Priest Jones is only 10, but he has a message he wants to share with the world.
The north Minneapolis-based rapper is about to release his first album, “My LifeSTYLE,” which features five tracks performed and written entirely by him.
“I want to help people understand they have talents and gifts,” he said of his music. “And they can spiritually and physically use them.”
Priest has his own company, PJ’s Music Shop, which showcases his talents in playing drums, speaking, singing, rapping and comedy. Priest came up with the company as part of the project-based curriculum of his home schooling.
His album features themes of empowerment and personal reflection.
The tracks include “Get MAD” (“MAD is an acronym; it stands for ‘make a difference,’ ” he said), “Minnesota Nice” (“It’s about the ups and downs of being in Minnesota, how there’s good and bad”) and “Work It Out” (“It’s dedicated to my football team, how we are going to work and make it through to get tougher and faster at the end of the season.”)
He came up with the CD’s title “because it’s stuff about my life, what I do, what my hobbies and interests are, my family and friends,” he said.
“Black Boy” is the album’s anthem. Priest wrote the song as a way to encourage African-American boys to be proud.
“The world is telling us we’re not good kids a lot of the time,” he said. “I want to tell them otherwise. I hope that people will be blessed, and it will bless their hearts that they can do something like what I did as a young person.”
When the song was played by the owner of Sammy Avenue Eatery and Priest told the story behind it, a woman at the restaurant was moved to tears. After that experience, Priest said, he realized the power his music could have. “It’s about touching hearts.”
His mother, Tryenyse Jones, said it was natural for the family to train Priest musically. Jones and her husband, Stacey, have musical backgrounds and run the independent record label M.A.R.K. Music. They intend to nurture Priest’s music.
“My husband and I have both worked in corporate, and we enjoyed that, but we knew we were more geared toward being [musical] entrepreneurs and we wanted to cultivate that in Priest,” she said. “If he wants to work in something else, he can still choose that. But we wanted to establish this foundation and love in him as a young person.
“We just know in our family that we’ve been affected by music in such a powerful way, and we’re expressing to Priest that music has the power to bring awareness and healing.”
Priest’s album will be available July 15 on CD Baby, iTunes and Amazon. A release party will be held at Christ Church International from 6 to 8 p.m. the same day.