Co-owner of thChrch and local San Diego rapper, Ramel aka Real J. Wallace, served up some real philosophical wisdom and good laughs during our Coffee & Convos. He first spoke about how everything we do is about setting intentions and how things sometimes have to get worse before they can get better. This is especially the case with the new space of thChrch.

“There’s something about seeing something beautiful and wanting to know what the root of that rose is. Like how does that get created? It’s a conversation about the root of the rose, and how you can create your own roots. It’s taking what you learn and connecting it with your story. To be able to express yourself to people – through words and actions, those fall into the earth and they become something.

With ThChrch, we had it for about a year or year and a half and we lost it. There was a limbo period when I felt lost in a sense because we lost our first space. We were so passionate about having that space because we had helped start a few businesses and people get on their feet with that space. We wanted a bigger space and it was too small, and since we were all going to be in there at the same time – we had our mind set on something else and we were really looking forward to that corner on Samson and Logan.

Then we got a video deal to shoot this commercial, and with intention, we shot in the middle of the street in Barrio Logan and on the roof of that specific building. We did it on purpose because we were gonna be here in the next few months, we just knew it. We had no connections to that building whatsoever, but two months later, we get a call with about that space and that’s when we started building. We’ve been in there since April.

Realizing the value of what we have and not just money. It was about the experience and the genuine value that we bring in day-to-day life and what we’ve been through. We didn’t choose our lives, it’s a higher power – it’s destiny that has put us in this place, which has allowed us to build the space. Even all of those rooms inside ThChrch, we were able to visualize and create space for the community to utilize.

We even have a studio in the back, which is sponsored by this company in New York. They had loved our philosophy and they were able to support our build out. We weren’t even going to have the studio by the end of the year, but it came up and helped everything get moving!”

Ramel continued to share how being comfortable with the unknown helps us learn, grow, and take us to that next level. With his goal of getting into the educational system and sharing his story to inspire students, he shares that it’s often like learning a new language and fitting into that mold but still representing yourself and your art.

“As artists we do need that outlet, but sometimes the other world has to understand. Similar to how in the corporate world, we have to speak a certain way to get our point across, in the educational world; you have to do the same. I’ve been learning their language to really get into it.

We’re always in a position to make our dreams happen. Because if we put ourselves in that certain position, the universe reacts in a certain way. We are taking that risk, and there’s always a risk and a reward.

I was in a position where I had asked for this. And it’s right now that always feels like the hardest, but it’s basically do or die. There’s been a lot of meditating and dealing with the idea of not knowing what’s going to happen. This is concept that will always be there, and we have to ask ourselves ‘are we going about this the right way?’ soak it in and channel that energy to do some amazing things.”

Ramel continued to share his story as well as the importance of communication with yourself. He also began to share about the importance of Kali, an influence to his latest album as well as the title of his album, Kali.

“I feel like oddly enough, as much as I work on my communication skills with other people, it helps for me to communicate with myself. That’s an important thing, to be able to communicate with yourself because I feel like we tend to abuse ourselves from the inside. Someone had told me to talk about myself in third person as if to make myself an outside part of the story, and that’s what art is like in general, it’s an outside sense of thinking. And it’s objective so you can look at it and see yourself as something. You can approach how to treat yourself. That’s also one of the scariest things about relationships because it’s almost as if you’re seeing a reflection of yourself since that person sees you from the outside and ultimately knows you better than you know yourself. Just like how the sun doesn’t know how bright it is. You can see yourself in a better light by just taking a step back and treating yourself better. You can also find a little bit of yourself with each person you meet – because you can only meet yourself. Whatever you put out into the world, that is what you experience, and through the people you meet. When you see the alchemy in that, you can jump into other manifestations and state of minds.

You gotta do something with your experiences. You gotta be able to dig in and figure out what the universe is telling you. No matter what it is, you have to find the positive in it because there is positivity in each situation if you find it.

I’ve studied a lot of Hinduism and I’ve applied that to everything. People connect to a really good story, and I’ve connected a lot to Hinduism. You can only see what you can perceive. It’s the foundation of everything.

That’s where the artwork of my album, Kali, was inspired by. I love the concept because she’s a black mother god – she is the worst thought you could think, utter darkness, death, and loneliness, and everything you don’t want to think about – that’s Kali. And it’s saying dance with these things you don’t want to think about. Learn how to accept them because it’s all the same thing – light, space, time, death – you can’t see the stars without the darkness because they need each other. That has really taught me to accept the things I am afraid of and go with everything I don’t know about. Because the things we don’t know about are the things we fear, and we should embrace it.

Kali is all about dancing with your fears, not being afraid to do your thing, and learning how to love. Even if you don’t have anything, you still have hope, and that’s the idea of succeeding in life. It’s all of these things we don’t even know about that make us who we are. Because even if we look at these fleeting moments, and reflections of our past, we have to be careful of where we put our energies – because sitting in the NOW is so important.”


Sitting down with Ramel over coffee is just one of the many interactions we’ve had with him and thChrch. We’ve learned so much about the importance of our journey, channeling positivity, and embracing the unknown. He’s shared how the ultimate goal for thChrch is to become a one-stop shop for photography, video, music production, clothing, and just helping as many people as they can.

From finishing up the studio, getting sponsors, educators, and non-profits involved, as well as getting into school systems, they’ve had several opportunities to inspire and give back to the community. In September they co-hosted a backpack drive for people to drop off school supplies to Monarch school, and just recently spoke at Chula Vista High School about running thChrch along with other inspiring individuals.

“I learn more from people than I do myself. The more I surround myself with people are good and genuine, the better I can become. It’s not about me, but the people around me. Ironically, losing my religion helped me to open up ThChrch – it’s that idea where you put yourself in an environment of like-minded people who want to succeed and create, because all of us are putting our thoughts and mind to it. And thoughts have the potential to move things.”


Follow Ramel

Instagram: @realjwallace
Twitter: @realjwallace
Website: realjwallace.com

Follow thChrch

Instagram: @thchrch
Twitter: @thchrch
Website: thechrch.com