Music is one of those societal needs. An avenue to express concerns, self, and create dialogue surrounding powerful issues.
Violence. Poverty. Drugs. Corruption. These are a few truths music addresses and offer perspective. We hear these topics from various angles. The most popular being mainstream channels with tales of artists rising from gritty streets to glamorous, cash-flowing video sets. The storytelling of a harsh reality serves as the entertainment aspect of music culture – the temporary fantasy.
The lifestyles once so commonly lived, now provide the backdrop of stories to tell on record. They become lyrical visuals with raw material setting the premises.
Another angle explores the ones who are still caught in these lifestyles. Individuals waiting for their “diamond” to shine sans the “rough”. They are the ones settling and doing enough to get by because they feel as though there is no hope for a changing situation. Realities are no longer just portrayed characters but faces, human beings hustling, killing, starving and suffering just to make it the next moment – let alone another day on earth.
Vicious circumstances. Turmoil cycles.
The problems appear never-ending with one goal – survival.
“It’s a lot of miscommunication and I believe it starts in the home first,” states recording artist Jay Adams. “We’d get a different result on the street.”
This is a common reaction. But of course, there are multiple factors that play a role in the mishaps of society – issues that don’t necessarily point the finger at parents. Jay discusses these ideals and problems in his current single, P.L.E.A.S.E.
“Recession plays a big part,” he adds, [along with] fathers not being there for their kids, people not congregating anymore.”
P.L.E.A.S.E., which stands for “Peace. Love. Encourage. Assist. Support. Everyone.,” is a strong song directing attention to the ills of inner-city neighborhoods and an insight to the wickedness that has become of society.
“It was a case with me having a conversation with friends and we all had the same questions. So I just put it in song and hoped that it would inspire people to look within themselves and look at these problems that we’re facing every day.”
Growing up in Englewood, a poverty-stricken and violence-driven Chicago neighborhood, Jay relates to his community and created a song verbally demonstrating what needs to take place in order for situations to begin taking a turn for the better.
He sings, Did our fathers and mothers fight for nothing?/ when it’s so many of our people still struggling/we’re the only ones to blame for our problems/ if we could only come together, we could solve them …
PLEASE is a definite conversation piece that negates from excuses but hits you in the place that feels the most – the heart and soul.
“We get all this chaos and it’s not to blame parents,” he makes clear. “Don’t get me wrong because I come from a single-parent household, my mother and father wasn’t living together so I understand a lot of mothers are working and not tending to their children as much as they would like to. I just believe that if people start getting back to the “old-school” way of bringing a family together then you’d get better outcomes.”
His words are his actions. Despite success as a recording artist and traveling the world, Jay’s loyalty resides within his Englewood roots and the families still there in search of hope. When called upon, he makes personal visits to mothers who have been victimized in the streets. Even going another mile, the singer organized a fundraiser for a young lady whose son was killed in front of her.
These are people’s lives. The strains of joblessness, sickness and continuous violence is plaguing the streets and sucking the breaths of life with no remorse.
We look to music for refuge. It’s so easy to throw our hands up declaring ‘ooh this is my song!’, when a love jam comes on or a banging track that makes us want to party. It’s easy to react. Let’s also pay attention to music that’s bringing forth a message that would aide in bettering society.
What’s happening in the world today is not something to get sensitive about. If radio stations can play, ‘I Don’t Like’ sure enough we can also get a message out that touches people on the receiving end of poverty.
“I’m putting it out in my music and actually trying to be an example to those that come from the same place I came from. I believe a lot of people, obviously, and this is in my song too “Don’t turn your back on the next generation”, a lot of people who do make it out, don’t reach back,” Jay explains. “And it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to come back and buy a Boys & Girls Club … to put my career on a back-burner to acknowledge a problem that no one seems to want to address, I take that as my way of giving back.”
In all, Jay’s mission with P.L.E.A.SE., which has already been garnering success and airplay locally and nationally, is to reach the ears of our youth. To reach parents. To reach government and open eyes to the societal ills that are plaguing our streets and neighborhoods. We’re familiar with the talk but now it’s really time to put in work and become that change we’ve been begging to see.
And that’s just real.