Bound By The Hustle, Not The Streets
Nate Henry has perfected the art form of hustling life, instead of letting life hustle him. At 22 years old, spitting a mainstream flow, Nate renewed himself after serving time in jail. Leaving behind years in the mainstream music industry, he now serves his life’s purpose to “inspire people spiritually and musically to live a life full of abundance.” Formerly known as Mehlek Pfisha in the rap game, he rebranded himself in 2018 as Kenny Knoxville when he decided to develop his hustle from Christian rapper to producer. To date, he has put out 2 albums, 1 EP, 3 singles, and interviewed on WNSB Hot 91.1 radio station. Although the studio is home to his creative space, Nate’s hustle carries on. Husband, father of 3 beautiful girls, military vet, engineer apprentice at the VA shipyard, degree candidate for electrical engineering, fitness guru, public speaker, civil rights activist and former leader of a jail youth ministry- Nate has transformed the concept of hustle into a lifestyle.
Nate, how do you define hustle, and how has it changed over time?
I used to think hustling was runnin’ the streets, movin’ packs, nickelin’ and dimin’, trying to go from a nick to a brick. But my definition changed after I went to jail for the third time. At its core, hustling, is all about leveling up. It’s that hunger for success and the determination to pile over any obstacle that stands in your way. I don’t care whether you’re hustling on the basketball court, in school, your job, or in the gym; hustling is never giving up till you achieve victory.
The levels of Kenny Knoxville can be appreciated from his first original Christian rap in 2007 “Christaholic”
What were some of your biggest roadblocks, and how did you overcome them?
Between being raised by a military father, and enlisting in the military myself, I don’t spend a lot of time being scared of roadblocks. I just do the best I can to pile over it. For example, when I started in the shipbuilding industry, I was recommended by my foreman to apply for a program called ASchool that allowed me to work part-time, and go to school part-time, but get paid full-time. I applied the same day he told me about it, only to get rejected. I proceeded to get my technology degree but still wanted a full engineering degree, so I applied again for Aschool. Four applications later, I was finally accepted as an apprentice. So, by sheer determination, I was granted access to arguably the most prestigious apprentice school in the country and I am an engineer in the shipbuilding industry.
How did you know you wanted to be a Christian rapper versus a Christian who raps?
I’ve actually worn both hats in my career. I wanted to be a Christian rapper to oppose the world that I grew up in. Over time and with a lot of studying, I wanted to call myself a Christian who raps to oppose the church that I would later learn in. At the end of the day, it’s not about the order of the two titles. To me they’re inseparable, and together they ultimately define what I do: inspire people spiritually and musically to live a life full of abundance.
What allows you to stay grounded in your career path?
Prayer, exercise, and music.
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How do you define your success?
Success to me is two-fold. The bigger picture of success is building an empire and giving your kids everything they need to explore their hobbies, their talents and gifts. Of course, being your own boss and taking vacations whenever you want, are great elements of the bigger definition.
I think there are also, smaller successes, and without them, there would be no way to truly appreciate the bigger success. The smaller success is enjoying the journey and the fight to the top and having peace along the way. That doesn’t mean false bliss, or never getting frustrated with failure, because no true success can come without failure. The smaller success is every time you level up. Every time you achieve something you pushed for.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
If I knew I could marry the same woman, and have the same children, it would be- stop skipping school and sleeping in class and perfect the art of studying. Also, to stop smoking weed, chasing women, and save yourself for marriage.
What is one resource our viewers can tap into today to get them started in your field?
Each person should find it in their own self to exploit their own gift and talents to achieve the success that they want. I am an open book and will give whatever knowledge I have literally, but we live in a great country.
In America, you can get a business license and turn your hobbies into a tax write-off. You don’t even have to make any money, but every dollar you spend doing what you love is tax deductible, and that means anyone can get paid to do what they love.
However, if I had to reduce it to one source, I would say the only source a person needs is God.
New Single “Phenomenon” Available August 21st. Pre-Order your copy today on your favorite streaming platform.
His music is on all streaming platforms and he can be connected with on IG or FB: @KennyKnoxville, Twitter: @KnoxvilleKenny and personal website: KennyKnoxville.com.
The Hustle don’t stop, it’s just beginning.