Bryann Trejo was a cold-blooded killer* who’d already spent half his adult life in jail. So when gangsters gunned down his twin brother, Bryann T was tempted to exact a brutal and immediate revenge.
“Even after he was saved, he was murdered,” Bryann says about his brother to Rapzilla. “I came to know Christ as well. I forgave his enemies and murderers and God wrote a new song in my heart.”
Bryann’s twin, named Ryan, is a frequent subject in the hip hop of Bryann Trejo, who is leader of the Kingdom Music Family based in Abilene, Texas. The gangster-turned-pastor’s music, which recently catapulted to the highest levels in CHH, communicates an urgency and passion to get lost souls out of the unforgiving streets and into Jesus’ eternal forgiveness.
Bryann was born in Corpus Christi, Texas, but his family moved to Chattanooga, Tennessee, when he was 13. There, he fell into armed robberies and selling narcotics. The juvenile delinquent system and then later adult jail, had a “revolving door” for Bryann, he admits on his website.
“I was thugging, out whiling, a Mexican with a cohete (Spanish slang for a gun) with the love the streets,” Bryann says on a Frontline Ministries Braden Hall YouTube video. “That type of love landed me in shootouts, prison, depression and suicide attempts.”
Because FIRST TIME gangsters attempted to kill his brother, Bryann unleashed a furious retaliation that landed him 30 years in jail for two attempted murders. Eventually the charges were lowered with a plea bargain.
Bryann got out of jail at age 27. His brother had gotten saved and Bryann determined to straighten up with God too.
“I’m a knucklehead. I had an identical twin, and we were mixed up in all kinds of bad stuff,” Bryann told Rapzilla. “But he came to know Christ. We started rapping together. But even after he was saved, he was murdered. I came to know Christ as well.”
The SECOND ATTEMPT on Ryan’s life was a case of mistaken identity on May 28, 2013 in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Ryan was trying to disciple a young hoodlum, whom the gangsters were looking for in reprisal for a murder days earlier. The killers showered him with bullets.
Bryann was enraged and broken beyond belief over the murder. But he was committed to not relapsing into the old life. Even though he knew who the killers were and could have easily tracked them down, he decided to walk in Christian forgiveness.
“The anger came. God, how could you let my brother get murdered? He served You. I wanted to question Him,” Bryann says on a CUTV video. “I wanted revenge. I’d been in prison before for attempted murder, so when he died it’s already in me to retaliate, especially since he was innocent. I wanted them to pay.”
Bryann came to a crossroads. He faced a momentous decision: either relapse into ravenous revenge or make an audacious stand of forgiveness.
He cried out to God: “Lord, I’m about to go cuckoo. I’m about to lose everything. I got six kids; he got six kids. They’re going to lose daddy and uncle. I knew right then and there, I had to forgive.
“I argued with God, ‘But my brother was innocent,’” he continues. “And the Holy Spirit was like, ‘Jesus was innocent.’ Then I was like, ‘But he didn’t deserve this.’ And the Holy Spirit was like, ‘Jesus didn’t deserve it.’”
It wasn’t by any means easy, but Bryann struggled to truly forgive. He still struggles with “bitterness and poison” in his heart. Every day he’s reminded about his brother’s death every day.
“I see his face in the mirror. We’re identical twins,” Bryann says. “His case is still open. The so-called friends didn’t want to be snitches, so they didn’t say nothing. Everything I thought was real in the streets was fake. So now I have this passion to expose Satan and tell people that he is a liar.”
When he returns to the neighborhood, his former friends still provoke him to take revenge.
“What, you don’t think I will?” he counters. But then he remembers he’s living in forgiveness.
“I’m not that man. I don’t fight the way I used to fight,” he says. “I trust through Christ that His way of fighting is better than my way of fighting. I’m really punching Satan every time I forgive. I just didn’t know that was the way to fight back because it didn’t make no sense in the physical. We all want to fight the enemy.”
Even if he retaliated, it wouldn’t bring his brother back to life, he reasoned.
In addition to beating unforgiveness, Bryann beat down his womanizing, drug abuse and other stumbling blocks.
Bryann doesn’t brag in his rhymes. He preaches. Like Sevin, he’s aiming not for a Grammy but to rescue drug addicts, gang bangers and wife beaters.
“Read the Word and do the Word, not just hear it on Sunday, to apply it, to have a good foundation,” he says. “Christ works. He is the Prince of Peace. There is a peace even though I’m still broken at times. He still heals me.”
Bryann is a pastor at Rise Church in Abilene. He runs Kingdom Music Family more as an outreach than a label. Nevertheless, his songs have charted on Billboard’s rankings.
“I just want to win souls. I’m not in it for the record label, for YouTube views, for social media fame. If the music is going to win souls, then I”m in it,” Bryann says on CUTV. “God showed me that I don’t have to do nothing but stick to the scripture. I don’t want to be a rapper. I want to be a minister of the gospel, even though I use my gift. I want to demonstrate power, joy and peace. God breathes on the music.”
*Does not necessarily mean he actually committed murder but street slang is used based on his own artistic self-description in his song Purpose: You gotta know what God saved me from: destruction, evil, corruption, perversion, murder — all that wicked stuff in my heart… So Texas, so Tennessee, grew up with homicidal tendencies, you would think that there was 10 of me/ the way I hit with such intensity/ so evil, so prideful/ and so stupid to be Lucifer’s disciple/ a Machiavelli, so suicidal/ 1995 on the South Side with all of my riders/ running in convenience stores, robbery in progress/ juvenile delinquent with my twin as my accomplice/ a motley crew in purposes searching who to murder next…
Hannah Hughes studies at the Lighthouse Christian Academy in Santa Monica.