When I was 9 years old I got a shower radio for Christmas. I remember turning it on for the first time and hearing “Stan” by Eminem. I was hooked. My big sister (2 years older then me) bought the single on cassette, when my Mum heard the lyrics she told Hannah she had to take it back to HMV for a refund. The tape sat on the kitchen surface for a few days. I used the opportunity to take it to my room and play it over and over and over on my black, handheld Roland tape deck, under the covers of course.
I have written rhymes since I can I remember, even before I met Eminem, The Fugees and Skinnyman. When I stumbled across Hip Hop I simply found a collection of artists who just happened to be doing what I was also doing (with somewhat more skill, I might add).
I never questioned it, I just did it, I just listened, wrote, performed, threw myself into a world that had me at “Dear Slim, I wrote to you but you still ain’t calling”. It was as I grew up, during my teens that things began to get more complicated. It was at school that I soon found out it was apparently to my disadvantage that I was white, a Christian and had never been gang affiliated. It was in the Church I learnt of the “sacred” and the “secular”, Christian Rap and Holy Hip Hop. I suddenly felt an immense amount of pressure to represent something that, in all honestly seemed to be discouraging of the art form I loved. I have done a lot of unlearning since those days. I believe that the whole earth is filled with Glory of
God, that our bodies are a living, breathing holy sacrifice, that mediating on scripture is as sacred as sweating on stage, mic in hand.
When I create I engage with whoever it connects with. Whoever it speaks deeply with or whoever simply cares to tap their feet to it, who every the be; Theist, Deist, Atheist, Pantheist and any other “eist” there is out there. I’ve seen too many artists clip their own wings as they try to walk the tight rope between the two trees; Sacred & Secular.
I had the opportunity to compete at the National Poetry Slam last year and before performing was blessed with some incredible advice from judge and Performance Poetry legend, Martin Glyn:
“Authors, poets and songwriters try too hard to inspire people, to say something that will give the listener goosebumps, to an invisible, metaphorical bulls eye. Yet, what makes a good poem, song, story is simply the desire to connect with the listener, not to inspire them but simply meet them, where they are, where you are, and share a moment.”