A flame that won’t die
Rap. For some it is the Devil’s music, a perverse pleasure the younger generations listen to. Yet for others, rap inspires hope, and is used as a form of raw expression that can’t be obtained through other forms of music or art.
One of these artists is Paris Douglass.
“I love to rap. It’s one of the greatest things. When I speak my music I speak my life,” said Douglass. “A lot of people now days; they like rapping about nothing, but I like talking about reality.”
Rapping about his past as well as social, political, and moral issues as well as the concept of God and self-struggle in identity. “My rap name is Little Fire, because I’m the flame that will never let anyone blow out,” Douglass explained.
Douglass is a twenty-one year old man who has had to forge his life very much on his own, escaping an abused life from his parents. Douglass spent his late teens drifting from city to city starting in his home town of Eastpointe, to Columbus, and finally to Port Huron.
“I didn’t know how to ask for help,” Douglass said recollecting on his past, “I said one bad word as a kid, and my father made me drink a full bottle of Frank’s Red Hot Sauce. I had to drink it all, to the point where my throat was enflamed.
“I would go to school and think, ‘Mom and Dad told me not to say anything,’ and that’s what I did, I didn’t say anything. I lied to the hospital and told the Doctors I had been wrestling. I had to go to school with bruises all over my body. Kids at school asked me, ‘Oh how did you get that bruise?’ Or ‘How’d you get those marks? They look like burns.’”
In an act of final desperation, Douglass hopped on a bus to Columbus, Ohio to finally escape his abused life.
With little money to live on, Douglass would rap as a street performer just to earn enough money to eat, while staying at a shelter to sleep at the age of eighteen.
“I never thought I would be in a shelter, I was like, ‘Are you serious?’ I even tried calling my parents for help but they only laughed in my face about it” said Douglass.
Torn and broken while dealing with the hardships of a life with no money and only a high school education, the young man found solace in his rap; using his talent of word flow as an artful expression rather than just a beat for people to listen to.
“It’s not the rap that I love; it’s the feeling and emotion that comes with it.” Douglass said, “People don’t understand that there are a lot of people like myself that had to grow up in pain and misery who didn’t know where to go or where to turn to. People like to turn their ears and block it out because they don’t understand.”