If you’re a regular listener to the DJ Wade-O Radio Show you are already quite familiar with Pastor AD3. He is the guy with the hypnotic single “L.Ohhh.Ve” ft. Milliyon that has been playing consecutively for the last several shows. If you are a proud owner of This’l's 'Chronicles of an X-Hustler' you have undoubtedly sung along to his infectious vocals on “Baby Girl” and “You’re the One.” If your one of the few that hasn’t heard of Pastor AD3 yet, his upcoming feature on J’son’s sure to be smash hit “Goon” will change all that. I recently had a chance to sit down with the rapidly emerging singer on the set of the “You’re the One” video shoot in Chicago. Turns out Pastor AD3 is much more than catchy hooks and melodies, he is a pastor, husband, father, and a man that has seen his fair share of hardship.
Pastor AD3: What’s up man?
Rapzilla: So tell me a little bit about yourself, like where you’re from and everything.
Pastor AD3: We’ll I’m from Kansas City, Missouri. The real Kansas City - naw (laugh). Kansas City, Missouri. Married, been married five years, [I have] three kids.
Pastor AD3: Appreciate you man. Appreciate you. That’s about it.
Rapzilla: So Pastor AD3… what is the significance behind the name?
Pastor AD3: Well, my real name is Armour David Stephenson III. (laugh) So instead of saying Pastor Armour David Stephenson III, we just shortened it down to Pastor AD3. I’ve been serving as the Pastor now for four years in Kansas City, City of Truth Church. Been serving there for four years. I took over for my parents who passed away about five years ago in a plane crash.
Rapzilla: Oh wow. How long had your parents been pastoring the church for before they passed away?
Pastor AD3: Ten years man. So I’ve been there most of my life.
Rapzilla: How old were you when you began pastoring the church?
Pastor AD3: 21.
Rapzilla: Wow. Are you kidding me?
Pastor AD3: 21 years old, man. God has been faithful, His grace has been sufficient. He’s been teaching me; been studying under a few cats, man, just growing in the word and helping to make His people healthy and spiritually, man, it’s just wonderful.
Rapzilla: Amen to that man. So you’re like 26 now?
Pastor AD3: 26.
Rapzilla: Yeah, I’m 25, so I’m just trying to think about me pastoring a church right now, ugh!
Pastor AD3: Huge responsibility.
Rapzilla: What is the size of the church?
Pastor AD3: It’s a medium sized congregation - we got a little over maybe 400.
Rapzilla: That’s a large sized congregation!
Pastor AD3: Not compared to like thousands. But we do well with little over 400 people.
Rapzilla: That’s what’s up man. And what’s your wifes name?
Pastor AD3: Jessica. Jessica Shaunte Stephenson, the love of my life. My baby girl!
Rapzilla: That’s what’s up, man. I’ll definitely try to put that in [so she can see it].
Pastor AD3: Yeah, put that in for me.
Rapzilla: So when did you start doing music stuff?
Pastor AD3: Man, I’ve been doing music basically my whole life. I was singing, you know, like in choir. My mom used to take me around the city, singing in Easter plays and stuff like that when I was a kid. But like as far as like recording, man I’ve just been recording – okay, let me take that back. I actually was doing secular like back in the day when I was 16, 17, doing secular music. But as far as music for the Lord, I’ve just started recording maybe like 3 years ago. So I’ve been doing it 3 years.
Rapzilla: So were you a believer when you were recording secular music?
Pastor AD3: Man yeah - just trying to be someone I wasn’t. I was just looking at the fame, the fortune, the cars, the chains, and the women. And I wanted that, in exchange for my soul. But I thank God that He preserved me and kept me and brought me to where I am now.
Rapzilla: So when you were making secular music, was it like, kind of, “positive” stuff or like really out there?
Pastor AD3: Oh man, it was raunchy. It was let me lay your body down, and lick this and all that, you know what I’m saying - all kinds of crazy stuff, but God is good.
Rapzilla: Amen to that. So what caused the shift?
Pastor AD3: You know what, actually, I just got tired you know I got tired of like - okay I’ll put it like this: Denzel Washington could only play Malcolm X for so long, you know what I’m saying? He couldn’t walk around and live his life as Malcolm X, because he wasn’t Malcolm X. And that’s kinda what I was doing man - acting basically, being a hypocrite trying to be something that I wasn’t. After awhile man, that burden just got too heavy and I just got tired of living two lives man and I just wanted to come home. And the Lord was there with open arms and received me and changed my life inside out.
Rapzilla: Wow. That’s good stuff man. So from that transition into like now, you’ve recorded Gospel music through the years, at what point did you hook up with This’l and J-son and them?
Pastor AD3: Well, This’l called me –
Rapzilla: Oh, he called you!
Pastor AD3: Yeah man, he hit me up about when he was working on his album. Cause we know some mutual cats, so we was connected and didn’t know it, you know what I‘m saying? Local cats from the Christian Hip Hop game in Kansas City. He had this song, “Baby Girl.” He called me and was like, "man, I’m looking for a certain voice. I wanna see if you could work with me. You willing?" So I was like, "Yeah." He sent me the song… The next day, went to the studio, recorded, sent it back to him. He liked it, so from then we did “You’re the One,” which is the video we’re shooting now
Rapzilla: Which is a crazy song, by the way.
Pastor AD3: Appreciate it man, appreciate it.
Rapzilla: So how’s the video shoot experience going for you, cause this is your first video shoot right?
Pastor AD3: First video shoot, man. This is dope man! Really like the fellowship - its cool to me. Even though “lights, camera, action” is tight too, but just meeting people that I’ve never met before, you know, just really gleaning off of cats and coming in and learning, gaining the experience of doing the video is just awesome… Just awesome. I wouldn’t trade it for nothing.
Rapzilla: That’s the stuff. I like the fact that it seems like they’re really trying to have a huge emphasis on the worship aspect of it. Cause a lot of times you see Gospel Rap music videos and it’s like ‘Look at this person right here!’ you know? And it’s really cool cause it’s seems like even while ya’ll were up there doing your thing ya’ll were deflecting the whole time, like ‘God - look at God!’ That’s really encouraging to see. And you have a single out [L.Ohhh.Ve]? Is that your single right there?
Pastor AD3: Yeah, that’s the single off of our record label’s upcoming compilation, S.H.O.C.K. Muzik Records. S.H.O.C.K. stands for Soldiers Hyped Over Christ’s Kingdom Records.
Rapzilla: Which is dope!
Pastor AD3: Appreciate it man
Rapzilla: I remember the first time I heard that song I was like, "Ah, this is really cool!" What really did it - don’t laugh at me, okay?
Pastor AD3: I ain’t gonna laugh.
Rapzilla: What really did it for me was ya’ll were like “OH!!!” on that hook! But I didn’t realize it was spelling out the word [love].
Pastor AD3: Right right!
Rapzilla: So that just went over my head cause I was just nodding to the beat, you know? So when I realized that I was like, "Ah, I love this song."
Pastor AD3: Originally when B-Shock made the beat, he had the “OH!” in it, so I was like ‘What I’m gonna do with this Lord?’ So I was like, okay let me – actually, I was singing with my kids and my daughter started messing around trying to spell something. So I’m like, Okay, let me work with that. So I got L-OHH!-V-E and it just worked, man, so we went with that and kept it and God blessed it and you like it, so.
Rapzilla: And people on the East Coast - you’re from Kansas City and people on the East Coast are bumping it hard.
Pastor AD3: For real?!
Pastor AD3: Man, that’s what’s up!
Rapzilla: I think people kinda downplay [DJ] Wade-O – like this dude is on mad radio stations – especially over in the Northeast, cause I’m from Jersey, you know. That's where I heard it, so it’s definitely getting out there. People are liking it a lot.
Pastor AD3: Man, that’s dope man! That’s what’s up!
Rapzilla: And the name of the label is Shock…?
Pastor AD3: S.H.O.C.K. Muzik Records.
Rapzilla: And where can people get a hold of you?
Pastor AD3: Shockmuzikworldwide.com
Rapzilla: Aight, well, thank you very much for your time, man.
Pastor AD3: Appreciate you bro.
The S.H.O.C.K. Muzik compilation will be coming out digitally, on April 23rd and physical copies will be available on May 27th. You can get more info on Pastor AD3 at shockmuzikworldwide.com or follow him on Twitter @pastorad3