I been into hip-hop since I was as kid. I grew up in Toronto, which isn’t exactly a hip-hop mecca, especially back in the early nineties when I was growing up. But it was the only music that I ever felt I really got. And it got me. I used to bump Wu-tang, Nas, Snoop, all the greats (whille they were still good!). Something about hip-hop spoke to the inner rebel in me. The anger and frustration I felt, the darkness in my soul somehow felt in tune with the music. Even though the songs I listened to were written by artists removed from me by race, economics, and geography, I felt a connection. Traditionally hip-hop is said to be composed of four “elements”: B-boying, Graffiti, MCing and DJing. Hip-hop culture is all encompassing and I was drawn in by every element. I became an MC but that didn’t stop me from dabbling in the other elements as well. Hip-hop became a way of life and I became a “hip-hop puritan,” but still there was something missing.
I grew up without a father. My mother had a mental illness so I was raised by my grandparents. They had a rough marriage and separated multiple times while I was growing up. I like to say I came from a house that was broken twice over. They did the best they could and gave me all the love in the world. But that wasn’t enough. I chased girls and tried to find love there. Still not enough. There was only one love that could ever satisfy me. Eventually in my late teens I found myself depressed having tried everything that a young person does in an attempt to fill that void we all seem to have in our hearts. My grandmother had been nagging me for years to go to church. She said that is what I needed in my life. I finally got to the point where it was the only thing I had left to try.
Turns out she was right. I went to church and I found something with God and Christ Jesus that I had never felt with anything else. It seemed to fill that void just right. And like the music and culture I loved so much I felt a connection. Now I’m not saying my life was made perfect instantly, but a change occurred when I accepted Christ into my heart and Lord and Savior. A change for the better. And it’s a change that’s still happening. Will be until the day I die. There was a movie that came out back in the day. It was called “The Fifth Element.” I don’t want to spoil the movie but at the end its revealed that the fifth element is Love. After all these years I’m still MCing. Still engrossed by everything hip-hop has to offer. But now I do it with a Fifth Element thrown in the mix. God’s unfathomable and unconditional love that He demonstrated to me by taking my place on the cross for my many, many (did I say many?), sins. God loves me. He loves you. And He’ll give you a new reason to sing, dance, paint and do all the things you were meant to. Blessings. – Shawn