Sermons in stones

I’ve always drawn inspiration from hip hop.

“Looking from the surface it may seem like I’ve got reason to be nervous
Then observe my work to see that my adversity was worth it
Verses autobiographical. Absolutely classical [sic] [The] last thing I’m worried about is what another rapper do [sic]…”

—T.I,. Swagger Like Us

Still with me? 🙂

It’s true that a lot of modern music is recycled, unoriginal, and generally worthless.

But it’s equally true that there are exceptions to this rule, and nuggets of quality to be found if you’re paying attention. I read the passage above like this:

Despite how my circumstances may appear to the uninitiated, the record will show (in the end) that everything I’ve gone through was for a reason (and worth the temporary discomfort).

The authenticity of what I ship is self-evident, is an accurate depiction of my life and story, and represents my very best work (which will stand the test of time).

In light of my intense focus, the last thing with which I’d concern myself with is comparisons to the competition.

Viewing it through that lens, it’s not hard to see this message resonating with anyone who’s trying to create art.

It’s easy to miss a message when it’s not presented in a way that you’re familiar with, but developing a sensitivity to lessons in unfamiliar places is a skill worth developing.

“And this our life exempt from public haunt finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, sermons in stones and good in every thing. I would not change it.”

— William Shakespeare (As You Like It, Act II scene I)

Willie Jackson is a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Consultant & Facilitator with ReadySet, a boutique consulting firm based in the San Francisco Bay Area. He is a frequent writer and speaker on the topics of workplace equity, global diversity, and inclusive leadership. Connect on LinkedIn or get in touch.

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