Message of hope: Baton Rouge rapper uses music to change lives
POSTED: Thursday, March 21, 2013 - 12:30pm
UPDATED: Tuesday, May 27, 2014 - 2:22pm
BATON ROUGE, LA (NBC33) — The total major crimes in Baton Rouge dropped last year, but many will say it doesn’t feel that way. Included in that list is a local musician who is using his musical talent to hopefully influence a future generation away from a lifestyle that could lead to criminal acts.
“I think there’s hope in Baton Rouge, but we need people to stand up and set an example and be not only an example in church on Sunday, but an example in the community Monday through Saturday,” Michael A. V. Mitchell said. “We need to be more concerned about the youth of today. It’s in our hands.”
Mitchell believes children are a product of the environment that surrounds them. In particular, he feels music can be a phenomenal motivator.
“The youth I see today, they don’t go further in life because they haven’t been exposed to more and it’s a challenge for people to take their limits further than where you’ve been or what you’ve seen,” he explained.
After graduating from Southern University with a degree in Criminal Justice, Mitchell turned his focus full-time to performing music. However, he took a different spin with his lyrics.
“What I did with my music is write to inspire and empower the youth out of the situations they’re in,” he said. “It’s driven by things that the youth are going through.”
Those principles are reflected in Mitchell’s latest EP Dream Chasers. The single from the album, “Breaking the Limits,” notes that what is considered mainstream and popular is not always the right path to take in life.
Convertible vision, living with no ceiling
Writing songs they sing at home, that rhyme with no killing
You can make it, you can be great, keep God in the building
You aint gotta sell your body or the dope to make a million
Really, we're in the hood more than half the rappers you listen to
They're selling you a lifestyle and habits that they don't live or do
We're tyrna give you spirit food, they make you think you're living cool
Influencing you with sex, money, and drugs before middle school
Boot state, where they shoot straight, so murder got a new rate
That girl got a new date, so aids got a new case
You folks with no identity, the enemy got a new face
I'm tryna reach them, but the folks who teach them are telling me it's too late
Huh, how do we put these limits on a life
A bunch of people with no vision, all they need is sight
I see a whole lot of darkness that’s in need of light
It's time to spark something tonight
To reinforce his music, Mitchell started The VIP Project, which stands for Vision, Identity, Purpose. He hosts various workshops and speaks at community events and to youth organizations.
“What I like to do is tap into their minds to let them see further into the future,” he said. “I find what you like and show you what you need to do to be successful. If a kid says he wants to be a basketball player, I will say that you can’t smoke cigarettes and play basketball, you can’t go out drinking all the time and play well the next day. If a girl says she wants to be a doctor, I’ll say that you don’t want to try and do that then you don’t want to have a baby. It’s showing them how they need to govern their lifestyle with high morals to support being successful.”
Tonight Mitchell will bring his message to Hosanna Christian Academy at 6:00 p.m. The event is open to the public.
Mitchell's music is available on iTunes and for purchase on his website. It is also available at the Bible Book Store in Baton Rouge on Government Street.