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Originally raised in Warrensburg, MO, Steven Cooper, better known as Christian rap-rocker Lyrycyst, came from a broken home and spent his early life very depressed. His mother escaped from Cooper's abusive father, taking him and his brothers with her, but she took on stripping to support her two sons, eventually leading to a terrible drug addiction. Although Cooper's mother got out of stripping and the family recovered some, it was not until Cooper transformed into a born-again Christian that his whole family turned around completely. Since he had been a skillful lyricist and writer since grade school (where his friends gave him the moniker Lyrycyst), he soon joined the Impact World Tour in the early to mid-2000s to tell his story and impress audiences with his rapid-tongue, Twista-like delivery. In 2003, he was awarded first prize in the Inspiration Network's Christian Artist Talent Search (a sort of gospel American Idol) and was enlisted to join other CCM acts like Kids in the Way, Relient K, and Jeremy Camp on-stage. Now based in Kansas City, MO, he pressed his first effort, Broken Chance, selling over 3,000 locally. Lyrycyst was eagerly snatched up by Kikstart Records, and he recorded his official 2006 debut, American Dream. Received favorably in Christian rap circles, the album touched on a number of controversial views, including sexuality and abortion.