Growing up, my dad was a pastor and a bishop. I would just go to church ‘cause they were telling me to go to church to be honest with you. I wasn’t going to church because of my personal faith, ‘cause I feel like I really didn’t have that as a kid.
One day when I was at church, I remember at that time, I was just kinda running the streets, running around with my friends doing crazy stuff, not really caring what happens to me. I always wanted more and I knew that, but I was just so caught up into what the people around me were doing that I let that influence me. I remember one day when I went to church, it was a guest preacher there that my father had let speak. My father had never met him before, never knew him. He actually let him speak on behalf of another pastor that was supposed to be there that couldn’t make it. That pastor referenced this guy to speak. He was a prophet and came to my church.
So I’m in the back, I’m working the sound. ‘Cause when you’re a pastor’s kid, they kinda make you do something in the church. So I was young and I was the audio guy. I was back there, we were wrapping up the service. Mind you I never caught the Holy Ghost in my life. I used to see the people catching the Holy Ghost, I used to think it was either fake or something was wrong with me. But now, I remember, I’ll never forget, the pastor looked in the back and he pointed at me, he called me by my first name and I was like whoa, because that’s never happened to me. I’ve never met this guy, my mom, my dad never met this guy. So I just stop. I just freeze.
Then I walk up to the front, he calls me to the front and he like lets me know, “You’re existence on this earth still, the reason why you’re still here is through the prayers of Rebecca.” Rebecca’s my mom. At that point in time, I knew, ok, I have a bigger purpose. This is bigger than me. I didn’t know what I was going to do in life or what God had in store for me, but I knew that this life and everything, my whole purpose and existence on earth was bigger than me. I felt like ok, I’m here for a reason.
From there, I was able to break out of the life I was living. I started to pave my own path and stay out of trouble. Instead of running with the wrong crowd, I turned my energy and attention to music. Through that encounter with God, I was able to save myself.
That’s what brought me to come up with the title of my new project, “Save Yourself.”
Mac Miller was really a great influence behind this project as well. I was a huge Mac Miller fan and the day he died, it really hit me hard. It really sparked that title “Save Yourself” because I feel like unfortunately he wasn’t able to save himself with everything that he was going through, even as successful as he was. He wasn’t able to save himself from the dangers of the industry and how these substances can really take ahold of your life. It’s possible to get out because I know and I’ve seen people get lost in that and then escape it. So when he passed it was like a real reality shock not only to me but to the world.
At the time, I was looking for inspiration for my music and it’s unfortunate that it had to come in at the expense of someone else’s life. But it really spoke to me. When he passed away, I feel like it was put in my heart to speak on these things that people are going through on an everyday basis. People are going through it whether we know it or not. And the people around us that we know are going through it and we might not even know. A lot of times some people, they don’t wanna speak on what they’re going through. They don’t wanna be “preached to.” Or they don’t wanna feel like they’re exposed or feel like they’re weak, which they’re completely not. Because at the end of the day, we all have things that we go through. We all go through ups, we all go through downs. That’s really what drove and sparked me to wanna speak about that within this new body of work.
When you listen to “Save Yourself,” the first song is “Heaven and Hennessy” and then it’s kinda like you either choose heaven or hell type of thing. I’m speaking about my friend and how he doesn’t want to die young, but if he does, will he see them pearly gates? If he goes out young, he hasn’t gotten the chance to redeem himself. Will he get a chance to see those pearly gates? It’s kinda like you make a choice, what are you going to choose? At the end, which is the title track, “Save Yourself,” I chose heaven. That’s pretty much the journey from the beginning, how it kind of gives an overview of choice and what am I gonna choose? Going through the project, what am I gonna do in my life? At the end, where I describe the encounter with the prophet, I chose life. But I feel like I didn’t even really make the choice. I feel like a bigger being made the choice for me for my own good.
At the end of the day, I think that’s the most powerful thing that was given to us is the power of choice. You choose the life that you wanna live. You create your own reality through the power of choice. If you don’t go to work, you’re not gonna make no money and you end up on the street. You know that if you work hard and you set your mind to something, you can accomplish it. I’ve seen it happen over and over and over and over. That’s what life is, life is about choice. You choose how you wanna live. You choose the decisions you make. Nobody chooses that for you. You are the master of your own decisions and thoughts.
Growing up, I had to save myself from the dangers of the environment, drugs, gangs and just getting influence from those dangers that I grew up around. I had to do that, I had to find a way how to save myself. It was kind of each man on his own. So in that survival mode, you had to save yourself as well. At the end of the day, I was blessed to be able to find music as an outlet to save myself. Unfortunately, a lot of the people that I grew up around, that I seen grow up with me, they weren’t able to save themselves. So it’s important to tell not only my story, but their stories as well.
That’s what I did on my first EP with the song “No Way Out.” The first verse is influenced by my homegirl. Sometimes women feel like they need to stick around messed up situations because they feel indebted to whoever it is that they’re in a relationship with. That’s never the case. I feel like once things get bad, you should leave. Once things get bad as to domestic abuse or violence, definitely leave for sure. There’s no reason to stick around. Because it could be worse and it could turn worse and I’ve seen it turn worse. At the end of the day, it’s life or death and your life is at stake. And you have people that love you. And sometimes I feel like that person that’s being abused, I don’t know, I feel like they think that they love that person so much to where they feel like they’re deserving of whatever that person is doing to them, which is sometimes, not all the time, but sometimes. And that’s never the case.
Then the second verse is about my homie who I grew up doing music with and his mom passed away. He kinda felt like his life was over ‘cause he was kinda stuck working the 9-5 and he felt like he didn’t really have anything to really live for. He got so much caught up into work and his passion for music was always there, but it wasn’t as present as it was when we were younger or whatnot. But he would always see me and be like, “Aw man, I see you out here doing your thing, blah, blah, blah. I’m proud of you.” And I’m like man, if music is still your passion, you’re young, man. We still have time while we’re still young. We still have time. Your life isn’t over. I know that you’re kinda going through the motions of life and your mom just passed away. But never forget what it is. Because music is a gift. Not everybody is able to or has the gift of music that’s put into them. I feel like he had that gift and he kinda strayed away by I guess just life happening naturally, which is normal. But the song was a message for not only him, but people that were in a similar situation to him. Never forget, do what you love while you still can. We have to do what you know in your heart you’re put on this earth to do.
Honestly, I’ve kind of always just known, just felt that music was my purpose and gift to give to the world. It really hit me when I played “No Way Out” for one of my friends and they just broke down and cried. I was just like damn, just seeing how what it is that I say can affect and touch somebody and the way that it is that I put it together, how it can really touch somebody to that point. That’s what all the great speakers of this thing that we call music were able to do. From Tupac to Michael Jackson to Prince, they were able to strike you with emotion. Even like Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole, that’s very important.
So when I played that song and I seen how my friend reacted to what it is that I was saying, they related to that so much to where it struck a chord with them. I was like damn, this is deep. I feel like that’s one thing that people underestimate. Not only the power of words, but the power of influence. Which is why it can be great or it can be dangerous what you’re putting out into the world. That’s something that I feel like if you have any sort of care in your heart, you should take into account. Because what you say could really have an influence over somebody’s life, especially kids. That’s another topic, but in terms of me, myself, when I saw my friend react how they reacted, I was like wow, the power of words is extremely powerful and I don’t take that for granted. I don’t take that for granted at all. So at that moment, I kinda knew like wow, ok, I know for sure, not even I think, I know for sure that I’m put on this earth as a vessel to speak to people. And that’s what I’m going to do.
Stream "Save Yourself" below.