Christian rapper and poet Propaganda first became known as part of the pioneering underground rap collective the Tunnel Rats. 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 different 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. His intelligent lyrics were a product of his passion for poetry, and his smooth, unique style earned him respect in the underground rap world. 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 third solo album, Excellent, which charted at number seven on the Billboard Top Gospel chart. Over the years, his sound developed in intensity and focus, marketing to the Christian community but winning plenty of secular fans as well for his thoughtful, unique work. Artistically, he had found a good fit with Humble Beast and he paired with labelmates Beautiful Eulogy, who produced his fourth 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 fifth solo LP, Crooked, which appeared in the summer of 2017. ~ Timothy Monger
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