So I have had this playlist going on my iTunes for some time now called "songs to use for something sometime." When a strong strikes my fancy for some reason I drop it in this playlist and there it sits. "Everybody's Something" by Chance the Rapper has been sitting in this folder since I first heard it.
If you aren't familial with Chance, he is a Chicago based rapper, who instead of signing with a major label keeps working on his own projects and releases them for free. The latest project he was a part of is called Surf which is by a group called Donnie Trumpet and the Social Experience. If you haven't heard this album yet you better stop reading and head over to iTunes, datpift or wherever and give it a listen. It has some fantastic stuff on which has already maybe it into my playlist.
Chance came onto the scene big time in 2013 with this mixtape called Acid Rap, it is still out there for free if you haven't heard it. It is a rather busy, hectic album that showcases his various styles, flows and his hometown. This track called "Everybody's Something" is off of that mixtape. As I posted in the title of this article, this track is NSFW and requires some parental discretion. The video below is the official video but does not have the last verse from BJ the Chicago Kid. The second video includes the whole track.
The hook on this track, as it is supposed to, gets right to the heart of the message Chance is looking to send. It doesn't mix any punches or beat around the bush, it just comes at you with this reminder that no matter who you are, where you are or where you are going, you mean something to someone.
"Everybody's somebody's everything. I know you right.
Nobody's nothing, that's right"
The hook might not take us into too much detail about reason or need for these words of reassurance but through the bridge and verses we get a better picture. On his two verses Chance, weaves lines about gun violence, drug use, his city of Chicago, racism and I am sure other references that I've missed, but these don't seem to be verses just about others experiences but his own. It is on the hook of the track that Chance lays out that he knows that he is loved because there have been people in his life that have helped him through the dark times, so in turn the connection that seems to be made is that if he can be loved then so can everyone. If he means something to someone else then we all must mean something to someone.
"I know somebody, somebody loves my ass
cause they help me beat my demons ass"
My mind has been a wash over the past few weeks, with news of riots in my hometown of Baltimore, shootings here in my current home of Portland, a death in my congregation this week, the jury decision in Dzhokhar Tsarnaev case, the earthquakes in Nepal, seeing the Avengers over the weekend and everything else that dominates our news media. Maybe in my mind I simplify things too much, or maybe I don't get the depth of the issues or maybe I am unwilling to vilify another, but I do not understand how life became so expendable, so unredeemable, or so quantifiable. It is not just that we have become numb to violence and death in our society, but that we can so distance ourself from that life that we can see it as nothing or unredeemable, or some sort of justice is being done by the way we are treating a fellow person.
My mind keeps coming back around to these words from Chance, and the retribution that is in them, reconciliation, the grace, redemption. When I see death on the news, I think of whose child died, or our next military campaign, whose husband won't be home or as a jury convicts whose mother is being torn away from her family. There is a great depth that can be found in this track that would take days to unpack.
However, for me, right at this moment, the message that I hear, that resounds in my ear is one that is a lot simpler than that. It is a message of the value of life, the importance of human relation, and the promise from God that we will never be alone, that there is nothing that can separate us from Christ love. For me, deep in this song, we hear the message that Christ calls us to love ourselves, love one another, to pray for those that persecute us and to remember that we are all God's children and have value in God's eyes. It causes me to slow down when I see someone on the street, causes me to reflect on who they are and who loves them, it causes me to think twice before I comment on Facebook or twitter, it makes me remember that the person I see on the news or being vilified is someones son, daughter, mother, father, sister, brother, but more importantly a child of God.
So before we cast the first stone, lash out in hate, or don't consider the life that is being taken we need to remember who we are and who cares about us and in turn who cares and loves the other. If you feel that you are alone, or that you aren't anything to anyone, I am here to remind you, that you are something to someone, that you do matter to someone, if you know it or not. If you don't know who that person is, it can be me, know that you matter to me, but more importantly know that you are God's.
If you do need someone to talk to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is always open 1-800-273-8255