Rapzilla Freshmen Kamban & His Dad Saved From Drug Addiction [Interview]
For Kamban, 2020 Rapzilla Freshmen, Father’s Day is a happy day for him and his father. Both have lived the prodigal son story and have survived the addiction. Now, they are closer than ever and united in Christ.
Growing up, Kamban said he and his family had a close relationship. They joked they smiled, they spent time together, they accepted each other for who they were. During his childhood, however, his father had an addiction to drugs, overall for 16 years. So while they were a close family, the drugs had their toll.
“He did a lot of messed up stuff, broke my heart a lot of times, but he was sick. It wasn’t stuff he wanted to do, it was stuff he was a slave to,” Kamban said. “There were a lot of great highs and there were a lot of messed up lows. The messed-up lows, unfortunately, messed us, kids, up in a lot of ways.”
As he grew up, Kamban heard every destitute thing his dad involved himself with or heard, mainly from hearing conversations his mother and father had in-person or over the phone. Eventually, Kamban could tell everything his dad was doing based on clues around the house.
“There were so many times I remember listening through the vents of my house. I was so obsessive as a kid. [I] always had to know what was going on in my family situation,” he said. “I felt it was my responsibility to keep my family together as a kid.”
Despite the anger, he felt towards his dad, Kamban still prayed for him. Jesus was in Kamban’s life as a child. While he wasn’t a devoted believer yet, his family attended church from time to time and prayed together.
“I loved my dad so much. I remember praying for him so many times at my bedside as a 10-year-old, 11-year-old, 12-year-old.”
Then Kamban’s parents divorced. Relationships became cold as Kamban ended up living with his father. He walked away from his relationship with Jesus. Eventually, Kamban followed took the same drug-filled path his father took.
“I used my dad’s addiction as a motivator to basically run away from God and justify all the bad stuff. I blamed everything on my dad and never took personal responsibility for anything,” Kamban explained. “He was a scapegoat for all the messed-up stuff I did because it was so easy to blame him and call him the addict and never take personal responsibility in life.”
So Kamban became like his father, drug-addicted, and emotionally numb. He tried college four times, each time dropping out. He only attending college because of pressure from around him socially. His indecision about his future, the drugs, and his love of rap always lead him to drop out, however.
Rap has always been a part of Kamban’s life. His father used to DJ and would play music on his turntables in his basement for Kamban and him to vibe to. Eventually, Kamban practiced his own craft and became a secular artist.
“I was moving up in the secular music crowd for a little while. You ever hear of Insane Clown Posse? It’s basically like Juggalo, underground rap, horrorcore type stuff… I was starting to open for people like that.”
Like everything in a sinner’s life, however, Kamban twisted his gifts and talents in rap to cater to his broken spirit and image. When drug addiction settled in, rap became a growing crutch in his life. He even started selling drugs to fund his rap career.
“I was so depressed and had no purpose. That purpose turned into me being so lacking in acceptance so badly that I used rap as a way to catapult and boost my confidence to basically one-up everybody in my life,” Kamban explained. “It was kind of like an ego-trip.”
Two years into Kamban’s addiction, his father started to attend help groups and counseling. Eventually, he left drugs completely and became a Christian. Now, father and son stood in opposite positions compared to Kamban’s childhood.
“He watched me go through the same thing for five years, and he prayed for me every day,” Kamban said. “He got a taste of what I went through too because he talks about all the time how he got sick never knowing when I would come home.”
Throughout all his drug and alcohol escapades, Kamban can remember that hand of God. Whenever he passed a church, Kamban would remember Jesus and feel the guilt of what he did with the Holy Spirit working in his heart.
“Multiple times I tried to go back to church. I’d only go back for a week or two then feel shame and guilt, and I couldn’t handle it. So I ran back to the drugs.”
It wasn’t until five years into his drug addiction that Kamban was forced by courts to attend rehab sessions after a 70 mph collision on the highway while he was under the influence of drugs and alcohol. During these sessions, Kamban renewed his dedication to Jesus and disposed of drugs in his life completely.
“I was still having health problems. I was supposed to go to another secular concert, and I had to cancel because I was having such bad health problems. People were mad at me saying I was tripping and whatever. A couple of days later, I went to a meeting and came home at night. I was so desperate. I didn’t know who God was, and I googled Jesus and a video came up on some lady [titled] ‘near-death testimony.’ Having known the experiences I’ve gone through, I was like ‘of course, He’s right here.’”
Together in Christ
Now Kamban and his father are both off drugs. They have forgiven each other of their transgressions and are chasing after Christ. His dad now leads a faith-based recovery ministry for recovering addicts.
“I used to get so mad at him until I went through it myself and actually understand how [addiction] literally is a safety blanket to cover up and numb all your pain.”
Now, Kamban is using his gifts as a rapper to speak to those who were in the same boat as him and those who are seeking answers. He wants to make “power-filled music that has the reach of secular music.” Who knows though? Maybe God will want Kamban to be a pastor. God knows best, and Kamban knows that he must surrender his entire life for God to use him most effectively.
“Jesus is worth losing everything. What I mean by that is losing my desires, my dreams, whatever. He is worth it, and want people to know that he’s amazing, He is for you, not against you.”