Previously on “The “Lost” Christian Battle Rapper”…
I was jaded towards church, feeling rejected and ostracized by my local CHH scene (and CHH as a whole), battle career caught in a loop and making little progress.
What was I to do?
Would I fall victim to self-pity, circumstances, and putting my identity in the wrong place? Or, would I overcome, grow in Christ, and find peace and contentment?
One thing I love about God is He doesn’t give up on us, even when we give up on Him. I wouldn’t say I had given up, but, at that time, I saw no way out of my circumstances. Thankfully, God brought people into my life who loved me for me and also embraced 3PFD as an artist, which helped in my healing process (which is still ongoing, and I think is a lifelong process in some ways).
I was able to start plugging back in with my church more, which was a good thing. We restarted our young adult ministry, which was small, but allowed us to build with each other. I got to build with one person in particular, Erica.
Erica had moved to Pittsburgh to complete her PhD and thought she would move home afterwards. However, she ended up taking a job at a local university and stayed involved at our church.
Long story short, I really enjoyed hanging out and talking with her and ended up asking her out on a date. We went on our first date on January 1, 2014. We decided to officially become a couple a month later, and the train never stopped moving.
We got engaged in January 2015, and on March 16, 2016, she became Erica Tachoir, my wife.
#Team ET was born.
Did my relationship and marriage make me think differently on battling?
First of all, I struggled with putting Erica in the line of fire because I realize anything is fair game. She was up for it and supportive, but I still didn’t want to see my girl be disrespected.
More than dealing with bars about my relationship, I started to think about my future in battle rap. I saw my “career” in that genre going nowhere, and I thought if I wanted to get married and be the provider and leader of a household, then I could no longer justify throwing away money to travel to battle events that weren’t getting me anywhere.
This reflection caused me to focus on music again and, finally, release my second album “Outside The Box” in June 2014. It was good to get the album out, and it got good reviews by the few who heard it. However, as mentioned in prior articles, I had let my connections in Christian Hip-Hop (CHH) lapse. I had also not been active releasing music and learning this piece of the business, so I did not have a good plan to release the album.
Needing to reconnect with CHH and increase my learning in this arena, I signed up for Flavor Fest 2014. This event was awesome, and allowed me to reconcile in my heart with CHH as a whole. I summed up my disconnection and reconnection to CHH in my single “Open Letter (Understand)”, which you can hear here:
During our time at this conference, I hung out with the Just His League, a CHH collective from Charlotte, NC. My friend Omega Sparx, who was also hanging with us at Flavor Fest, did a concept rap battle with me. This was something new, but it’s something that really caught my attention.
For those that don’t know, a concept rap battle is a rap battle where each MC plays a character of either “vice” or “virtue” (good vs. evil) or different sides of an issue in battles that are based around real life issues and challenges. Omega Sparx and the Just His League had started a concept battle ministry called SLAP (Showing Love Applying Pressure) Battles. I wanted to run with this concept battle thing and was eager to take my career in a new direction. So, after Flavor Fest 2014, Omega Sparx and I because “Presidents” of the Charlotte and Pittsburgh divisions of SLAP Battles.
I worked hard on SLAP Battles over the next two years, even sacrificing my own music and stepping away from the traditional battle rap ring. I saw a lot of victories, and I felt like I was where God wanted me to be in doing concept battles. I also saw struggles because it was tough to get people to understand what we were doing, and there were top CHH sites who called us corny.
Also, from my perspective, things were too complicated for my liking from the business side. I never thought anything did anything wrong, but I did feel led to fully run my own promotion, which led me to starting Stellar Fusion Entertainment at the beginning of 2017.
During this time of stepping away from the traditional battle rap arena, God rose up other believers to step into the ring. These MCs rose to the biggest battle rap leagues very quickly, and repped the Lord well while doing it. Very soon, Th3 Saga, Street Hymns, A Ward, and Loso would be household names in both CHH and battle rap. I was happy to see their success, but I also struggled because I felt like I sowed a lot into this arena and didn’t see the rewards. We’ll break this down more in future episodes.
So here we are, now I’m running an entertainment company/concept battle league, not battling (in the traditional battle rap format), music is up in the air, and I’m still somewhat newly married. I’d love to say, “I made it”, but I’m still in the middle of the process, like most of us. I can say that God is good, and He’s provided for Erica and I through this all, even in taking chances and taking losses we’ve been able to pay off lots of debt, pay our bills, and give. I’ve also been able to continue to heal the jadedness I’ve felt towards my church and church as a whole, though this is still a process. It looks like everything is smooth, but remember, there’s always room for a “Plot Twist.”