For those that don’t know me, my name is Evan, aka 3PFD on stage. I’m a Christian Hip-Hop Artist and Battle Rapper. Yes, for those unfamiliar with hip-hop culture, you did read that right Christian Hip-Hop AND Battle Rapper together.
How did I get here? We’ll get to that, soon enough.
First, many of you may be asking, why this blog title, The “Lost” Christian Battle Rapper.
I picked the title of this blog for two reasons:
- The word “Lost” is a double entendre (I’m a battle rapper, couldn’t resist, LOL). Many who only follow mainstream battle rapper or CHH either forgot about my time in the ring or never even knew that I existed, unlike other Christians in the genre who have blown up and done big things. No shade here, just reflection.
- “Lost” also refers to the fact that I’ll be talking about the mistakes I made in my journey as a Christian in battle rap and how I healed (and am still healing) from jadedness towards the church and fellow believers. I’m not perfect, and I want this to be a real and transparent blog where I will chronicle that journey.
Now that I’ve told you what this is about, let’s get to how I got here.
Back in the summer of ’82, my parents were having a romantic…WOOOO!
If we start there, we will never finish.
And, yes I was conceived in ’82 and born in ’83. Some would say I’m old – DEAL WITH IT.
Let’s jump forward just a bit.
I began rapping when I was 16 but didn’t seriously pursue my art and ministry until 2007. From there, until 2010, I performed in various shows/ministry events in the Pittsburgh area. I also released my first album, “Evan’s Song”.
It was during this time that I stumbled up battle rap, specifically Scribble Jam and Jump Off. I got more and more into it as I checked out videos. Once the 2007 World Rap Championships started dropping videos each week, I was hooked. I would watch battles whenever I could and even would beg friends to watch with me. The competitive juices started flowing, and I would even try to get other MC friends of mine, including Christian Rappers, to freestyle battle me. This once led to a battle after a ministry event where another Christian MC YELLED at us to stop and broke it up. You’d of thought I was stomping dude on the ground, but nah, just barring out on him. This competitiveness made me want to enter a battle rap league; however, I doubted if I could as a Christian MC and still keep a level of integrity with not cussing and talking about certain subjects. This struggle led to lots of prayer and talks with my pastors, other trusted friends, and fellow Christian MCs.
I have a heart to reach people right where they are at with my music, and I was frustrated with what I was doing because I noticed that we were just constantly performing in front of the same 20-30 people at most of our events. This was cool, but I knew I needed to do something different to break out of this mold and reach more people.
I started hitting up local open mics at the Shadow Lounge, a former urban entertainment venue in Pittsburgh, in 2009. At these events, I found out about “Rhyme Calisthenics”, a hip-hop game show where MCs had to play various games to test their freestyle and writing abilities.
I’ll admit, I am competitive as a rapper, always wanting to up my game and be the best, so this seemed perfect. The fact that I was the first Christian rapper to do it, and many doubted if I could compete because of that only fueled the fire. The first time I entered, I quickly got bounced in round 1. Many of my Christian friends in attendance felt I got low scores because the crowd and judges were biased against a Christian. This made me question if I wanted to do it again; however, after licking my “wounds” I decided to give it another try in January 2010.
I stepped up to the wheel, gave it a spin, and it landed on “Comp Killer”, which is a game where you have to battle your competition, just like a battle. I had always wondered if a crowd of real hip-hop heads was going to feel my punchlines. It was time to find out. Once the wheel stopped, the crowd got awkwardly silent, and another MC from the crowd yelled, “Hit em with the wrath of Christ”, which got a lot of laughs from fellow MCs and the audience. Needless to say it was an awkward, tense environment. I remember thinking right before the beat dropped that this was either going to be amazing or awkward, but there was no middle ground. Next up, the beat drops and it’s game time. I start off going in on a muslim MC named A Jaxx (cool dude, shout out to him). I remember my second punchline hit, and the crowd had a slight delayed reaction because they almost couldn’t believe that a Christian Rapper was killing the battle game. I continued to rock the “Comp Killer” game and by the end horns were going off and the crowd went bonkers (if you don’t believe me, see it for yourself: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PMV8UlxBY4c)
After conquering “Comp Killer”, I felt I was ready for the battle rap ring. I reached out to Real Deal, a fellow performer who I knew through Rhyme Cal and the Pittsburgh Hip-Hop Scene, and got a tryout with Grind Time Now, which was one of the top viewed battle rap leagues in the world at the time. I killed the tryout and earned a spot in Grind Time Now. Now (yes, pun intended, LOL), my rap career and life was about to challenge. The Christian Battle Rapper was born.
I struggled early to find some wins in Grind Time Now (yes, battles actually used to be judged, crazy right?!?!), but people were shocked and impressed to hear a Christian Rapper killing it without cussing or using many violence and sexual references. Doors were open to witness through my life, both inside and outside the ring. I was building relationships with many people in the DMV area and the Midwest through several leagues.
I felt like I had finally found my home – or so I thought.
Over the coming weeks and months, we will look back on my journey in blogs titled “Throwback”, such as this one. In addition, “Flash Forward”, is where we will look to what’s next as a way to encourage and speak life into the CHH scene. I’ll also give my take on some of the current trends and happenings at the intersection of Christian Rap and Battle Rap.
Most importantly, I want all of this to be done in love and with encouragement because that’s who I’m created to be – Pure, Peacefilled, Powerful Faithful Dreamer – 3PFD.
Until then, stay tuned – make sure to like, share and follow us!