Erik Schrody, otherwise known as Everlast, is an Irish-American who's on his own spiritual journey. While his path does not follow his Catholic roots, he's come back from a life of drugs and alcohol, cardiac arrest, and a roller-coaster music career.
Everlast's influences range from Eric B. & Rakim to Waylan Jennings. His acoustic/hip hop style, performed under alter ego called "Whitey Ford," accompanies lyrics to create a unique sound. His sophomore solo album Whitey Ford Sings the Blues hit triple platinum, putting him in league with other white hip-hop artists such as Eminem and Kid Rock.
Despite the company he keeps, his lyrics show more depth and spirituality than expected from a rap artist. Whitey Ford allowed Everlast to show his ability to tell stories of his life. In the album, one can even find allusions to his eventual conversion to Islam.
Does his faith in Allah change his ability to influence my life? When asked about his past versus his newly found Muslim faith, he says:
"I'm a professional sinner. I'm tryin' to get over it, tryin' to retire. I won't front and say I'm better than you. I just believe that I've been shown the truth and hopefully that will save me."
Sound like anyone you know?
His hit What It's Like exemplifies his connection between his previous life, a life of drugs and violence, to his new life of peace and understanding. The song involves 4 characters: a homeless man, Mary, Max, and of course Erik himself. While the language and description lead one to believe the song is nothing more than a glamorous snapshot of sins in action, the message is much deeper.
Like Erik, I've made my share of sins. And like him, we really don't need anyone to make us feel any worse about what we've already done. We're trying to live our lives one day at a time, and fix our transgressions one sin at a time. We should help each other through the rough times, not use sin as a dividing line. "At least I don't do drugs. At least I'd never consider an abortion." These are prideful thoughts, and cause more harm within the Church than good.
At the least we are all brothers and sisters under God. Each story in the song can be made better should one person decide to offer help. For me, the song is a strong reminder that no one should ever judge another human being by the sum of their sins.
(This song contains graphic lyrics. Consider yourself warned.)
We've all seen the man at the liquor store begging for your change.
The hair on his face is dirty, dreadlocked, and full maned.
He asks a man for what he can spare with shame in his eyes.
"Get a job, you fucking slob," is all he replies.
God forbid you ever had to walk a mile in his shoes.
'Cause then you really might know what it's like to sing the blues.
Then you really might know what it's like...
Mary got pregnant from a kid named Tom, said he was in love.
He said "Don't worry about a thing, baby doll. I'm the man you been dreamin' of."
But three months later he say he won't date her or return her call.
And she swears "God damn, if I find that man, I'm cuttin' off his balls."
And then she heads to the clinic and she gets some static walkin' through the door.
They call her a killer, and they call her a sinner, and they call her a whore.
But God forbid you ever had to walk a mile in her shoes.
'Cause then you really might know what it's like to have to choose.
And then you really might know what it's like...
I seen a rich man beg,
I seen a good man sin,
I seen a tough man cry.
I seen a loser win,
And a sad man grin,
I heard an honest man lie.
I seen the good side of bad,
And the down side of up,
And everything between.
I've licked the silver spoon,
Drank from the golden cup,
And smoked the finest green.
I stroked the baddest dimes at least a couple of times before I broke their heart.
You know where it ends? Yo, it usually depends on where you start.
I knew this kid named Max he used to get fat stacks out on the corner with drugs,
He liked to hang out late, he liked to get shitfaced, and keep in pace with thugs.
Until late one night, there was a big gunfight, and Max lost his head.
He pulled out his chrome .45, talked some shit, and wound up dead.
And now his wife and his kids are caught in the midst of all of his pain.
"You know it crumbles that way, at least that's what they say, when you play the game."
But God forbid you ever have to wake up and hear the news,
'Cause then you really might know what it's like to have to lose.
And then you really might know what it's like.