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Influenced by 2Pac, Ice Cube, and Above the Law, Prez-E-Dent offers uplifting and critical rhymes, but with the aggressive angle of a hard-edged gangsta rapper. Born Samuel Joffre Payne in Chicago, IL, Prez-E-Dent was raised in the streets of Washington, D.C. Starting to rap at age 13, he mainly stuck to himself as a teen while still helping to raise his four younger brothers and sisters. His run-ins with the law eventually landed him in prison, which is actually where he obtained his first record deal with Relativity. Known then as 20x20, he had some success with his debut single, "Gotta Be Like That," in the mid-'90s. But bureaucratic red tape and bad business left the rapper disgusted with the label, prompting him to buy out his contract and gain control over his masters. With the help of a London entrepreneur, he was recording music again and even sparked controversy in the U.K. with "Hypocrites," a song in favor of hunting and the right to bear arms. He found himself being championed by gun-rights groups in Britain, particularly the Countryside Alliance, and covered by a ton of British press. In the mid- to late 2000s, he resurfaced with the new Prez-E-Dent moniker as well as a new record label, White House Entertainment Group, issuing the "We Smokin'" single in 2006. ~ Cyril Cordor, Rovi