A Poem by Anthony Giesick
People say I haven't been through a lot,
Is it because I am so young that it is impossible for me to ever go through:
Hurt, pain, depression, loneliness, rejection, abuse, and even suicidal thoughts?
Maybe it's because I have a mother and father.
A family that loves me dearly and strengthens me when I'm weak.
Maybe it's due to where I am now:
a nice job, great friends, and a smile on my face.
A blessed life.
But wait, you can't tell that it's always been easy.
You can't calculate the hours in my room,
counting countless tears and wishing things were different.
You can't comprehend the infinite thoughts running through my mind within minutes.
Try to fathom a child watching his father drink his life away,
With each swallow the fabric of the family crumbles.
Every bottle finished brings the near end to all that he knows.
Or take the time to see when a young teen becomes father to his brother and sister,
because Dad just left,
choosing a life of abuse and coping mechanisms instead of his family.
Now, the family infrastructure breaks down,
no longer the foundation he needs.
Self-esteem no longer visible,
head hangs love from lack of affection.
loveless is a venom propelling through veins,
causing a wicked sickness to attack the heart.
Even at his "young" age he feels the effects.
What about the ones who look into the mirror,
they hate what see and they hate the fact that they hate what they see.
Our skin is not the right shade.
Our body is not what we want to see.
Our clothes don't fit the way we first imagined.
No matter what we do we don't fit our own standard.
We are imperfect, broken and desperate for attention.
Not to mention those who just feel ignored.
On the surface it looks like I have everything in prospective,
but no one even knows I exist.
My parents hassle me, and all I want to see is them happy.
So, I break my back, and my rules, just for approval,
and I never get it.
Because of that I stopped trying.
So, before you say I'm "too young" remember when you were my age,
where you "too young"?
you faced everything I am,
yet you are un-sympathetic to my condition.
You refuse to see that I am hurting,
masking it by saying, "This is too much, too soon. You're too young."
But really, am I?
Your utterances indicate that I am blind,
but I must ask,
Am I blind to it all or are you?
You see, I take all that I have been handed,
and with a smile I stand strong.
I will continue to be strengthened as I graciously stand my ground.
When I am weak, God is strong.
I will continue with my head held high,
and I will no longer ignore those are younger than I.
I know we can withstand all that is placed on our path, regardless of our age.
So, please stop seeing my age as a limit,
like it's an excuse to live as if there is no answer to the difficult questions.
Because there is an answer!
There is a voice for this lost generation.
Through all we see, and do, we have hope.
God, the one true answer,
has given us strength to answer His call,
even at our inexperience.
So, please stop seeing my age as a handicap,
but instead see it as your opportunity to love and guide me in righteousness.
And let me do the same for you.
"Let no man despise thy youth: but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity." 1 Timothty 4:12
There once was a man, a writer.
He spent hours in his room.
From the outside one would hear
the pounding of the typewriter keys
mixed with pacing footsteps.
The rhythmic pattern was so consistant,
one could see the writer's devoted concentration
through the wooden door.
Like a movie montage, the hours on the clock rushed by,
the writer never leaving his room.
When the writer finally emerged from the room,
leaving his completed work on his desk,
he left satisfied.
One word, that is all that was typed on the single sheet.
The perfect word.
The author refined his work to one word.
He was confident in its perfection.
Words are precious.....
They should not be used without consideration
and thrown away just as quickly.
One may sit in silence,
pondering an accurate word to depict the perfect picture.
Every thought considered, but not every thought spoken.
But what happens to the thoughts not mentioned?
What could have happened if these ponderings were articulated?
How would life change with a simple, "I love you"
or simply saying, "You're important to me"?
the power of the spoken word is unfathomed,
yet perfectly understood at the right time.
Therefore the use of the spoken word should be done with discernment,
yet should not be avoided.
"Death and life are in the power of the tongue:
and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof." Proverbs 18:21
While it is wise to keep evil from our lips,
how does one explain not expressing life through our tongues?
Are we paralyzed by our own fears,
not seeing the vibrant life we can offer?
Do we run through every scenario,
not realizing the simple fact that we can speak life into the situation?
Let us take the chance......and speak.
Learn to use our words carefully, yet use our words effectively.
Plan what we said diligently, yet let fear not prevent our verbal impact.
For it is said,
"A wholesome tongue is a tree of life:" Proverbs 15:4.
The time has come for us to speak our minds,
to speak with discretion, yet unbound to all limits.
Find that perfect word and speak.
Every so often you come across something special; something that reminds you of your first love: Hip Hop. I just recently came across an album that reminded me of why I love Hip Hop and the reasons why I love this outstanding artistry.
The album was: Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ “This Unruly Mess I’ve Made.” At my first couple of listens I knew that this album was a great follow up to the extremely popular “The Heist” (Which was an amazing album in its own right).
As what was so evident in “The Heist”, “This Unruly Mess I’ve Made” continued a retrospection that only these two Seattle hit-makers can do. A retrospection that allows the audience to follow the mental journeys of Macklemore though his well crafted lyrics and Ryan Lewis’ mood setting melodies and production.
Now, you can’t talk about a Hip Hop album without talking about the production. As you may have come to expect from a Macklemore and Ryan Lewis album, there are so many sounds that are reminisces of the past as well as sounds of the future. Listening to the various tracks that were created and used for this project, you get a sense that Ryan Lewis a fan of various types of music which inspires his own sounds and methods of production on an album. Every single beat that was created for this album was molded perfectly to the tone of the song, which impacted the entire mood of the album.
Songs like “Buckshot” (Featuring KRS-One and DJ Premier) had a great hint of old school Hip Hop that you would hear in the early years of the musical genre. The song was fun loving and an easy listen to a true Hip Hop fan. I especially loved the use of the classic record scratching that we rarely hear in the genre anymore.
Now, I don’t want to overlook the production of the album because production is so crucial to a successful album. The beats that are used set the mood for the song and the album. If the beat gets people dancing, then the audience will further enjoy the lyrics to the song. If the instrumental allows the listener to become retrospective, then they will be lead to a place of self discovery. When it comes to “This Unruly Mess I’ve Made” the work that Ryan Lewis and the rest of the team put in shows and it all fits so well. When the audience is asked to party and have fun, the music leads them through the process. With the deep thinking songs, the instrumentals perfectly complemented the words of the songs, setting the tone for the entire album.
As Macklemore has already proven that he a very lyrical emcee who is not afraid to discuss inspective topics as well as topics that should get people talking. I truly believe that Macklemore is a deep thinker and that shines through on the lyrics of this album. One of the examples of Macklemore’s lyrical gifting is “Growing up” which is a song that he and Ryan Lewis did with the help of Ed Sheeran. The song is a soft sounding dedication to Macklemore’s children and his desire to raise them properly.
“I’ll be patient, one more month
You'll wrap your fingers 'round my thumb
Times are changing, I know, but who am I if
I'm the person you become
If I'm still growing up, up, up, up
If I'm still growing up, up, up, up
I'm still growing up”
The hook of “Growing up” is a great example of the questions that may go through a new father’s mind. It follow the thought process that parents are still human’s that are growing and learning as they get older. Evidently when you become a parent, you realize that the person that you are acting as is the person that your child is going to soon become. Macklemore thinks that through a step further by asking: Who am I if I’m the person you become if I’m still growing up?
Along with Macklemore’s ability and willingness to dig deep into his mind and look into topics of heavy discussion, he has also shown that he is very creative as well as humorous with his lyrics. With songs like “Downtown ” (Featuring Melle Mel, Grandmaster Cas, Kool Moe Dee and Eric Nally) where he explains his desire to buy a moped and ride through downtown causing chaos and turning heads. The song has an old school Hip Hop sound of horns and group chants. It’s a fun song to listen to while walking or driving through the city streets.
As one journeys through Macklemore’s in depth tales, the intent listener will be faced with a plethora of challenging questions and concepts that should not only be asked, but conversed about with a variety of people from numerous backgrounds. Topics such as the seemingly unlawful treatment of patients and the abuse of prescription drugs to Hollywood’s insatiable desire to glorify themselves through award shows and the fashion industry. These thought provoking songs allow the audience to gather information from Macklemore’s vault of knowledge and begin a conversation that may challenge their own thoughts and opinions.
This thought provoking ability couldn’t be more evident than the closing statements of the album, “White Privilege II”. This song takes a look at current day racism in America. Throughout the song you get a sense of Macklemore’s desire to stand for something bigger than himself and his music mixed with the internal struggle of his motive. It seems that Macklemore struggles with his popularity and how that impacts generations after him as he either stands up for equality or lets it go past. This is a topic that I feel can easily get swept under the rug and many times, it does.
“You speak about equality, but do you really mean it?
Are you marching for freedom, or when it's convenient?
You want people to like you, want to be accepted
That's probably why you are out here protesting.
Don't think for a second you don't have incentive.
Is this about you, well, then what's your intention?”
This quote raises a great discussion of a person’s motive of why they get involved in any sort of politically or social injustice. I believe that we have to ask ourselves if we are getting involved only to fulfill our own intention or to make us feel a sense of holy or righteous.
As a man of faith listening to this album I am faced with a variety of heavy topics of discussion that need to be discussed by all types of people. Throughout this album I ponder on our culture’s stance on these topics and how my mind has been shaped over the years to fit a specific mold. Now, I am challenged to discuss, tackle and grow of the various topics.
Whether Macklemore is making the audience think deeply about societal subjects or making feel good funny music that gets or heading nodding, it’s clear that he and his production partner Ryan Lewis are a team that will be around for many years to come. It’s evident that they will continue to entertain the masses as well as get them thinking. As a Hip Hop fan, it is refreshing to hear an album that brings back the fun loving music that made this genre so popular along with the loaded discussions that we need to discuss.
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.
How Hip Hop Displays Community
Throughout the history of Hip Hop and the various participates of the historical art form, we have been shown ideas of what a community is and what it can be.
In many aspects, when a Hip Hop artist is lifted into the spotlight of popular opinion and the public eye, they reveal their sense of community. For instance, at an award show they will enter into the building with various members who knew that individual for years before they became famous or well-known. Depending on which celebrities you study and follow, you will see a strong foundation of support within the team that creates the music and promotes the music and the videos and the clothing-line.
In today’s musical culture we are seeing an emergence of independent Hip Hop labels. In order to ensure that these labels grows and see some sort of profit, there has to be a high level of effort from each person on the team. Along with that, you also have to understand that these labels are going to take hits and face a wall of doubt in difficult times.
“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.” Proverbs 17:17. This is a verse that I believe shows the bond that is created in many, not all, of these independent artists and label-makers.
Snow tha Product, a MC who runs Wakeyagameup.com and Staywoke.clothing speaks on many diverse topics on her 2015 release “The Rest comes Later” but one of the post prominent topics was that of the company she keeps. In the song, “Same Ones” from that same release, she quickly discusses that the family that supported her as a child and a young MC is the same family that are with her now.
“Cause I done came up off rap
Trade rags for riches.
85 Cadillac, man this sh*t switching
But the only thing the same is how I feel
All these things done changed but we still real.
I be with the same kids from when I started out
Y'all ain't gotta ask already know what I'm about
Man I'm just out here with my team, out here with my team.
Same ones that believe, same ones that believe.”
In the hook of the song, you’ll see the line that says, “I’m just out here with my team. The same ones that believed” that right there shows the support system that was there in the beginning and has developed and deepened over the years of obstacles and downfalls.
In proverbs 17:17 it mentions that a brother is born for a time of adversity. In short, the people who stand by your side in your hardest times and who will pray with you and support and hold you up when you need it will begin to be family to you. They will be seen as extremely valuable to you and will become irreplaceable.
Snow mentions in the song, “Man I used to run around with all the crew that I run with now. We went through broke days and got no pay, tell Atlantic to budget out.” This shows that times were not always perfect, but they kept striving for their dream.
I believe that people generally need a team that supports them through every up and down that we, as humans, face. We need to chase after our dreams and as believers in Christ we are called to carry each other’s burdens as we deal with heavy matters and navigate through the struggles of this life.
With that being said, let’s focus our mind and our heart on finding those individuals that will support us as we chase after our dream. At the same time, let’s be a friend who will stand firm with our friends as they face their trials and tribulations. This is just a look at the bond that the Hip Hop community has. Now, it is up to us to increase t and make it better as we learn and grow. We should be looking to strive for our best, but that also means encouraging everyone around you to be their best.
For my first post in the "Beautiful Feet in Hip Hop " section of my new website, I figured it would be most fitting for me to give you a detailed explanation as to why I love this culture, this music, and the perfect blend of artistic freedom and personal expression. First off, I grew up listening to Hip Hop. Heck, I not only listened to it, I quickly grew to be a writer myself because of my passion for the art.
Nine year old Anthony would hear lyrics from everyone to Eminem to Jay-Z and Even Will Smith and DMX, just to name a few. I was hooked! My young mind was filled with a plethora of imaginative stories, incredible rhymes and rhymes schemes and ending with real-life lessons that any person can relate to. I studied a multitude of writers and studied their various methods of writing and delivery.
In many cases Hip Hop was my first love that allowed me to evaluate my inner most thoughts. While at the same time, Hip Hop has also allowed me to build confidence in myself through the rhymes that I would write and share with family and friends. I now had an art form that was all mine, in a community that I felt like I was a part of and I belonged.
Over the years my taste has changed and my list of favorite artists have adjusted, but my love never diminished! I value to the effort and courage each artist displays through his/her art as well as the clever rhyme schemes that the artist displays. Many artists pack their heart into their lyrics and they spill it all on the stage for the adoring audience to find comfort in.
I think Eminem said it best in his 2002 single, "Sing for the Moment" from "The Eminem Show" album
" That's why we sing for these kids, who don't have a thing
Except for a dream, and a f'in rap magazine
Who post pin-up pictures on their walls all day long
Idolize they favorite rappers and know all they songs
Or for anyone who's ever been through sh*t in their lives
Till they sit and they cry at night wishin' they'd die
Till they throw on a rap record and they sit, and they vibe
We're nothin' to you but we're the f'in shit in they eyes
That's why we seize the moment try to freeze it and own it, squeeze it and hold it
'Cause we consider these minutes golden
And maybe they'll admit it when we're gone
Just let our spirits live on, through our lyrics that you hear in our songs."
Hip Hop has brought so many together, especially those who " Have been through sh*t in their lives." This art form has been given hope to so many. It has connected lives in ways we only wish we could replicate. People who would normally avoid communication with one another, becomes brothers and sisters through this art form.
I am firm believer that Hip Hop has changed our entire culture and, to be honest, many of the effects are purely positive to the lives of the passionate listeners. The same listeners who, like me, see aspects of themselves painted in the words of their favorite Hip Hop performer. In the darkest areas of my life, I turn to Hip Hop for comfort and love. I find a community of intelligent, creative people who have never been "Good enough" for the broken expectations of our surrounding environment. They have heard that they would not amount to much in this life to do their personality, their circumstances or their shortcomings. These "nobody's" are usually broken down time after time and they continue to get back up to fight again. In many ways I have felt the same way!
I have never been good enough for many, too many. I was meant to be failure, a nobody! I believed it for years, but God allowed Hip Hop to grab my heart and give something great to strive for. I lost sleep trying to write my own poems and songs that measured to the lyrics of my favorites. I firmly believe that Hip Hop has increased my intelligence and honestly kept me alive! As I studied the complex lyrics of Eminem, Tech n9ne, Lecrae, and numerous others I was forced to expand my understanding of the rules of poetry. I was also given the opportunity to learn about a whole new world, a culture I knew nothing about.
I truly wish I could perfectly explain why I love Hip Hop, but please understand that I do. I appreciate everything that this culture and this art form has done for me as well as the millions upon millions that have fallen in love with Hip Hop! So, I am here to give props to Hip Hop! Thank you dearly to those who laid down the foundation and blazed a trail that opened the hearts of so many. Shout out to all the courageous men and women that gave the hopeless hope in something.