I was born in the beautiful, extremely hot and tropical country of Honduras. Honduras is a small third world country in Central America, and apart from being an amazing country in many aspects, rich in natural resources, it unfortunately also suffers greatly from ongoing gang activity and violence, as well as shameless government corruption. For various reasons my parents emigrated to Vancouver, Canada in 2004, at the time when I was around ten years old. That changed my life in various ways, both good and bad (although I see now that nothing is really bad in the end), as I grew up getting myself into tons of trouble due to my rebellion and stupidity. Years and years seemingly were wasted on pointless pleasure and pain, pleasure and pain over and over again. However, what I’ve come to realize over the years is that eventually, all of life’s victories and failures, all the mistakes we make, everything realigns into perfect harmony, and everything balances out. We need to make mistakes in order to learn, and if we never acted stupidly, we could never analyze our past behavior with much depth, since there wouldn’t be much need, and we might never feel deeply motivated to change at all. I see this clearly in my own life. I still have a lot of changes to make, but I’ve changed a lot in the past few years. Most people who I meet nowadays would never guess that I used to live the way that I did before. This shows me that we all have the power to change, even in a small period of time, through small efforts, through daily goals which increase our willpower, and in turn our overall well-being. It’s an exciting idea to discover, and I thank God for being blessed with the power to make it real in my life. The supposed ‘misfortunes’ that life has presented me with have actually provided me with an insane number of examples of my own previous stupidity. I keep these safely stored in my memory, as it is clear to me that if I never lived through some of the things I have, I probably would have never felt the need to change my self-destructive behavior. Many people who have never lived through such negative experiences, or who have but haven’t applied the necessary importance and significance to them, still continue pursuing nothing but pleasure, awaiting the day when they will have to pay for all that pleasure with much pain. Others who were close to me have let their life of pleasure take them out of this world much too soon, whereas I have at least begun to try to change. I am far from perfect, but now at least I have a goal to achieve in life, which is constant self-improvement, and improvement of the world around me. Changing the world is something we all do at every second, at every single moment and with every interaction. If you or I had not been born on this planet during this exact lifetime and period in history, billions of lives would be completely different right now and forever. Just contemplate the depth of that truth for a moment. The only way we can change the world day by day, action by action, is to work on ourselves on a moment-to-moment basis, on letting our inner light shine. This light is something spiritual, the very essence of being, and the inspiration for what I do. But I’ll stop getting ahead of myself now and get back to my story, to a time when I had no concept of these ideas. Growing up in Vancouver I became fascinated with hip hop from a young age. I just remember becoming obsessed with music in general, ever since the good old days when getting stoned was a novelty which felt almost like tripping, and music sounded so mind-blowingly great that I could pick up every note as I listened for hours in utter amazement. To this day, my love for all genres of music has grown and continues growing daily, but I mostly dig decades into the past as opposed to following the new music trends that come out nowadays. It seems we are slowly transitioning into an age in which music is not so much a tool for expression as much as a tool for financial gain and propaganda, but we’ll get to that sad subject again at another time. Although no music is as relaxed and uplifting as Bob Marley’s, or as psychedelic and epic as Pink Floyd’s music, there is nothing that can compare with hip-hip in a few specific ways, in certain aspects. Hip-hop has always blown me away since it makes you just get up and move, voluntarily or involuntarily, you begin to move. Your head, your feet, whatever it is. The rhythm of hip-hop has the power to move one’s soul. Rhythm is so important to rap, that the word “rap” in itself is actually an acronym for “rhythm and poetry”, or at least it is to me, and that’s what I titled the first mixtape I ever released. The other amazing thing about hip-hop is how much content can fit into a verse, more than double the content of what could be sung by an R&B singer on the same track. There are many examples of this in collaborations between rappers and singers. A forty-second verse of a track can be used to make a bold statement, if every syllable is packed in with a meaningful word, instead of resorting to blurting out curse words every five seconds in order to complete a rhyme. I often feel sorry for listeners of modern day rap, who have to bear the dumbed down raps of the so-called “entertainers” that are praised today and promoted by mainstream hip-hop culture. I try not to judge, as it’s part of my self rehabilitation and spiritual work, but the truth can’t be denied, and it must be expressed. It’s sad to see that music has been reduced to meaningless noise, to another petty product, packaged and promoted for maximum profit. I’m not saying that hip hop was all good in its ‘golden days’ either. It seems amazing to me now how I grew up on hip hop and knew all there was to know about it; rapping became my life, and ‘rapper’ became my early identity, something I identified as, but I couldn’t see the problem that was slowly building up within me. It turned out that along with my love for rapping as a form of expressing ideas and thoughts, feelings and concepts, I grew accustomed to a lot of negative aspects of hip hop culture, a truth which I finally came to accept after a great deal of introspection, much, much later in life.
To be continued tomorrow, on Day 18.
~ Rebel Spirit