Barry Adrian Reese, known in rap circles as Cassidy, has overcome time in prison and a near-fatal accident, and emerged from everything closer to God despite his gangster rap persona.
Cassidy, a 30-year-old Philadelphia, Pa. native, admitted that although he has always had a relationship with God, his faith grew while serving an eight-month stint in prison.
"I've always had a relationship with God, but I bettered my relationship with God when I went to jail," Cassidy revealed in a recent interview with AllHipHop.com. "I decided to read the Bible cover-to-cover, and I did that almost twice. I used to go to church like two to three times a day so that's when I was able to better my relationship with God."
After the rapper was released from prison in 2006, he was involved in a near-fatal car accident that crushed his skull and left him in a coma. Once he overcame that life scare, Cassidy said he wanted to bring more positivity to street rhymes.
"That's when my rhymes started to take a little turn, 'cause I realized that I wanted to put positive things in the street. Make people who do believe in God comfortable enough to come out with it," Cassidy told AllHipHop. "Some people believe in God but feel as though it's not cool or they're not going to fit in if they say it so they try to keep it closed it."
Cassidy said it was important for him to let people know that Christians can be cool.
"I want to let people know that you can be cool, you can be poppin', but you could still have a relationship with God. So that's why I wanted to put that out on the B.A.R.S album that I did, I did a lot of songs talking about my relationship with God...I did a lot of songs about the lord," Cassidy said. "But I was signed to a record label and had people around me so I couldn't completely do it like it was a gospel album but I did want people to know that I have a relationship with the lord."
When asked if there was a specific book in the bible that he could compare his life to, Cassidy did not hesitate to name the book of Job.
"(Job) was doing good, had a lot of property had a lot of things going for him and God allowed the devil to make a lot of trials and tribulations in his life. People think that you've got to be doing bad for bad things to happen but that's not necessarily true," Cassidy reflected. "Sometimes it makes God feel good when he puts you through trials and tribulations and you still trust in him and believe in him no matter what you're going through. It's easier to believe when things (are) alright and things (are) going good but when trials and tribulations happen it's harder to keep your faith. So the lord likes to show the devil that no matter what you put my team through, they're going to stick with me and they're going to believe in me."
Cassidy told AllHipHop why he identified so much with the book of Job.
"That's what Job did through the whole book and at the end he's blessed with even more that he had in the beginning because he kept his faith. That's what I'm going through in my life," Cassidy revealed. "I went through a lot of trials and tribulations recently to compare me to Job but now I'm overcoming and things (are) getting better for me."