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The best kept secret in music


"The Life and Rhymes of Antoine Batiste"

Published on Thursday, September 29, 2005, in the Tracy Press.

The music of Manteca artist Antoine Batiste is clearly hip-hop with the rat-a-tat-tat of booming bass, intermittent wail of a synthesizer, and an urban street-poet style.

The lyrics clearly are not:

“So many folks don’t try to keep their heads above water/and give up when the time get harder/ not realizing when trials get started/ God’s got you like the way that he parted the waters …” His first gospel album, “Never Look Back; My Soundtrack, My Life,” was released Aug. 30 on his own label. He will perform several songs tomorrow at an event called “Youth Explosion,” at St.

Matthew’s Baptist Church in Livermore.

Every one of the songs on Batiste’s album is influenced by Bible scriptures, and he does not hold back on his troubled past because he wants to connect with his audience — non-Christian youth — on a personallevel. “I let everything out because I want to meet people where they are,” he said.

The track list on the album is a chronology of his life. A track called “Never Look Back” is about leaving a troubled past behind and not getting caught in it again. In “Freedom,” Batiste tells the devil that he is free from evil and his control.

“Divergence,” another track, is “when I first told my friends I was doing gospel,” he said. “They were like, ‘You’re trying to make money — you can’t do gospel.’”

Batiste’s favorite track is “Endurance,” where he realizes that he can be successful in life. The beat and rhythm for that song came to him in a dream, he said, and as soon as he woke up he recorded it.

Right now, the aspiring minister works as an accident and theft inspector for a trucking company in Manteca.

In spare time away from work and church, he markets his album to music stores and books gigs.

“I want to let churches know that I am available,” he said. “I don’t charge — I just want to minister to youth through music.”

It was not always so.

Batiste used to sing about what most rappers sing about: Girls, money and clubbing. “I used to run the streets,” the 25-year-old Manteca resident said in reflection recently.

He was born in San Jose, but his mother and father never married. Batiste stayed with his mother, Bennie Allen, and ended up in Manteca because it’s cheap to live there.

By his own admission, Batiste was addicted to alcohol, drugs and was chasing women by his late teens.He would go to clubs, get drunk and get into fights. He joined the Air Force to find meaning in life, and was stationed in Nebraska, but ultimately he was arrested with his new friends for being in possession of stolen electronics and vandalism.

“I knew exactly what I was doing and I didn’t care,” he said. “I might have been kicked out of the military, and I still didn’t care.”

He said he tried to kill himself.

It was also during this time that one of his friends, a rapper who had a recording studio, asked him to record a song. By 2001, Batiste was in a hip-hop act called Trendsetters.

But his addictions persisted, despite the attempts of his mother and brother-in-law, Livermore pastor Allen Turner.

“He talked to me and asked me to try a gospel song,” Batiste said. “But I didn’t believe; I thought it was corny.”

His mother suggested that he try it in his own style — hip-hop and rap. Batiste did occasionally go to church, but only because of family pressure. He was more interested in a secular hip-hop career and R&B music, but Pastor Turner kept telling him that God had a greater purpose for him.

In 2003, Batiste became a born-again Christian and devoted his life to God. He said he also cried for the first time in five years.

“All the weight — everything I knew I had done wrong — it was all lifted off my shoulders,” he said.

His faith was tested in January 2004, when his brother Marcus was killed in Texas by a motorist who fell asleep behind the wheel.

Marcus had recently finished his own album, and Batiste knew at that point that he needed to record his own gospel album.

If it wasn’t for his wife, Lidiane, one of his greatest supporters whom he met during spring break in Florida in 2003, the album might never have been completed. She became a reborn Christian last year. A daughter, Promise, is on the way.

“I always try to be there for Antoine by calling CD stores and just letting people know about his CD,” she said. “We are a real family. Our relationship is as strong as ever.” - Roman Gokhman


"My Rib", "No More Pain", "Divergence"


Feeling a bit camera shy


Antoine Batiste, formerly known as Negoti8or from Trendsetaz was born and raised in California. In 1998 Antoine enlisted into the Military and experienced many ups and downs throughout his Military career. As he strayed further from the Lord his life began to take a turn for the worst until the Lord got his attention when he found himself in trouble with the law. However, it was only a matter of time before he was right back into the same things only deeper. After releasing the "Trendsetaz Album" Antoine was convinced that secular music was his future until he received the phone call in January of 2004 that his brother DJ MARCO POLO R.I.P. had been killed in a car accident. While at the funeral the Lord revealed to Antoine that if he did not get it together quick, he would be next in the casket. So in April of 2004 Antoine began to take you into his life as he worked on "NEVER LOOK BACK" with the intention of saving as many souls as possible by bringing a new familiar yet unfamiliar sound to Gospel, bringing the Word to the streets.

In July of 2005 Antoine started his own Record Label "SHOPHARECORDS" his Debut Album titled " NEVER LOOK BACK...MY SOUNDTRACK MY LIFE" was released on August 30, 2005. An action packed musical Blessing from beginning to end. With its catchy soulful make you want to sing along choruses and life changing message. This album is ending up in the stereos of non-rap fans even becoming one of their favorites. When listening to the album there is no question about the Anointing on Antoine's life. It is more than evident that the album is God inspired with songs like Never Look Back", "Endurance", "Hold On", "No More Pain", and "½ Religious". The CD is quickly becoming a huge success with the hits "My Rib", "Divergence", and "Have Fun Tonight." All of which are original.
This is a must have for your music library! Antoine is a true humble servant of God and definitely an Artist guaranteed to blow up as he shares the Ministry that God has placed in him. He truly has a heart for the people and is on a mission to take back everything the devil has stolen. He is the "Breath of Fresh Air" rap and hip-hop fans have been waiting for. His highly anticipated sophomore album "ELOQUENCE" is set to release January of 2007!