In 2008, before Drake signed with Young Money Entertainment, he was featured on the same song as Gemstones: “Stay in Your Place” by TreaZon. Gemstones didn’t know Drake would become a platinum-selling, Grammy Award-winning artist, but Gemstones sensed that Drake had the “it factor” to be special—the same “it factor” he sees in Brother 3, an unsigned Christian rapper from Chicago.
“Brother 3 is really, really talented.” Gemstones told Rapzilla. “He’s next. Trust me. I got my money on him … He’s just slept on.”
Like Gemstones, Milton “Brother 3” Taylor grew up battle rapping. However, buzz he had built on the streets was interrupted by an eight-month prison sentence for unlawful use of a weapon in 2004. He had gotten involved in gangs and drug dealing at an early age, which distanced him from most of his family.
“3 Feet was an amazing performer,” said Christopher “Styles” Turner, an associate of his. “3 always had the ability to rock a stage or entertain a crowd at moment’s notice … 3 was also very competitive. He would always attempt to incite artists into battles or competitive cyphers. I remember listening to him rhyme for hours thinking ‘where is this material coming from?'” 3 always seemed to pull from an infinite pool of content.” After Brother 3 was released from prison, he moved to Atlanta to focus on music. Back then, he was known as “3 Feet” due to his lack of height (he’s 5’3”). His life soon changed, but not because of a record deal. A connection of Brother 3’s was getting married, and on his wedding website were Bible verses that jarred the rapper: 1 Corinthians 4-7.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres,” reads the passage.
Brother 3 had been in relationships with plenty of women, but never experienced the kind of love described in the Bible. Shortly afterward, he left his girlfriend and moved back to Chicago for a fresh start and to be closer to his son. The woman who would become his wife invited him to church, and Brother 3 became a Christian.
“I identified [1 Corinthians’] love with women because that’s the only expression that I had in showing love,” said Brother 3, who prayed, “’Lord, the next woman you introduce me to, this is how I’m going to love her.’ And little did I know, I was asking for His love.”
Years later, Brother 3 discovered a song by a fellow Chicago Christian hip-hop artist that impressed him, “Where I Would Be” by Gemstones.
“He’s out of my reach,” thought Brother 3. “I probably won’t meet him for some time.”
A couple weeks passed. Then one afternoon as Brother 3 began to exit a local barbershop, Gemstones entered. Brother 3 didn’t recognize him, so he kept walking.
But Gemstones quickly asked whose music the barber was playing. It was Brother 3’s mixtape Led by the Spirit Vol. 1. The barber ran out the door to catch Brother 3 and introduce them.
Since then, Brother 3 and Gemstones have developed a friendship, and a collaboration is in the works. Brother 3 has been releasing a free song the first Tuesday of every month, the latest of which is a Chiraq Freestyle. He’s aiming to release a mixtape titled Something New late this year.
Follow Brother 3 on Twitter at @therealbrother3.
David Daniels is a writer for Rapzilla.com. He’s been published at Bleacher Report, Christianity Today and The Daily Caller. Follow him on Twitter.