Three weeks into his jail sentence, PyRexx collect called his friend Deon looking for something to cheer him up. Deon sounded strange. He was hiding something.
“If you knew something about my family,” Deon said, “and you talked to me before my family got to me, would you tell me or wait for my family to tell me?”
Pyrexx nagged the information out of him.
“No!” PyRexx screamed as he slammed the phone repeatedly.
He passed out for several seconds on the ground. As fellow inmates picked him up, a pastor entered to share the news that Deon had just broken: PyRexx’s mother died. The pastor instead, seeing that PyRexx already knew, just hugged him.
PyRexx’s mother was diagnosed with cancer five months before his sentence, but he never imagined that it would kill her. Before her death, PyRexx believed in God and called himself a Christian. Not anymore.
“How can he be such a good God if he took my momma from me?” PyRexx said.
PyRexx missed his mother’s funeral. A judge failed to grant him the freedom to attend in time. His last memory of her forever became being taken away from her.
PyRexx’s bitterness found a way to grow after Ashley posted his $70,000 bail with the help of friends and family. His mother had removed him from her will. She left his brother James $25,000, and he only offered PyRexx $800.
Their father talked James into giving a livid PyRexx $5,000. With it, he bought 15 pounds of weed and 2,000 pills of ecstasy—much of which a cop found after he pulled PyRrexx over for running a toll booth.
He was free only 28 days. His rush to arrive at a party for an ABN member who had just been released from prison landed him back in jail. PyRexx received three concurrent 10-year prison sentences for possession of a controlled substance, possession with intent to distribute and manufacturing a controlled substance.
Six months of fighting charges later, PyRexx married Ashley by a proxy wedding because married couples have special visitation privileges. The extra one-on-one time couldn’t preserve PyRexx’s relationship. Ashley grew tired of driving four hours to visit PyRexx and leaving in tears because he took his misery out on her, so they divorced.
By then, PyRexx had gotten denied parole three times. Fighting inmates, cussing out prison guards and having your wife smuggle you money and drugs will do that. But around the same time that the loss of another loved one overwhelmed PyRexx, his notoriety in Houston began to grow.
In 2009, PyRexx created Thorough Breadz, a clique that originated as a prison support system.
“You got a homeboy. If he got some food, y’all got food,” PyRexx said. “If he got stamped envelopes to write his family. Y’all got stamped envelopes.”
Thorough Breadz members multiplied in and out of prison by word of mouth. When Trae Tha Truth started the Free PyRexx movement, creating a buzz around PyRexx’s name, Thorough Breadz escalated it with social media and benefit concerts.
“Once people found out who [PyRexx] was—that he wasn’t just a character, a white guy with tattoos; he’s really a good rapper—it really gave him push,” said 007, former member of the Houston rap group 5th Ward Boyz.
PyRexx planned to reunite with ABN once freed. But a year before his release, a prison minister tried to talk him out of making music that glorified violence, drugs and misogyny: Bobby Herring, better known as Christian rapper Tre9.
Walking cell to cell, Tre9 met and invited PyRexx to his concert in the prison chapel. As fellow hip-hop artists, they clicked, exchanging letters in the months that followed.
Faith became a topic of discussion, and PyRexx wrote how he blamed God for his mother’s death. Tre9 interjected.
“Satan is the one you should be mad at,” Tre9 said. “He comes to steal, kill and destroy. God takes no pleasure in the death of anyone. Cancer is a sickness. That’s the result of sin entering the world, and if sickness is here, it’s from Satan.”
Tre9 won PyRexx back to the idea of a good God. The idea of making Christian music was another story. Tre9 wanted PyRexx to join him in ministry, sharing his experiences to change lives, but PyRexx considered partnering with Trae Tha Truth the more enticing option.
“Trae Tha Truth is doing this new album and [collaborating] with Wiz Khalifa, Jadakiss, and Lupe Fiasco,” PyRexx said. “Tre9 is going into prison.”
Returning to prison wasn’t on PyRexx’s agenda. Signing to Universal or Warner Music Group was. PyRexx also had no Tre9 tattoos, compared to four ABN (or five—he’s so tatted that he couldn’t remember).
Months after PyRexx was released and remarried Ashley, Trae featured him on the song “Strapped Up” off his album Street King. It cemented PyRexx as a household name in Houston’s underground rap scene.
He wasn’t satisfied. PyRexx wanted recognition by Grammy-nominated rapper Paul Wall—a fellow white, grill-wearing Houstonian who had also lived on De Soto.
At a joint concert, PyRexx introduced himself to Paul Wall backstage and walked away disrespected. PyRexx felt that Paul Wall gave him a halfhearted handshake, like he was just another rapper.
Shortly after, Trae shot the music video for “All That I Know.” PyRexx was supposed to be in it, but Trae, busy, never informed him where to go. Offended again, a heated argument between PyRexx and Trae began upon his arrival.
Trae criticized PyRexx’s ego in front of Thorough Breadz members who had tagged along, further aggravating PyRexx. He left before joining the filming. Prior to driving away while fuming in the front seat of his Toyota Avalon, he wrote the first verse of “I’m Back,” a dis song at Paul Wall, Machine Gun Kelly and Mac Miller.
Paul Wall’s handshake offended PyRexx, who had plotted a dis since prison because he never saw Paul Wall on De Soto. Machine Gun Kelly, while PyRexx admired his talent, looked to PyRexx like a copycat Yelawolf, who he respected. Mac Miller was friendly when PyRexx met him on the set of Trae and Wiz Khalifa’s music video for “Getting Paid”—too friendly for someone who PyRexx thought sounded cocky on the mic.
“[PyRexx] was a bit of a hot head,” Bun B told Rapzilla. “I felt like he always felt like he had to prove himself. He’s one of those guys who wouldn’t just do it but would sometimes overdo it.”
PyRexx tried to hire a videographer from outside Houston to shoot the music video because no one wanted to burn a bridge with Paul Wall. Without knowing it, PyRexx got the recording of “I’m Back” mastered at the studio that Paul Wall used. After an engineer finished, another engineer heard the song and called Wall to alert him.
Paul Wall, a trustee for the Texas Chapter of the Grammy Awards, had identified PyRexx as an up-and-coming rapper with potential.
“I was becoming a fan of him,” Paul Wall told Rapzilla. “I was rooting for him. I still was at that point, but I was disappointed that it went down like that because I wish we could’ve collabed or did something in support of each other instead of that happening.”
Paul Wall called Trae, who became livid. Trae called PyRexx and condemned the song, yelling that he’d never support it. PyRexx, high on Xanax, yelled back that he didn’t need Trae’s support—then or ever.
From This Point On Pyrexx Is No Longer ABN .. So Whateva He Do Is Pertaining To Him & His .. Not Us….
— TraeThaTruth (@TRAEABN) October 30, 2011
We Ain’t Knocking Him…. Just On 2 Different Routes… Nothin Else To Be Said… It’s still Street So This Buisness Is Internal..
— TraeThaTruth (@TRAEABN) October 30, 2011