Macklemore ON: How to Stop Letting the Past Define You & Ways to Discover your Greatest Strengths in Hard Times - Transcripts

March 13, 2023

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Today, I sit down with the one and only Macklemore to talk about recovery, healing, and choosing to live a better life. We start with being self-aware and how this is helpful in cleansing yourself to recovery, the endless battle with self-hate and how to put your focus on self love instead, how success can also mean finding the willpower to change yourself and become someone better. We end the conversation by talking about authenticity and setting new goals for a better life. Macklemore is a multi-Platinum and Grammy award-winning artist, who's made history with a combination of commercial success, critical acclaim, and international appeal with a total of 12.8 billion combined streams to date. He is one of the most successful independent artists of the 21st century and he's consistently used his art and platform to raise awareness around issues of addiction and recovery.


that what's supposed to be will be and when I can get in that place of acceptance that regardless of what happens with Maniac or the next single or my album and how many first week sales it does

and YouTube numbers all of that is not happiness it is completely. Hey everyone welcome back to On Purpose the number one health podcast in the world thank you so much for coming back every week to become happier healthier and more healed something that I'm always working on for myself and I am so excited to be talking to you today I can't believe it my new book eight rules of love is out and I cannot wait to share it with you I am so so excited for you to read this book for you to listen to this book I read the audiobook if you haven't got it already make sure you go to eight rules of love dot com it's dedicated to anyone who's trying to find keep or let go of love. So if you've got friends that are dating, broken up, or struggling with love, make sure you grab this book. And I'd love to invite you to come and see me for my global tour, Love Rules. Go to to learn more information about tickets, VIP experiences, and more. I can't wait to see you this year. And one of the things I love about this community that we've built here is I love talking to people who are using their platforms for a greater purpose, who find artistic and creative ways to talk about the things we care about here, whether that's mental health, personal growth, addiction, personal challenges that we go through internally and externally. And today's guest is someone who has used their platform through and through to talk about really important, interesting, fascinating topics. I'm talking about multi-platinum and Grammy award-winning artist, Macklemore, who's made history with a combination of commercial success, critical acclaim, and international appeal with a total of 12.8 billion combined streams to date. And Macklemore is one of the most successful independent artists of the 21st century. And he's consistently used his art and platform to raise awareness around issues of addiction and recovery. And now the two new singles are out, Chant and Maniac.

Make sure you go in stream and listen. Macklemore, Ben, you could tell me how you want me to go. Ben, thank you so much for making the trip to be here. Thank you so much

for this opportunity. Absolutely, thank you for having me, man. Fantastic. Amazing. Ben, thank you so much for this opportunity. Man, this is fantastic. Amazing. What an intro.

One take. We had to cut it down. I mean, there was so many achievements. Everyone knows who you are. I grew up listening to music when I was back in London. And so for me to be sitting with you today's awesome and you'll see that for a few of the questions I'll ask. But I wanted to pick out, I love, there's a lyric here that I wanted to share with you, it's obviously one of yours. And I wanted to start with this. Your new song Chant says, they told me that I vanished. They told me that I had it. They told me that I'm gone. I told them don't panic.

And when I was listening to that, there's a lot of what they're thinking about where you are. And my question was, where do you feel you are today? Let's just get into it. You said you like to get into it?

Absolutely. That's what we're here for. You said you like to get into it. Absolutely. That's what we're here for. You know, I think there's a constant narrative. When you're in the public eye, there is a constant narrative about who you are and that ranges between people that love you, people that hate you, people that, you know, have maybe heard a song or two. And what I like to get back to is cutting out the noise of any sort of outside influence in terms of who I am as a person, that when you put yourself out there, when you put out art in any capacity, can I do it in a way where regardless of its success or lack thereof or critical acclaim or nothing at all, I know who I am. And I think that that is the most important part about being an artist because it's very easy to start looking and I was actually, I was, I was listening to something that you said and you can correct me because I will be wrong, but about seeing yourself through how you think other people see you and how, how false that is. And we get this very precious, like this finite amount of time on this earth and we waste it wondering what other people think of us and also inheriting how we, how we believe that they might be seeing and it's a waste of time. And I got to a point years ago and granted, this is a daily process to like completely shed this. So I have by no means arrived, but I stopped reading what people were writing.

I stopped reading reviews and I make art because I love it. And when you do that and you come from a pure, genuine place, that is where happiness lies and fulfillment lies in the creative process. So that's what I'm getting to with those lyrics, the chant, is just getting back to the core

of who I am as a person and as an artist, regardless of the outside. Yeah. I love that. And I love what you're saying about how it's a daily practice. It's something we have to recommit to that ritual of getting back there and blocking out the noise. I wonder when was the first time you felt you lost that? Did you feel you had that and then you started to lose that at a certain point or was it

something that you've always been able to like grasp onto even when it's been tough? I think that at the height of our success, and I look back to coming off of, you know, number one, Thrift Shop was number one, Can't Hold Us was number one, all of a sudden this music that you feel like is yours becomes the world and it becomes open to public interpretation. I think I lost it then. I think that there was a point where it wasn't just a relapse anymore. I went back into active addiction around that time period. I didn't know how to maneuver the success. I had been an underground rapper forever and as long as my entire career was just like this and then all of a sudden there was this sky rocket moment and when that sky rocket moment happened and you're at the mercy of the critics and the think pieces and the people that are out there just to write scathing reviews or whatever, I lost it. And I compounded that by then turning to drugs to escape it, right? There's no escaping that. There's figuring out healthy ways to cope or even better to heal or to just tune it out but I tried to put drugs on top of that to escape which made it that much worse. And for me, with my history of addiction, it is a progressive disease. So I'm putting drugs on top of it and I turn to a place of fear.

And I think that that fear really was a paralyzing force in that time period where I was scared. I didn't know how to deal with the outside world. So around that time, it's crazy because it happened at the height of the success, right? So I had on one side all these awards and acclaim and millions of people and millions of dollars and all this money and all these things that in society's eyes, that's what you're working towards. And on the other side, I had completely lost track of who I was and the things that actually

really mattered. And when did drugs first come into your life? When was your first connection with that because you talk about your history of addiction. But I'm intrigued by that. I feel like we always talk and I do want to talk about recovery but I feel like it's really interesting watching when we as young people or as adults get involved with anything of this sort to then go back the other way.

So when was your first foray into that space? The first time that I ever drank alcohol, and I consider alcohol a drug, I was 14 years old and my parents drank and I had a liquor cabinet in my house above the fridge. And I went into that liquor cabinet and I took one shot of vodka, I was 14 years old and I had on my undershirt, I had Tupac in the background. I poured one shot, I took the shot and I was like, oh my God, I love the way that I feel right now. I finally am turning this off. I took two more. I wonder what three feels like, another one, I wonder what four. I ended up, I probably weighed 130 pounds and I took 12 shots of vodka in maybe a 30-minute time period. And I ended up stumbling, I got on the bus to go downtown Seattle, I ended up throwing up all over myself in a McDonald's, the cops came, I had to run from the cops. That was the beginning of my drinking career, which turned out to be a very painful one in the moment and in hindsight. And yeah, drugs came along with that, marijuana and some pills and a bunch of other things. But that was the beginning of a very unhealthy relationship from the very jump.

And for different people, it's different things. For some people, it's confidence. For some people, it sounds like numbing the noise, like switching this off, you said. Was that the goal? Was that the intention? Where was that coming from and where did it escalate to?

What was the reasoning behind it for you? The easiest way for me to describe it is that it was like an allergy. It was once I had a sip or a hit or a sniff or whatever it was, I wanted more and I couldn't turn that off and I never could. It was like from the very first time, I didn't take two shots and say, you know what? I don't want to get busted by my parents, like I'm done. This was like I took one and went to 12 in a really short period of time. And the longer that I've been in recovery and examining my own life and maybe what led me to that point, because maybe I don't know what the science is in terms of genetics or being predisposed. I had some things that happened at an early age that I think I wanted to turn off and it wasn't until relatively recently that I've examined those and seen other men in the recovery community open up about sexual trauma from an early age and be open and willing to talk about things that happened to them, things that definitely growing up, I never heard about and up until relatively recently finding a community of men in recovery, I never heard people talk about openly in meetings. So I'm like, maybe that was the reason why.

I don't know exactly.

Yeah. Yeah. No, that's fair. I mean, I guess I think it's always a collection of things rather than being one thing. But when you talk about recovery now and congratulations on just an incredible journey to recovery, when it was at its lowest point, which sounds like it was when you were at your highest point externally, you were at your lowest point internally and it's actually not as surprising like that happened so often. You hear that so often that people had their best moments externally and their worst moments internally, what was it that did give you reassurance or redirection to say I want to find a way out? Because I can imagine that so dark and anyone who's listening and watching, maybe they have a family member who's in that position or maybe they have a loved one or maybe they're in that position themselves and they're listening to us right now. And they're like, but it is so dark, it is so hard, it is such a strong addiction that it always looks easy on the other side, from the outside, but the person who's been through it knows what it's taken. What was it at that low point, that dark point

that you said, no, I see another side to it? Right, right. Life and death, what do I choose? It came down to that and I knew the truth. I had been lucky enough that I had already been to rehab. I had already understood that this is the disease of addiction, this is an uncurable disease. This is something that I don't graduate from, this is something that I don't go into remission like, this will be with me forever and as a daily reprieve and a daily practice, what am I doing for my recovery? I went back to the origin, the roots of what wrote the music that ended up being the heist that ended up getting all the awards and all the love and all of that, I went back to that place of, okay, where were you when you felt fulfilled and what did you have? And I had a home group where I went and I had a service position and I made coffee for a bunch of other alcoholics and addicts. And on Tuesdays, in order for the meeting to happen, I needed to show up an hour early and put out the chairs in the meeting and I needed to make the coffee. And the coffee was trash, it was horrible, but I needed to do it. And I had that accountability.

I had that sense of community. I didn't feel alone. I felt something that I think all human beings want, which is to feel a part of. And the disease of addiction leads you to isolation, at least for a lot of us. You know, right before I went to treatment, I would, you know, the only person I would pick up the phone for a call was the drug dealer, the blinds were drawn. I was in a super dark place. Now granted, after the height of everything, I couldn't hide, I couldn't hide from the world. I had a full calendar. I just wore sunglasses inside and kept going. But I remember my wife and I, and it was after the Grammys and my wife and I, we went to India. And, you know, I was actually detoxing from drugs during the Grammys. Like I was like, you know, maybe three or four days off of opiates and definitely was not out of my system whatsoever.

So that place of fear was very still there. And I never talked about this before. And I remember winning the four Grammys and at the after party got a pill from somebody again at the after party. And that was the beginning of another attempt to escape everything that was happening. My wife and I went to India and I really detoxed and realized that I needed to find my community again, that all of this other external pats on the back, all these strangers, all these people that are with you for the moment, but they don't really know me. I need to find the people that really know me, that really love me, and the people that share this commonality of the disease of addiction because those are the people that speak my same language that make me feel, again, a part of

and not distant and disconnected. And why India? What specifically about India?

I'm fascinated. It's my favorite place on earth. There's something about this spiritual undertone. It's not even really undertone. You can just feel it energetically moving throughout India. We were traveling around from Varanasi to Dharmasala to Delhi to all over. And no one knew who I was. No one cared. I was back to just being Ben. And there was something so simple about that in that moment. And I think that you travel throughout India and you see extreme, extreme poverty and people that are still happy and fulfilled in that. And you realize that to actually be fulfilled and happy in this world, all what we have been taught in the Western world that we need, these benchmarks in terms of success and square footage of a house and what type of car, all of these things do not lead to happiness.

And I was reminded of all of that.

And I just love India. That's amazing.

Was that your first time there or you? No, I'd been there before, yeah.

Oh, wow. That's incredible. Obviously, I've spent so much time in India and that's been such a, I feel the same way as you do about it in the sense of it's spiritual energy that's just emanating constantly. Yes. And I find it's even easier to develop spiritual practices there and habits there and things like that. What have become some of the habits or practices or rituals that you feel you've formed that have aided this process of recovery? Community seems to be a big one of them. You keep referring to being around those people, reconnecting with who you were before. What are some other things that you've really worked on that you think of being pillars of

supporting you at this time?

Yeah, right, yes. I think service is a massive pillar in terms of getting outside of self. It talks about in some of the literature that I work from, the disease of addiction is rooted in self-centeredness. And in order to get outside of self, the quickest way to do that is to think about other people. It's like the thing that's under all of our noses, it's right there in plain sight. And yet we keep going on this journey of like, what do I want right now? How can I serve myself? What are my needs? What are my immediate family's needs? But to really actually, to find connection with other people, it is to serve. And that's something in the recovery community that is one of the pillars. That's a massive part of it.

And it's looking inward. It's doing the step work. It is figuring out my character defects, really stripping down, figuring out who I am and how can I improve. And there's so much work to be done. You know what I mean? And I've been in and out of the rooms of recovery for 14 years now. And I relapsed at the beginning of COVID. So I have a couple of years, but I still feel like a newcomer. I still feel like this is brand new. And I'm just on the precipice of figuring out something

that's gonna open a new door. Yeah, service is such a underestimated habit and ritual. And hearing you speak about it in that way is so life-giving because I think it's one of those things, as you said, we've just completely taken out of society. It doesn't really exist in our vocabulary. It doesn't really exist in our recommendation to people or as an antidote to anything. But as you're saying, in the recovery community, it seems to be a big pillar and a big part of that. Do you remember an opportunity where you got to serve or something where you tried to do something like that, where you felt the benefits that you just described?

Was there a particular example that still doesn't really exist? I don't know if there's a particular one that sticks out, but I think even to piggyback off what you were just saying in terms of society, even with this culture of like, okay, now we are working on our mental health. Now I'm in therapy. Now I'm eating healthy. Now I'm working out. Now I'm doing Bikram yoga, whatever. All of those things are fantastic, right? Those are all great things of the self-care model that we have now. But they can still, without the balance of service, you're still thinking about me, me, me, me, me, right? Like, what do I need right now? How can I get my life? I need to talk about my trauma and all of that.

And that's, again, fantastic. It's still easy to be thinking about self in all of those practices. And can you actually have all of that and that still balance, am I thinking and showing up for other people? And that can be as simple as picking up a phone call that you feel like you're too busy to take. That can be as easy as listening to a story of someone when you feel like you're running and gunning and you're trying to keep up with everything in life and just slowing down and showing up for others when you don't want to. That's the thing is like, because service is, in a way, there's still a selfish component of service because you are still, this feels good. There's something that feels good about it,

but you're actually benefiting others at the same time. Yeah, and it's so counterintuitive. We constantly feel like we have to focus on ourselves to solve things. But the studies actually back up what you were saying as well. There's so many studies on depression that show that even people who are depressed who support other people who are going through depression are happier than those who are not supporting that community. And so even about supporting that same community makes such a huge difference. and I know that for sure in my own life that that was the insight that saved me too was because for me the change happened that I worked harder on myself in order to serve people better so what you're saying about the balance it was like the more I try to serve others the more I realized that I needed to be purified yes that's real and so then I worked on my purification and cleansing so that I could yes try and give back better and again this is a daily process I haven't arrived either but that cycle became a really beautiful cycle where it's like let me work on myself so I can give my best to others yes now that I've given my best I need to refuel and then that becomes this beautiful journey that you go on as a human and I feel like for me I'm there today too where I'm trying to pour out into people and then I'm trying to

pour in so that I have more purity to pour out so what you're saying right yes that's real yes

that's a really good observation and I think that yeah it is a cycle it's a constant you know evolution of like oh my god I've been giving so much like now I need to refill the tank you know the spiritual tank or whatever it is um that that does get depleted and that there is this

balance that needs to be found it's much easier said than done yeah yeah yeah of course absolutely how have your lyrics and music changed at that time because I feel like you know a lot of musicians feel they often write their best stuff in the worst times and the darkest times because it's raw it's real like you can connect to people's emotions and people also feel that way so they can see themselves in your music right how have you felt as you observe your music evolving and with the two new singles like The Darkest. Has that impacted the music or do you feel you're writing from a place of always working on yourself and that's what connects with people?

I think that I'm always working on myself. I was just in the coffee shop an hour, hour and a half ago and I get the coffee and I go to the bathroom and I'm like, I just felt this wave of depression and I'm like, huh, where is that coming from? I didn't find an answer. The darkness is always there. I don't have clinical depression by any means. I'm someone that I would like to think is relatively happy, but I do go through lows. I'm a human. I'm going through this spiritual experience in this human form, but I felt this wave and I was like, I wonder if Jay ever feels this wave of depression, which I do want to hear if you do, but I also had this thought of like, this is what creates art. If we were always just like this or if it was just kept going up and it just got better and better until we die and then we're out here. It wouldn't be interesting. I need to feel those moments of elation and translate that to music. I need to feel those moments of darkness, sometimes it's self-inflicted.

Sometimes it's that wave that you don't know where it's coming from, but it's like this blanket of darkness over you and you're like, man, I got to fight through this right now. But it all makes great music. Yeah. It all makes great art if you channel it. Yes.

But do you feel that?

And but I think. Yeah, I think I want to answer your question. There's some things I can relate to. When I was in my teens and I first started hearing about depression, and that time it wasn't the norm to talk about those things. Like today, as you said, we're trying to talk more about these things. But when I was in my teens and I first heard someone was depressed, in my head I was like, how can you be depressed? You have everything. I was one of those people who looked at a friend who seemed like they had it all together and couldn't fathom or understand how they could be depressed. It was like, you make good money, or you have a good situation, you're a good looking dude. You get women. I had that very basic view as a teenager. And then I felt it for the first time when I left the monastery.

So I lived as a monk for three years, majority of it in India. And when I left, that's the first time I felt depressed. And I was around 25 going on 26. And that was the first time it hit me in my entire life. And that was because I had a plan, and I had a direction I was going in, and it didn't work out. And all of a sudden I had, I wouldn't even say a wave, I would say a very strong sense of depression. And I didn't even let myself admit it to myself at the time because I was so scared about what would happen if I admitted it. And so if you asked me during that time, I would have said, I'm fine. And it was only years later that I was able to locate and say, actually, I was depressed during that time. I just was scared to even say it out loud because I didn't know who to say it to. And it was then when my monk skills and tools that I'd learned actually came to help me and give me that direction.

Now today, that was like, that was as a test.

Yeah. That was nearly 10 years ago since I left. So it's been a long time. And I'd say today that I get sad thoughts. I get depressive thoughts, but it's two things. One is they don't last as long anymore because I've found a process and tools of what to do with them. And the second thing is I see them as useful. Yeah. As you said, as insight into what can be changed, transformed, grown, what work needs to happen. So now they're not things I try and avoid or things I'm saying are bad or labeling them as negative. I accept that as a human, you will always have thoughts, but it's your choice what you wanna do with them. And I've now learned skills and tools that allow me to process them differently than I would have 10 years ago.

And so it's not that you will never, I don't think there's anyone in the world who could never have a negative thought or a tough thought, or a difficult thought, because the world is put in such a way that there's constantly conflict. There's constantly uncertainty. Right. So unless you're numb from it all, there's gonna be something that gets beneath your skin or something that gets into you. But it's what you do with that. It's kind of like saying wishing for a day where it stops raining and stops being cold. It's like, that's never gonna happen. The weather is going to be the weather. It's going to rain. It's going to get cold. It's going to snow. And you either have your umbrella and your snow boots ready to go or you're going to be cold and wet.

And so I think for me, it's like, I'm focusing on what's my umbrella. What's my snow boots? What's my raincoat? You know, what are those tools and habits and practices that help me through there? Does that make sense? 100%. Yeah. I love that. Yeah. I'd be lying if I said I don't have sad thoughts. And I think we have to get out of that because I think we all deep down believe that we will

one day get to a place where you don't feel that way. A hundred percent. Yeah.

I love that. Yeah. And that kind of, I feel, stops us from getting there. I don't know if you've ever sensed that. Yeah. You kind of think about getting over something. We both talked a lot about getting through stuff. Yes. And with it, but I feel like in society we have this idea of you're an addict and now you've recovered. Right.

I mean, recovery and that's, I'm guessing that's language that last year. Yes. Right. Yes. Yes. Completely. Yeah. It's interesting you said that because I, the first time that I went to India, I was 19 years old and I did a three days silent meditation and on the third day, I remember like I couldn't meditate. I never had really meditated. I'm trying to calm the mind, follow the breath. I have no idea what I'm doing. I'm like, this is never going to work for me.

On the third day, I was like up in the hills, I was looking out over a mountainous terrain and I'm watching the trees and I'm closing my eyes and the trees are still and I'm seeing it through my eyelids and the breeze came through and I had this moment of meditation where I didn't have any thoughts or whatever version that was, I thought that I was having this experience and I felt this wave of just like this warm piece, this sustained, whether it was three or 10 seconds or whatever and it was this contentment that I don't know that I had ever really felt and it was interrupted with the thought of, but you're going to lose this but you're going to go back and I think that part of that was like, but you're going to go back to drugs, but you're going to go back to depression, but you'll never be able to sustain this and part of I think what the compulsion around using for me is, is like you get that moment of, I've turned off the thoughts or the drink hits or the drug hits and now I'm a quantumist in my being and I feel I'm high. I like the effects of this drug and then you go down and then you're trying to find that high again when really for me, what I've experienced is the most sustained period of happiness that can be achieved is through a practice of clearing the mind. Now do I meditate presently? Not at all. Not at all. As I'm saying all this, I'm like, bro, why aren't you meditating, man? You got to get back. I remember that feeling of peace and immediately being like, but you're not going to be able to hold on to this. It's a lack of a practice.

Not at all. As I'm saying all this, I'm like, bro, why aren't you meditating, man?

You got to get back. That's that challenge, right? It's like constantly wanting to hold on to anything and constantly want to go back to anything. Both of those thoughts I think is what I'm referring to and it seems like we're aligned. It's that both of... I feel like those are the two thoughts that actually keep us the most trapped. Completely. I want to hold on to this and I want to go back to that. Those two things keep you trapped forever and ever and ever because now you can't experience and you can't accept and you can't be. It takes you everywhere. Towards more the beginning, you were talking about life and death. You've had near-death experiences and that's one of the most challenging emotions and obviously no one ever wants to go back to feeling that way.

Talk us through that of having a near-death experience and how that impacts you when you

reflect on something like that. The near-death experiences, they're not linear in terms of the, I kept going down, down, down, down. It was rock bottom and then I almost died. It wasn't that necessarily. It can just be like, yes, I wasn't in a great place. I was in active addiction and I used this drug and that drug and then I ended up in the hospital and my heart was beating out of my chest. That type of thing. I think of this moment where I was withdrawing off of OxyContin. I was just crying. I was crying. I was in the middle of the street. It was summertime in Seattle, which is like the most beautiful place in the world.

I'm biased. It's the most beautiful place in the world in the summertime and I'm there and I can't stop crying and I see, kept going down, down, down. No future for happiness. All my serotonin was completely depleted. I was 100% reliant on this drug for any sort of crane to pull me out of a place of wanting to die and I think that these near-death experiences, yes, I have had actual like you were close moments and I ended up in the hospital moments close to death, but even more scary than those are those moments where you don't care. It can even go a step further than you don't care. It goes to a place of I don't want to be here. Those are super, super scary in hindsight and the moment it's like, take me. Take me. I'm not fighting anymore. I'm not fighting for life anymore. I've gone down the trail deep enough into the forest of this that I am fine to just leave this physical space.

That's scary. Not this physical. Yeah, it definitely is. You're reminding me of I had a conversation with Dennis Rodman like three years ago now on the podcast and I asked him what his purpose in life was and he said to survive another day like to live another day and to have someone say that in front of you like in an interview. I was like, it really took me aback because you're not expecting that a that much honesty but in that moment that much vulnerability as well and I know he's surrounded by a good group of people who are supporting him and helping him but to live another day. It was scary even to experience and you've had your partner, your wife who's been such a big part of your journey, you've spoken about her music, she's been such a supporting figure. Obviously, she loves you, that's without a doubt and you love her but what do you think has allowed her to be a supportive and helpful partner during this time and how have you tried to help her help you? Sometimes you may have got it wrong, but tell me a bit about what she's done exceptionally well and then when you've helped her help you in an exceptional way but then sometimes

when maybe you haven't helped the situation.

Yeah, that's a good question. My wife is amazing. She's a big fan of you. She's super excited. She's in the car today. She's not here. She's directing a music video actually. So she's in the midst of planning for that. Tell her I send my love. I definitely will.

Okay, tell her I send my love. I definitely will.

I'll send a gift, we'll have to send something with you first. Yeah, she's a massive fan. It's cool to talk about her. She's my best friend. She's amazing. And I think first and foremost, I was in rehab in 2008 and I had been with her since 2006. So we're a couple years into a relationship and she was supposed to come up and visit me in rehab and all the families show up. The commencement of group therapy starts, my, at the time, girlfriend wasn't there. And she had ended up getting arrested on the way up. She was still drunk from the night before. After that, she never went to treatment. She did some 12 step work, but she has never used since.

And she was definitely one of us, like one of me, an addict and an alcoholic and never had that off switch. But the way that she has shown up for me is that she has stayed clean and for herself. First and foremost, foundational level. And we just celebrated last Friday her 14 years of sobriety and I got to watch her take her coin, go up to the front of the meeting in front of 100 people and take her coin and she's all nervous and I have tears in my eyes and I'm just like, this is my person. I'm rooting for her more than anything to be clean and to be healthy and she has done something that I haven't been able to do, which is continuously stay clean. And it's a complex question, like how do I help her help me? The one thing about the disease of addiction is that it is insidious and that when I am in active addiction, it starts before I actually pick up the first drink or drug, it starts slowly and it creeps and it escalates and it starts telling me, you know what? No one's around. No one's going to know. You can do that. All of a sudden I'm in self will. I'm not in God's will anymore.

I'm in self will. What do I want? And that selfishness rises and rises and rises and it can start with simple things, just like you deserve that. Go ahead, buy that. Omit that. These little ways that it just starts creeping, creeping, creeping, getting louder. And for me, all of a sudden it leads me to this place of none of that works, like material possession to feel happy does not work for me. You know, like go ahead, get another watch. Go ahead, get that jacket, get those shoes. Do that, have that experience. You deserve it. It doesn't spiritually fulfill me.

So now I'm like, I'm on empty in the spiritual tank and I'm reaching for anything. Come on, more, more, more. How do I fulfill? How do I fill this void, this God's eyes, what do I do with this? And eventually I start to think a drink or a drug sounds like the best idea because I hate myself. Now how can I help my wife help me in those moments? It's counterintuitive because when I'm in active addiction and the disease is talking to me, I don't want to tell anybody. The disease is like, don't tell her, no, she doesn't care. You know, the lies, the lies that I'm telling to myself in order to act out are getting increasingly loud. It's a very, you know, I probably sound crazy right now, but that's how the disease works for me. I think unless you have the disease and maybe it sounds crazy, but that's actually the narrative that's slowly happening, whether I'm conscious or unconscious in my head to get me to the point of hating myself enough that a drink or a drug sounds like the best solution. So idea, but I have to tell her, I have to be honest and she has seen enough relapses at this point that she's like, dude, what are you doing?

You're in self will right now. When was the last time that you called your sponsor? When have you got outside of self? When have you done something in your recovery community? Why don't you go to a meeting? She holds me accountable even when I don't want to be held accountable. And usually I can tell because she, she'll say something and if I'm naturally defensive, if I'm like, no, you don't know what I'm doing, you know, usually I'm like, okay, she's got, she's got a pulse. She knows me very well and she's trying to help you do it like, you know, if she says in, sometimes she can miss misread the room and I can completely hold that space and listen to her and be like, I understand that I could be doing better in these, these categories, but I'm actually feeling pretty good right now. And I welcome that from people in my life. Like I think part of addiction is that it's, it has to be secret, you know, even you talk about 10 years ago with like, you know, this depression that you're like, I feel like I, I had to be okay. I had to be fine. I had to tell people I was fine and there's this secrecy with addiction that we can't talk about it, that when those thoughts come in or in recovery, and I'm like, I'm a person in recovery.

I have to be like, you know, holding up these pillars and now I'm a public figure in recovery. And I need to be, it's like dude, I am still, I am just like everyone else completely fallible and so far from who I want to be. But the more people that I can talk to, where I'm not a secret, that is when I share my truth and it opens up a platform for other people to, or when they share their truth, all of a sudden I feel comfortable in this space

to tell mine, the disease dissipates.

Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. And by the way, you don't, in your words, don't sound crazy at all. Actually, I feel like you're educating us and enlightening us on what's going on inside. And so actually, I'm learning a lot and I appreciate it a lot because I don't think we, I appreciate. We only watch these, if it doesn't happen to us, you only watch it from the outside. And you have no idea what the dialogue in someone's mind is. And so hearing what dialogue you've had in your mind is massively illuminating because like you referred to mine, I agree with that on so many levels. And that wasn't even addiction. that was a form of depression that I was experiencing and couldn't vocalize it, what to speak of something when you're going through addiction. And I couldn't agree with you more that, whether it's something tiny or whether it's something huge, if we don't talk about it, you actually never learn. Like I had a very non-life threatening surgery recently, like it's pretty routine, it's inconvenient, but it's not like, I'm not gonna die from it. And like that's not what kind of surgery it is.

And me even just telling some of my friends about that, I found out a quarter of my friends have had that surgery but never told me, like no one ever talks about it. And I know it's not a big deal. But the point is that knowing that they'd had it and knowing that they'd been through the surgery knowing that they'd recovered or knowing where they'd had struggled was useful. What to speak of addiction is something that's far more detrimental to your health and wellbeing. You know, I can totally understand why being able to share that. And I really love the point you're making about, and this is partly societal and ourselves, is you just explained a lot of roles, like I'm a public figure in recovery, I'm a this and this, I'm a music artist who was addicted, whatever, so we create all these titles and roles and designations that are not the real us, and society forces us to play them, and we force it. There was a lyric that I love, this is probably one of my favorite songs that you've done, I was talking to my, I have a meditation program that I've created for Calm, and we were just there recording before this, and so I'm recording for like four hours just teaching meditations, and I was speaking to my producer, I'm really good friends with, his name is Ben too. Saying that you were coming on the show, he loves rap too, and so I was sharing that you were coming on, and we then started talking about some of our favorite songs, so he was saying that this one was his, And I was like, oh, me too, it's a light tunnels. And there's this lyric that I thought is really powerful for what we're talking about right now. You say they want the gossip, they want the drama. They want Britney Spears to make out with Madonna. They want Kanye to rant and go on longer because that equates to more dollars.

They want talking topics, they want trending topics, et cetera, et cetera. And so it's that idea that we're trying to create, Society's trying to create these identities for us, and then we kind of try and live up to those identities. How do you in this moment disconnect from that and go, well, actually, yes, people may say, I'm a public figure going through recovery. I'm a music artist doing this. How have you found a way over time to not subscribe to that identity and be like, no, I'm Ben, I'm, you know, who are you today? Like, how do you create that disconnect?

Like, et cetera. Things that help my kids getting off of social media. Again, not to be redundant, but my community and recovery. I think we're all trying to get back to that place, whether you're in the public, you know, space or not. It's the idea of who am I really at the core. And I've always used art as a medium to find out my own truth and to find out who I am as a person. But it's all the things that were kind of disgusting. It's like, and you were talking about in terms of service too, like, you know, doing your own work and then putting it back and then going back and forth in this cycle. I think it's getting exercise. I think it's clearing the mind. I think that it's picking up the phone. I think that it's like, I think it's these small little acts throughout the course of a day that you realize that all of this is so fleeting and that it's not real.

It's not all of that world that's in light tunnels that we're speaking about, it's as real as we make it. And I think that it's really challenging to divorce yourself from media when you are a part of the media, when you are a part of a topic, or I could throw out 10 celebrities names and like the first, you'll have thoughts and judgments right away when you hear someone's name. And we've put people, we've compartmentalized people, we put them in the boxes, we don't really get to know who they are. And I think that that's why long form podcasts or conversations have helped to kind of reshape how we view certain people and are actually really beneficial to get to know individuals outside of a headline. Now, the unfortunate part is, also for how short our attention spans are when you are. And now, you know, five second increments, 15 second increments, we're scrolling, we're moving on, we can't retain information, we're on to the next. It's really dope to see that like long form podcast, there's a lane for this where either it's super fast or like, I'm gonna listen to Joe Rogan for three hours. You know what I mean? And like, and I think that that's because people are longing for something deeper. They want to hear conversation. They want to see the evolution of dialogue, start here and go here. You know, like that is what actually is real.

We are not creatures that operate in three to five second increments. There is a flow and an evolution. And I think that explaining who we really are, you know, our character defects, our flaws, our shortcomings to the things that make us brilliant and unique to really examine those is what this life really is all about. And that the rest of it is a hurdle to get over.

You know what I mean?

And like... I love that analysis of it, I really do because you said earlier, you said we're spiritual beings having this human experience. And I think a lot of people on their spiritual journeys or their inner journeys, at one point you get caught in the evolution of it where it's hard being a spiritual being having a human experience. Like you're like, how do I make music in this world, but then not feel of this world? Like that becomes a really tough thing. And I've worked on that personally. I work on it personally. I work with so many people on it personally. And I find that the natural human instinct is to retreat. Yes. It's like to remove ourselves. And when I became a monk, I think subconsciously that's exactly what I was doing where I wasn't escaping because I didn't have a bad experience with the material world.

I could just see from other people's experiences that the material world wasn't satisfying to them. I could see people who were more successful than me, more wealthy than me, more, you know, everything than me. I was 21 years old. And I could see that they weren't happy. And so I was like, okay, well, I need to figure out a different path. And I gained three years of getting time to figure out what my values were and who I was and why I wanted to do anything. And then coming back, like I find that too today where it's like, I'm not a monk anymore. I'm married, I have businesses, we have money.

Like, you know, things like that.

Yes, yes. And it was like, I had to make peace and sense of those ideas for what they meant to me and what their use was without them defining me or me trying to distance myself from them. So I think when we first we chase things and then we run away from them

until we figure out how to use them properly. Yes, I was on your Instagram today. And, you know, a massive way that we size people up or that we gauge success is by numbers, right? Analytics and find our own value, right? Like, how did this TikTok do? Why did this one work and this one didn't, you know? I really liked what I said in this one and no one really, no one shared it. Why? I mean, that's part of your business. Yet your platform is based around like mental health, which in a way are society. And yet the way that you talk about this is via TikTok, via Instagram, via these social media things that have got our society stuck in this place of comparison, in this place of ego, in this place of I am lesser than, I am not enough. Look at all of these other people's lives.

I am living, scrolling, these death scrolls that we do. I feel horrible about myself. Culture that is really addictive. How do you balance the game that you have to play yet with the spiritual mental health side

that you have to live?

Why? Yeah, definitely. It's such a great question. And I'd say that, so I started doing what I do today offline when I was 18 years old. So after I met the monk for the first time, which I talk about in my book, Think Like a Monk, I met my first monk teacher at 18 years old and I started spending time with him. And whatever he would teach me, I would share it because I was so blown away by it. So I started a club or a society, as we call them in England, a society at university, at college called Think Out Loud. And every single week I'd invite students over and we'd sit and we dissect a movie and talk about it philosophically, psychologically, spiritually. And I would facilitate these sessions. And when I first started them, like zero people showed up because it's like people at 18 want to get drunk and go to the club. They don't want to come to a society to think out loud. And so then I started handing out posters and flyers because I realized that I had to do a bit of marketing to make sure people are interested.

And then people started coming. And so by the time I finished university, we had 100 people coming. No one paid for it, it was absolutely free. I did it because I loved it, I did it because I got the buzz of presenting what I was learning to people and helping them. And I built some of my best friendships that way because I met all these people at university They were like, oh yeah, Jay helps us understand the stuff he's learning from the monks and the wisdom. Same stuff I do today. And then when I went to the monastery, obviously I actually spent time studying and deepening my meditation and actually deepening my skills. And since I've come back, I've done the same thing. So I've been doing this offline when no one cared and no one viewed and no one watched and there were no followers and there was no money for 10 years before I did it online. So up until six years ago, if you came to one of my events in London called Conscious Living, 10 people showed up once a month to hear me talk about these same things

that I talk about today.

Yeah, yeah.

It sounds like my underground rap career. Right, right, yeah, exactly. That's basically what it is. It's like, and I did it for 10 years, not thinking one day it would be big. I did it because I loved it. I loved this. So I went from, yeah, I loved it. I did it for 10 years with no money, no followers, no nothing. And it was amazing. Even when 10 people showed up, I was so grateful. Yeah. So then when six years ago, this kind of took off and in the last couple of years, it's really blown up.

I live in gratitude every day. And yes, I am massively aware of what connects with people and what resonates with people, but my intention's different. My intention is how deeply can I speak what I'm learning and what I've learned so that it scales and gives access to everyone. So I'm not basing my self-worth on how many people like it. I'm basing my ability to simplify ideas on that. And that's just one part of me. My self-worth is based on how I feel about myself, how my wife thinks about me because she knows me really well, how my monk teachers feel about what I do, and my best friends who've been my best friends for nearly 20 years. Those are the people whose opinion matters deeply to me. My community here matters to me, but at the same time, my self-worth is not based on that. My ability to do my job well and the purpose I've chosen is based on that. And I think, like you're saying, that isn't a perfected formula. It's a daily commitment to, can I improve my ability to communicate, but this isn't me improving who I am.

This is me improving my ability to communicate seemingly complex ideas in a way that everyone can understand and digest them. But that's just 1% of who I am.

That's not me in entirety, if that makes sense. It does.

Do you look at the numbers? Of course I do, yeah, 100%. I think it's hard to do what I do without looking at the numbers. It's just that the numbers don't dictate, like I won't go to sleep upset at myself as a human being, as a soul, because of a number going badly. I will just be like there is a defect in my process of communicating or effectively transferring this message. That I can work on. But if I think this is a problem with me, that's too heavy.

And that's where I think the disconnect is.

You can always blame the algorithm. Always blame the algorithm.

I don't like doing that. I'm one of those people that I will sit down with people and I'll be like, the issue is never the, very rarely is the issue actually the algorithm from my six years of social media experience. The issue is your ability to understand what is going on. But again, that's not you. And so, and I think that's what we've not learned how to differentiate our album sales from our self-worth or our social media following from our self-worth and identity. So to me, they're two things. This I need to improve professionally, but my professional failure is not a personal failure. And I think that I'm always grappling with that. Again, I have not arrived. This is a daily conversation in my head, but I feel healthier that I want to figure out how to fix this for this, but fixing that is not fixing this. These are two separate, like I meditate for me. I don't meditate to improve my career.

And I don't focus on my career to improve my feeling of me. They're two separate lanes, if that makes sense. So I see success and happiness. And I want to come to this task to you. I see success and happiness as two separate lanes. Happiness is what I do for myself and success is what my career brings and what it can achieve. But I don't cross the two because that's when I think it gets messy for me. And I wanted to ask that as you've gone through so many highs and lows, successes and losses, how do you define success and happiness for yourself right now? How do you look at those terms and what do they mean to you now compared to what they meant to you like 10, 15 years ago? Right.

And I hope I answered your question. Yeah, right.

All right. Yeah, mm-hmm.

Yeah, right. And actually. Yeah, you did. Yeah. Beautifully.

Honestly. Honestly, it was just an honest answer. Yeah, yeah.

It's the answer. Yeah, yeah, yeah. No, I think about success very different and I get caught up in the matrix of everything. Of course. But am I fulfilled? Happiness is fleeting, right? The more we try to grab onto it, the further it gets. Do I have sustained fulfillment? Do I have meaning? Do I have purpose? Do I have a life that is worth living? Do I feel excited to wake up most days?

Am I engaged with my kids? All of those things, that to me is what success feels like today. Now, I also have a business. I have multiple businesses and I like to win. I'm a competitive person. Me too, I get that. I do like to win. Now, winning I think is a tricky thing, right? Because oftentimes we don't know what, we never know what's in store. I might drive away from here and crash down the hill and that's it. You don't know. And I think about what I want.

The last two singles that you've mentioned, I thought that they're really great pieces of art. Thought that they were, had potential for like, Chan, it's like, it's got this anthemic hook and it's got a feature that people know and I'm rapping really well and the beat gets really big. Hasn't performed well, commercially. Maniac sounds like something that could be on the radio and it kind of is, but it's bubbling slowly, but it's not really streaming well. All these things, I have a team of people that are trying to figure out, that we're trying to figure out why this worked, why this didn't work. And I realize that the universe has already been written. I believe that what's supposed to be will be. And when I can get in that place of acceptance that regardless of what happens with Chance, regardless of what happens with Maniac or the next single or my album and how many first week sales it does and YouTube numbers and if I grow my TikTok audience, all of that is not happiness. It is completely separate. And if I get too caught up in that, like you're saying, if I get too caught up in that world, then I cannot truly be fulfilled and have meaning in my spiritual life, which is where the true like, I'm just okay. I'm just okay with what is and I don't control it. And some of the most painful experiences where I was like, why is this happening to me?

Like God, why would you do this to me? Were my greatest blessings were the things that opened up the door for something and it sounds cliche. It's like, but you have to go through those moments of pain. You have to walk through that fire to get to that place of, oh, I had no idea why I was doing that. And now I am here and look at how beautiful this moment is. And I think that the trick is remembering in those moments of why, why is this happening?

There is a deeper reasoning and that this will pass.

Yeah, totally. Yeah. The way I was thinking about what you were saying and what, I was sharing earlier, and it's that imagine you just bought a brand new car. You love it. You think it's beautiful. It's great. And you go driving and using when you drive out here and you're driving your car and then someone knocks into it and it gets a dent and it's a really bad dent. That means you can't drive it and it needs to get fixed. It needs to get sorted out. Now when I get out of that car and I get into bed that night, if I'm thinking I'm dented, that's just inaccurate. The truth is something I have, something I care about is dented and that needs to be fixed. But I'm not dented because my car is dented.

I'm not damaged because my car is damaged. My car's damaged and it needs to go to the shop and it needs to get fixed. But that doesn't damage me and I think that's that disconnect where it's like, yeah, when you're saying the album sales are not right, whatever it is, it's like, yeah, that needs to be fixed, and it needs to be sorted out. But that doesn't mean that I'm broken. That just means that there is a system mechanism with somehow how we're creating, how we're building, that can be improved, right? And so to me, and I love the point that you're saying that to me, it's also an alignment of how much we're creating and what we're creating. I find that when I make something out of alignment,

it's more likely to fail.

When I make something from a place of I'm making this because I really believe in it, I care about it, I've actually focused on getting good at it, and now I'm putting it out there, it has a better chance of doing well. Versus when I put something out, because I'm like, I can do this. I know I can do this because I have this. And so I think when people are like, oh, I have followers, so I can do this. But you don't really wanna do that. You're just doing that because you have followers. And I think there's a study that shows how after someone sells a company, in the next two years, they make their worst investment decisions. Why? Because now they have money. So they make bad investment decisions. When you didn't have money, you made better investment decisions because you were so careful and so thoughtful about it. And so I find sometimes abundance leads to stupidity because abundance needs to be treated with love and respect as opposed to with abandon and wastage.

But you brought up a good point in terms. But you brought up a good point in terms of the 10 people that would come out in London to talk and what your intention was. And I think that for all of us, but particularly being in the public eye, it's constantly moving that needle back to what is my intention here? Yes. What is my intention? Yes. And if you're in the studio and I'm in the studio and I'm creating a record, if I'm going into it like, this is the one that's gonna be on the radio, that song sucks. Yes, thank you. That song is horrible. Yes, thank you. No one wants to hear that. And the public is smarter than we give the public credit for.

They can tell when an artist doesn't know another artist and they just made a song because the labels were like, you know what, one plus one equals three. No, it doesn't. Real art is felt. Authentic people, that's what's contagious is when people can actually feel and hear that authenticity. You can't manufacture that. And again, but with all the noise,

with all the white noise that's in the periphery. Yes, yes. Yes, thank you. That song is horrible.

Yes, thank you. If I'm not centered, if I'm not spiritually fit, I'm eventually going to feel like, guys, we need a TikTok song. We need something that is going to be really catchy in a five second increment. If we don't have that, then I'm not going to be happy. And it has been proven time and time again that that's not how art works. And I think that this fast food way of media right now in some ways can be great, but in other ways it has, my fear is that it's killed the art. It's killed the overall arc of an album or the growth of an artist. From track number one to song number 15, I've realized in this album cycle that I'm in the beginning stages of putting out, we don't take in media like that anymore. The album is almost obsolete. And I don't ever want to get to a place of creating out of necessity to appease an algorithm or a structure that I don't believe in. I don't believe in it. Now that's not to say I'm not going to play the game

with what I've created, but I don't want to create.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

And then go play the game. That is brilliant. I love that. If the intention in the Vedas, which is the system that I studied as a monk or the Vedic tradition, it said that there's four motivators or four intentions, which were my intention. So the lowest form of intention is fear or insecurity. We do something out of fear. So it's like, I'm not relevant anymore. Let's make something that makes me feel relevant. That's fear. That's not from a place of art. So you make something from a place of fear. It might do well.

It might blow up. But you won't feel satisfied because you know that you were just scared, and now you're scared to do it again. Yeah. So when you create a fear, it just creates more fear for new creativity because you don't know how you got there. Higher up from that is to have the intention of what you were saying, you have a target or a goal, but you just plucked it out there, I want that number one. I want to build a billion dollar company. And now it's just about this goal because the goal makes you feel good. You don't actually feel good about what you're making, but you like the idea of it might become a number one whatever billboard or whatever it may be. And so that's the goal of target, higher than that intention is you're doing something because it feels true to you, and then higher than that is you're making something out of service or to improve people's lives or to impact people. So when you look at those four intentions, what I'm hearing is like, I want to try and make things in those top two intentions. And that way I'll be fulfilled. And like you said, we can play the game with those things too.

We'll still figure out a way to make those things relevant and important, but we know that the art is sacred. The art wasn't sold out. And I think that's what I vibe with too. Like I can totally get behind that

because let's make something that makes me fit, right?

So when you go through lives, I always connect back to why I started and what connected. And I love the joy of making something sacred go viral. I get so much of a kick out of that rather than making something sell out go viral

because it would go viral anyway. That's great, dude.

Oh, you're inspiring this.

This is great. Well, I mean, you think about whenever I'm in the studio, you're trying to get to those top two. And it's almost an exercise when I'm in front of the page to work through those bottom two layers. Cause they're there. They're not always there, but they can pop up. You know that like, can you do it again? And then you said it like, okay, now you did it. You're still not fulfilled. Can you hold on to it? And you watch people, their entire careers trying to hold on to that relevancy. And it's just this game of like, come on, can we hold on to this thing? That's like, you know, so we can be put in this echelon and keep working and keep going and never take more than a, you know, 14 months off of an album cycle.

We got to keep going. What award show are we showing? It's exhausting. It is exhausting. And I couldn't keep up with it. And I realized that it really, you know, in the first couple months of being like really famous, that this was not sustainable for me, that I needed to recharge, that I needed to take time off to work on myself. So when I go into the studio, I'm not operating out of that place of fear, of scarcity, of, you know, what if this doesn't happen? It's like, dude. And I think that that's easier said than done when you had the success, right? When you're like, you know what? I'm going to be good for life. Financially, I'm straight.

Just be honest. I'm going to be okay. But when you're, you know, when you're really, you know, I'm trying to feed my family and I've been there too, you know, I'm trying to, you know, make sure that I don't overdraft, that I can pay this month's rent with my six people I'm living with. And, you know, I need to get this show. So there's a privilege in being able to like, be like, okay, well, like now I'm just working on the spiritual side of myself. And there's an actual real side of it, you know, in terms of the physical world of I need to eat. I need to be able to pay for this roof over my head. Yeah, that's a great point. But still, I'm almost writing in that space to get out the cobwebs of those first two layers and get to a place of, you know what? Bare minimum, this does nothing. At least we had a great time in the studio. At least I found out some truth about myself.

At least this was an exercise where I got better at my craft and I enjoyed being creative. And I got together with community, whoever was in the studio, and we made something that will be around forever. Regardless of if it's viral or if it's a number one or top a hundred, it doesn't matter. We made something with pure intention and the people that heard it were the people that we're supposed to. And everything else is outside of my control. And if you're a creative, then you just keep going. You just keep going. And I was like, I was listening to some old music that I had written in like, you know, 2004 or five or something the other day. And there's this Dennis Hopper sample and he's talking about, you know, if you're an artist, if you are really truly an artist, your art is like breathing. You have no choice but to create, that that is the exercise. And I wanna be that person. I am that person.

I don't have to try to be that person. I just, I am an artist. And for those of us that are, there is no choice. The success is a bonus. But at the end of the day, if I wasn't doing this for a living, sure, I might have a different nine to five, but I can almost guarantee you that when I get home from work,

I'd be going right back to writing raps.

When you, yeah, yeah. But, and that's what it is. It's that love, it's that dedication. And I love the clarity you gave though of when you're on the come up versus when you've created a platform, because I agree with you that sometimes fear and the goal of survival are actually what gets you started and gets you going and gets you your first breakthrough. It's just once you've had that, please upgrade, right? Because if you don't upgrade at that point, you're still driving in gear two. And it's like, but no, no, no, you were meant to get to gear five by now and you're still going at gear two. And it's like, that's what takes you down the other way. And so I agree with you. I think you're right that I think there's such a great clarification. I'm so glad you brought that up that sometimes fear and the goal and the insecurity is what gets you moving. And there's nothing wrong with that.

It's just that it gets you moving. It's just not gonna keep momentum. And I've just seen too many people just stay on that gear too. And that's when it all breaks down. Right. So I think that's, that's such a beautiful description.

Where, where are you going and get, right?

Because today as you look to the future, as you look to now, as you look to what you're building and creating for yourself, like what are the values that govern your personal and professional life today? Like what are some of the values that you're developing,

working on and, and holding close to your heart right now? Honesty with myself, with my partner, uh, with my kids, with my community. I want to be transparent in all facets of where I'm at. I think that vulnerability, honesty, telling the truth are constantly things that I come back to that just make my life more streamlined. I don't want to hide anything. I don't want this person to know this part of me and this person. Like I want to be someone that can hold that space of, this is who I am. And, um, and I'm honest about it. I want to have integrity in that sense. I want to keep delving into the layers of my own character defects, of things that I need to work on, of studying my past traumas in order to figure out my next step and to figure out where I'm at. Um, I want to, I want to be a dad that listens that ask questions that is there for the beautiful moments, the difficult ones. That's super important to me.

And I realized that with my lifestyle, there's a frequency in our house, right? Like my wife is working on a million things that have to do with all of our creative projects. I am, there's people in and out of my house. All the time. And I think that that frequency, my, my kids, I know they can feel it. I know they can feel the insanity of this creative, like, you know, home that we have that is beautiful, but it's also chaotic. And I want to make sure that, um, I'm taking time for those small moments that is much of like this rat race that we're in to, to do a media run and to, you know, go from here to the next thing to this. And that I taking the time to really be present with my kids. Cause it goes so quickly. You know, my daughter's already, you know, my, my eldest is seven and a half. And it's like, seems like it's so cliche. It seems like yesterday she was, you know, two months old.

And, um, I know that that's how life moves. And I just want to be someone that like, when I look back at it all through all the ups, the downs, the triumphs, the shortcomings that I can look back on it all and be like, you know what?

I left something here on this earth.

I was, I made some art that impacted the world. And that doesn't need to be on a broad, big, broad brushstroke scale. That can just be with a couple individuals that I made some art that resonated, that changed some lives and not in a grandiose way, but just like the MCs that came before me, underground rappers that changed the way I think about life, that, you know, I think about there's this, there's this rapper that passed, um, from, from the group Blackalicious, his name's gift to gab and he passed last year. And he had this, this era of, of fantastic music and he, and he passed away. I didn't know he was sick and he passed away, um, during COVID. And I remember just thinking, like, I never got to tell him what his music meant to me and the spiritual, um, the spirituality in his writing and how that resonated with me when I was 18 years old, that led me to delve into myself via the pen and, um, that if it wasn't for him, I might not have ever written other side. I might not have ever written same love, but he actually gave me some tools that opened up this conduit that I was able to channel something bigger than myself in these moments that led to music that then impacted others and that that music could go on to, to transfer it in different ways to a next generation. That is what I'm seeking as a person and as an artist. And I think that that, you know, when you've had that platform, you know, or you have a platform like I have, there's this tendency to think that it has to be on this massive scale and I don't want to think about my life in this big, you know, open canvas of a world. Like I need to, you know, there needs to be millions and you know, a billion people that know who I am and lose what's right in front of me, which is my seven year old, my four year old and my 14 month old or my wife and know that my family is there. And that's at the very forefront of what I care about. I care about just as much as speaking to the rest of the world.

I don't want to miss that.

Ben, that's extremely powerful. And I love that reflection coming through you right now and channeling all those ideas with us. We end every episode with two segments. One's called the final five, which is every question has to be answered in one word to one sentence maximum. So you have a sentence, one word to one sentence, you get, you get that. And then we'll do the other one. So these are your final five, Ben, the first question is what is the best advice you've ever received?

You have a sentence be present,

simple and easy. That's good advice. That's, that's always great advice. What's some of the worst advice you've had received or seen repeated or advice you'd never want your kids to receive advice,

you'd never want them to hear me present. I never want my kids to believe that other people's opinion of them is any of

them is any of their business. I agree. That's beautiful. All right. Question number three. What is your current purpose in life?

How do you define your purpose today in the work you do and who you are?

My purpose is to create, to explore, and to show up for other people. Question number four.

What's something you used to value that you don't value anymore? I used to value superficial momentary escapism.

Fifth and final question. We asked this to every guest on the show.

If you could create one law that everyone in the world had to follow, what would it be? That all people would have empathy for one another. We need that.

And accept people for where they're at. Ben, thank you so much. Thank you, Jimmy. I'm so grateful to have spent this time with you, to have had the opportunity to connect with you. I mean, we've been talking for nearly two hours, it's been amazing. Thank you for being so open, so vulnerable. So giving and also just generating so many interesting directions for this. It felt like a real conversation and back and forth. So I appreciate that a lot, man. Absolutely. Thank you so much. You're great, man.

Thank you. You are, man. You are. Thank you. Everyone has been listening and watching whether you're walking your dog, whether you're cooking, whether you're on your way to work, on your way back from work, or at work. I want you to share what you learned today. So please tag us both on Instagram, on TikTok, on YouTube, on whatever platform you use, Twitter, and just let us know what were the insights that stuck with you. Maybe there's a practice or an idea that you're gonna share with a friend. I love knowing what's gonna stay with you from this conversation. And of course, we hope that Ben will come back on in the future and keep documenting this journey with us. Absolutely. You have an open invite, Ben, whenever you wanna come back.

Appreciate it. So grateful for your time. Likewise. Thank you. If you love this episode, you'll really enjoy my episode with Selena Gomez on befriending your inner critic

and how to speak to yourself with more compassion. Thank you. Absolutely. Thank you so much. You're great, man. Thank you. You're welcome, man. You are. Thank you. And.