But The Flesh Is Weak
When I went to the drawing board with this album, it was funny because I got the word “flesh” at first. I was like, okay this is like a scriptural thing, a Biblical thing. And for the longest it was just called “Flesh,” but I actually wrote on the whiteboard, 1 through 12 or something like that, thinking, “This project is probably going to be like this many songs, let me think about it. I would like to first examine myself and then see how I got here.”
As that process unfolded, I ended up with “But the Flesh is Weak.” It comes from the verse Matthew 26:41, “Watch and pray lest you enter into temptation because the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.” And it was just me realizing certain things in my personal life, that I was going through looking in the mirror and putting that into art form. What do these emotions, what do these feelings, what do they look like? What do they sound like? What's going on?
The inspiration was really just me looking at my life as a former youth leader, a guy who, I've had premarital sex, but I also preached, “Don't have it.” I have these desires and these urges and trying to figure out, what's the best way to communicate not only for myself, but for others, how do we deal with this real thing that's impacting so many of us?
I remember seeing statistics that 50% of the men that were in churches were struggling with pornography, but it would never get brought up in church. It would never get discussed and if it did, it's like a hard, “Don't do this, that's bad.” Or, “I used to do this, I’m so glad I don’t do that no more.” But it's also like, how do we get from this point to where that place is that you speak of? When I talk to people around me, not too many people seem like they really reconcile that lust, those desires and never had an honest conversation about it.
So I started to have that conversation with God, where did these feelings come from? Where did these desires come from? What is it about me? Thinking back to the first time I accidentally stumbled upon porn as a kid on a down low computer and then that world got opened up to me. It was kind of like eating the fruit so to speak, realizing my spiritual nakedness. I had to realize how I was stuck in this world and it’s still impacting me to this day.
Besides being introduced to pornography at a young age, I was passed down this view of manhood from OGs who told me that being successful meant having as many women as I could. That’s something that’s addressed clearly in the “But the Flesh is Weak” film. It was so great to have Miss Ava Mone’t write it, just to have the feminine pen behind that aspect of the project. That was something that we wanted to be real about, her being able to draw from having a big brother and having relationships with men and being able to see certain dynamics and when you do get a little bit of honesty, what we talk about.
I definitely wanted to make sure that we talk about the upbringing, about how it's been like that since the playground. Boys and even older men, OGs in the community, saying that we should treat women like Baskin Robbins, try all the flavors. It’s like bro, I'm eight. Like I'm eight, nine years old having some older dude tell me this.
In our generation, we're able to put a label on that: toxic masculinity. But for the average man, I just hope that watching the film he can see himself, not necessarily a bunch of clinical terms or Twitter hot takes, but just, “My pops told me that too, my cousins were talking to me about that too.” And then be able to self-diagnose that yeah, there’s a term for that: toxic masculinity and it needs to be addressed.
It's been a years-long process for me to figure all of this out and it's honestly something I think it's going to be a continual thing for me, just to make sure that I'm constantly, as the Apostle Paul said, beating my flesh into submission. Realizing that I've got these carnal desires, and when I do things to feed them, it increases it. Sometimes the world does enough of it, but other times, we choose these things: the images that I look at, the videos I watch, what I do on the internet late at night, what I do in my relationships with women. So just realizing that I have these weaknesses and being able to coach against that, and just try to date in a more holistic way, try to make sure that I'm good.
When crafting “But the Flesh is Weak,” I was always looking for songs and music that when I was creating with JustBeatz my producer, we could create this experience. I needed something that sounded like this depravity, so that’s how we came up with “Centipede.” What does that lust sound like? What does it feel like? To me, that’s a sad song. The guitars, the sound effects and the layers of the different voices, it all has symbolism and meaning behind it.
Once I started to get through it, I was like, yo, a lot of this album sounds still in the thick of it, like I'm still dealing with this. There was a time where I thought maybe I can make the album one half this, one half that. But a lot of it is expressing how after a long time, you get that revelation. Or there's years of these habits and these ways of being. So that's why it sounds like that.
It was definitely intentional that I wanted to mention that wrestle, that struggle, and why that struggle is so hard. I don't think I could just skip over it so quickly with just like one or two songs to explain how you get to like a track seven, “Undercover,” where it builds up to this moment, even halfway through that song, finally starting to realize the consequences of this lifestyle. It is starting to click a little bit. And then you get to track eight, “Better” where even the first line is like okay, this is where this stuff can lead you and take you. Even though you’re getting the revelation over time, there’s effects to this. You’re going to really hurt yourself out here.
“Better” describes a time that really was a turning point for me. It was crazy for me to be like a former youth pastor now sitting in a Planned Parenthood needing to get resources from them. For some churches, that's like a Crip being at a Blood meeting or something like that. I was sitting there like, “How am I here right now?” If you're staying outside of this realm of things, you usually shouldn’t have to end up here. People on the straight and narrow usually don’t find themselves in these parts. At least that’s what I thought.
I literally found out that I got burned. It was a consequence of straight up a decision that I made from me just being promiscuous, me just trying to fulfill my own desires. On the record, I say, “As I sit in this clinic, I’m thinking ‘bout my life/I know it’s hard to admit it, but I’ve been living trite/Just got burned by this chick that I had to get a pipe/Ironically, it hurts when I piss, plumbing isn’t right.”
That turning point for me was really when I was sitting in there, it was like this feeling of shame, guilt, which was me putting it on myself, but thinking like yo, I gotta do better. I could do better. I know better. So I should do better.
Even though “But the Flesh is Weak” has that doozy feel through most of it and expresses that shame and guilt, I did want to also show how God takes away that shame. How God is also that voice that comes to you and says, “Your struggles don’t define your worth. You can get up and try again. It’s another fresh start today.” His mercies are new every morning.
Luckily, with one pill, my situation cleared up. Didn’t get anything that stuck with me to this day except for the lesson that you could really get hurt out here, you could really hurt others out here. This is not a game, even down on the physical level.
This is something that I used to keep in the darkness, even when I was like a youth pastor, I was dealing with these things and having these things in secret. Not being able to bring these things to the light makes the shame so much worse. But the best thing I can say about the process is that healing does come from confession. Confessing and saying, yeah, I'd be on the little nasty websites. Yeah, I am a reformed porn addict. I can say that I'm struggling with these things, I'm working through these things and God is working on them in me. I'm not ashamed of it. I’m not going let the enemy or this perception of society tell me I’m this horrible person when we know that everybody's dealing with it anyway. But if I have to be the only one or just the first one to get out there and say it and plaster it on a shirt, I’ll do it, I’m cool with it, being that guy that can admit where this stuff led him.
It's intimidating taking this leadership role because I didn’t I do this to become like “the sex guy.” But I do want to be that bridge. If I can use my testimony, my story to help get people to God and help connect people with the resources, the therapists, the pastors, the mentors, the men that have been healed from lives of porn addiction and promiscuity and are now living happy single lives or married lives. I'm the guy with the spinning sign pointing in the direction to go. I'm on the corner, I'm out in the streets, I'm still working on my own process, but I'm still out here. I just want to direct as many people as possible to get to where we can all get the help that we need. So that I’m signing up for and I’m totally fine with.
Listen to "But The Flesh is Weak" above
and watch Hundo's full interview with Kick The Concrete below.