PyRexx Tells All: How One of Houston’s most criminal Artists Became a Christian Rapper

The Christian Rapper

The week before PyRexx released Workflo Vol. 1, he returned to prison. This time, he entered not as a criminal but a minister.

Jittery, PyRexx shared his story, like Tre9 had asked him to do years prior. Inmates cried. They weren’t alone.



As Tre9 drove him home, PyRexx climbed to the back of the van to lay down. Having been awake since 4:30 a.m., working since 6 a.m. and performed, PyRexx said he was tired. This was true but, as to why he desired to lay down, not the whole truth.

PyRexx wanted to hide his tears, too.

“Dang man, look what God is doing in my life right now,” he said. “I had chills. I was just in the back seat crying, like ‘Man, this is my calling—to make disciples … I can’t change nobody, but the Holy Spirit will.”

The reason that PyRexx goes to prison nowadays isn’t the only thing different about him. By changing his first priority, everything about him changed.

Ashley doesn’t call Tre9 about verbal or physical abuse anymore. Her relationship with PyRexx was broken for years, but the wait to fix it was worth it.

“I would take this year for those [first] seven years,” Ashley said, “any day. He’s done a whole 180°.”

JoJo sees the difference in his father too, especially in what PyRexx avoids.

“No sell weed, no popping pills anymore and don’t go to jail,” seven-year-old JoJo said.

PyRexx is still tempted daily to get high. He just has too many reasons not to relapse.

“I can’t stop now,” PyRexx said. “God has opened up a door for me where it’s like, what I’m saying is changing a lot of peoples’ lives.”

Not everyone is thrilled with the change in PyRexx. Former fans have mocked him for being “weak.”

The difference between PyRexx and gang members who can’t quit, Reconcile said, is Tre9’s discipleship.

“It’s just crazy how Tre9 did it,” Reconcile said. “Wherever Tre9 went, he wanted PyRexx to be there to be influenced by his life.”

Now PyRexx does the same with his Thorough Breadz. He doesn’t reject non-Christians. PyRexx wants them to “follow him as he follows Christ,” as Tre9 says.

When Thorough Breadz member Joy Geraci visited Houston last November, PyRexx and Ashley opened up their home to her—like Geraci had for PyRexx when he moved to Florida. They also invited her to church. PyRexx’s reformation rocked her.

“Going to the church and seeing the changes in him, seeing how he interacted with everybody there, it really did awake that [desire for God] in me again,” Geraci said. “When you see the connection that somebody like him—this guy covered in tattoos, just this rough, raw image—has with God, it was inspiring.”

Houston hip-hop icons Bun B, Paul Wall and DJ DMD believe the background that created his rough, raw image gives PyRexx even more potential to impact listeners.

“[PyRexx] has a lot of stories to tell,” Paul Wall said. “I think he can lead a lot of people because has a lot to say. I think he can lead people away from making the same mistakes he made in his life in the streets, but in his music too.”

“It’s cool to see guys who have been doing the gospel rap thing for years and years, and they start to make some headway,” DJ DMD said. “But there isn’t anything like somebody who used to be grimy and dirty and even has a prison record to come out and glorify God with their gifts as well.”

“You need people who come from these kind of experiences to be able to talk to and really relate to the generation that we’re trying to save right now,” Bun B said.

This is why Tre9, after years of pushing him to change his music, is now pushing him to stay the same.

“Don’t become what a Christian rapper is painted to be,” Tre9 said. “Stay you. Stay street. Keep leading these street guys to the cross. The moment you become too mature for them, there’s nobody to help them cross that bridge.”

Few gang members become positive influences, Tre9 explained. For those who are ignorant of even how to make the transition, PyRexx’s life is a rare blueprint that maps it out.

He became a product of his environment. But he proved that what his environment produced wasn’t an end-product.

“I do a lot of prison ministry,” Tre9 said, “and guys are hopeless. They don’t know how on earth you can escape what you’ve been taught all your life—whether it’s selling drugs, gang banging, pimping, stealing or whatever your thing is to survive. They just can’t fathom that PyRexx gives his life to God and becomes a father, husband, hard worker making great money and puts out an album and the content be so street but so opposite of who he was.

“People can’t fathom it,” Tre9 said. “They don’t see this in their hoods. They see death, ugliness and filth. PyRexx comes along, one who used to be the same way, and completely changes his life. They watch for a while, and then they’re like, ‘If he can do it, I can do it.’”

This story of change has spread on a larger scale through PyRexx’s music. He still performs at clubs and shares the gospel in between songs.

“[PyRexx] is letting Jesus influence everything about his life—not just how he lives, but even how he raps,” Reconcile said. “What he believes and what he raps about aren’t two different things.”

Paul Wall, who PyRexx apologized to, believes that the state of Christian hip hop will allow PyRexx to make even more of an impact with his story than the subgenre would’ve allowed him to have over a decade ago. Church is where Wall started his rap career—in youth group with Chamillionaire, to be exact. Paul Wall, a fan of Christian hip-hop pioneer Lil Raskull, made screwed-and-chopped Christian hip-hop mixtapes, one of which Paul Wall almost fought a man over because he said Paul Wall demonized the music.

Today, Christian hip-hop artists are accused of demonization less and are given chances more.

“Fifteen years ago, if you said you were a gospel rapper, people wouldn’t give you credit unless you’re in the church world,” Wall said. “But it’s different these days. People like Lecrae—and a lot of others, too—are expanding people’s minds to music and sound with a positive feel to it.”

PyRexx’s music has had a positive feel since he stopped cursing. But according to experts, this didn’t make him soft on the mic.

“The content is really the only thing that’s changed,” Bun B said. “If [listeners] are fans of his flow, then he hasn’t lost a step in that at all.”

PyRexx struggled with the idea of making truly positive music for years.

He argued that music had no influence. Houston rapper Gifted remembers. He debated PyRexx at a panel discussion about the content of music after he first connected with Tre9 out of prison.

Thanks partially to JoJo, PyRexx agrees with them now. JoJo recites PyRexx’s lyrics. When PyRexx used to cuss, JoJo did too.

JoJo cussed on the intro of PyRexx’s debut album, so PyRexx obviously didn’t think this was a problem—until JoJo got punished at school for reciting his lyrics. This didn’t slow PyRexx’s expletives, though. He just made JoJo pause for them when rapping along to his songs.

“You can’t make disciples and expand the kingdom [of God] by making up your own path, saying, ‘Well, if I cuss in a song, I’m a grown man. I can do that as long as, in the end, I’m trying to prove the right point,’” Tre9 said. “If I degrade females in my song, I can’t say I’m trying to see women come to Christ.”

What made PyRexx stop cursing—and degrading women and promoting a gangster lifestyle—is, according to him, the Holy Spirit.

“A lot of guys contradict themselves,” PyRexx said. “They thank God for their awards and say that they love Him in the same songs that they rap ‘I wish somebody would cross that line—I’ma shoot them. I got these drugs. I got this [money],’ telling this woman, ‘Go drop it. Shake your butt.’ They’re contradicting everything they just said when they spoke on God. You can’t mix positivity with negativity and get back positivity.

“Because of my belief in Christ,” PyRexx said, “the Holy Spirit within me is going to lead me to speak on Christ no matter what.”

Years ago, PyRexx coveted the support of prominent rappers. Today, he finds his identity somewhere else—from someone above.

“I don’t think [PyRexx] is looking for a cosign from me,” Bun B said. “I think he’s looking for a cosign from a Higher OG.”

 







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Written by Philip Rood

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