Datin left the movie theater wishing he had never watched The Passion of the Christ.
He felt convicted. But he had too much to lose to become a Christian.
By 2004, Datin had established himself as one of the best battle rappers in the nation. His resume included victories at 106 & Park’s Freestyle Friday, Monday Nite Fight Klub and End of the Weak’s MC Challenge.
“He was getting a crazy underground buzz,” said Lionel King, a member of Datin’s group Divided Minds.
Datin started to work with record producer Megahurtz, who had worked with Jay Z, 50 Cent and Nas. Then Datin met Riggs Morales, the Director of A&R at Shady Records—Eminem’s label. Several flights to meet with Bizarre and Proof of Eminem’s group D12 later, and a bidding war for Datin between Shady and Colombia Records had begun.
This is what Datin didn’t want to lose as he opened up a Bible the day after watching The Passion of the Christ. Two chapters into reading, though, the annoyance of “thou shalts” and “thees” made him toss his King James Version across the room.
Datin wasn’t ready to become a Christian. Lionel King was. Datin had mentored him into the next best rapper on Divided Minds, but King quit because of his newfound faith.
Datin didn’t understand and tried to talk King out of it saying “it’s just music,” but without success. Disappointed but respectful of King’s decision, Datin continued to pursue a record deal. Then Proof was murdered.
“The last thing Eminem was worried about was signing an artist,” Datin told Rapzilla.
Then contract talks with Colombia soured. Then Datin’s girlfriend had a miscarriage and left him.
These dreams, which were almost reality, vanished. He felt God calling him. Instead, he medicated not “making it” with sex.
But Datin couldn’t escape Christians. King introduced him to Pamela Long, former member of Diddy’s Bad Boy Records R&B group Total. Long told Datin she left Bad Boy for the sake of her Christian faith and offered him advice.
“She [essentially] warned me, ‘Look, if you sign this contract, you’re basically forfeiting your soul. The industry will suck the life out of you,’” said Datin.
Long sacrificing fame for faith shocked Datin, especially because, “She’s seen the top and walked away from it all,” he said.
Datin still believed he could justify his lifestyle if he beat King in religious debates, but he repeatedly lost. Datin was soon influenced by another Christian rapper, Lavoisier.
Years prior, Datin had formed the group FYL with Lavoisier’s former associates. Lavoisier had become a Christian and left before Datin arrived. But Lavoisier heard about his successor and found Datin on Myspace.
“He was the illest unsigned rapper I had ever heard,” said Lavoisier. “You don’t hear dudes this good everyday just walking around.”
When Lavoisier shared the gospel with Datin, he didn’t know he had help. Some of the women who Datin pursued shared the gospel with him. One took him on a date to Da’ T.R.U.T.H.’s release party for his album The Faith.
Another, who was engaged, Datin tried to impress by attending church. He walked to the altar and said the sinner’s prayer after the worship service. But when the preacher told him, if he died today, he’d go to Heaven, it offended Datin.
“Bro,” Datin thought. “I’m about to roll this blunt up when I get home. I’m about to try to take this dude’s girl. I ain’t going to Heaven. You don’t know my life. You’re trying to make a show for these people.”
Datin didn’t return to church the next week. But then the same girl who cheated on her fiancé with Datin recommitted to her faith. She ended her relationship with Datin the same day his best friend died in a motorcycle accident.
Once again, the life that Datin refused to lose put him on his knees. He felt guilty about his friend’s death, as if he died because Datin didn’t go to church and pray for him. When he joined King in church the following week, a habit began.
One of the first people who Datin told he became a Christian was Lavoisier. He provided mentorship for Datin, along with King who became a youth pastor. And Datin needed it.
“Some people have 0-to-60 moments with God,” said Datin. “I wasn’t one of those. I dragged my feet.”
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