This morning I clicked on the “trending” button on my iPhone to listen to some new music at the gym.
I had the choice of James Arther, Logic or Glenn Travis. I didn’t know any of these, so I picked Logic. It was a great choice.
Logic is a hip-hop rapper. Not the type of music I typically listen to. I’m a middle aged white guy that gets AARP offers in the mail. I write about the power of our thoughts, beliefs and feelings. I didn’t think I was part of his intended audience.
The name of the album in ‘Everybody’. It was originally going to be called ‘God’, but then again, aren’t they the same thing? In an interview, he’s called the album a sci-fi take on religion.
The first song ‘Hallelujah’ is laden with profanity — actually the whole album is pretty explicit. But I kept listening. I usually don’t listen to the words very closely and this time was no different. Some words come out more clearly, and they seemed to alternate between what felt like ranting and general angst.
Then I hear Neil deGrasse Tyson as the voice of God explaining why Atom, the character of the rapper, died and where he was. ‘What?’, I’m saying to myself, “is this hip-hop/rap or is this gospel or Christian?”
Then I started to listen a bit closer. It is a very enlightened piece of art. It brings a message of equality, openness, love and hope to hip-hop listeners.
The end of the 5th song “Take it Back” ends with this monolog:
Even though we’re all born and created equal
We are not treated equally
There’s extremists on every side
And you should just do your best to live life
And let other people believe whatever they wanna believe
As long as they’re not hurtin’ anybody
You can believe they’re going to hell
You can believe it’s not right
You can believe you’re superior, fine
Just stop killing each other
A very powerful message that is so relevant today. It also shares my feelings about separating beliefs from actions. Believe anything you want, just don’t force your beliefs on others.
The ninth song is entitled ‘Waiting Room’. It’s not as much a song as a conversation between Atom and God. It’s a continuation from the first song after Atom is killed. This is such a beautifully different way of introducing the concepts of multiple lives, simultaneous time, shared experiences and we are all-one to a new audience.
Atom: So, we waiting for what?
God: Excuse me?
Atom: So you sittin here telling me, this place is a waiting room, right? What are we waiting for?
Atom: Rebirth? Like reincarnation?
God: If that’s what you wanna call it
Atom: What the fuck you mean, “If that’s what I wanna call it?” Either this is what it is, or this is what it ain’t
Atom: Chu mean? Ugh, this mothafucka
Atom: A’ight, lemme get this straight: every time I die, I come here, we talk, and you send me back to earth to be reborn?
God: You know the last time we had this conversation it was in mandarin and you were 13
God: And a girl
Atom: What? Nah, bruh, you fuckin’ wit’ me. Like, Jesus Christ
God: He was here too
Atom: What? Wait, wait, so the Christians got it right?
God: Well I’m about to reincarnate you, Atom. I’d say everyone kinda got it right
Atom: This is a whole lot to take in
God: I know. Trust me, I’ve been there
Atom: So, how many times have I been reincarnated?
God: Many, many, many, many, many times
Atom: If it’s so many times, why don’t I remember?
God: If we stayed here long enough, the lives you have lived, and the knowledge from each of them would return
God: I’m actually about to send you back to 1736 as Bryan Fairfax, the 8th lord Fairfax of Cameron
Atom: Word, ayy, that sounds important
God: Oh, yes. You own 40,000 acres
Atom: Goddamn! Oh, I’m sorry
God: Ha, it’s quite alright
Atom: Well, at least I’m not poor no more
God: Well, sure. With all that land and the hundreds of slaves you’ll own
Atom: Slaves?! Aw, hell nah! No, no, no, no, look, look, look: how you gonna take a black man, send him back in time, and now I gotta own slaves?
God: Well, if it’s any consolation, your son Tom, the 9th Lord Fairfax of Cameron, sets them free
Atom: No! That does not make me feel better at all. Wait, hold up, I just realized you said you’re gonna send me back in time?
God: Well, I’m not really sending you back in time. That doesn’t exist where I come from, only in your universe
Atom: Well, where are you from?
God: Honestly, Atom, even if I explained where I came from, or told you about the others like me, you just wouldn’t understand
Atom: But if there’s others like you, how can you be god?
God: Atom, I said you wouldn’t understand
Atom: So what’s the point of doing all this?
God: A little cliche, don’t you think? Essentially asking me the meaning of life
Atom: Well, I figured I would ask before you send me back and I can’t remember none of this
God: Atom, come here. The meaning of life, the reason I created this place, is so that you can grow and mature
Atom: Like the human race? Like this is how the human race is supposed to grow and mature? Mature into what? We can’t even get along
God: No, Atom, you! It’s for you, you to mature
Atom: I don’t understand
God: I created this place for you, Atom. This entire place was made for you. Every time I send you back, every life you live, you grow and mature and understand the grand meaning behind all of this just a little more each time
Atom: Just me? Wait, what about everybody else?
God: Atom, there is no one else
Atom: I don’t understand
God: Atom, you are every human being who has ever existed since the dawn of your kind on earth
Atom: Wait, I’m everyone?!
God: Ah yes, now you are beginning to see it
Atom: So I’m like, everyone that ever existed on Earth, ever?
God: Earth? Ha, that’s cute. Earth was just your birthplace. Let us not forget all the stars humanity will colonize over the millennia
Atom: Wait, that is so much. Too much to take in. I’m every human being that ever lived?
God: Or ever will live, yes
Atom: I’m Jesus?
God: And all of his disciples
Atom: I’m Hitler?
God: And the millions he murdered
Atom: That’s deep
God: You see Atom, every act of hatred and violence you committed against another, you were committing against yourself and every act of love and hand of kindness, you also extended unto yourself
Atom: God, why do all this?
God: Someday, long from now, you will become like me. You will mature to become what I am
Atom: I’m a god?
God: No, not yet. You see, I was once where you stand right now. It is not until you have lived every human life inside of your universe that I may take you from this place. Once you have walked in the shoes of every race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, loving and hateful person, it is only then that you will understand how precious life truly is
Logic takes a very positive and hopeful approach to many of the challenges people face today. I am so excited to hear someone in popular culture sharing a message of love and inclusion. We can use much more of that.
Check it out