Karsten Winegeart

It Is What It Is

Derek Minor

I think a lot of times people, when they see the word “The Trap” because of how music has become what it is today, you initially think like a dope house. But the trap I’m explaining on my upcoming album is not necessarily limited to, it’s inclusive of that idea, but it’s not limited to that. For me, it’s a bigger picture of what the trap actually is. So on a micro level, you have guys selling drugs in abandoned houses, but on a bigger level, you have what created the environment for a person to say, rather than go the route of safety, college and security, I’m gonna take a route of really living like a rebel or a cowboy. That’s kinda what drug dealers are today to me. They’re like the cowboys. When you look at cowboys, they were cool because they were bandits and they didn’t really care. It’s kinda like when you look at the trap, that rebelliousness is what that is when you think of that. So the question on the bigger level is what created the trap? What circumstances created an environment to create those types of individuals or create that type of world? Then on a bigger level of that, what created the system that created that? For me, that system is clear. We have so much evil and it’s the devil to blame for that. It’s our own brokenness and fallenness that’s to blame for that. So then, we zoom in to “It is What It Is.”


Karsten Winegeart

I was having a conversation with someone that’s close to me that sells drugs and we was just talking. And he was just like, “Man yeah, I went back to selling drugs. I know it’s wrong and I know that I could probably do something different, but this is all I have right now.” He didn’t graduate, so he’s just like, “The environment that I’m in, this is life. It is what it is.” So he had an awareness in his mind, that he was like, “Yo, I shouldn’t do this, like morally it’s wrong, but it’s also profitable and it helps put food on my table and this is just the environment that I live in.” It’s just when you live in a world that has literally constricted you to be like, “Yo this is the only thing that I think can feed my family at this moment, it’s the only skill I can acquire to feed my family.” His father sells drugs, now he sells drugs, and it’s like he’s come to the conclusion that this is life, it is what it is. So the song really kinda paints the picture of that environment that would make a person make a decision like that.


Let’s say that on paper, I have the option of being a millionaire. I have the option of winning the lottery. I could win it. But if we’re looking at right now, I can’t plan my life right now around the idea of me being a millionaire. I can’t plan my life around that idea because it’s not even realistic right now. So often times we look at these young men and women that are in these environments and we say, “Why don’t you just stop doing what you’re doing? And just go to school and after you finish high school and you finish college, then you could just live a normal life like everyone else. You have to choose this environment.” And that makes a lot of sense from someone that’s not in this environment. But what good is a college degree to a 14, 15-year-old kid that’s hungry right now? That has little validity to someone who’s 16, 17, 18. Or let’s say a high school graduate. What good is a four-year college degree to someone that’s hungry right now? It’s no good to them, they can’t do anything with it. So this environment, it’s not even conducive to options often times, unfortunately.


I bet you God hear the prayers of millions of mothers/And they all sound the same, even though their sons in different gangs


And they shooting at each other right now/You hear her cries now


Now he's a hashtag they debating 'bout it online now/that's what I call an Abortion


and since we talking about abortions/We ain't put them clinics in our own hood, somebody making a fortune

You Talking 'Bout These mothers like they out here killing for sport/Rather Kill They Baby in Her Belly Before he Get brought in this war

This part of the song, I go through the scheme that talks about mothers praying for their adult children that are in opposite gangs and it’s the same prayer. Both of them wind up dying and that’s what I call an abortion. Because to some people, the sanctity of life is only pre-delivery. But to that mother that lost a child in gang violence, that’s an abortion to her. That’s the death of a baby. That’s the hood killing her baby. Often times we hear people fight for the rights of the unborn, but they won’t fight for the rights of the born too. So if you look at it, it’s the word “pray/prey” in both ways because there’s these mothers that have these kids that are in this environment and these lifestyles have chosen these kids. Some of them have chosen, but most of them, the lifestyle just kinda it is what it is. You wind up just becoming what you’re around. They have no way to not be around it. So it winds up being so many mothers are losing their kids. Then there’s also so many mothers that are losing their kids in the womb. Much of that is a system rather than a choice. It’s a system that takes people’s options away as opposed to creating options for them.


Cold world most of my kin dead or the pen/that's why I'm an Eskimo, I bought an igloo and put on my wrist


I’m not talking about the situation from my perspective. I don’t even think it’s a particular perspective, but it’s just the perspective of the day. So it’s like, “Cold world, most of my kin dead or the pen” take it for what it is. “That’s why I’m an Eskimo I bought an igloo and put on my wrist.” Most people’s ideology is, “Ok, the hood is where the poor live and the broken live. So if I wanna get out of the hood, I just gotta get rich.” So when you listen to rap, everyone says, “Oh man, all these rappers, all they do is they’re superficial. All they talk about is money, money, money.” But when you think of a person that was born in a poor environment and they get some money, in their mind, it’s not just, “Oh let me talk about money just to keep some sort of ruse going.” Or “Let me talk about money so I can make more money.” It’s like, “No I literally came from the bottom, so I’m bragging about surviving. I’m bragging about coming from a place where we didn’t have food and now we have food.”



Ran out of option we gotta survive so we takin risk/Committing sin we gotta live

it is what it is

It’s that perspective of when you don’t have anything and the only options are the immoral options, you just usually come to a point where you’re just, “Man, forget it. It’s too hard to do the moral things. The moral things won’t even get me out of my situation.”


red dot on your white tee it look like Japan/The 40 is on me and if I get hot it blow like a fan/ they talk bout the hood like they know the answer but never been in/Committing sin we gotta live

it is what it is

​​It’s funny because most of the people that I hear talk to me per se about what Chicago or where I’m from, Detroit, or out in East Nashville, or where I live in Antioch, most people will tell me they have all the answers for how to fix Antioch. They have all the answers to how to fix Chicago. Usually, that starts with a rise in police, more aggressive police procedures and things like that. But it’s really easy, just like for me when I was watching the Super Bowl, it was really easy for me to tell Tom Brady what he should have done while he was in the game. But when you’re in the game, you see the field in a much different way. That line really is the linchpin of the song. It’s a perspective of a person in that environment to people that have never been in that environment saying, “Hey, it’s not as easy as you think it is for us to get out of this environment.”​

Karsten Winegeart

The reason I wanted to write a song like “It Is What It Is” is multi-layered. For me, that has always been a passion, because that’s where I came from. My dad was one of those guys that we grew up in the hood and he grew up in the hood and he did hood things. A lot of my family grew up in the hood and they do hood things. So it’s what I know. So it’s easy to talk about. Music has always been a place where people are able to tell their story. If you’re looking at the full picture of the projects that I’m writing, Your Soul Must Fly, High Above, The Trap, it would be hard for me to tell my story without this aspect of it. There wouldn’t be really much to talk about because I’m black. I was raised in Columbia, Tennessee. My family’s from Pontiac, Michigan. I was raised during the crack ‘90s. My stepdad was addicted to drugs. My dad was addicted to drugs. My grandmother was addicted to drugs. I have tons of family right now addicted to drugs. I have family that’s selling drugs. Then I have the media telling me who I am and what I should be growing up and it’s all these different things. Then today now, we’re in one of the most fragmented times that I can remember in a place where people have dug in and have chosen sides. Much of it is racism and sexism and all these different isms that have separated us. I think for me, this is a timely record because I think right now there are people that have this story that feel like they’re not being heard and no one’s speaking for them. It’s like God has blessed me to be able to have all of these accolades and if I can’t put my talent where my mouth is, if I’m going to just use my talent just to profit, then how can I even call myself real? How can I call myself honest if I’m not speaking for the people and speaking back to the environment that molded me and shaped me and made me to tell them, God hears you and I hear you and I’m gonna tell your story for you and we’re gonna figure this thing out. We’re gonna keep working. Even if we don’t figure it out, we’re gonna keep trying until we get there.


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