You get in your car and turn on the radio. Tuning it to your favorite station, the beats begin to pound through your speakers. You turn the volume up as the bass reverberates through your bones. Your head nods along with the down beat and your brain recalls the lyrics as words flow out of your mouth.
However, the lyrics aren't just rhymes. Their words reflect a lifestyle: Drugs. Sex. Money. Fame.
"Oh well, I just like the beat" or "I don't even listen to the words," you say.
But the words that "we aren't listening to" are infecting the minds of thousands. While some just think the lyrics are clever, others hear these lyrics as a solution to their pain. They hear a lifestyle — a lifestyle that isn't just some distant beat on the radio, but something that's happening on the streets right outside their front door. It's accessible. It's real.
It's becoming all too familiar within rap and hip-hop lyrics.
"We have to bring awareness to the fact that music is not something that simply breaks the silence, " Grammy award-winning songwriter Crystal Nicole told I Am Second. "It's powerful enough to put people in chains to their insecurities, and powerful enough to break those chains, too."
Crystal Nicole is featured on the groundbreaking and culture-shifting soundtrack from the End of Malice: Movin' Weight.
No Malice bought into what the lyrics he was hearing were selling: A lifestyle of selling drugs or "movin' weight" when he was young. It brought him exactly what he wanted — fame, success, and money.
But as he and his brother, Pusha T, climbed the charts in the early 2000s as a part of the rap group The Clipse, he began to feel empty. After turning his life over to God, he realized what he had been listening to and rapping about all these years was a lie. He left the rap world. He was done.
No Malice has partnered with I Am Second to create a soundtrack to the film, "The End of Malice." This is more than a few hip-hop songs. It reverses the lie that No Malice and so many others have fallen to at such a young age.
“This album is an alarm clock. It’s a wake-up call. We have been sleeping on issues that are vitally important,” said Nicole. "My heart’s mission is for people to understand that when we are producing music, we are holding a weapon, and we have to be careful with what we do with it.”
Nicole has written songs for big name artists like Beyoncè and Rihanna, bringing home two Grammies and multiple Grammy nominations. When asked how her experience with Movin’ Weight differed from her past projects, she said she was focused on telling the truth.
“I wasn’t writing a song people were going to dance to in the club. I was trying to tell the truth in a way that actually resonated with people. I want them to see themselves in these songs."
"I love the song 'I'm Comin' Home,'" she added, "because I literally lived it in my own marriage. We were on the verge of divorce, and I had strayed from home. I strayed physically from my husband, spiritually from God, and personally from who I’m supposed to be. This album allowed me to turn my struggle, and the struggles of so many, into audio."
Using touches of jazz and R&B, each song tells part of a larger story — a story that begins with the idea of movin’ weight, but ends with deeper spiritual truths about the condition of the soul. It’s not just an album, it’s an experience.
Do you want to be apart of the wake-up call? You can pre-order the album now with a special price of $8.99 on iTunes.