This is it folks – the last”Moonlighter Mondays” feature! Thanks for rocking with me.
I love albums that end on a high note; leaving the listener something to either ponder, reflect upon, or most importantly, feel something. It was especially important for me to do this with Moonlighter’s Mindstate, given the rollercoaster of emotions that I take the listener through from tracks 1 – 19. For the closer, I was able to to get a very gifted singer, my young homie/fake little brother CJ Little to kill the hook. Yeah…he put his foot in it…young brotha has a very bright future ahead of him. Just listen to the words in the chorus “Don’t ever let your future be decided by your past” – wise words from a 20 year-old! Just as the previous track provided a glimpse of hope, “Beautiful Life” emphasizes the importance of gratefulness to augment that longing for better days. Your life might not be perfect now, but like I always say: every day above ground is a good one. Every last one of them. I consider myself very fortunate to have the life I lead; if it weren’t for God allowing a few twists of fate to work in my favor, I shudder to think what position I’d be in right now (and that’s IF I’m alive). I’m sure you can recall instances where you could’ve or should’ve been dead, or locked up in prison, or bankrupt….but somehow you made it unscathed, through no measure of your own merits. Just be thankful…some people aren’t as lucky. Enjoy this one and spread the love and positivity.
Verse 1: Sketches of my existence, drawn among the trenches/I hope they make a masterpiece while life’s in my clenches/Relentless grind from, birth to hearse/At times I wonder if flowers are worth the dirt/To plant ’em, cuz they need light/But also need rain, you & me might as well figure the same/Thing, is necessary to grow/Forever carrying old experiences only weighs you down/It’s necessary to know, however heavy the load/It gets better once you stay around/I know it’s tough to understand sometimes because peace is something you ain’t had to a chance to find/I take a glance at my notebook/And I promise y’all I see how hope looks/That’s how it works, gotta find your oasis/It’s a beautiful life, don’t ever waste it
Hook (CJ Little): Life is full of beauty, so enjoy it will it lasts/Don’t ever let your future be decided by your past/Cuz life is way too short so take every second/And every moment, and live it up, just live your life
Verse 2: As the beat starts, and my mind goes/I’m steady searching for ways to redefine those/Words that they use to define the way my lines flow/Finding that I’m blinded, when inside the beat my eyes’ closed/And I suppose that, if I expose my soul on this music, the world would wanna hear it/But yet and still, on this road to make a mill/Between their eyes and my heartbeat there’s a huge interference/And I am fearing that my voice would be silenced/By loud gunshots, they fascinated with violence/It’s deafening/And if I’m severing the ties to this music before I bought that wedding ring/I forever sing this last tunes dear God I have to/And for your mercy in these raps dear God I ask you/Now I ain’t saying rapping is synonyms for singing hymns/But if my sentences sinnin’ then I’m finishin’ up these last words/Please forgive me for pennin’ them
- Only 4 of far too many.
If you don’t appreciate Donny Hathaway…I just don’t know what to tell you, honestly. “Someday” is based on hope for the future, similar to how Hathaway’s “Someday We’ll All Be Free” spoke of not letting the world “get you down”. So much is wrong with the world, but it’s important to maintain a sense of optimism to keep your sanity, if for nothing else. Someday, I hope that people of all races/ethnicities, genders, religions, sexual preferences,etc. will truly be treated as equals. I know, novel concept but get real, right? I hope my children will grow up without fear of police taking their life. Yeah, I wish for a world where the people hired to protect us will actually do that…instead of this. I hope for a day where Trayvon Martin, Rekia Boyd, Amadou Diallo, Sean Bell & others will in fact, not be followed by hordes of other similarly-complexioned people as victims of government-sanctioned execution. Someday. Until then, we keep fighting. Here’s some music to help you get by; shoutout to Midi Marc for allowing me to use this beat.
Verse 1: Donny said ‘we gon’ be free’ and I believe him/ But sometimes it seems to hard to reach, and that’s the reason/Why I write these songs, I might be gone tomorrow/So I promise I’mma make the most of time that I’ve borrowed/From the good Lord, I hope he hear me and keeps his angels near me/And if I’m lost, give me guiding light to see more clearly/Lost generation, tossed in the matrix/Plot to escape it, lots never make it/School of hard knocks done gave ’em scholarships/Learn it well or you fail, gettin’ grazed with hollowtips/Politics astonishing for brothers to fail/Then the story’s on the news for others to tell/Hear me well/That’s the way of the world as seen through my eyes/I say a little prayer in the morning whenever I rise/That’s how it’s gotta be, well at least for me/I can’t wait for the day that I can say we all are free someday…
Verse 2: They say that life’s the best teacher, with no makeup exam/So make the best of every lesson as you make up your plans/Easier said than done, I know, when living below the heavens/And things have gotten so bad that you can’t trust the Reverends/I guess I’m Long-winded, pardon my rambling/I hope you don’t mind, it’s my way of keeping sanity/I suppose it’ll come together, for real/When we gon’ stop tearing down, it’s better to build/My people’s pain runs deep, only Heaven can heal/But you’re numb to the struggle and never to feel/Someday, I got some questions to ask/If you just grant me a moment, I promise it won’t take long/Now if we saying that we tired of the hate, why do we say that it fuels us?/When really it’s just a tool that’s used to subdue us?/Why are we quick to make a life, but not as quick to make a wife?/I guess a family ain’t a family no mo’/A sad sight to behold, on your TV screen, repeats the theme/A young teen has his dreams extinguished on the scene/It’s a homicide, his momma cried and asked the Lord ‘why?”/Why he have to take her son? That was her life/Why they gotta take the good ones? My God/I know it’s all for a reason but still it’s hard/So hard/Someday, they say I’ll be a preacher/And I just laugh, but I can’t deny the stirring in my soul that I have/But I ain’t there yet, am I a sinner though?/I’m saying man, I try to give my tithes in them envelopes/Now I don’t have proof that what I’m saying is true/So really it’s just my truth that I’m displaying to you/Someday I’ll look back on the times I had to cry/And realize it’s all good/Then reminisce for a second on the time that passed me by/For real man…it’s all good/That’s how I know someday we just gotta be free…
Anger is quite the powerful emotion; dangerous if left unchecked. “Protect Me” is
probably definitely my “angriest” song to date. At the time when I wrote it, I was going through some tough times that really changed my outlook on some people…long-story short, I was learning the hard way that not everyone can be trusted. Novel concept, I know. Rather than react in a manner unbefitting a southern gentleman (ha!) I vented about it on a song instead. Of course, I still handled business and addressed the problem though. 2Deep produced the beat for this; he also did “Touch the Sky” on The Raptism. Check it out and enjoy.
Verse 1: Nightridin’ to clear my thoughts cuz I’m feeling lost and lonely/Like nobody understands what I’m going through, hold me/Pressure to be successful is lately gettin’ too stressful/Soon as you think you special, situations will test you/Seein’ demons in broad day, they smilin’ in hallways/Always disguised as angels to give you favors/Seems innocent now but I promise it shows up later/People claimin’ it’s love but they tear you down like they hate ya/Products of human nature, just part of my observation/While wandering in the wilderness, gotta watch for the snakes uhh/And this based on experience, survival/Meditatin’ on wisdom from scriptures within the Bible/Gotta stay focused, remain levelheaded/So much evil in this world that’s premeditated/Got me going crazy in my mind, these thoughts they just vex me/I’m asking God if you hear me, just protect me
Hook: I’m walking through the darkness or am I just blind/From these fears and these thoughts that’s running through my mind/The evils of this Earth at every turn, just to test me/Every night I’m praying dear Lord just protect me (Repeat)
Verse 2: In this darkest chapter of my life, I thank God for my wife/My insanity is managed cuz she comforts me at night/I’m feeling paranoia, who can I trust, who are my enemies?/So many are friendly, but is it cuz they envy me?/I’m movin’ up in the world, I guess so I’m a target/You fly high, some wanna shoot you down, such marksmen/Pardon the darkness inherent in my tone/But when my pen sparks, it has a mind of its own/Grown to become a man, only to understand/If your skintone is tanned, you prone to disadvantages/How can I bandage this? Cuz from my vantage/It’s trouble at my doorstep, I’m trying not to panic/Granted, I’m doing better than most, what I’m complaining for?/I’m trying to get better than close to what I’m aiming for/I’m nearer to my goals, yet so many foes oppose/I need protection, as I try to find these open doors
What do you dream of? You know, it’s like we all have dreams and aspirations in life that we wish to accomplish, but the incessant humdrum of everyday life and “the grind” beats our hopes down until you see those lofty goals through jaded glasses. To me, it’s as if I still have these dreams and I want to realize them someday, but they’ve been pushed to the back of my mind because of the current reality – which isn’t bad but yet so far away from where I wanna be. No matter how good you are at something, inevitably you’ll have times where you question your ability to excel, particularly when it seems that you have so much competition. King I Divine created a masterful beat here with a soulful looped sample and honestly I think it’s one of the tracks that I really just melted into lyrically because the chemistry felt perfect. Forget trying to impress folks – the words just spilled out of me! This song is considered a “remix” of sorts because it was originally on The Public Speaker; I decided to re-record it and throw a third verse on the end as an updated perspective as I’ve grown. So family, what do you do when your dreams are blue? Also….RIP GIL SCOTT-HERON.
Sometimes I struggle with my confidence/It’s not like I ain’t confident, I know I got talent/But will anyone else acknowledge it?/It do seem like everybody’s a rapper/And I’m choosing a route that’s doomed to fail, just like my hoop dreams/What makes me so special? Sometimes I don’t even know/But I’m better than most of those with a CD in the sto’/What I need just to blow? Just get my feet in the do’/I’ll do the rest myself, it’s nothin’ I ain’t seen befo’/But reality is, it’s fallacy kid – I’m saddened by this/Unhappiness at what my salary is/Because I can’t afford the money to support my dream/Of course this theme, begins to run the course of things/When that doubt creeps in it’s such a sordid scene/The more I dream, the more it seems to bore at me/But I just maintain, that’s all that I can do/And for that reason, it’s kinda like I’m dreamin’ in blue
What do you do when your dreams are blue?
When your options are few, do you have a clue? (What do you do?)
Verse 2: Time waits for no man, I keep watch on the tickin’/Wonderin’, when it’s my turn for folks to really wanna listen/To someone who’s really spittin’ what the good God has given/Prayin’, for the day I do my art for a livin’/Then I turn on the radio just for a change of pace/And it seems like some posers are winnin’ the same race that I’m runnin’/You mean to tell me that if I dance, sound as ignorant as possible, wear skinny little pants/Then I’ll maybe have a chance to see my fanbase advance?/You can miss me with that, that ain’t even in my plans homie/I’m in my stance lonely, never a man phony/Just understand that I will stand as a man only/But still I know it’s the road less traveled/That fact alone’s enough to make some people unravel/But I just maintain, that’s all that I can do/And for that reason, it’s kinda like I’m dreamin’ in blue, blue
It’s been two years, so I guess some perspective was needed/To figure out, just exactly where I’m headed/I still don’t know for sho’, where I’m bout to go/But lo, and behold I see the bigger picture/Guess I had to grow a little more to realize that I’m blessed to be/In a position where I’m able to shape my destiny/Let me be great – is what I asked God/Couldn’t define it though, is greatness just restricted to recordings on a microphone?/Nah…and so I dream bigger, and just refocus some/To bring clarification to my thoughts as I wrote this song/It’s no longer all or nothing, I got some people that love my music/So I do it for them and me, suspend these dreams of a bluish hue/As I pursue my truth, wherever I’m destined I know it will be beautiful/And so I maintain, that’s all that I can do/I found my reasons, for no longer dreaming in blue, blue
Little known fact: “Am I Crazy?” was the original title of this project. If any song is evidence of this, it’s “These Voices” (prod. by Ben Rosen). The beat itself is eerie, with random voices echoing throughout….and of course I fell in love with the weirdness of it and thought it’d be perfect to describe my thoughts. What thoughts, you ask? Confidence countered with insecurity, perception vs. reality…really, just the daily inner struggle that I suspect others have with themselves. And quick side note: I’m from the South (GA, to be exact)…casually, I say “folk” at the end of my sentences sometimes. So, what up folk? Listen & enjoy.
Hook: I got these voices in my head, folk/And it’s something that I never been prepared for/On one hand, I’m wondering why I’m even scared for/But on the other, I just wish I’d be more careful
Verse 1: If they spit venom, I guess I’m the antidote/Got many quotes beyond mere anecdotes for those with slanted hopes/But why should they listen when my jewels don’t glisten?/I ain’t rockin’ in no clubs, will they love my renditions?/No pass, for those who rhyme elementary/They ‘low-class’, I blow past ’em, like it was meant for me/Is it really though? Or are these really silly flows/With no real purpose behind ’em besides rhymin’ syllables/I’m like a judge, I put so much potential behind bars/I’m handing out these sentences for life, I’m a star/But stars burn out, I don’t know how this’ll turn out/You gotta grind for a while, I’m saying I wanna earn now/I got my pride, I ain’t ‘lion’ to ya, my ‘mane’ goal/Is to bring the sky to ya, till there’s clouds at your ankles/That’s mighty ambitious though, and I’m wonderin’ can I do it?/Just these voices in my head got me crazy, now I’m clueless
Verse 2: So now I gotta nice job huh? I’m moving up/More money, more problems, that’s what they say/Life is good and it’s every bit as rosy as I knew it was/Feeling stress from all the pressure and my hair’s getting gray/They say I’m like a role model and everybody’s praising me/If they only knew I’m insecure, that’s my mindstate/Last week I’m at a banquet and all the glasses raised to me/It’s funny…I’m only a wrong decision away from boosting the crime rate/I’m making moves, got 2 degrees & thinking ’bout a third/But why…degrees are paper, they don’t guarantee more paper/I’m not doing this for money, education is the word/That’s that bull…sounds great now, but I’ll regret it later/I’m seeing greatness in my future, and God is blessing left and right/But I’m in the Devil’s sights, a storm’s coming to make me lose it/I’m ready for the storms, any war I’m ready to fight/It’s just the voices in my head got me crazy, now I’m clueless
Verse 3: So what do I do when I don’t have a clue?/Especially when both of these voices are true/I’m feeling the blues, I’m getting confused/I’m needing a sign, just give me a cue/I’m losing my mind, running out of time/Got so many thoughts, lemme write ’em down/If that don’t work, lemme grab that mic/If I spit my pain, I’mma be aight/Some say it’s insane/I’m touched in the brain/But if you were me/You would feel the same/Too many voices/Too many choices/Sick, feeling so lost/This is not a game/But maybe it’s cool/Does this happen to you?/Do you hear these/Crazy voices too?/If so then rap the hook with me…I got these voices in my head/
Don’t act like you don’t remember that commercial. Youth is funny, man. You spend your entire childhood wanting to be an adult and you spend your adulthood longing to hold on to your childhood! At least I do, anyway
more often than I’d like to admit. Instead of whining about it as I look at the piles of bills, work schedule, and general list of grownup responsibilities…I decided to express it in song. Hence the title, “Peter Pan” explores the desire to revisit youth. Shoutout to Riggs Productions for the beat.
Verse 1: I wanna be a kid again mama, no stress or drama/No job no bills, no more checks to ponder/I been blessed & honored just to find myself/But it seems, I just wanna rewind myself/To my dreams, when they were simple as a child I felt/That deep inside myself, I could drive myself/On the road to success no need to cry for help/Or sit back & wait on the demise I’m dealt/But it’s funny how much things change at such a fast pace/When I’m in the rat race, it feels like a bad place/The cheese I aspire for still leaves a bad taste/The innocence is lost and I still keep the sad face/Gotta own up to being grown up, and all the while/I’m choosing to deny and abuse my inner child/And it’s killing me inside, and eating away at me/I’m just saying, is it too much to wanna be happy?
Hook: I wanna be a kid again mama, I just wanna be a kid again mama (repeat)
Verse 2: Somebody wonderin’ to themselves where it went wrong in a jail cell/Like how’d I end up here? An 8 X 12 hell/Did I fail? Well…it’s a tell-tale/When I’m behind bars and no chance for bail, bail/I didn’t ask for this, I never planned it but/I feel I was raised without certain advantages/And even as a young kid, all that I could manage was to struggle to survive/Whether or not I could handle it/I make no excuses, I did what I did/Just the problems that you find when forced to grow up as a kid/What was I to do when mama said we gettin’ evicted?/What was I to do, except to start pitchin’/To base-runners until my strikes up, yeah life sucks/At times, now I’m stuck using my life up, for crimes/I committed so long ago/All because I was too young, man I had to grow up
Yeah. I’m back after a 3+ month hiatus! What…you thought I was kidding when I said I only moonlight as a rapper? Bills to pay, son! Well…anyways, MM#12 is featuring the track “Mirror Mirror”, produced by Mykenificent. Bruh flipped a
nice classic Smokey Robinson sample and provided an enticing backdrop that I couldn’t resist making a song out of. This is easily the most laid-back, playful song on Moonlighter’s Mindstate; basically, it’s about being happy 100% with who you are as a person. To quote Jay-z, ” I could walk down the hall of mirrors in Versaille and be so satisfied when I look myself in the eye”! Had a lot of fun creating this song…hopefully you have just as much fun listening.
Mirror mirror on the wall, tell me somethin’/Is it wrong of me to think that these people can’t tell me nothin’?/Ain’t no frontin’ on my style it’s plain to see, plain to see/Ain’t no fakin’, I’m just sayin’ this is me, this is me”
Verse 1: Son of a preacher…/I guess that’s how I learned to be a public speaker/On the microphone, I might’ve known a time when I was lost/But now the light is on/So now I’m on this path, I’ll never swerve like my tire is blown/It’s I alone/And now my eye’s have grown/To see straight through the lies that’s on/Your TV plasma screens, so sad it seems none realize it’s wrong/To get the truth from Viacoms, they stay in the box like styrofoam/that’s why I opted to write this song/So you can catch contact from the high I’m on/On, another note, who’s real and who’s fake?/The “I” is the beholder in the mirror that you face/Can you relate to what I’m saying or has the verse become a waste/Of your time? If so, I’m certain/You need to check how your mind’s workin’/But back to myself, I got my health/I got my wealth/I got my checks, I got success/And no matter how it is I’m just sayin’ that I’ll never change/And if I do I’ll still be me, put that on everything
Verse 2: Mirror, mirror this is just my reality/magnanimous mentality regardless of my salary/I be on that Wiz tip, nah no Khalifa/The Rolling Papers I have are degrees not reefer/True I never been a chiefer but my fans be believers/So I still reach the most “High”, catch it like receivers- Fever/Yeah it sound sick/All because I’m grounded/Or maybe cuz I’m all alone, no clones all around me/Fresh, without no logo/Never needed no Polo/Like the rest of these bozos, showing off in they photos/No no that ain’t my mojo while living life in the slow-mo/Got ups and downs like yo-yos/I’m chillin’ sippin’ hot cocoa – mirror, mirror/Can you see me, and who I aim to be/I know you true and won’t just show me who I claim to be/Shamelessly and I know nobody can be in the same lane as me/It ain’t strange and naw it really ain’t lame it’s me