Never Easy

by Sankofa

I had to vocalize the way that I’d invoke the vibes Some paid the pope a price to lay in stones in coldest nights Folks who stroll with golden ribbons, but their soul is missing I go upon a path with focused vision, so persistent Never going for the token measures in the hopes of whiffing A doper presence progression’s measures over riches I make an effort in the name of fun and building dopeness Finding humble cats like Bless 1, fulfillment closest The thrill’s the motive, I ride the beat into the sunset Still devoted to the code that means I must rep So Fort Wayne is what I’m claiming, but I’m not the owner To portray a modern greatness, see I’m walking sober Some cats see a launching pad, I call it home I run the streets at night for mileage, in a solemn zone On Saturdays, you’ll catch me for going the longer runs See I believe in our future because I taught them young It’s dope to have a chance to learn from four and five year olds Plus I get to play a vital role with minds that grow I’m thankful for a job for that makes me feel fulfilled Some days exhaust me, all I want to do is chill And then I realize I have a chance to be with minds And document the words pouring forth, they see the signs Understanding the world in the words that they select Make a newsletter for their family, keep it fresh So when I get the sense humanity is done for I chill with kids and am rejuvenated once more That’s not to say they don’t have trying times and all of that So many things that they have seen, can’t even call them back Just giving them a chance to speak on their feelings Working with each other, together to break that ceiling Read alouds, another favorite book we speak about Grab our journals, write and draw what we have found Children are capable, but the process is gradual Soon enough, lighting up eyes, the sight is magical They hear the sounds of sounds and sounds become a written letter The letters build in strings until a word has come together The word is ownership, recording their perspective Then they read it back to us so we can share the message Scribbles turn to lines, as the lines become shapes Shapes take form until a bigger picture’s made I take a pic to share the moment with their family Sometimes record their voice to talk about the plans they see I take a pic to share the moment with their family Sometimes record their voice to talk about the plans they see
Broken glass upon the overpass The drunken stumble with a sober past Once Rapunzel, stroking flax Lawnmower with the burning blade, smoking grass Diet plans with the Coke attached, note the draft Underneath the door, rubbery with smoke to match Hands with paper cuts plunge in pockets holding cash Took direction from the jump when bosses told them last Walking out the door, hold a mask unfold it fast Steam rising from the nostrils of the thief hiding A straight refusal to let that hunger define them The system’s broken but it feeds us to the meat grinder And has us marching to the gospel that we keep climbing Like they don’t have a ceiling laced with cyanide Waiting for us if we raise the torch and try to fight They’d rather have us play by the rules that they made So we play that rigged sport, another fool in the cage Divide and conquer just the tools of the trade Another gladiator duels for the fame They numb us up, feed us dreams from a pipe Consumed by consumption, in this hedonist life Can’t afford it? Max the credit plus installment plans Just to give a bonus to the richest, call it scams Won’t acknowledge efforts of essential workers Just give them a billboard, bleed them dry, to hell with purpose Keep in mind property rates are making rent insane Just keep shifting around the pawns in the game Somebody with money’s going to take their spot Out of town investors only care for money in their pot Complain about the stove not working, you’re out of here Medical bills don’t matter, they’re outta town sincere Hire local artists, make it appear they care about them Any form of affordability, where’s the housing? We get thrown a bone, they wonder why we don’t choke The only thing they care about is them, no joke We’re so stoked to parade around the scrap they gave us We forget to ask who’s making cash and flashy spaceships We celebrate the mega wealthy like that’s goals for us That lie is what is holding up the knife of golden dust Enforcers holding cuffs, legislators change the rules Judas the incumbent with a war chest that’s made of jewels They played it cool until push comes to shove, and we’re forgotten Money makes power, power makes fear the doctrine Meanwhile, we’re sharing trinkets we copped ADD by algorithm and the thinking has stopped Meanwhile, we’re sharing trinkets we copped ADD by algorithm and the thinking has stopped
Crooked Grin 02:03
I found a key without a lock and that was everything Just imagining what it could open let me sing Maybe it was the neighbor’s shed, or a treasure chest Maybe both, so I buried it deep and kept its heft The rotting wooden door slats I played tennis against The bricks my dad used for weights so he could better prevent The girl’s bike with a bar welded on it to make it mine The next one had a banana seat, I’m racing by Drag racer graphic, giant tires on the car Dad taught me how to fix a flat and make it far We had the patch kit, a bucket of water too That piece of metal with the sharp parts, that ought to do Scratch the inner tube around the puncture, for glue to stick Get that patch and hold it steady, that should do the trick Feed it back inside the tire, shimmy it on the rim Inflate to the proper PSI, man, I’m gone again The park with the bike track that had that loose gravel Jumping off the ramp and losing balance, tooth fragile Handlebars planting in the ground, I’m falling down My mouth headed straight to the bar, it’s all a sound Next thing I know, the blood is pouring from my mouth My dad running over to me, face is formed into a frown Tissues in his pocket become bloody from his son Can’t remember how we got to the dentist, maybe made me run We didn’t have a car, we walked to the park Dentist looked me over, told me hold them steady from the start Decades later another dentist is checking X-rays Notices no nerves in the teeth struck upon that stressed day That’s when it all comes back to me, screaming bloody sprays And now this song starts to stir around this muddy haze So when I look at my crooked grin, I’m thankful for it It’s better than a hole where my bike had tangled morbid
The Long Run 02:11
All these other runners, man I’ve seen them zooming Can it be a canopy maybe a fantasy, illusion I’m not speedy, but I plan keep it moving, help my soul relax Indeed it’s soothing…running group that I am older than I hold a can of liquid energy on Saturdays Just to make it through the rest so I don’t start to crash and fade My heart is better for the movement and the decompression Me, myself, and many miles to go upon my feet, I’m stretching Plus I level up my breath control and keep it stepping Next to go upon a journey where we reap the message The rhythm of my feet upon the path becomes the beat Workshopping lines, rearranging words from underneath my breath, seeing deer will make me side step Towpath or Nature Preserves it’s a surprise, yep In my own world, a passport made of earbuds Each podcast and another stamp appears thus Here comes another chance to run free The post achilles snapping rapper with another fun spree I gotta go I gotta go I gotta go Just keep moving until the tree I see is home Passing upon your left, the passenger of rapid breath If 5 is what I get that’s more than if I sat to rest Brooks Defyance 2s to Sauconys I’m flying through Triumph is the latest model, clearance and I’m buying dude I accrue future pairs for when the pair is done A heel striker, mostly neutral when I’m wearing some 300 on the mileage and I swear it’s been fun Muggy days are turning running shorts up into swim trunks Winter runs I’m building ice upon my mustache making crystal kingdoms on my eyelashes plus glass And if you must ask, the answer is yes You run your mouth, I’d rather run my feet and handle this stress I’ve got a watch to keep track of my pace And my pace is pretty slow but I’m at it with play If I feel like turning back, then I can do so But maybe pressing onward means I see a new road Here comes another chance to run free The post achilles snapping rapper with another fun spree I gotta go I gotta go I gotta go Just keep moving until the tree I see is home
sometimes, the raps I write are strictly therapeutic Other days I turn a phrase into some scary music Making monsters comes so easily I wonder why Self-sabotage, a way that I can undermine Trying to help folk follow what they care about Reduce the fear that paralyzes into errant routes The friends I’ve made through crafting words to beats That bond remains true and that’s the worth to me You won’t see me holler blind for some dollar signs Cause I’ve got a job that pays my bills, see all is fine But my life is more than strictly my employment Another year fades away, I’m feeling poignant A tinge of disappointment, what I haven’t done yet But it all works out, so that could come next but I won’t wait around, I’m staying moving Cause life can go so fast to fade a human Pacing backwards isn’t for me, but I reflect Sometimes getting stuck within a deep breath Counting pavement cracks, adjusting each step So I don’t snap a spine and someone leaves dead They tell us treat ourselves because we really need debt I’d rather risk saying no than bathe in regret Obligation is a word I seek to steer from Rear view mirror visions can appear glum A son soon in middle school, I’m still at year one Remembering when he first crawled, here comes Yeah, the video gets replayed Committed to my fading memory with each day And my granddad always told me behave My sons will never know their granddad in these ways But every now and then my mom will speak about him to them She knew him better than I ever did, sounds consuming


Never Easy is a project which began with Chicago-based producer Bless 1 reaching out a few years ago about working on a track together. He made it clear that he was looking for something more personal and less freewheeling. A few years later, he had just the right instrumental and sent it over. Upon my completing the track and getting it over to him, he floated the idea of us working on a project together and thus was born Never Easy. Bless 1 is the guiding force behind this project, his vision from where I record, to how much I write, and how I record is specific to this project. Don't take any of that as umbrage, I welcome the opportunity to collaborate with folks who will then guide my work to methods/places I'd not reach alone. Bless 1's vision called for us to create 9 songs, from which a final 5 would be selected.

Never Easy is not a descriptor of the process for this release, but rather based on a piece of art from Fort Wayne-based graphic designer/painter/muralist Matt Plett. Matt is both a friend and a considerably talented artist, so hitting up his first gallery show and seeing that piece, I knew I had to have it. That he graciously gave his permission for usage as album art brings me great joy.


released November 10, 2022

Executive Producer: Bless 1
Producer: Bless 1
Engineer: Bless 1
Artwork: Undefeatable by Matt Plett
Raps: Sankofa


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Sankofa Fort Wayne

My rhymes kick in like a turbobooster.

Fort Wayne.

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