I love rap music. Like, the introspective flow.
J. Cole, Outkast, & Kid Cudi especially.
I want to make rap music of my own, but I’m scared.
I think I sound stupid.
Every time I’m alone in my car, I blast instrumentals and practice.
I love doing it, but I’m afraid of hearing my voice. Afraid of actually trying to make something out of it.
Steven Pressfield says,
“The more you love your art/ calling/ enterprise, the more important it’s accomplishment to the evolution of your soul, the more you will fear it and the more Resistance you will experience facing it.”
The fear, anxiety, and self doubt that discourages us to try is the “resistance”.
The girl (or boy) your afraid to ask out. The stage your anxious about stepping on. The workout routine you plan to start “tomorrow”.
The thing that prevents us from doing (call it laziness, procrastination, or even comfortability) is “Resistance”.
Today, my buddy P. Suade is moving into our house.
He’s a rapper.
I’ve set up a little recording space in the basement.
I’m gonna learn to flow rhythm and poetry.
It doesn’t matter if I end up being good. It doesn’t matter if I ever develop the courage to share.
It only matters that I’m afraid. And that means I need to try.
-Next Up- P. Suade (on Youtube)
(For my E-mail friends, the link above is for a music video we shot a couple of months ago. It’s P. Suades newest track, “Next Up”)
I asked P Suade how he came up with the hooks to his songs; how he wrote his rhymes…
“I don’t really know…they just kind of come to me”
I handed Suade the auxiliary input to my car stereo, he plugged up his phone, and pressed play on an instrumental track…
His eyes pulled back from our environment, glazing over as a serious tone swept down his brow.
He weaved and swayed to the beat, hand floating to his temple in an expectant surge…
Words began to flow.
Energy inflexed emotion as he expressed himself in rhythm and poetry; vocal tone inflections as symbolism rose and fell to the beat.
I knew I was experiencing magic, and I meant to capture it…
The thing about P Suade is his story; his past. The rap he creates bleeds introspection and frustration in response to the life he’s lived.
His first mixtape, “Relapse Prevention”, was an exercise in therapeutic self-expression. Attacking himself on record with an acceptance of where he’s been, and where he wants to go.
Acknowledging his past experiences; his life as a suburban white kid with a habit for drugs. Addressing his own ambivalence towards the world; searching for meaning in the madness of addiction.
The record caught a pure form of existential angst. A series of moments where he had been sober, yet still craved relief from himself and the emotional states he experienced.
A man confused in a realm of recovery regulated by those who “had time”.
A human being disillusioned by the worlds expectations of value and meaning for our lives.
“Relapse Prevention” captured and created a dynamic exploration of “self”.
In P Suades music, I saw myself.
A shared understanding of what “recovery” meant for someone who can sit in a room full of people, months and months sober, yet still feel intrinsically different.
I shared his anger with the institutions we’ve been influenced by.
I related with his frustration towards society.
I empathized with his sense of isolation from other human beings, a disconnect that has felt un-relatable in the real world, translated clearly through his music.
His style breeds understanding, and, like many of us, his greatest foe is himself. A trait that I have shared as I’ve pursued my own journey as an artist…
Suade finished his rap as the instrumental coasted to completion…
I struggled to hold back excitement, clenching a desire to ignore the workout, turn the car around, and head straight back to my house…
“We gotta record this, we gotta shoot a video, we gotta track this down and make something out of it…”
What he shared could have been lost to the flow of time, but my headspace refused to accept that reality.
I was overcome with inspiration and I wanted to make something. I wanted to capture some magic while I was lucky enough to have him in my presence…
As I write now, I have realized and accepted that Suade doesn’t see his music the way I do, he doesn’t quite understand the positive affect it could have on an ear that gets to experience it.
He doesn’t know how valuable his talent actually is…
Maybe I’m building this story up.
Maybe, the world I see within his lyrics is a world he wasn’t even attempting to display.
All art, all creative expression, shifts and changes depending on the individual who recieves it…
And maybe my perception is wrong.
It’s one thing to capture truth: allowing the voice in our head, the inner dialogue of self, to be explored on paper, audio, or film…
The tough part seems to be developing the courage to share that vulnerability.
Staying consistent while projecting our inner struggle for freedom.
To continue sharing as we challenge the fear of judgement, ridicule, or shame.
Fears that have been magnified because of societal expectations for a “right” way to live; a safe way to find happiness.
The task of any artist, recovering addict, hell, anyone hoping to find peace within themselves is the courage to share.
The willingness to express raw honesty, allowing the truest parts of ourselves to be seen.
Time and time again, P Suade is able to tap into his subconscious, flowing thought freely to the tune of hip hop. Capturing his inner self as the voice in his head vocalizes truth for change.
P. Suades newest track: “Next Up”
Recorded and filmed after our workout at the YMCA.