I don't really discuss it much, but if it wasn't for Kanye West I probably wouldn't be making music.
I was always interested in rapping... I started around the time I was in sixth grade, and before that I was really into poetry. I never really had the confidence though to rap in front of anyone. I got picked on a lot as a kid and took many things personally. All the rappers I saw on television or that I saw in my older brother's magazines looked gangster or if nothing else, like 100% Black guys. I joke about it a lot, but at the time I don't really remember there being any popular Latino rappers outside of Big Pun, and he died shortly after my family moved back to the States in '99.
At any rate, by ninth grade I was a computer junkie. As someone always into technology, I would spend all of my free time after doing homework and chores on the computer. More than anything, I just wanted to find a way to get tracks to rap over... The funny thing was, I never thought about making them myself. I found about about an inexpensive music production program and began experimenting. My first attempts at trying to make a basic three minute track were very raw, and I wasn't really open to constructive criticism at the time. By the time I graduated high school though, I was starting to show potential, and at 23, I can say my production is far more polished.
Interestingly enough, rapping took a backseat as I developed a passion for production. Finally, I looked up this year and decided to get back behind the mic. My flow was rusty at first, but in time writing bars felt natural again. And like Kanye at his best, I'm finally saying what's on my mind, and perhaps more importantly, what's on my heart. I don't really like violence, so why rap about it? I want money as much as the next person, but it can't buy happiness. I'm finally secure in my manhood to know I don't have to put anyone else down to make myself sound or look better.
I think this really hit me in the last few weeks that I've been working more on writing verses and trying to pick out what tracks I wanted to use for my future project. I was listening to the song "See Me Now" off of Kanye's latest album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy and I actually started tearing up while walking home after dinner yesterday. There's a lyric where Beyonce goes "I know one thing, my mama would be proud / And you see me lookin’ up / ‘Cause I know she’s lookin’ down right now." My Mom is still here, but that lyric made me think about my Grandma Jean and my Abuela Ignacia, two women (my grandmothers) who went through a lot and were loving and caring people.
There was a time in my life when I wasn't doing what I should have been... And I'll be honest, before I started working to mentor kids last year, I felt like I let a lot of people down in my life. But as I think how much I've worked to turn my life around, I wish they could see me now.... How long I've stuck with this music thing, how much I've grown into a decent man, and how much I am finally working to tap into the potential that has laid dormant for the longest. More than anything, I'm finally happy about my life again. I'm smiling just like I did when they were still here. I can finally rest assured that they're happy to look down from heaven and see me now.