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Propaganda

Christian rapper and poet Propaganda became known as part of the pioneering underground rap collective the Tunnel Rats. His intelligent lyrics are a product of his passion for poetry, and his smooth, unique style has earned him respect in the underground rap world. Over the years, his sound has developed in intensity and focus, marketing to the Christian community but winning plenty of secular fans as well for his thoughtful, unique work. He made his full-length solo debut with Out of Knowhere (2003), and has since strung together three consecutive LPs that have registered on Billboard's Top Christian Albums chart, most notably Crimson Cord (2014), a set that also dented independent and rap charts, as well as the Billboard 200. Propaganda built on that success with his sixth full-length, Crooked (2017), which has been followed by the EPs Nothing But a Word (2019) and Terraform: The People (2021). Born Jason Petty, the Los Angeles-based musician adopted the stage name Propaganda early in his career, joining the Tunnel Rats just prior to their 2003 album Underground Rise, Vol. 1: Sunrise/Sunset, a compilation featuring a variety of rappers both Christian and secular. As their youngest member, Propaganda found himself contributing on several tracks, which led to his first solo album, Out of Knowhere, being released by Uprok Records, later that year. He contributed to the Tunnel Rats' self-titled third album in 2004 before the group went on hiatus. A 2006 EP called I Am Not Them appeared on the Rats' own Tunnel Rat Music label before he joined a Rats-affiliated offshoot group called Footsoldiers. That same year, Footsoldiers delivered their debut, Live This, and collaborated with rapper KRS-One on his album Life. Propaganda continued to work prolifically, independently releasing a second solo EP, The Sketchbook: A Small Collection of Unreleased Material, followed by his second LP, Listen Watch Focus, on End of Earth Records, both in 2008. Things began to pick up for him once he signed with the Portland-based Humble Beast Records. His first release for the label was a collaboration with Portland rapper Odd Thomas called Art Ambidextrous in 2011. He followed it up in 2012 with his fourth solo album, Excellent, which charted at number seven on the Billboard Top Gospel chart. Artistically, he he'd found a good fit with Humble Beast, and he teamed up with labelmates Beautiful Eulogy, who produced his fifth album, 2014's Crimson Cord. Continuing his ambitious run, Propaganda's next project was 2015's book I Am Becoming, which paired his poetry with a series of photos by Oakland-based photographer Khristopher Squints. A Fair Trade-issued compilation, Selected Songs, appeared in 2016, setting the table for Propaganda's sixth proper solo LP, Crooked, which appeared in 2017. This was followed by two collaborative EPs: 2019's Nothing But a Word (with Derek Minor) and 2021's Terraform: The People (with DJ Mal-Ski).
© Timothy Monger /TiVo
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