Daniel Defoe once said, “The soul is placed in the body like a rough diamond, and must be polished, or the luster of it will never appear.” With over 7 billion people on this planet, I wish more of us knew how to bring out that shine. The ones who go about it best can somehow recognize it in themselves strongly enough to bring it out in the people who have forgotten how.
Music is a great example of how that connection can be made on a larger canvas. From Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land” to John Lennon’s “Imagine”, to N.W.A.’s “Fuck tha Police”, a handful of musical artists have been able to leave us with songs for the generation, that become kind of like anthems. They don’t come around often, but when they do, they’re contagious… and they bring out the soul in all of us.
Last year, I started working with a guy named Jay. In the beginning, he did his thing and I did mine. Then we started to talk more, at first about basketball, and later about anything worth a damn. Any time he read something shameful in the news or had something fresh on his mind, he’d start a dialogue about it. I’ll admit, impromptu vent sessions are my Achilles heel (mostly because I’ve always got to get a word in). Soon I found that not only was Jay schooled in world history, but he had a real passion for humanity, an attribute I immediately respect. On top of that, I could easily relate to his politics because it was clear where was coming from. In the time we worked together, we avoided hours of rush hour traffic with after-work diatribes on everything from crime and education, to conflicts in the Middle East, to basic human survival. “Uh, like… what do you mean? Like some deep shit?” — Exactly.
Then one day, Jay revealed he was a hip-hop artist, and that he had just released his first single called “Diamonds”. When he showed me his video online, it was clear he wasn’t just a guy talking about issues, he was someone taking the time to do something about it.
He performs under the name Black Exodus and his music has been getting some attention. Anyone who knows me can tell you that I don’t listen to a lot of hip-hop… but what I do connect with are those hard-hitting tracks that cut past the commercial formula and aim straight for the mind. Black Exodus falls right into that sweet spot. Below is his music video for “Diamonds” that so far has found thousands of hits, featuring (and directed by) Hassan Haze.
If you want to see more on Black Exodus you can find him on Facebook here.
Below are some other of his diamonds in the rough:
PROBLEMS ft. Hassan Haze & Sunny Osiris
UNCHANGEABLE by Sunny Osiris ft. Black Exodus