Conversations with my Son: Rap, Rhyme and Reason

My son has always been a bit of a deep thinker when it comes to world affairs. As a matter of fact, we could talk for hours on end about pretty much anything…as long as it didn’t relate to him personally. There was always an understood wall guarding that part of him.

Yesterday, this conversation took place…

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Rap Communication

I had no idea that my son was “free-styling” every night before he slept and probably throughout the day. The other night, he decided to type his thoughts into his phone. He’s never done that. He said that as he was sitting there, the words kept coming and he had no choice but to write them down. He said that writing felt like the right thing to do. He could focus more as he typed words into his screen. (apparently paper and pencil is not a thing)

musicWhat my son did was bigger than what he even realized. Growing up, rap held such a negative connotation in our home. My brother wrote songs and rapped but his life was filled with so much negativity, that rap music often carried the blame. If we knew then what we know now, I imagine that our approach to my brother’s music would have been vastly different. The pain of our lives…his life…was deeply intertwined in his music and we didn’t listen. I regret that.

For my parents, it was easier to blame the music than to look at the truth of what was happening. I wouldn’t make that same mistake.

So when my son sent that text message announcing that he had written a verse, I felt nothing less than the need to hear what he had to say.

He wrote…

“I remember late nights talkin to granny about life. Bout how I was doin mama wrong when dad wasn’t treatin her right.

How I ain’t been to church in a while and I needa see tha light. Steady arguin wit dad bout it but it ain’t worth tha fight.

Seein momma struggle man that was the final strike. That sparked somthin in me man it made my heart tight.

They say the sky is the limit but I’m tryna reach new heights. Hopin that I make it, motivate me more when people say I might.

Nowadays you looked down on if you ain’t white.

But it’s been like that forever it’s been like that forever. Been feelin sick lately but I gotta get it together. So I can get my momma a new roof for that bad weather.”

In one verse, I understood my son more than I had in months. This wasn’t just about artistic expression. This was him channeling his emotions into rhymes and rhythms.

I wouldn’t make the mistakes that we did with my brother. As difficult as even the rest of his piece was to hear, I needed to know.

My son sent me the rest of his work…his heart in rap. In two verses, he was dealing with not only the pressures of growing up but also how the divorce and tumultuous life that we lived prior… bothered him.

I promised him that I wouldn’t share the rest of his words but I will say that somewhere in the craziness of adult actions was a teenage boy trying to figure out his place in life and how to handle the pressures of being him.

There is a rhyme and reason to this moment and it’s wrapped in a cloak of words with rhythm.

My son would go on to ask me what I thought about his work. My reply was that I was deeply touched and that I loved it. His reply, as simple as it sounded, also carried so much meaning…

“Thank you mom. That means so much hearing you say that”

He’s talking…I’m listening…

(On another note, I’m glad that my son has my brother to help him understand how to manipulate his words. This was the first real connection that they’ve had and they both needed that.)

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