S.h.e changed my life

By Eredia Aghamiogie

[Verse 1]

I have always believed in the saying, “We are a products of our own environment.” This 

can be interpreted in many different ways, as for me, I grew up in a juxtaposed setting. With all 

the crime and dangerous activity outside in my neighborhood, inside my house were books, 

maps, dictionaries and more specifically music. My parents did not want me exposed to 

profanity, so the records that played in the house were gospel music and reggae. The sound of 

Bob Marley and Kirk Franklin always filled the house on weekends. It was a time of my life (12 

to 13 years old) where I was more of a follower than a leader. I never had a face of my own. 

Until one day I heard her, she was a breath of fresh air in my life. In a world where I was 

confined to strict schedules, harsh tutors and parents who worked often, I found peace and 

tranquility listening to her. She had many sides and perspectives to her, but I loved her conscious 

sound. She enlightened me in ways I couldn’t imagine. She had many lines that stuck in my 

twelve year old head:

“I never sleep because sleep is the cousin of death.”

“I'm not going to let someone else's coffin rest on my conscience.”

“Cause whenever I open my heart, my soul or my mouth

A touch of God reigns out.”

My friends and family started to notice a change in me; I was becoming more outgoing, 

and the fear of high school did not bother me as much anymore. The summer that followed was 

one of the best in my life, she opened the world to me through her words. I applied what I 

learned from her and stayed out of trouble easily and made friends easier. I started to develop a 

love for her. She was everything I loved, she taught me to be myself. To be very honest, I miss 


[Verse 2]

Fast forward to my sophomore year in High School, I start to notice changes within her. 

She started showing a new side of her. Instead of telling me about the faults of our education 

system or the hard struggles of the streets, she started to glorify the wrongs of the ghetto. She 

started to corrupt my mind, I started to become wrathful and filled with spite. 

“I ain’t nothing but a nigga, ain’t no reason to pretend.” 

Lines such as that filled my mind as I began to question my own race. It’s a dog eat dog 

world out there so why worry about others, where I come from, people aren’t supposed to make 

past twenty five so I better enjoy my life. This state of mind plunged me into a deep depression.  

I almost quit track at the time and I got nothing out of life. Combine this with me becoming very 

shy and soft spoken, nothing was going my way. I even started to stop talking to her, she started 

to cause me pain on a spiritual level, the girl I knew was gone and she was never coming back. I 

started to talk to other girls, but all I was doing was trying to fill the hole the old girl left there. It 

would be about 6 months until I spoke to her gain. What a painful 6 months it was.

[Verse 3] 

I was reminded of her in music appreciation class when one of my friends and a teacher 

started to talk about her. George started to talk about how she has changed yet again, she still 

talks about the usual stuff that turned me away, however she is talking about them in such a way 

that it’s more of a cry for help than a glorification of what kills our race. My teacher had met her 

and even she was impressed with the way she wove her stories and past. I decided to pay her 

visit and listen to what she had to say. What I heard from her were amazing lines that talked 

about both of our pasts, but in a way that made me think. 

“Sometimes I look in a mirror and ask myself:

Am I really scared of passing away? If it's today, I hope I hear a

Cry out from heaven so loud it can water down a demon

With the holy ghost 'til it drown in the blood of Jesus”

“I wonder will the eyes of the lord look at me?

Look at me, look at me, I'm a loser, I'm a winner

I'm good, I'm bad, I'm a Christian, I'm a sinner

I'm humble, I'm loud, I'm righteous, I'm a killer

What I'm doing, I'm saying that I'm human.”

“And if the reign stops and everything's dry

She would cry just so I can drink the tears from her eyes.” 

Now, instead of the old times where she would just tell me about the streets and how to 

survive them, she was giving the streets a persona. Now anytime someone was killed or another 

life was ruined by drugs, the streets would cry Hennessy and her tears would be drunk by the 

same people responsible for the killings. The sins of a relative will get passed down to their kin, 

it’s a never ending cycle. People cope with it in different ways. Some will smoke some weed and 

try to find enlightenment by reading the bible. Some join the never ending cycle and just look out 

for themselves and a few others. While a majority work to get out of the hood. However, that 

may lead to survivor’s guilt, you left the ghetto but it will never leave you and now you watch 

your friends get killed one by one since you are the only one who rose above. All these thoughts 

resonated in my head and gave me a new perspective on life, once again she changed my life. 

But was it for the better or worse?

[Verse 4] 

Fast forward 2 years and I am now a senior who is about to graduate, therefore my life is 

going through a drastic change. During these two years I’ve seen friendships made and crumble 

down, dreams achieved and crushed. Even she has changed with the time, she’s taught me to 

appreciate and respect the words of others since I’m neither above nor beneath though. Even 

though at times she starts to spew (to me not for everyone) utter bullshit, she speaks it in a way 

where it’s entertaining to not dissect her words but just enjoy the sound of her voice. This did not 

sit well with others who had known her, they missed the old conscious self, they said she had 

fallen from grace and is no longer special. They did not want to explore, they only looked 

surface level. I dared to dive in deep into her mind and I found some of the wisest, dark and 

grittiest parts of her.

“Now should I slit my wrists, go for it all or call it quits

Picture me taking my life, leaving my wife and my daughter shit”

“To them it's all about hittin skins and makin some easy green

Cause that's all they show you on the TV screen”

“I was cold hearted and young, a dumb kid with a gun

Cuz fun days don't last, the last nigga to laugh

So rap fell on my tongue, numb feelings remain

And pain comes and it goes

But my wounds shows the room where my pops beat my moms.” 

She told me stories of others who had confided in them. Others who were just like me, 

others who had pour their heart and being into her since she was the only who gave them 

comfort. Each story told the suffering of the storyteller, whether it was happening in their lives or 

in their minds. With each story I grew to understand each person and their struggles, which just 

made hearing their stories all the better. With topics such as depression, the hard life of the 

ghetto or thoughts of suicide knowing that there is no escape from their pain or suffering. Some 

of the people who confided in her had died, maybe the weight of their own problems. Maybe 

now I understand why Kurt Cobain chose to use a shotgun as his final microphone. 

Graduation came and went, however, one moment that stuck in my mind was when I had 

to walk with my parents back to the car after the ceremony. People congratulated me on my 

accomplishment, but I saw a few look at me with a face of pity as if I had just walked into my 

grave. Maybe college will be one of my most painful experiences. What if I’m not ready? What 

if I fail? Who will support my autistic brother if I’m not able to support myself? All these 

questions flooded my head and lingered in my mind throughout the summer. Combined with the 

fact that I was extremely lonely during the summer, I might have thought of ending it if it wasn’t 

for her. She calmed my thoughts, as if I found the eye of a never ending storm. She gave me this 

piece of advice that I still follow to this day.

“This is the number one rule for your set

In order to survive got to learn to live with regrets”

[Verse 5] 

Now fast forward to the present. I’ve gone through the trials and tribulations of my first 

semester at college. I have changed so much that old friends have had a hard time recognizing. I 

now have gotten into writing, and I hope to confide my story, my experiences and my heart into 

her. I am only eighteen, but she has already shaped me into the person I am today. I am truly 

grateful for all of her contributions, and to quote one of the many people who have confided in 


“And it sounds so nice

Hip-hop, you the love of my life”

Thank you hip hop, you have gotten me through some of the darkest times in my life, and I now 

write because you sparked the many ideas in my head and gave me an outlet to express myself. 

“We are products of our environment”, I am product of hip hop and truly grateful for it. Hip Hop 

you are truly my first love and the love of my life.

Artists, quotes & songs used

1. Nas – NY State Of Mind

2. Jay Ivy – Never Let You Down (Kanye West)

3. Vince Staples – Centurion (Earl Sweatshirt)

4. Kendrick Lamar – Sing About Me

5. Kendrick Lamar – Kush & Corinthians

6. Lupe Fiasco – The Coolest

7. Big Pun – Boomerang 

8. Big L – Street Struck

9. Blu – Cold Hearted

10. Jay Z - Regrets

11. Black Thought – Act Too (Love Of My Life)