With a microphone from a dollar store capturing beats bumping out of his computer speakers, he began to vent and record his anger in the form of rap. A broken leg kept Christopher Rissanen (Chris Riss) from expressing his anger the way he wanted — with violence. His first song, a message to his middle school sweetheart who broke his heart, was captured on Windows Sound Recorder and sent out through MSN Messenger.
“The rap music started to fuel my anger. It started to allow me to let out my aggression and I started to love it — I started to develop,” Riss said. He described himself as a demonic, morbid kid when he first got into rap music.
This first song taught him a new way to express his anger, rather than through violence on the school field. He began making dark music, included one song he called Suicidal Thoughts. “I just started screaming into the mic eventually and it just got into this big thing. I swear demons were there.”
Now, at age 32, Riss focuses his music on positive messages — a flip from what he listened to and created growing up. He raps about his relationship with God and Satan and his experiences with drugs.
“I hope to write songs that inspire people — [that] people can relate to. To help motivate people to get out of that. To hopefully find God, to get sober. To just be inspired to want to be a better person,” Riss said.
He recorded what he called his personal testimony on the detrimental effects of drug addiction in October. Psychotic Narcotics, produced by Rob The Viking from hip hop group Swollen Members, will feature Canadian rapper Madchild.
“Doctor switched up the meds, psychotic — my Father’s dead from alcohol and narcotics” — opening line of Psychotic Narcotics
Riss lost his father when he was ten-years-old and feared drugs and alcohol would take him down the same path in his adult life. The lifestyle dragged him in and he spent his time partying — he know describes it as psychotic.
At his worst, Riss said the drugs caused him paranoia — he thought his friends were plotting against him, he thought people were outside in his yard.
“I’m yelling at the devil in the mirror because I’m looking at my reflection in the mirror and I don’t see me, I see Satan in me,” Riss said.
Riss said he quit drugs five days before his son was born, “I did it for him.” He wants to be a role model for his son and the people who listen to his music.
Before releasing his first professionally produced album, iT Blast in 2018, Riss said he struggled between devotion to God and his drug habits.
“Mother said now yo, you need to stop it — demonic, it’s rocking your mind, them drugs got you blind son.”
When Riss got into rap, he was influenced by wrestling and horror films. He would record audio from horror movies and mix it into his songs. He now says he was doing Satan’s will with the music he created. Aggressive music hooked him with the beats, the rhythm and the aggression in the songs wrestlers walked out to, he said.
“I grew up fatherless. Now the World Wrestling Federation wrestlers, mixed with gangster rap music — those were my fathers.”
Riss started his own record label, DopETracKRecords in 2003 — he retired it in 2008 after he began going to church. “I started to realize that the music I was making with Dope Track Records was not of God,” he said.
“I grind 9 to 5 then drive home and relax — I’m living life clean, not repeating relapse.”
He began to write and produce Christian music after being kicked out of church for questioning teachings.
“I was reading things in the Bible for myself at this point and I would go to church and the pastor was talking about something completely different and it wasn’t adding up,” he said. “I was confused at this point.”
He said he became frustrated with religion and turned away from strictly Christian content.
“I was living a lukewarm Christian lifestyle for quite some time,” he said. “I would be partying, I would be doing these drugs [with] the Holy Spirit in me… it’s kind of like doing drugs with your parents right there.”
Riss said he always had a goal to pay off his mother’s mortgage. He would save money, but kept taking from his savings to buy drugs. He said he achieved this goal after getting clean.
“I need to be a role model. I need to be a father to my kid. I have people that are inspired by my music — I can’t be a hypocrite.”
Riss said it could be a few months before Psychotic Narcotics will be released. His music can be found on Spotify, Youtube and Apple Music.