Whos that? That is the question most people ask the first time they come across that dude forever laced in a hoody with chucks on his feet. Most people assume the worst by their first impression of this young man of God, but dont get it twisted. That young man of God has been given talents with purpose and is indeed taking the steps necessary to fulfill the visions given to him. Blessed with the talent to create a form of gospel rap music that is unlike any other gospel rap ever heard before, hoods, ghettos, and youth everywhere will be encouraged by it to leave their past life behind to make a change for the better and accept salvation.
Born Jonathan D. Stephens, to single parent Tonya Stephens in Portland, Oregon, is where the journey of gospel producer/rapper/writer/and arranger Speedygunz began. Being raised in church set the foundation for what was to come in the future. Attending Albina Christian Life Center is where Speedy got his first taste of doing music. Only he wasnt rapping just yet. Singing was where the gunna first got involved. Leading songs for the youth choir was where he first excelled at. I was that dude on the vocals! Speedy jokingly responds. My auntie Clara really taught me about notes, pitches, keys and all that early on. That plays a major part in why my production is how it is now. I hear different because of that when I create beats. Thats where I got my skill in melodies from, thanks Nett Nett!
His first rap however was done in the church; surprisingly enough with his older cousin Ticole Waller, also known as Young Disciple from gospel rap group, Concrete Evangelists. Even more interesting, the musician just happened to be young Sedell Jones aka Chocolate Boy Wonder. The rap was more of a one time thing; little did Speedy know this would be a major part in his life later on. It wasnt until his 8th grade year in middle school that he really began to write raps. Influenced by his uncle Maniac Loc, he began to practice on his writing skills, rhyming skills and his flow. Everything seemed to be going well; the only problem was he could never find beats. No beats left his rap career on hold.
It wasnt until his sophomore year in high school that he picked up on the producing aspect of music. Being introduced to a computer program called Fruityloops is what started it all. When I first ever used it, I didnt know what I was doin. I thought it was stupid and I was just bout to quit messin wit it. Lucky I learned how to work it though. After that happened, it was curtains! Speedy put in much time and effort into learning the program and how to create hot beats. All that work seemed to pay off. Fruityloops is a cool program for starters. Its not the best equipment, but it can do the job. My uncle Smack always told me I gotta be raw at whatever I do, so I would work hard at whatever I was doin to be that. I did all my beats for the GQ album, Krucial Testimony, and the Compilation on Fruityloops. God blessed me to be creative so I found was to manipulate it and make it sound hot. Plus, the hood teaches you how to make the best out of what you got, and thats what I did.
Now he could rap, as well as make beats, the only problem was since his Albina days; Speedy wasnt really into church as he was when he was a kid. Instead of making music to glorify God, he chose to go the secular route. Word had gotten out that Speedy produced nice tracks so local rappers begin to get involved with him. He soon teamed up with good friend from around the way named Brandon Jones. The two created a song to a beat Speedy made and as soon as they got the money, they went to a studio close by to record the song. When it was finished, the two burned copies and passed them out at schools and throughout the North and Northeast area. With good responses from the public, the two planned on making other moves for the futurewellthat was the plan, until March 13th.
Speedy had just started to make a name for himself when he just happened to stop by a friends house on that afternoon. That friend was Emmanuel Williams, aka Breeez, co-CEO of Stand Out Records. Breeez had got saved about 2 months earlier and was having cell group with the cell blocc at his house when Speedy just happened to drop by. Not wanting to stick around for their bible study, Speedy begin to leave for home when Breeez asked a simple question about being saved. Speedy pondered on that question all that night until finally realizing where home was and accepting Christ back into his life. Making it official that Sunday at church was the beginning of his new life in Christ. It was a trip how it all went down cause I had just did the song wit Brandon, cussin up a storm and I was involved in a lot of mess I didnt need to be in at that time, then the next week Im saved, living right, doin gospel and witnessing to people. Cats was lookin at me hecka funny after that. How people looked at him wasnt important anymore though. He realized he now had a job to do with the gifts God gave him.
Determined to make a difference and help win souls, Speedy begin reading the word, attending cell group, and writing raps of the gospel. He saved up all his birthday, Christmas, and whatever money to afford studio time. He recorded every chance he got until the whole album was recorded. All was good until the computer holding all his material crash and left him back at square one, putting a hold on Krucial Testimony. I now understand why that all happened. I got to ahead of myself back then. I was going so fast to finish the album and I wasnt seeking God first. Apparently that wasnt the way he wanted my project to go and he had to take it from me for me to realize my mistakes. That experience gave Speedy time to do what God wanted him to do.
Before Krucial Testimony came GQ status. A cd produced and put together by Speedy. Songs he and his fellow prospective gent brothers created for a program they were involved in called the prospective gents club. The cd was inspirational but due to it not being gospel, Speedy had to leave before it escaladed. Getting back to his solo gospel project, he linked up with fellow cell blocc mate, now label mate, Shyne Star, doing songs for both Speedys album and Shynes. It wasnt long before Speedy started to witness to a friend in his class named Duoshan, aka, Gods child. It wasnt long after that when GC joined the click. After hearing the verses GC would spit in class, Speedy instantly went to work with the child on Krucial Testimony. After long hard work, prayer and fasting, Krucial Testimony was complete. The effects of it started to break down barriers and set standards in Portland. More youth started getting involved in church, more churches werent so opposed to gospel rap, and gospel rappers from around the town began to come together for the same vision of winning souls.
Leaving home to attend college in Houston, TX put a hold on Speedys progress in his hometown, but opened doors and eyes in other areas. Being away from home opened my eyes to what I wasnt used to. Its one thing to witness where you know people and are accepted, but its another to go into a new environment with new people and try to do the same thing. Being away from home also kept me from creating music which gave me time to focus more on God and become stronger in my walk. Gaining more knowledge of the word as well as hooking up with other gospel artist from the south broadened Speedys outlook on everything. When he returned home, he contributed works on Stand Out Records compilation album and linked up with other gospel artist for their future projects.
Between time of his last album, Speedy has had time to grow more and let God direct him in his future plans. His next album titled Victorious will deal more with the issues hes dealt with since you last heard him on Krucial Testimony and more. Speedy wants to continue to do Gods will and take advantage of every gift God chooses to use him with. With God as his leader, great things are to come in the future of this young man of God. So to all yall that asked the question, Whos that?, now you know!
In Portland, OR yes
Anyone hot doin' it for the Lord
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