In Music to be Murdered by-Side B, which was the surprise follow up to the Eminem’s eleventh solo album that was released at the beginning of 2020, Eminem releases the inspirational song, “Higher.” The song incapsulates the feelings of Eminem’s success in the music industry and his motivation to continue to strive for more.
According to many, fans and critics alike, it would be easy to believe that Eminem has reached his peak and cannot achieve much more in his art and in his craft, but it seems that Eminem would beg to differ from the majority. We can see this with the catchy chorus to the song:
“Where am I supposed to go from here?
Really I have no idea
All I know is every time I think I hit my ceiling
I go higher than I've ever f-in‘ been
Where am I supposed to go from here?
Really I have no idea
All I know is every time I think I hit my ceiling
I go higher than I've ever f-in’ been.”
According to Eminem, he has not reached his peak, but he believes that he has a lot more to prove to himself and then to his critics. Even in the midst of his recent failures, which he acknowledges in this song, it is easy to see that Eminem will continue to strive for his best with each new release.
Even when people try to disrespect is art or his ability to keep up with the newer artists, Eminem pens that he has not lost his dedication to the art form that he loves, but on the contrary, he seems to strive even more to be the best.
“Got no time for no haters in this bit-
Or toleration for this sh-
But like medication, my dedication
And the time it takes to do this sh-
Reminds me of how an overcrowded hospital waiting room'll get
What I mean is maybe I have more patience (patients) than I'm able to admit”
Eminem has shown his dedication to his craft with every new song that he has released. Every song is well-crafted and well-performed. It is obvious that Eminem still has plenty in the tank and a lot more to say. It seems that not only does Eminem use his current struggles as inspiration for his songs, but he also uses his struggles throughout his life to stay motivated when creating.
“Been in survival mode
Since a five year old, it was I alone
Since my trike was stole, spiral notebook and microphone
But lookin' back how bad it was then
If it hadn't been for the pad and the pen
Addict mom and deadbeat dad
I wouldn't have had the savage within
Havin' to win every single battle I'm in."
In the first lines of the third verse, Eminem admits that he has had this desire to be the best at his craft from an early age because he wanted to ensure that he would not repeat the pattern that his family set before him. Instead he wanted to strive for better.
At my first listen, this was the line that immediately grabbed my attention. One, for it’s clever word-play and delivery but secondly, for the way that it seemingly resigned within me. I immediately recalled having a similar desire from a young age.
My connection to Eminem and and his music has been evident since the release of his first studio Album, “The Slim Shady LP.” With songs like “Brain Damage” and “Rock Bottom” instantly let me know that Eminem was pulling from his real-life experiences to craft his songs. I was instantly able to connect to the real-life stories. This has not changed in the 20 plus year career.
When it comes to the song “Higher” from Music to be Murdered by-Side B, I instantly felt the survival instinct that was penned into each verse. As a newly married man who was struggling to not slip back into poverty while at the same time studying to pass an important exam that would allow me to keep my job, I too felt like I was in survival mode.
With every listen I was encouraged to keep pushing myself my limits. I was able to stay focused, study longer, and eventually pass my exam. Even though I failed the exam multiple times, I was determined to work harder and not allow my previous attempts to determine my future. I often found myself replaying the song to keep myself motivated and moving forward.
Even with a more solid marriage and a stable path for my future, “Higher” serves as a reminder of what I have been able to accomplish and what more I still have to prove to myself as well as those who may doubt me.
I am not done, in fact, I am just getting started. I have been able to build the foundations of a career, maintain a marriage, and co-create a household that I can be proud of. Yet, from here I will build a strong family unit that places their faith in God and bring change to the world.
These goals are valid. These goals are obtainable. These goals will grow and develop as life progresses. Just as the song indicates:
“All I know is every time I think I hit my ceiling
I go higher than I've ever f-in’ been.”
In the fourth album from Reach Records’ artist Trip Lee, we have a song that depicts and celebrates the soul’s inner desire to be with our Heavenly Father. A the first listen I really enjoyed this concept of the song, which tells two stories of two different individuals and their current living situation. In the midst of these situations, the two characters are filled with the faith of the LORD and they are eager for their union with Jesus.
The first verse tells the story of a young man who is dealing with a variety of financial issues. The lyrics depict that the main character is struggling through his days as he pursues his dreams. While things are not perfect or ideal, the narrator reminds the listener that the young man’s true hope is not in his money or his career, but his true hope is I Jesus. Even though things are not easy for this character, he refuses to lose hope in the joy that is found in Jesus. Actually, he is looking forward to the day that he is in Jesus’ presence I heaven, where his hope is fulfilled and his worries and eliminated.
The Second verse tells the story of a mother that is suffering from a terminal sickness. The woman is laying in her bed, seeing death approach her as she suffers through the ailment. Even though she is suffering, the woman is reassured that she has nothing to worry about. Throughout the terminal disease, her hope in Jesus remains intact. Her faith is the driving force that encourages her to remain story and hopeful in this difficult time. The mother remains joyful because she believes that at the end of her life she will be reunited with her Heavenly Father and her savior and in that she will be healed.
From the first listen of this song, I knew that the song was important with an important message. Yet, I did not know how impactful this song would be on me.
It was a Sunday afternoon in 2013 when I had lunch with my friend and his family. I had known this friend for the last few years and I have had lunch with his family multiple times. We had all bonded.
After the meal, my friend informs me that his mother wanted to visit with me. I was happy to do so. Over the last year or so his mother had become ill from cancer and she was bed-ridden. We journeyed to the bedroom where she rested and greeted her. She was so happy to see me. We shared stories back and forth, stories of joy and stories of God’s provision. Even though we all knew that she was suffering from the pain, she never lost her love and passion for Christ.
Even though she was suffering, she rejoiced in the positive works in my life and she always offered prayer for our worries before we left her to rest for the day. That truly amazed me then, and continues to amaze me now: How could she focus so much of her attention and prayers on our needs when she was the one that needed healing? How could she remain so joyful when she is facing challenged that will cause many to become angry and bitter? She never allowed bitterness to overtake her. Instead, she focused her attention on our needs and she spent her time in Jesus’s presence. While we visited, she would request bible stories and the singing of her favorite worship songs. This lifted our spirits as well as hers.
Cut to Reach Records’ Unashamed Tour for that year, where my friend and I were in the audience. When Trip Lee approached the stage, I was reminded of this song. I hoped he would perform it. He did. Before we knew it, my friend and I embraced and cried as we remembered his mother who recently passed. The lyrics to the second verse was a perfect depiction of the end of her life. She lived a life of love, passion and a joy for Jesus. I will never forget that night. I will never forget this woman of God.
Every time I play this song I think of my friend’s mother, who loved Jesus so much that she was elated to be in Jesus’ presence. I attended her funeral as well and I was not sad or mournful. I knew that she was with Jesus and she was worshipping Him with everything that she had.
Now when I hear this song I am joyful for a whole new reason. I remember that our pain ands suffering is for a limited time only, but our joy in Jesus will continue forever. Even when it seems that our suffering is eternal, I am reminded that Jesus remains on the throne for all time and one day I will reunite with Jesus and I will be filled with an unexplainable joy. I am eager for the day that I will finally be in the presence of the LORD to worship him.
Every so often we face situations or circumstances that shake us to the very core. These moments make us question all that we understand and all that we believe, especially when we are faced with the health and well being of a family member or someone that we love.
In the 2010 single, “Show me a God” by Kansas City rap artist, Tech N9ne, the audience walks through these same moments as Tech begins to confront these very thoughts and fears as he watches his mother struggle with her health and her mental state.
As first listen, I was under the impression that the rap pioneer was making a mockery of God and Jesus, but upon further review and analyzing of the lyrics I was quickly able to relate to the pain that courses through the words of the independent artist.
Now, ten years after the song’s initial release, I am able to relate now more than ever. Due to the fact that I, as well as my wife, now have a family members battling their own health issues. We are now standing beside our own family, asking many of the same questions that are addressed in this song.
Why did this happened? Or Why does God allow this?
As we grow in our faith or as we grow as adults our way of thinking and our understanding of the most complicated aspects of life will develop and evolve. We begin to understand things that a young child can never wrap their mind around. The more we grow in our faith the more likely it is that we will face a situation that forces us to ask this question. Whether we are facing cancer, death, poverty, starvation or hatred, we begin to wonder why God allows this type of suffering in our lives.
Tech n9ne asks it this way:
“How come an angel gotta be sick in the pancreas like she an atheist?
Maybe it's the faith that is making this lady as crazy and has made me this skeptic
Next threat is Lupus on top of Epileptic, Never rested
Psychiatrist forever tested, Reverend blessed it
Brethren, Heaven, Tech is begging' for effin' X-Mas”
Throughout this song, we see Tech questioning his faith in God due to his mother’s pain and suffering. This is entirely understandable. Men like Job and Habakkuk, as well as countless others in the Bible experience similar suffering without any notice or reason and they are left thinking the same thing; Why?
On the website, explored.com, it is stated this way, “The Bible leaves many of our questions about suffering unanswered. However, what it does do is tell us the story of a God who has come close to us in the midst of our suffering, who actually suffered for us, who will one day destroy suffering forever.”
The Bible says it this way:
“Out of my distress I called on the Lord;
the Lord answered me and set me free.
The Lord is on my side; I will not fear.
What can man do to me?” Psalm 118:5-6.
This verse shows that God hears our prayers of distress and brokenness, which means that God is also close enough to us to set us free from our brokenness. Too often it through our suffering and our brokenness that we are drawn closer to God. I believe that is one of the reasons for our suffering, to bring us closer to a God that can relate to our pain because God has experienced the pain through his son, Jesus. Therefore, God can heal us from our suffering, even if it after the suffering has taken place.
“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” Revelation 21:4
Is God listening to our prayers?
As believers who are involved in the church and involved in the church community, It is extremely difficult when we are facing a life-changing situations that causes us to questions whether God hear our prayers. While we are praying for God to bring healing to our family members or to bring healing to broken relationships, it gets very discouraging when it seems like our prayers go unanswered. When our prayers go answered, how can we be expected to keep praying and keep hoping that God will heal? How can we keep from growing tired and loosing faith in the God that we follow?
Tech n9ne asks it this way:
“In the church every Sunday
I've been searching' for one way
Or another, you're gonna have to curse me or burst me with a sun-ray
To let me know that you're coming or en route
I'm 'bout ninety-nine, but I need a hundred percent proof.”
Tech shares that through this time of unfair suffering that he’s searching for answers, which is bringing him to church and to God, but he ultimately feels ignored and as if his prayers are not being heard. Once again, I understand that struggle, especially when you’re seeking such important answers.
The Bible says it this way:
Throughout the entire Bible, God reveals to us that he hears our crying and our destress to our suffering. Ultimately, we see that we need God in our lives. We do not need freedom from our suffering. We soon see that our suffering is what brought us face-to-face to God, where we realize how much we needed God to begin with. exploregod.com says it this way, “When Job sees God, he no longer needs an answer. God himself is the answer. Job responds with joy and repentance.”
“But from there you will seek the Lord your God and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul. When you are in tribulation, and all these things come upon you in the latter days, you will return to the Lord your God and obey his voice.” Deuteronomy 4:29-30.
These versus that mention that we will encounter God and listen to God’s voice is not an “or else” scenario, it is actually us coming to terms with the goodness of God and realizing that we actually have a desire to know God and follow in what God has said throughout the Bible. Even in the midst of our suffering it is better to know God than to go through the same suffering without a God who relates the suffering and who can guide us through the pain.
To sum it up exploregod.com gives us a simple, yet impactful choice: “Suffering can sweeten and deepen us. Suffering can poison and embitter us. We have a choice.”
In the world that we live in today, we see a variety of people and personalities. As we grow and develop as men, often times our cultures developed us and transforms us into many types of men. As young men who trust in God, we quickly realize that the culture’s ideas of masculinity is often off kilter to what God’s word defines as a Godly man.
This week we are discussing the image of masculinity in our current world and how it compares to the definition of a Godly man. In order to delve into this heavy topic, I want to analyze the songs and lyrics of “Man Up.”
“Man Up” was release in 2011 from the 116 Clique, Which consisted of Reach Records label mates such as Lecrae, Tripp Lee, Sho Baraka, Derek Minor and Andy Mineo. The Album was accompanied by a film written and directed by Sho Baraka and it attempts to give an accurate depiction of a faith-based manhood in our current culture.
Man up Anthem: The album begins with the anthem of men who declare their love and relationships with the LORD. This is song brings proof that real manliness is found in God and manhood is fully developed when you trust God and follow in the path that God has for you. The lyrics to the song shows an accurate comparison to a culture that expects men to be drunkards, violent and womanizers as opposed to a man who loves God and loves people.
Looking over this album years later as well as seeing manhood in our culture, I believe that the messages in these songs are still relevant today. While the Hip Hop culture also has a variety of “anthems” of what is means to be a man, I see that the Hip Hop culture continues to create overly masculine men that cause more harm than good.
Authority: “If you can’t follow, you can never lead./…..A real man bows down to authority./” In the world we live in, especially within the Hip Hop culture, the men often display very dominate personalities, who the men are expected to be leaders who do not follow any other authority. For lack of better term, they blaze their own trail and they don’t need to be under the authority of anyone else. We are told that a “real man” bushes his way through with heartless acts and they create opportunities.
The truth is, in God’s view a real man is a man who leads a family, a business or an organization through living under the authority of those who are older and wiser than they are. In other words, a Godly man is called to be a leader within his community by he should be held accountable by his mentors and by God. Through scripture, we see that God calls men to be a leader within his family. That means that men are called to develop and lead their families as they follow God. As men follow follow, they lead their family to do the same.
Responsibility: Growing from a boy to a man is an amazing gift. It is also a Godly calling that should be taken seriously. It is common knowledge that as we grow into our adult roles, we tend to take on more responsibility in life; we fall in love, we get married. When we develop a career, we buy cars and houses. When we gain wisdom, we raise kids. These are the facts of life that contribute to our culture and our economy. Yet, real manliness means that as you grow into your adult role, you will also develop a reasonability for these things. For example, when a man marries a woman, he takes responsibility over the provision of that developing families.
The truth is, as men grow closer to God, they will treasure their responsibilities and they will take ownership of what God has given us. In other words, Whether it’s a family member or a job, when a man takes responsibly, he leads with wisdom and courage and he refuses to make excuses to his mistakes.
Envy: Envy is a dangerous seed to plant in our hearts. When we look at the world’s definition of manliness, it seems that envy is truly at the root of a lot of young men. It seems that young boys often look to those that are older than them and they often begin to want what the others want and what they have. In many cases, those within the Hip Hop culture often allow envy to drive them into their careers. That means that their envy becomes the driving force of their lives.
This is dangerous because when we are driven by envy often we make choices that could neglect our values and morals. As believers we are asked to trust God to use our talents for His glory and impact. That means that we trust God to expand our talents and reach the audience that we are meant to reach. If we envy those with a higher influence than ours, our minds are clouded by the desire to match some else’s skills and talent and we would not be able to focus on what God is doing in our lives and in our ministry.
Courage: “I walk in the confidence of ten men, only because my confidence is in him.” Confidence is a great thing to develop, but the question is, what does your confidence lie in? Often it seems that most men’s confidence relies on their own abilities or the amount of capital and property that can accumulate throughout their lives. This holds even more true more the Hip Hop culture. The men who lead the culture often brag about the extravagant lifestyles that they have and how they have obtained it.
While gathering property and capital is not bad, if the gathering of these possessions was solely to create envy in others, then it soon poisons the heart and develops a false sense of confidence. Yet, When our confidence lives in God then we are able to keep a pure heart toward the people and families that surround our daily lives. When our confidence is found is God, we can effectively lead our families and develop our communities.
Temptation: “My body’s not my mine, it’s yours.” Sex is one of the most driving presence in our culture. Within Hip Hop sex is often very overly exposed. Also, the use of sex is used to drive in spectators and participates. In a world of masculinity being developed outside of the family, the Hip Hop leaders show that their thirst for sex is insatiable and too often their sex drive is not contained within their marriage. They often brag about their sexual ventures with a variety of women.
The truth is, our sex drives is very powerful and it is very important that we develop a safe sex life that displays God’s plan. Our sex drive is meant to bring a male and female closer, not only a physical level, but a spiritual level. When our sex lives is expanded to various women with no care of feelings and connection, often we hurt ourselves as Well as those that we sexually engage with.
Repentance: In Hip Hop there is no repentance. Once an action is taken and acted out, there is no repentance for those actions. It is too often that masculinity is shown as tough guy talk. Toxic masculinity allow us to create a world where men can bully, harm and hurt anybody that they would like without any thought to the families that they are hurting.
The truth is, God understands that the world that we live in is broken and fully of wickedness, yet, God loves us regardless. God has shown us that we are broken and that we often make bad and hurtful choices that God does not approve of. God offers us forgiveness, but part of that forgiveness is handed to us when we turn away from our brokenness and our choices and turn over to God, which allows God to redirect our steps.
DMX- DMX is the ultimate survivor. DMX created songs that told a relatable story and allowed the listener to feel and understand his struggle. With songs like “Slippin’”, “I Miss you,” “Goodbye” You get a great feel for the rapper’s personal struggles as well as his struggles with his fame and drug use. As a young fan of Hip Hop, Dmx allowed me to experience an entirely different lifestyle that I never would have experienced.
Throughout the years of his career, DMX showed me a gritty, yet relatable approach to his music. As a young writer, I looked at DMX’s honesty as an inspiration of my own writing. You can be honest and open and still be appealing to any and anyone who would listen.
Tech N9ne- Tech N9ne is the epitome of a lyricists; with little effort , he creates word combinations and alliterations that bend the mind into a pretzel of shock and awe.
At the same time Tech is able to create songs that allow the listener to experience the most difficult emotions to express through music. With Songs like “Fragile”, “Real Killer” “Mama Nem” and “Show me a God” the listener is given an open invitation into the mind, life and pain of one of the most talented MCs in Hip Hop.
As a young writer, listening to Tech N9ne always encouraged me to be imaginative with my lyrics and my wordplay as well as being open bout my struggles.
Eminem-Eminem is the ultimate underdog. A natural competitor that continues to fight for his spot in Hip Hop history. With motivating songs like “Not afraid” , “8 Mile” and “Till I Collapse” Eminem motives the listener to get up and chase their dream for a better life.
Along with his ability to motivate the next generation, Em has a dark sense of that allows self-deprecating lyrics that shows that you don’t always have to take yourself too seriously.
As a young writer and even into today, Eminem’s music has always been a place of inspiration as well as self-awareness as I learn to connect my personal thoughts and feels to the lyrics that I’m writing. I was able to discover who I was and put it into my lyrics.
Tupac-Tupac is the Heart of Hip Hop. Tupac’s intelligence continuously showed through his lyrics as he penned lyrics that are still relevant to the world we live in today. With touching songs like, “Brenda’s Got a Baby” , “Changes “ and “Dear Mama” showed a world of struggles and pain that too many are still experiencing to this day. The heart that Tupac showed throughout his music is nearly absent today. If Pac was angry, his music showed it. If Pac was hurting, his music felt it. Yet at the same time, his wisdom shown bright.
As I began writing, I knew that I wanted ti write something timeless the way that Pac’s lyrics were timeless. Throughout Tupac’s lyrics I realized that it is okay to love people and love your community.
Will Smith- Will Smith is the history of Hip Hop. Will represents the origins of Hip Hop as well as blending current sounds and well written lyrics. Will Smith’s music reminds me of the fun times of lyricism, creating lyrics that allow the listeners have to fun and enjoy themselves while still being create and complex. Over the years, the true listeners have beeb able to hear the grow of Smith’s lyrics as well as get a sense of how Hip Hop used it to be; fun-loving and enjoying.
With songs like, “So Fresh” , “Pump Me Up” , and “Lost and Found” the listener realizes that Smith knows the history of Hip Hop. Will Smith is also able to make music that is enjoyable for all types of Hip Hop fans, young and old.
As I grew it was then that I truly realized how fantastic Will smith’s lyrics were, Listening to the music throughout the years, I still get energized by the strength of the lyrics.
When we are forced to deal with the fragile life span of our friends and our family, often we are left face our own limits of life and humanity. In these times we we struggle with the thin life between life and death, we often find ourselves question the motives and the movements of God.
It is too familiar for far too many of us; we live a pleasant life where we build meaningful relationships just to watch humanity deteriorate, leaving with more questions that answers for the God that created life.
In The song, “Fear” by Kansas City, MO emcee Tech N9ne, we are given a glimpse of the inner thoughts of Aaron Yates as he deals with watching his mother struggle from mental illness; an illness that would later claim her life. Tech brings in to his own personal struggle as he questions God as he is forced to face his deepest fear.
“Reoccurring dream, I was falling
Droppin' from something tall
And Jesus name that I'm calling.”
Aaron’s Christian upbringing shows through this song as he is trying to look to God for answers in this difficult time in his family. Throughout the song we get the sense that Aaron has a basic understanding of the God of the Bible and that he is doing his best to understand the plan of the Father, but Yates’ struggle runs deeps, which impacts his faith.
In this song I believe that event of falling in the dream is a symbol of everything slipping out of the emcee’s control and him realizing that being devoured by his own fear of loosing his mother. It it in these moments, that the emcee is facing mortality as well as his faith in God.
As listeners I believe we approach these moments often in our walk in our faith. While not all of will face debilitating sickness of family and friends, we will face difficult times and struggles that creates an environment that builds the walls of fear around us.
I believe that many of us can relate to that fear of falling; whether it means falling away from friends and family, whether it means falling into darkness and fear, whether it means falling further away from God.
“I'm feelin' sadness, I'm feelin' anger
Steady praying for a higher power to come down and change it
Rearrange her cause my fear is that the sickness in her mind
In due time it'll make her son a stranger.”
As the listener hears this song and internalizes the lyrics to the song, we are given the a deep dive look into the writer’s thoughts and feelings. The listener is able to connect with the artist as Yates prays for his mother’s recovery, yet Yates’ only sees his mother’s condition worsening. This event creates fear and doubt in the faith of the Kansas City Emcee.
“I know it's a blessing, that I raised kids cause I got skill
And thank God that gangbang thing didn't bring me hot steel
Now my mom's worse and a lot ill
My fear is that this God I'm prayin' to for my mother is not real.”
In everyday life, Christian believers are also filled with doubt, questions and a need for inner peace. In these times we are encouraged to depend on the family and friends as we lean in to the God’s presence. The struggles don’t change and vanish because of our relationship with God. Too often it seems that the pain intensifies. It is in these times that we need our God to guide us.
33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
Even though we all face real life struggles and doubts, Jesus is aware of all that we face and everything that we are going to face. The truth is, we are going to face the most impossible of difficulties, but one of the biggest blessings is that we are not alone in these tragic moments; we have our friends, our family and our heavenly Father. Through Jesus overcoming the death, burial and the grave of sin, we are given the authority and power to overcome our darkest fears with Christ.
Our need for Sanctuary:
Poetry is often a tool used to express ones inner most thoughts and emotions. Hip Hop is a culture of great influence in both fashion and music. What happens when you put the two together? That is exactly what The Sanctuary of my Solitude is. The Sanctuary of my Solitude is the perfect combination of well thought out lyrical practice and deeply personal interactions of inner turmoil.
The world that we live in is full of turmoil. The truth is we live in a wrecked world, a world full of destruction and corruption. Everyday day the occupants of this world deal with an assortment of pain, loneliness, addiction, a complete lack of hope. These areas of discomfort and disorganization of our hearts are caused by a variety of daily aspects. Some areas of hopelessness are self-afflicted, some areas of hopelessness are caused by friends and family, and some are caused by people that we don’t know. Regardless of the origin of the hopelessness, when people are faced with hopelessness they are often isolated from all forms of healthy community. When we find ourselves isolated from the community that keeps our faith healthy and strong, we are vulnerable. This isolation of hopelessness was where The Sanctuary of my Solitude was created and penned. The Sanctuary of my Solitude is a result of the isolation that is birthed from hopelessness with the hopes that the reader will be given the strength to endure their own hopelessness to once again find hope.
The name The Sanctuary of my Solitude comes from the need that we have to find a safe place, or a sanctuary, in our most difficult times. In our lowest times, we are often alone, in solitude, awaiting a safety net to save us in our time of need. Yet, in the moments of our solitude when we are in the lowest valleys of our lives, we discover a sanctuary in our own thoughts. Through that alone time we are able to discover our flaws and our mistakes, which leads us to learn from them and grow. In many occasions it is in our solitude that God reveals Himself to us and brings us to a place of safety.
Each piece that is featured in The Sanctuary tells a relatable tale of a young man’s journey through his faith. The poems depict the emotional ups and downs, the journey through early adulthood maneuvering through the college years; from discovering faith in Jesus Christ to dealing with personal doubts and recovering from a broken heart. A decade of Christian faith has been a sustaining force in the midst of both life’s struggles and triumphs.
The Purpose behind the Sanctuary:
Growing up in the middle of two families, I always had more questions than answers. I grew up unsure of who I was or who I was supposed to be. These questions quickly found their way into my poetry, which I usually wrote in the wee hours of the morning. The more I grew into my Christian faith, the more I learned, which means, the more I wrote.
Writing has been a God-given gift that promotes a creative atmosphere within me, which allows me to analyze and understand the intricacies of the human experience. Through this understanding, I created poems that the reader can read and relate to. The reader is given the privilege to journey through my lowest moments of depression until I reach my most joyful stages. The reader will be given the opportunity to step foot into my shoes, experiencing the world as I have seen it. They will experience the highs, the lows, the hopelessness, the faith and the strengths.
As the reader reads The Sanctuary, a new perspective will be presented through a variety of experiences that will expand their comprehension of the world around them. I am also able to provide a solution for the brokenness that lies within the poems. Through my relationship with Christ, I am able to demonstrate how God has used my experiences to form me and teach me to place my trust in Him.
Since the age of nineteen, I have had a personal relationship with God. As I transitioned through a variety of stages, I leaned on God for courage, strength and wisdom. As you read through the pages of The Sanctuary you will be given a glimpse into my most encouraging and powerful moments with God. You will also see me at the lowest points of my life, where my faith is tested and where my life seems useless. Lastly, the pages of this book will uplift you as you are able to relate to the words inscribed within.
This book allows me to share my trials and my tribulations in order to give the reader a glimpse into my life in hopes that they are able to relate to my struggles. While the reader learns about the God that has brought me to a place of healing through the pages of this book, the reader will also be able to think introspectively about their own trials. As the reader works through their own struggles, they can also develop a dependable relationship with God and find their own sanctuary. My hope is that through this journey, the reader will relate to the words throughout the poem and question their relationship with God.
A Glimpse into the Sanctuary:
“I know today is a new day, dreaming.
I know today is a new day now.
I know today I must face my demons.
I know today that I won't back down.
Because everyday it's your face I’m seeing.
Because everyday it's to you I bow.
Because everyday it's for truth I’m freeing.
Because you're the one who wears the crown now.”
-I Know Today (Page 16)
When you’re strengthened in your faith and you’re facing the hopeless that lingers in your life, you often need to face your own personal demons. Over the years, I have faced many of my negative aspects and my own personal demons. I pray that The Sanctuary of my Solitude will help you face your demons.
About the author:
Anthony Giesick is a lifetime Hip Hop fan and a poet and storyteller. He created and runs beautifulfeetentertainment.com, a place to share thoughts, ideas, and life lessons. He lives in Chandler, Arizona.
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For more writing from this author go to beautifulfeetentertainment.com
We met when I was just a child; nine or ten, I believe. I met her through my brother, who had become close friends with her. It was in that moment that I became obsessed. It was then that I fell in love with her.
The years went by. At first I thought that we were just friends. We would spend as much time together as we could, but our time was limited. But the more I saw her, the more I cared for her, the more I loved her.
She was beautiful. Even her flaws were beautiful. Her skin was rough from experience, but smooth under my fingertips. Her hair was knotted and dirty at times, but could clean up nicely. Her language, which was usually diced up with profanity, could become eloquent and polite when needed.
When I looked into her eyes, saw what others could not. I remember many times, I heard criticism from my father and other relatives. My mother didn’t mind her company; we all spoke together often. We talked of life, love, politics and society.
“How can you stand her?” My Aunt once asked me, “She’s so rude and impolite.”
I tried to defend our relationship, but no matter how I argued, she would not accept her. “I mean, have you heard the language she uses,” she spat. I had heard this argument before from my father many times before, and continue to hear it still.
“Everybody uses that language. You hear it everywhere,” I tried to explain, but once again my arguments fell on deaf ears. Usually these debates would end without resolution. Normally I would walk away leaving it unsettled, waiting until the day when the subject was again revisited.
Even though the criticisms had been staring me in the face, the thought of leaving her never entered my mind. I knew we were meant to be.
She may have been my soul mate, but we did not spend all of our time together. There were many times when I would meet another woman, and fall in love all over again.
I spent time with each woman, gaining a new appreciation for her character and behavior, but no matter how much love these women and I shared, I always returned to my first love. The other women were sufficient when I needed a taste of something new.
When I spent time with her I was never happier. I would sit in a chair listening to her every word as she read poetry from many thinkers. I was obsessed; I listened to her vivid words over and over again, making her repeat everything. Her every word and her every story put a colorful image in my head, an image of a world that I have not experienced; a world in which I could still relate. A world of outcasts and rejects to society, who are forced to live a life they are not proud of. A life they hope to change. I heard the words she spoke and the poets whose work she read and whose lives she would wrote about. I loved every minute with her and every word I heard her utter. I had to have more of her. I would look into her eyes as I listened to her words, seeing the passion that she shared with me.
As time went by, I started to write my own poems, hoping to one day write as her great poets had
written. I shared my written words with my love, hoping she would like them.
Time went by; I continued to perfect my skill. I hoped to one day take my art to its pinnacle. She and I spent hours together refining my craft. She taught me everything she knew and I was an eager student. Everything that I wrote I read to her, in attempts of gaining her approval and respect.
I introduced her to my friends, who quickly understood why I loved her. They grew fond of her as well, but the love between them never sparked like it did with her and me.
Now, years later, she and I are still very much in love. I spend the majority of my days with her, as she tells me the stories I’ve loved so much. I can express myself through her. We have both changed over the years, but have never lost our unique connection. Her name is Hip Hop. And she’s the love of my life.
Here's the cold truth: We are all hopeless at times. Too often we feel inadequate in our skills or our appearance, even our relationship with God. I believe we feel this most often when we see someone more experiences or successful in a talent that we are passionate about.
You see, we are all inadequate. In the eye of public opinion, we are not enough; we don’t do enough, we aren’t successful enough. When we focus so much on what other people are given, or what they have gained through hard work, we begin to believe that our life has less value than the next person. Too often I find myself in this same predicament. I take something that I love and admire and I compare that talent to someone else, therefore I decide to ignore the talent.
I created this website to share my talents and too impact the world, but I can’t do that if I refuse to express my faith through my talents and skills. I know that I’m not perfect and my talents are not perfectly polished, but they were still given to me by God to be used for His glory. This “Lyrical Exercise” is to abolish comparison in my life and to follow God’s path for my life.
Why is Lyricism so important?
With the recent release of Eminem’s Kamikaze album, I’ve been really curious about what drew me to Hip Hop at such a young age. The truth is, my first favorite artist was Eminem. I first heard Eminem when I would see his “My name is….” Music video when I would watch MTV first thing in the morning when I got ready for school. When my older brother gave me a copy of Eminem’s debut album, "The Slim Shady LP" I was hooked!
From that point on I fell in love with Hip Hop; most importantly, I fell in love with the lyrical aspect of Hip Hop. The creative lyrics were enough to captivate my impressionable mind and challenge me to write lyrics as well. Ever since I was ten years old, I've been writing rhymes, which would later become songs. To be completely honest with you, every Hip Hop artist that I find myself listening to, I am always the most impressed by the lyrical abilities of the artist. The ability to be able to tell a compelling story through the clever word play and well-crafted phrases and rhymes.
As I thought about why certain audiences are attracted to lyricism when it comes to Hip Hop, I created a list of reasons. Now, this list is not complete, nor is it in any particular order. It is just my thoughts on why I love lyricism in Hip Hop:
Music has always been an art form that allows the listener and the artist to bond over a shared experience or topic. For a select few, this enjoyment goes further an just sharing the experience, in actually it becomes a window into the soul of the artist. For those that take the first steps into creating their own clever punch lines and lyrics, a new artist is born. This is were I have lived for the greater part of 15 years. Words have become my best friend, my confidant and my companion. When I hear the phenomenal lyrics of these Hip Hop artists, I can only imagine that the artists' relationship with words is very much the same.
Good Hip-Hop is hard to find at times. Here's what I have found!