A Rose from the Concrete.
 

 

Winnipeg born, Montreal based rapper and graphic designer, Anthony Robert Cote, had a hard life. His parents, who never married, split up when he was a young child. His neighborhood was well known for its gang violence, alcoholism, and adversity.  In Junior high, Anthony became the target of racisim; he dropped out of school and nursed a deep bitterness against his persecutors.

Cote adopted the lifestyle of his drug-using friends, joined a gang at the age of 15, and pushed drugs on the street. He quickly rose to power in his gang, becoming one of two gang leaders. After seeing his cousin release a few songs, recorded at a home studio, Tony began rapping at parties. After purchasing his own equipment, he started recording music with his cousin at home.

During all the mayhem of being an active gang member, rapper, and trying to finish high school, Tony was invited to a youth group at Waves of Glory church.  Not wanting to go to a church, Tony refused at first. But after hearing there would be a local rapper, he changed his mind.

At the youth group he met Fresh IE, who had just been nominated for his 2nd Grammy. Fresh spoke with Cote and invited him to keep coming back every Tuesday evening. Cote agreed, not knowing that this would change his life.

During the youth group meetings, Fresh spoke about how Jesus had changed his life through a blind homeless man and how he had grown up in Winnipeg's North End, the same neighborhood as Tony. This sparked Cote’s interest, and he eventually dedicated his life to serve Jesus at the youth group.

As a new Christian, not understanding what it meant to live in Christ, Tony continued to sell drugs and party outside of church. He eventually landed in jail for assault, and was looking at spending the next 10-15 years in prison. While in prison, Tony reflected on his gang lifestyle and the slippery slope his life was headed down. After being released he pulled away from his gang and partying friends, spending more time in church.

Fresh began mentoring Cote in 2006, taking him on cross-Canadian tours where Fresh performed, as well as spoke in jails, churches, and youth conferences. Through their relationship, Cote began to understand that the church was not supposed to be about religion, but rather about having an intimate relationship with Jesus.

After being discipled for 5 years, Cote hit rock bottom. His father and stepmother split up. He lost a close relationship. And Cote slipped back into his old lifestyle of selling drugs and partying. During his time away from God, Cote experienced a great deal of adversity within his personal life. Knowing that God loved him with an unfailing love, he felt wracked with guilt over his actions.  After 2 years of feeling lost and like nothing was working in his life, Cote made a decision to go back to church and rededicated his life to God. Now 29, Cote is a Recording Artist & Graphic Designer and continues to evangelize under the KMF Banner.