Even though I’ve been a rap and hip-hop artist since 2004, in recent years, I’ve taken a hiatus from music in order to work closely with the Global Sustainability Network (GSN), which focuses heavily on achieving Goal 8 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals: decent work and economic growth around the globe.
There are many aspects to this goal, many of which address economic development, increasing employment rates, and eradicating modern slavery.
GSN works as a platform for leaders in different industries to raise awareness and engage in action not only at the problems of modern slavery and human trafficking, labor, exploitation but also to tackle the overarching issues the contribute to these practices. Even outside of GSN, every single person can contribute to this cause by acting with respect to all human life.
I joined GSN after I released my single “Oficio” in 2015, which speaks about life being more than a job title, particularly to the unemployed, which was something I myself grappled with in the past. In fact, I work with GSN for the same reasons I wrote my songs and music: to create a better world with more love and understanding. Some may call that naïve, but it’s what motivates me every day.
For the COMPETE FOR PEACE – NOT WAR Awards initiative, I wrote my song “What it Takes.” In this music, I explore my thoughts and beliefs about humanity.
I believe in the idea of treating others how you want to be treated, particularly reaching out and sharing the love and compassion within you. I have come back to music recently because there is a sense of belonging in hip-hop for
me, a unity with other musicians and people who just want to improve the world. This artform gave me the tools to express myself while being myself. We are a group, yes, but we are individuals within the group.
“What it Takes” also speaks to those who may be in search of support, compassion, and love themselves. That’s a hard place to be. Some may wonder if they’ll ever get it. But if you yearn for it, if you need it, you acknowledge that that love exists. When you acknowledge that it exists, you begin to recognize love within yourself. Give that love to others, and it will come back to you. If you have anger, pain, please let it all go out however you can.
To me, music works in a divine way. It enters you and lets you dream and address what you’re feeling in your own reality and experiences. I see myself as a vehicle for something greater when I create music.
I believe love, in all its forms, is the foundation of peace. Ironically, throughout history, the world has witnessed the most horrendous crimes against humanity – many in the name of “love.” Supremacy, intolerance, racism – that is exactly why we need compassion for each other. We must remind others and ourselves that peace only exists with a healthy experience of love and compassion, through tolerance, and with a sense of belonging and acceptance.