I can’t live today off of yesterday’s truths. I can’t bank a success or a gain from the past and whip it out in the future and hope that it will be enough. I can’t live my life in what I’ve done and who I’ve been; sometimes I wish I could, but I can’t.
The world can judge me, respect me, hate me, rejoice with me – it’s all good, and it’s all fleeting. Nobody else has to look at me in the mirror or occupy my mind when I try to fall asleep at night. How I view and relate to myself is of ultimate importance to my own well-being, and most of the time I don’t think very highly of who I am.
I frequently occupy a space in my own psyche that I would compare to standing in the middle of an intersection with cars on all sides honking furiously. They all want me to move, they all want me to go somewhere, most of them issuing conflicting orders and differing directions. Sometimes I just sit there and listen to them honk and scream as if to say: “I’m in no hurry…honk all you want, assholes.”
But even that’s a lie. I know time’s limited for all of us and I could easily depart at any moment. So I have a sense of urgency, a sense of foreboding like I need to give all that I can now before I’m gone. Frankly, I don’t think most people walk around with that kind of burden on their shoulders. I do. Go figure.
So the times that I’m sitting on my ass, watching TV or indulging in some other relatively mindless activity, I feel like I’m letting the world down. I’m letting down kids dying in Ethiopia because the world is too greedy to feed them. I’m letting down addicts who just need someone to show them a way to recover and give them hope that a new life is possible. I’m letting down my hip hop community because they need artists like me to give it our all and raise the bar of what’s considered good music. Fuck it – I’m not that noble. I’m mostly just letting myself down because I know I can be better than who I’m usually being at any given moment.
The world isn’t honking its horns at me – parts of my brain are blasting their thoughts around at other parts; at one part in particular, which I identify as myself.
So I pray. I sit quietly and listen. I write. I rap. And I hope that what shows up is something that somebody in the world might look at and deem to be something they call, “art.”