Hip-Hop has always been known for its influential power in terms of shifting mind-sets and affecting one’s psyche, particularly the youth. One of the misconceptions that’s been contrived from this is that a rap lyric can lead one to profanity, hooliganism and criminal behaviour. Hardly is it ever depicted by mass media to the contrary, that self- expression cannot be limited to a simple model of cause and effect.
3PFD is a Christian rapper and the man behind the SLAP Battles league. This Pittsburgh native, real name Evan Tachoir, embodies the underlying core of Hip Hop which is self-expression. He encompasses the ‘be the change you want to see in the world’ adage by turning dreams into reality through the sub-niche of Christian based rap and SLAP Battles, with wholesome yet audacious ambitions.
3PFD’s pursuit of purity translated into establishing a platform much like his life, of pitting virtues against vices of remaining true amidst temptations of sin.. We spoke with him about how he keeps things balanced; going against the grain of battle rap and various aspects of how the business has treated him without hindering his vision.
Lavatory Records: Describe 3PFD for those who don’t know you, and the reason behind the choice of name?
3PFD: 3PFD is an acronym for Pure, Peacefilled, Passionate Faithful Dreamer (3Ps, F, D). The meaning behind the name came from Genesis 32. In the story, after wrestling with the angel of the Lord, God changes Jacob’s name from Jacob (meaning trickster or deceiver) to Israel (meaning A Great Nation). The point behind the name is that God doesn’t call us by the names of our failures but by the greatness He’s created in us.
LR: How did you first get into Hip Hop as a culture?
3PFD: I grew up in a suburban area outside of Pittsburgh, PA (shout out Latrobe, haha). Many of my friends got into gangsta rap back in the 90s through their older brothers because that was the “cool” and “rebellious” music of our teenage years. I listened to mostly alternative and rock at the time, but after most of my friends started listening to rap, I finally gave in one day and asked my friend to bring some Notorious BIG over for me to listen to.
After hearing a few tracks, I was hooked and wanted to hear more, and more, and more. I began purchasing my own CDs, and I would listen to rap anywhere I’d go (shout out to my Discman and rechargeable batteries). Listening to rap was what got me into freestyling, then writing, and eventually into immersing in the culture as a whole.
LR: Who were your favourite artists growing up?
3PFD: 2Pac was, and is, my all-time favourite. I was a big Death Row and No Limit Records fan. I also liked Eminem, Biggie, Bone Thugs N Harmony too. Once I got into Christian Hip-Hop, T-Bone and Cross Movement also became some of my favourites.
LR: The entertainment industry can be known to be rather “dark sided”, how important has your Christian faith been in keeping you focused on your purpose?
3PFD: My faith in Jesus has been the number one thing that has kept me focused on my purpose, not just in the entertainment industry, but in life in general. I definitely have to give God credit because He has kept me more than I have kept myself when it comes to focus and keeping Him first. I love Him because He first loved me. I see that theme repeated a lot in my life.
LR: What has it been like to ply your craft within the space of Christian Rap?
3PFD: It has been great. Like anything in life it has its challenges, but overall it is good. I like being able to bring my unique blend of hip-hop, music, battle rap, and me to the table and seeing what God can do with it.
LR: How did SLAP Battles come about and what has been your involvement in pushing that movement?
3PFD: SLAP Battles (SLAP standing for Showing Love Applying Pressure) was created by the homie Pop from the Just His League in Charlotte, NC. He used the concept for a community outreach event, which my boy Omega Sparx took part in. I was battle rapping at the time pretty heavily in various leagues, so Sparx hit me up to ask me to give him feedback on his battle. I was uncertain about a concept, faith based rap battle league, but after seeing his battle and how well done it was, I was sold. I knew I wanted to be a part of SLAP.
After doing a SLAP Battle for fun during our time at the Flavor Fest conference in Tampa in 2014, I decided I wanted to partner with Omega Sparx and make SLAP Battles an official league. We’d be the first concept rap battle league. We then had our first official event in December 2014 in Charlotte, while events in Charlotte and Pittsburgh followed in 2015, along with our new YouTube Channel:
LR: What are your thoughts on the growth and popularity of Battle Rap as a whole? Is it getting oversaturated?
3PFD: I love battle rap, so I am excited to see it grow. I think if more people gave the art form a chance they would really appreciate the lyricism and complexity of what people are writing and saying.
I do think it’s been oversaturated for a while. It grew too fast in the last 7 or so years, and I don’t think a lot of leagues had the proper infrastructure and systems in place to evaluate talent and help people progress; therefore, it can become a lot of politics and playing favourites (not saying the top guys don’t deserve their spot, but there are PLENTY of excellent battle rappers that don’t get the shine they deserve).
I think the oversaturation has created a phenomenon similar to the industry where if a battle isn’t on one of the top channels or featured by one of the top blogs, then people don’t check for it or subconsciously view it as second rate.
LR: Where do you want to see the SLAP Battles league in years to come?
3PFD: SLAP is a combination of a league and a ministry, so I want to see us excel in both arenas. From the league side, I would like to see us be able to have events that sell out mid-sized arenas consistently. I would also like to see the top names in Christian Hip-Hop see SLAP as a place they need to be a part of and be willing to get in the ring and make classics.
From the ministry side, I would like to see us get into schools and community centres and make positive change by using the concept based format to help our youth critically think about the choices they are faced with and make the right decisions for a better future. I would also like to see us partner with more churches and organizations for community outreach.
LR: Most other leagues are popping off on urban culture. Do you think that trend limits or encourages growth for the SLAP Battles?
3PFD: I think like any trend you need to be aware of it and strategize accordingly. I think it could be hard to grow because of over-saturation; however, we have a format and excellence that sets us apart, so I think there is a lot of potential with that (much of which may still be untapped for us).
LR: What have been the challenges of running a business within the Hip Hop space and particularly battle rap?
3PFD: Doing something brand new, with a concept league, has been the biggest challenge in my opinion. People tend to not like change, so launching something that they don’t have a frame of reference to compare it to, can be difficult to gain press and to get people to give you a chance. Even submitting our battles to websites for coverage can be tough because many sites have forms to submit music, both nothing for videos, let alone rap battles.
LR: You come from a Human Resources Management background, professionally. How has that shaped your artistic career?
Human Resources has taught me a lot. It’s helped me in working with people to help put people in positions and roles where they can be the most effective. It’s also helped me to be more organized and think through our processes critically. It can be easy to get excited and jump into throwing an event; however, my HR experience has helped me to see the details and think through things step-by-step to help avoid the pitfalls and have the best possible event.
LR: We know you also make music, when can we expect more songs from you?
3PFD: Hopefully soon. Once I get my plans set for SLAP for 2016, then I can think about getting in the studio and laying some tracks down. I have a few that I’ve been working on, I just want to make sure the release will fit into the overall strategy of what I’m doing with SLAP, 3PFD, etc…
LR: Any special mentions you want to shout out?
I have to give Praise to my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ first and foremost. I know that can sound cliché from a Christian, but when I look at my life and everything I’ve done, I can see His hand at work through it.
Shout out to my fiancée Erica, love you boo. Shout out to Omega Sparx, Phresh, and the rest of the SLAP/JHL Team. Also, shout out to anyone who has supported SLAP in our early phases, whether by battling, coming to an event, watching a battling, sharing a YouTube video. Whatever it is… thank you.