positive hip hop

How To Find True Love In Life

How To Find True Love In Life

When I was little I used to think that love would come easy.  I would grow up, find the girl of my dreams, get married, have kids, blah blah blah.

You know how the rest of that goes.

I Want True Love In My Life

I dated a few girls growing up, but none of them seemed to stick around for long.  Sometimes I would end it, sometimes they would. But I always knew it would end eventually.

I even had a couple of serious relationships over the years. But they ended too and when they did, I was destroyed.

I do not handle breakups very well.  It feels like the end of the world and I have nothing to live for.  All I can think about is them. Every song reminds me of them. Every friend I have gets to keep telling me how great the other person is doing now.  Every place I go to reminds me of the places we used to go together.

What it really feels like is that the other person won and I lost.  

They get to move on, find someone else and live happily ever after while I’m left in the dust.  Crying alone. Spending every day missing that person until I die.

That’s how it always felt.

After you feel like that a few times, who would want to try again?  It’s too hard. It messes up my life too much. I have things to do.  Goals to accomplish. I can’t let some girl derail me like that every few months.

So then I started getting very cautious about who I paid attention too.  The next thing you know, I was alone. Month after month. Year after year.  

I would go five to six years without even going on a date.  Then I would decide to let someone in. Give it a shot. Meet someone really great, but find a million reasons to break up with them. 

Break up.  Feel lonely.  Wait another five or six years.

This has been my entire love life in a nutshell.  And now I’m 42 and still on my own.  

For the most part, it’s ok.  I like being alone. I am a very driven person.  I have some big goals. So I like that I have time and energy to focus on my career and life goals.

But I’m still a human being and I get lonely sometimes.

It’s hard seeing everyone around me paired up.  They’ve got what looks like “the perfect life” while I’m out here still trying to figure it all out.

I think humans are designed to nest.  We are supposed to find a mate, have some kids, buy a house.  That’s what we do. And we get a lot of joy and security from it.  

Nesting brings a lot of peace into our lives.  The question I have been asking lately is this…

Can You Nest Alone?

I’m not sure, of the answer.  But I feel like you can.  

I have an awesome house in an awesome neighborhood in an awesome city.

It’s pretty awesome. ;)

I love my home.  It’s comfortable.  It has all my favorite things.  It’s clean and functional. There is room for having friends over.  Family can stay with me when they are in town. I’ve built a really nice nest and it brings me a lot of joy.

But it always feels like a big part is missing.  

I don’t know if that’s because there really is something missing or if I’ve just been told so many times that there is something missing that now I think there is something missing.

You know what I mean?

In other words, am I really lonely or do I just think I am SUPPOSED to be lonely because I’m single?

The Secret To Finding Love

I think the answer is found in the core principles I’ve been writing songs about all year.  If I can practice GRATITUDE and ACCEPTANCE every day, then I don’t focus on what I don’t have.  I focus on what I do have.

And I have a lot.

If I can SERVE and participate in my COMMUNITY, then I am surrounded by love.  I live in ABUNDANCE of love. There is no shortage around here.  

If I choose to BELIEVE and practice PERSEVERANCE, then I can trust that God has a plan.  I just need to keep living the life He wants me to live. If that includes another person, then He will bring that person into my life when the time is right.

And if I am meant to live a single life, that is ok too.  God has blessed me with a higher purpose. He has given that to all of us and we don’t need another person to complete us.  We are whole as we are because God makes us complete.  

My life is bigger than just trying to pair up and have babies.  As long as I am following my true purpose in life, then I get to live a super fulfilled, rich life.

I am already NESTING.  And no matter what I do or where I go, I will have a home.  I will never be alone. And I think that’s the whole point anyway.

Nesting
The new single from Chris Swan and Soul Motivation Records
Coming 8.1.19!

Rap Songs About Recovery

Rap Songs About Recovery

I used to drink every single day at WORK!

10 Long Island Teas. 10 double shots of Grand Marnier.

That is how I would start every day at the office. First thing. Before I could get any work done, I had to down at least a couple of each.

Now, full disclosure, I am a full-time musician. I make money from playing music in bars and restaurants i.e. “The Office.” It may be one of the very few jobs where drinking is actually ENCOURAGED on the job.

Sounds awesome, right?

Not at all. I guess it is at first, but it gets old really fast. Because the more your drink, the more you NEED to drink to have a good time. It got to the point where I was living out one of the famous scenes from The Blues Brother’s movie. I would have to pay more for my bar tab than I was getting paid for my services.

And then afterward, I would spend the rest of my money at Taco Bell.

That is what we call an unsustainable business model. And it was. Both for my pocketbook and my body.

It got to the point where I was drinking at least 20 drinks a night and still not feeling a thing. I would throw up from all the shear intake of liquid, then turn around and keep drinking hoping that eventually I would get a little buzz.

Dude. What a miserable existence.

I knew I had to quit when I ended up the E.R. with severe heart palpitations. That was my rock bottom. And I walked out of that hospital and began my sobriety journey.

The hardest part for me was still playing in bars every night. Just because I wasn’t drinking, that didn’t mean i didn’t have to go to work. I had to sit there and watch everyone party around me.

It really sucked.

I was jealous and pissed a lot. I was probably not a lot of fun to be around either.

But it did get better with time.

Anyhoo, the whole reason I am telling you all of this is because one of the biggest saviors in my recovery has been music. I have been able to put all my struggles into rap songs about recovery. It has given me an outlet to pour all my emotion into. I don’t know what I would do without it. I mean, I would still recover one day at a time, but having music to turn to has been a game changer for me.

One of the first songs I wrote about my recovery was a song called “Pain.” As you might guess, it was a song about just how bad my life had gotten. I was in a lot of physical pain and even more emotional pain. I was struggling to see any hope or any way out. So I sat down and wrote a super honest song about it.

“Pain” was really hard to write. I knew if I was going to do this song, I had to be brutally honest. There are a few lines in that song that I still cringe when I hear because it takes me back to that awful place.

Here is one particularly rough part of the song for me to listen to:

“Every day is a battle of wills,
My body versus me and who's got the skills?
Will I get out of bed, able to walk with a high head,
Or will I need a wheelchair instead?
I have to choose if the joy of sitting down is worth the pain of getting up,
Man, writing that down and saying it out loud feels really messed up.”

It was true. I could barely walk and I was headed for a wheelchair for sure. At the age of 40 I was about to need a wheelchair. Not because of any injury or life-threatening disease, but because I couldn’t stop drinking and eating and I had gained so much weight that my body was crumbling beneath me.

One of the first songs I wrote after going to a food recovery retreat and starting to work the 12 steps of Overeaters Anonymous (same as Alcoholics Anonymous), was a song called “The Mess Around.” I wrote this song with my good friend Chela Mancuso.

This was one of the first songs I wrote when I started to see hope again. This was a fun one to write and record. I still enjoy listening to this one because it reminds me of the hope I have found in recovery!

The Mess Around is all about telling my former drinking buddies why I don’t drink anymore. Basically , get off my case, stop asking me to “just have one dude!” because I don’t mess around anymore.

The lyrics in the third verse really sum it all up:

“ I don't mess around anymore 'cuz I am finally free,
I don't need to impress you people, I can let it be,
And I don't need to escape and numb my feelings out,
I'm not afraid anymore, yo, you should check this out,
See there's a reason that you're here, just have to take the time,
Be willing, honest and sure to open up your mind,
And when you do, I think it's safe to say you're gonna find,
It's time to leave that mess behind, and time to shine.”

I am so thankful for all the songs on my Welcome To The Fellowship album. Each song chronicles a different aspect of my recovery. These songs were a way to get the pain out but they were also a way to express my hope and joy that was starting to come back into my life.

I still go back and listen to these songs quite often. They inspire me and remind me that I’m not alone on this journey. I am part of a “distinct entity” of folks in recovery and I couldn’t be prouder to be a part of this family.

I hope you know that you are never alone. You are surrounded by people who want to love you. Don’t be afraid to reach out.

And when you just don’t know what else to do, please don’t forget that music has the power to change your life. Find the music that speaks to you, turn it on and let it wash over you. Music has always shouted truth to me over all the lies rambling around in my brain.

It’s ready and waiting to do the same for you.

Inspirational Rap Lyrics

Hip hop has saved my life more times than I can count. When I felt lonely as a child, hip hop was there for me.

I would sit in my room and listen to all my favorite rappers like Dr. Dre, Coolio, Cypress Hill to name a few. It was the 90’s, ya know. These rappers were my friends. They were there to encourage me. Hang out with me. And they inspired me to go into my own studio and create my own songs.

When I quit drinking, hip hop was my outlet to voice my frustrations. I could use this music to talk about how hard it was. I could also use this music to show others that it was possible for them too.

To this day, when I struggle with resentment, fear or shame, hip hop is a big part of the healing for me. There are so many songs that have inspired me over the years. I wanted to put some of my favorite inspirational rap lyrics together in a blog post and share them with you.

I hope you find as much encouragement in these lyrics as I have.

If I ever took a loss, I learned a lesson
I won’t ever think I’m better than the next man
I’ve been down before the come up, I ain’t stressin’
Baby I’m too busy countin’ all these blessings, blessings
— Lecrae (Blessings)
They try to shut us down, and it ain’t gon’ slide
Only thing I fear is God and He on my side
That’s the confidence of God, ‘cause He got me
That’s why I really feel like
You can’t stop me!
— Andy Mineo (You Can't Stop Me)
You only get one life
And every time you lookin’ at yours
You feel like everything you have is a waste!
And the problem and the reason you could never fill a hole in your life
Is because you were never awake
— NF (Wake Up)
But I can’t forget the motto, motto
No more mediocre, just getting by though
I’m in His image, I been down for a minute
But I’m getting up today, and I’ma fight till I’m finished
— Trip Lee (Clouds)
I got my full armor on, my head to the sky
I’m going into battle with my horns up high
And I’m through playing games; you can see it in my eyes
And you can go and ask anybody I’m a ride and I ain’t turning back
— Thi'sl (I Ain't Turning Back)
Take a hit and never quit
Might be down but never out
There are days that I fail
And the trains off the rail
Through the pain we prevail
Tell ‘em you just gotta live
— Tedashii (Gotta Live)
I’m a dreamer but I ain’t the only one got problems
But we love to have fun
This is our world, from here to your hood
We alive man, it’s okay to feel good
— K'Naan (Dreamer)

People Need People: The Role Of Community

I had a friend in college who always used to say “No man is an island.” I mean, he said it all the time. We used to make fun of him because he said it so much.

But even back then, we knew he was right. We knew that if we had to go through our college years alone, we would be miserable. We would probably drop out of college and move in to our favorite cardboard box.

There was no way we could do life without each other.

And then we grew up. My friends moved away. I started to believe that I didn’t need people. And the next thing you know, I am a 500-pound alcoholic living a miserable, lonely life.

What happened?

What happened is I moved to that island. Maybe not physically, but I moved there in my mind. After getting hurt once or twice, I decided I didn’t like that too much. I decided I was going to live with as little human interaction as possible. I mean, people were the problem, right?

If I just keep people away, I can focus on me. I can do whatever I need to do to be happy. I won’t get distracted by other people’s agendas. I can just focus on myself. That is what I thought my solution was. But I was wrong.

It turns out people weren’t the problem. They were actually the solution.

All this life of isolation brought me was extreme misery, depression and loneliness. It seems so obvious now, but I really couldn’t understand why I was so sad. I did everything I thought I was supposed to do to be happy.

I needed people. I needed people bad. And once I realized this, I started taking drastic actions. The first thing I did, and probably one of the best things I have ever done for myself, was I got a job at Applebee’s.

Now, this may not seem like the dream job, and for sure, it wasn’t, but what it was was a chance for me to meet people. Not only meet people, but bond with them.

If you have every worked in the service industry, you know it is hard work. And you are in the trenches with your fellow “Applebuddy’s” every day. There is a strong bond that is created with that.

And even though I quit that job years ago, I am still friends with a lot of those people to this day. That says a lot to me.

It says that I needed these people. And maybe they needed me too. We were all so hungry for connection and we found it at America’s favorite grill and bar.

If you are feeling isolated or depressed, I would challenge you to look at your community. Are you involved with others? Are you calling friends regularly? Are you going to neighborhood events? Are you talking to people at church after the service?

There are so many things we can do to bring people into our lives. I promise, your new friends are out there just waiting for you to say “hi.” That one simple word can change your life. It for sure changed mine.

And if all else fails, I know Applebee’s is always hiring.

Community
The new single from Chris Swan and Soul Motivation Records
Coming 7.1.19!

Serve: Official Lyrics Video

This year I am releasing a new song every month. Each song represents one of 12 core principles I have found to be the key to a happy and fulfilling life. Abundance was the first, Gratitude the second, Acceptance the third and now comes the fourth principle - Serve.

A life dedicated to serving others does so much for us. It makes us feel helpful, it brings us joy and it makes the world a better place. I'm excited to share this fourth principle with a pop-influenced hip-hop song that is beat heavy, catchy and sure to bring some joy into the listener's life! #serve

Serve: The Story Behind The Song

Click play below to hear more about my song Serve and the story behind the song!

Serving Others

“All of me should be serving you”

This year I am putting out a new single every month. Each single represents one of the 12 core principles I believe are the key to a happy and fulfilled life. The first principle was Abundance, the second was Gratitude, third Acceptance and now comes the fourth - Serve.

I have spent a lot of years of my life being extremely selfish. I would spend my days just trying to make myself happy. I was all in my head, making every little thing all about me. I couldn’t figure out why it wasn’t working.

If I was spending so much time trying to figure how to be happy, why was I still so miserable?

That is where the fourth principle comes in. A life lived only serving ourselves is always going to come up short. We end up feeling lonely, inadequate, frustrated and exhausted. It just doesn’t work. The true path to happiness has to include serving others.

When we serve others, we get outside of our heads. We focus on someone else and take our minds off of our own problems. It gives us freedom from the stresses of life as we spend time working on another’s problems.

It helps us connect with one another and realize we are not alone. It helps us feel understood. We are all brothers and sisters and connected on a deep, spiritual level. The only way to experience that feeling is to spend time together.

Serving others brings us satisfaction in knowing we are useful. It reminds us that we matter. The world needs us and every time we serve another, we are shown how much that is true. We each possess very specific skills that we can use to help others. It is our duty to get out there and use those skills.

Serving others shows us how much we can truly affect our surroundings. Helping someone in a small way can send a huge ripple effect out into the world. If you open a door for someone and ask how their day is going, you put a smile on that person’s face and lift their spirits. That makes them want to do something nice for the next person. And then that person goes out does something for another and on and on it goes.

Serving another can actually change the world. Isn’t that amazing?

Serving others makes us feel good. It’s the combination of all these things that brings us joy and peace. It puts our problems in perspective and reminds us how much we have to live for. Serving is a way to change the world, yes. But it is also a way to change OUR own world.

I hope on April 1st, 2019 you will take a listen to my new single Serve. I think it will remind you how important this principle is to all of us and it might just inspire you to start a ripple of your own!

Acceptance Is Here!

The new single from Chris Swan is here!

This is the year of change and Acceptance is the third single in a series of "mindset-changing" songs by inspirational hip-hop artist Chris Swan. This song is based on the 12 core principles that Swan believes is the cure for depression and anxiety. The first being Abundance, the second Gratitude and now the third is Acceptance. Once we learn to accept the people around us and the situations we find ourselves in, the sooner we will find peace.

We can't change other people. We can only change ourselves. This song is an upbeat hip-hop anthem for practicing acceptance in our every day lives!

The Answer To All Of My Problems

The answer to all of my problems

“All of my problems come from trying to fix situations.”

I make myself miserable. Every single day of my life. For so long, I couldn’t figure it out. Why am I so unhappy?

Even after I joined OA and began my recovery life, I was still struggling. I still struggle to this day. But recently I have started noticing a pattern.

When I am feeling miserable, it is usually because I am trying to control or change a situation.

When someone is saying something I don’t like, I get mad because they are the way they are. I don’t want them to be that way. I want them to be the way I want them to be. If I have do something I don’t want to do, I get mad. It’s unfair that I have to do that thing. I feel miserable because I want to change the situation.

I spend all of my emotional energy worrying about that person I can’t change or the situation I am unhappy with. I’ll stress about it all day. Go over it again and again in my head. Until I am exhausted and depleted. And I have no more fight in me. A lot of days I am tapped out by noon.

“I always think that changing things will change my elevation.”

I get so mad because I am trying to control someone or something that I have no control over. It is complete insanity. An impossible situation. I torture myself continually, thinking eventually I will get what I want. But usually I don’t and that leads to resentment.

There is an answer to this problem. And I found in the AA Acceptance prayer. It goes like this:

“And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing, or situation—some fact of my life —unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing, or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment. Nothing, absolutely nothing, happens in God’s world by mistake. Until I could accept my alcoholism, I could not stay sober; unless I accept life completely on life’s terms, I cannot be happy. I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world as on what needs to be changed in me and in my attitudes.”

That’s the answer. Acceptance. All I have to do is accept the other person for who they are or accept the situation I’m in. I don’t have to change anybody or anything. Matter of fact, I can’t. I can only change myself and my attitudes toward other people or hard situations. That is something I can DO.

I can ask God to remove my fear. To give me strength and to help me accept the situation I’m in. I can give it to Him and truly let go. Do you know how amazing that is?! I can be free. I don’t have to be miserable every day.

I’ve been trying so hard to change everybody else when all I had to do was work on me. That is something I can work with. And that gives me hope.

“Acceptance is the key to my ongoing freedom.”

Acceptance is the third principle in my 12 core principles that offer freedom from depression and anxiety. I am releasing a new single every month this year that features one of the 12 core principles. On March 1st, 2019, I will be releasing my new single “Acceptance.” It is based on the AA Acceptance prayer and I hope you will find freedom in this song!

LIVE: Chris Swan on StageIt.com - 2.12.19

Purchase tickets here ==> BUY NOW

I am doing my very first LIVE internet show on Tuesday, February 12th, 2019, and I want to personally invite you to be there!

I love the internet.  It allows us to do some really cool things, and one of those things is performing music for you LIVE.  You can watch from your laptop or you can use Apple TV or Chrome Cast to put it right up on your TV, sit back and relax in your favorite chair and enjoy some inspirational hip-hop....all without leaving your house!

How cool is that?

I will be coming to you LIVE from Soul Motivation Studios.  The show will be about 30 minutes.  I'll be playing songs from my latest record - Welcome To The Fellowship - and I will also be performing my latest Spotify hit "Abundance!"  I am also going to take some questions at the end, so you won't want to miss this!

It all goes down on February 12th, 2019 at 7 pm CT (8 pm EST).  You do have to purchase tickets to attend, but I made it a "Pay What You Want" event, so you don't have to break the bank to be there with me.  Click HERE to get your tickets now.

I am doing this show on a really cool platform called StageIt.com.  They have hosted concerts from all kinds of artists, big and small.  The audio and visual quality is top of the line.  It will be like you are hanging out in the studio with me!

HERE'S HOW IT WORKS:
1.  Click HERE to go to the show page (which is also where you purchase tickets)
2.  Sign in with your Facebook account
3.  Purchase what they call "notes."  You can use credit, debit or PayPal.
4.  Then you use the notes to pay for your ticket.
5.  Put in how many notes you want to spend and you are in.  You will be emailed your ticket info.
6.  On show day, show up at the same URL or just click HERE, sign in and enjoy the show!

I also made a video showing how to get tickets.  You can watch it HERE.

FYI this is a very kid-friendly show, so you can bring the whole family and make a night out of it!

I really hope you will join me for a night of positivity and inspirational hip-hop!  Just click on the button below to get your tickets now.