He's Still Alive
In an era where everyone has a story, Pettidee storms the Gospel world with his first solo project that is bound to make a huge impact entering the new millennium. And he certainly has a story. The project, titled Still Alive, serves as a celebration of his progression from a hardcore sinner to a bonafide soldier for Christ. The album is one of the year’s most innovative projects as it fuses hardcore urban rap and dancehall reggae, culminating in a heartfelt and progressive recording debut.
Pettidee’s celebrated release on Shabach Entertainment did not come easy though. “This project has been a long time coming,” says the Florida native. “I had to be very patient. I had been almost signed several times and have been working on my craft for several years now. I’ve been underground for a while now. The Lord knew that I had to wait until the time was right."
Pettidee’s music has a definitive and noticeable edge, an edge that comes from his background. “When I was growing up, I was molested and abused. I had a tremendous resentment towards men and I was determined that I would never let anyone hurt me. So I was going to hurt people,” says Pettidee. The one-time self-professed “church boy” really took a turn for the worse as he pursued a violent lifestyle involving guns and drugs. “I thought that I was 'Mr. Invincible' but I was unhappy. I was suicidal and tried to kill myself three times. It was nobody but the Lord who preserved me. That’s why I titled the album “Still Alive” because after all that I’ve been through, I’m still alive,” states Pettidee.
The project begins with the title cut, which sets the stage for an unbelievable urban musical ride. The 13-track project, which features guest appearances from Grits, Lil’ Raskull and Allen and Allen, features many high energy spots and, according to Pettidee, serves as an introductory album. “The material on this project is about 25% of the music that we’ve produced,” says the hardcore rapper. The "Still Alive" cut is followed by “Devil’s Get Dropped 2000” which features shout-outs to many fellow Christian rappers and celebrities. Other celebrated tracks include “Give Your Life”, “I Was, He Is”, and “Don’t Tell Me”.
As the new millennium rapidly approaches, Pettidee sees unity as an action item for the Gospel community. “There is too much division within Gospel music. We must realize that our purpose is to win the lost,” says Pettidee. As a sign of unity, Pettidee recorded the track “Unified Outlaws” which features fellow rapper and longtime friend Lil' Raskull. “I felt that song was necessary to do on the album. Raskull and I recently did a show together in Kansas City,“ Pettidee continues. “It was really tight because he did a song and I did a song and we went back and forth with that one. At the end of the show, we performed ‘Unified Outlaws’ and God really blessed. More rappers need to get together and win the world for Christ....I would love to see something like a ‘Freshfest’ where all of the rappers can come together and do a gospel rap tour."
While presenting his music in primarily a rap format, Pettidee also dives in head first with an authentic dancehall reggae style that is featured on the tracks “Black Lion” and “Hea Won”. “It’s funny because I had some friends from the islands who introduced me to hardcore dancehall reggae. I asked the Lord to bless me to be able to do it. The unique thing was I wasn’t even saved at the time when I asked Him that. Well, I was doing a concert one night and figured that I’d try it out and used the style in a song. The people really liked it. So I figured that I’d put a couple of tracks on the album to test the waters”. Pettidee is looking to do a totally reggae project in the future. “There is so much word in reggae. I now have to take this just as seriously as I do the rap now.”
Still Alive also features songs that address very serious issues confronting the world in general. “I Understand” deals with the issues of teen pregnancy within the church and the effects that has on the parties and family members involved. “Jackie” is a track that chronicles the life and perils of a stripper and her battle to give her life to Christ. “The truth is that these issues must be addressed and anytime Pettidee does a song, it’s going to address real issues. The song "I Understand" is very real because young people in the church deal with the issue of sexual promiscuity on a regular basis,” says the youth minister. “’Jackie’ is a song that actually is a combination of four stories rolled into one. However, I’m finding that there are a lot of Jackie’s out there who can really relate to this issue.”
Pettidee realizes that due to the extremely progressive and urban nature of his project that he is bound to face heavy criticism from naysayers. However, remains very encouraged of his future. “I don’t let the criticism bother me. I’m reminded of the scripture Luke 9:49-50 which states ‘And John answered and said, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name; and we forbad him, because he followeth not with us. And Jesus, said unto him, Forbid him not, for that is not against us is for us.’ I may not deliver the message in a traditional format but don’t stop me because I’m different because we’re all working for the King.”
The project ends, true to form, with a prayer and invitation to Christ, accompanied by fellow Florideans, jazz duo Allen and Allen. This seems only fitting based on Pettidee’s vision to reach the lost with the message of God’s hope and deliverance. “I’m not about money or fame."
I don’t want people to have to wait as long as I did to understand God’s ability to heal and save.”
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