. A lot of times, it’s our worst moments that inspires. You know, we get put in between a rock and a hard place and we got to decide we have to pull something out of inside that we never knew we had. But my best moment. Like you said it was when I married my wife. I moved to Atlanta. Actually, I moved back here because my mother was terminally ill. She passed away when she was 44. But while I was here taking care of her, before she passed away, I met my wife, and she got to meet my wife, but marry my wife and Big Psycho is my best man. So, you know, I met her, and then I’m married a year later, we got married on September 11. So, yeah, man, that was that was my best because it’s crazy how God works, man. I had said that I didn’t have time for women right now. You know, I actually had a talk with God, like, two weeks before I met her. I was taking care of my mom. She’s in the hospital. So I said, I only have time for women right now. Just keep them away from me. I’m trying to focus. So like, two weeks later, man I had been out of town are coming knock on the door at my cousin’s house. She opened the door. And we had one of those little five second moments, you know, we’re like, wow, like, something just happened. Did you feel that? So? That was it man that, you know, from there, you know, we, we hit it off man like a year later we got married. So I guess a Big Psych met her you know, I bought into California. We we actually came to California for like a week man on our honeymoon. Yeah, man. I was my best day. I know, it sounded like more than one day. But, you know, it’s all intertwined, because it’s still inspire me right now.
Koji Sakai 12:37
How does how does it inspire you right now?
Minister Ju Ashley 12:38
You know, I think about that. That whole ordeal. As you know, Syed passed away. Not too long ago, in I think it was 2016. And, you know, we went from like talking the phone like three four times a week. him talking to his mom. And you know, one day I was in it at a basketball game and I got that call. And I just was like, Wow. So when I think back about my wedding, I’d be looking at the pictures. You know, some of the things like told me to motivate me. You know, he, you know, a lot of my The reason that I even still do music is surrounded is wrapped around Psych wrapped around Laila. You know, had I not found the place where I met you? I probably wouldn’t still be doing music. So all of that intetwined when I think about it on the spot. You know, I’ve been around people that were in a place that I never thought I’d see or touch so that that was to me that was God. Let me know that. This is not the way it’s not my time yet. But it’s coming this close. Well,
Martin Mapoma 13:54
A big psycho. He’s a rapper as well. psych, psych, psych, psych big psych excited.
Koji Sakai 14:03
Thug Life big Okay, okay, you know,
I got keys from overseas
Martin Mapoma 14:12
right? I’m gonna string command to NATO for example. Yeah.
Minister Ju Ashley 14:17
That’s a you know, it’s not good. Yeah, exactly it
Martin Mapoma 14:21
Koji Sakai 14:23
he was he was an awesome dude.
Unknown Speaker 14:27
So, Commander has has
Koji Sakai 14:29
has me meeting your wife, you know and and that
Martin Mapoma 14:35
just oh my god i was i love that song and his his part in that song has meaning
Koji Sakai 14:43
you know as meeting your wife in the whole moment you know has that as that strengthen your faith and kind of helped your work in terms of just what you do everywhere.
Minister Ju Ashley 14:52
Um I wouldn’t say that but my faith you know, I want threw some stuff in California man, I was homeless for a little while after I met you. So all of that kind of helped to build on my faith, you know, sleeping in the car and going couch to couch and hotel to hotel, how to build your faith, if you still are right, when dealing with things like that. And then, you know, coming back and just seeing what I saw and seeing what my mom was going through having to be the the pillar or the strong person in the family, you know, that does what build my faith. So when I look back to where, you know, what I was taught, you know, I guess the foundation what I was taught early on, and I started to realize, you know, what I was taught is working. This is what’s been keeping me to during this time, so that’s where it really built my frame.
Martin Mapoma 15:50
And that must have been a challenge.
Minister Ju Ashley 15:55
Yeah, yeah, man.
You can’t imagine When going to a doctor and the doctor looking you in your face and saying that your mother has 18 months to live, you notice there’s no way to explain or at least in words, how that feels. But at the same time in your weakest moment, which that was, that’s the time that God is the strongest. So that’s where I learned to pray. And that’s where I learned my, you know, learn to pray better. And that’s when my relationship got closer to God. So
yeah, not that
you can’t Well, the great thing about it is, even though you can’t put it in words, when you see a person doing God’s work, it helps you realize they’ve been through something. So that’s the explanation when you see the work that they’re doing it help you. You can realize that they’ve been through something and how to deal with because there’s it’ll make you a break. And And how long have you guys been married?
Hey, you’re gonna make me sound old again. We did 12 years. Wow, that’s a long time. 12
I never had to sleep on the couch. Oh, nice. Can’t say that.
Koji Sakai 17:24
I’ve slept on the couch. But I used to. I like to move around when I sleep though so I moved to different places. Oh, that
Martin Mapoma 17:30
doesn’t. That doesn’t. I’ve had to sleep on the couch.
Minister Ju Ashley 17:35
See me looking back.
Koji Sakai 17:40
Do you have any any questions or any?
Martin Mapoma 17:42
Uh, you know, it’s funny because you mentioned big site. What was he like? He seemed like he was a great guy.
Minister Ju Ashley 17:49
Man, you know, when I was going through my homeless thing, he actually let me live with him for about three months, man. When I first get one went into that he helped me out. He helped me get a place. You know, he mentor me, man. He actually, you know, was crazy. I’m gonna tell this story. Nobody probably ever knew this. But when I lived with him I remember one morning I heard knock on the door, and it was Jehovah Witnesses. And they came in, you know, he let him in. See people don’t let him in. Yeah.They came in. We did a little Bible study. And that was one that was close to the time, you know. So it’s like, we did the Bible study, and it’s just some answer some questions that I had and some feeling that I had. They help, you know, they kind of helped me when I was on the line. You know, sometimes you write you about to cross the line and go probably into the land, no return, at least as we think sometimes. They helped me man. They helped keep me grounded. So psych was a good dude man. Anything I needed? I mean, we’ve close. I can’t think of another dude that like sideman. We went places did some things and things and experiencing things that I probably would have never experienced without him. He
Martin Mapoma 19:15
was he was in the rap game until the very end and music
was he was he in music until the very end?
Minister Ju Ashley 19:24
Yes, he actually, he was filming he was working on two movies and the album right at the end so I’m not sure what’s going on right now with what he was working on. But I think the movie is gonna be is the independent film so I think the movie will be released. Yeah, he always did music that was never a time. I can remember site wasn’t doing well.
Unknown Speaker 19:53
Have a good? No, go ahead. No, go ahead.
Minister Ju Ashley 19:56
How did you meet up with Tupac basically, Right.
Yeah, man it was, they was best friends. Now I’ma tell you about Pac do Pac is a touchy subject. I’m around people that were close to him. So he when he talked about it, he didn’t talk about how they met or you know. Oh, Hema, this is what Pac show me, you know, or something that he remembered that was good memory, you know, for the private jets that they used to take, you know, things like that he didn’t really talk about all this is how I met. But he did it. Make sure that he continued to remind us that you know, he had a Rolex before he met Pac You know, he was doing things he actually had an album out before he made part but when all eyes on me, but he was doing music. And that’s cool. No, no other thing you you can kind of tell that uh I don’t know, I just say I just leave it there. I just say you know, don’t do a lot of inspirational moments that he brought.
Martin Mapoma 21:12
That’s good. That’s good. Well,
Koji Sakai 21:14
definitely glad fine.
Martin Mapoma 21:16
No,o, we’re just gonna ask them are there any Who are your influences now rap wise? Because the game has changed since back then. You know, today’s rap, you know, I’m always telling, you know, my wife that whatever our my, our son likes you because I love rap. And I grew up I grew up you know, I’m a little older than both of you guys. And a
Koji Sakai 21:34
little older. You’re way older dude.
Martin Mapoma 21:39
Yeah, I’m old. But I mean, I grew up listening. I grew up remembering when Pac first came out, and, you know, and because I was a big East Coast fan. You know, I love you know, you know, ghetto boys and, you know, Eric B and Rakim. And, you know, as my son’s getting older now he started to really, really like music and You know, my wife is not a rap fan. And but I’ve been I’ve been I’ve been letting him listen to some of the old stuff. And he of course, you know, he gets on Youtube Kids and then all of his buddies and he starts singing all these new rappers every day we’re eating dinner. And we’re watching TV. And the song came on that I’ve heard 1000 times, not 1000 times, but he started listening, singing the lyrics, and it’s on a song that I like, my wife and I looked at each other and I said, I told you, it doesn’t matter what we like we’re gonna both hate the music. He likes growing up, and it started. It’s just so different.
Minister Ju Ashley 22:38
Thats how it go. Yeah, but
Yes, surprisingly, I’m out man. 8 ball and jG
West Coast, a lot of West Coast, E40. You know, sure I like I like no limit back in the day. I like you know, I like swag thousand no limit I like to you know I like to0 short Wow, man
Martin Mapoma 23:18
Minister Ju Ashley 23:21
who I like man DJ quick
ah DJ quick was I
yeah he was he he was a little different you know? Because he was very la you know, you had to You almost had to experience LA to start I started liking him when I got to LA because I you know I kind of understood. E 40 See, I noticed some ma guys call Sacramento the country. You know but E40 and cats like that Like they’re like, you know, felly Fell marley Marl
Koji Sakai 24:02
Martin Mapoma 24:03
Minister Ju Ashley 24:06
they relate relate closely with Yeah, yeah
Koji Sakai 24:09
Mac Dre Yes.
Martin Mapoma 24:13
Please throw up the names
Koji Sakai 24:15
of course i don’t i know you do. So where where can people follow you? Where can people follow your music? Where can people hear what you’re doing?
Minister Ju Ashley 24:23
Well I’m at minister ju Ashley on Facebook and on Instagram Its that Gata family. My Facebook is I’m a lot more active on Facebook. I’m getting more active on Instagram but Facebook because I can tell I can. I can talk and I can do live and I can show videos I actually they can subscribe to my YouTube
That Gata family.
Martin Mapoma 24:49
Okay, what is it again? That Gata family?
Minister Ju Ashley 24:52
Gator is da ta da ta is given actual testimonies abroad. Okay. Yeah that’s the nameof my record label
Koji Sakai 25:02
I’ll make sure to put that in the in the show notes so people could could find your notes I do I even though I don’t comment or I don’t do anything I am lurking always I see all everything you post. And I love I love your videos. So I’m there. I’m watching it. I’m feeling it.
Minister Ju Ashley 25:16
I love it. Yeah, man, make sure you subscribe.
Koji Sakai 25:23
Thank you so much for coming on. Thank you for your time. I know you’re really busy dude. So I don’t want to I don’t want to take up too much your time but really thank you for coming in. And yeah,
Martin Mapoma 25:31
we really appreciate it.
Koji Sakai 25:32
And next, and next time you’re in Los Angeles, please please let me know that you’re here so we so we could meet up and hang out. I’d love to I’d love to meet you. I’d love to meet your wife, man. And I’d love for you to meet my wife my family as well.
Minister Ju Ashley 25:45
Yeah, my next
backup. Yes, whenever I know right. Actually, I
might I might have something fun with our new normally Yeah,
Koji Sakai 25:55
I might be shooting something at Atlanta. I’ve been talking about shooting something in Atlanta. So If I’m in Atlanta, I’ll let you know for sure. But thank you so much for coming on. Thank you, Martin. Thank you everybody for listening. Thank you, Koji, please rate review and subscribe to our podcast. This is what makes us go and let us know if you want to be on the show because that’s a really great way. So hit us up on Instagram, Facebook or wherever. Yeah, best or worst pod. So thanks for listening, guys. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Bye.
Martin Mapoma 26:23
Transcribed by https://otter.ai