I really don't know how to start this. I guess I can start this by saying I'm a failure. Yeah let's go with that. A intro fitting for a failure is admitting that they're a failure. It's not over though. I was blessed to see another morning. Morning, Morning, Morning. It was so good I had to say it 3 times. My life is fucked up but a lot of it is that way because of my immaturity and irresponsibility. Nothing won't change until I face up to my demons. Everybody goes through storms. Everybody goes through pain. There's points I'm at my highest. There's points I'm at my lowest like only having $12.00 to my name. Some people don't even have that. I believe everything will be okay though as long as we have hearts. Hearts for love because there's no limit to love. Don't be hard on yourself. You're a failure but you're alive to change that. Keep god in your heart. Make your parents proud. Support your little brother, and do me one more favor, just love Benny.
Love, Benny

I wrote this in November 2015 after I returned from Dallas, Texas. I traveled to Dallas to kick it with my bro John and visit friends who lived in the area. The night we got there we ate at Denny's and started catching up on life. John lives in Los Angeles and he's a stand up comedian. I'm a struggling artist in St.Louis. He was telling me how he wasn't sure if he was having a child or not. I'm thinking it's just another pregnancy scare. Well he's very sure cause today his son Brayden is here now and he's happy and blessed. 

During this convo I'm telling John I'm possibly done with creating music and I tell him I just want to create a platform for people who create whether it's music, paintings, comedy, everything. I'm writing this on that platform right now so I've started and that's good. 

Fast forward to our last night in Dallas. We're with our friend Jade at Pappadeux's. I didn't eat good. I got the cheapest shit I could because I'm poor. Afterwards we sat in Jade car for about 2 hours talking and drinking. I wasn't talking too much I was in the backseat just drinking. I'm just listening to John and Jade talk about their lives and I'm just thinking to myself "Man I'm a failure." 

They don't have much to worry about and all I'm thinking about is how I have no car, making $20 stretch until next week, and how I'm going back home to shitty weather. When I called myself a failure I wasn't down on myself. I smiled when I said it. I finally came to grips with it. I finally was truly honest with myself and it felt really good. It was a high. No more lying to myself. No more hiding. I'm not happy with my position. Honesty is my new best friend. 

I came back home and wrote the letter you saw at the beginning of this blog entry and I left it alone. I finally seen a glimmer of light in the tunnel. 

From Fall 2011 to about 2015 I've been battling depression. I'm not saying that because Kid Cudi has recently open the flood gates for discussion with his testimony. This is really my reality. The letter and that Dallas trip really saved my life. I wrote that letter almost a year ago and the project inspired by it was completed in September 2016. Cudi testimony happened in October 2016. I have to make this clear so I'm clear on letting anyone know who's reading this that I'm not looking to piggy back off Cudi or anyone else's battle. Love, Benny is a project about a black man fighting depression. A tug of war between his optimism and pessimism. The journey of a broke nigga. A quest to loving myself despite my faults.

With depression I never felt I was good enough for a relationship. I still kind of feel that way today. I've gotten way better since then. Great women have come into my life and I always felt I wasn't worthy of them. Like who would want to be with this loser Benny? I say that laughing so don't feel sorry for me. People ask why I don't have kids. Trust me I want kids. I just felt mentally I wasn't in great shape to care for another life while mine was in shambles. It's not right and it's selfish. 

Being depressed I always felt is some pussy shit. It's what I would tell myself in my mind so I would hide it by binge drinking, partying, traveling, lying to myself, and hooking up with various women. I would wake up and try my hardest to be positive but I couldn't and I couldn't show the world this so I'd put on this mask like I'm this mentally strong and positive man but I wasn't. I was mentally broken and angry. Everyday that passed I'd fall deeper in love with being alone. I didn't want to be around anyone. I just wanted to be alone. I'd just sit in my room all day. 

Depression for me was like every time I felt happiness or was on my way to happiness this hand inside of my body would reach up and grab my heart and squeeze it. Just so it would let me know that pain is still possible so don't enjoy this moment. The hand of fear and anxiety. Happiness isn't a thing, it's just a feeling but every time I felt it, it was short lived. 

I've always been terrible socially but when depression hit my social skills were completely gone. I was always irritable, bothered, my attitude was always poor. It's not Benny/Justin people would see. It's just a human shell. I was alive but dead inside. I didn't care for anything. I barely cared for myself. People would tell me about deaths of others and I wouldn't feel anything. Alcohol would help loosen me up but as you know it's temporary. When you crash you crash. It just made me sadder after the Remy bottle was finished and all was left were just my thoughts. 

I always felt I was never good enough. I'd look at Pharrell Williams and tell myself "I'd never come close to him" or I'd see a rapper like J.Cole and say the same thing and I don't even listen to J.Cole much. Thoughts like this handicapped me as an artist because I'd constantly put my energy in trying to create the best project instead of honestly creating how I felt. I'd compete instead of create. 

When I started writing the LOVE, BENNY project in February 2016. I said fuck bars just write how you felt during those 4 years. The result? This is the most honest shit I've ever spoke. I don't care if people like it or don't. This needed to be created for my sanity and possibly put a proper close to me rapping for good. Support or not, LOVE, BENNY needed to be made. 

Will I ever make another project again? I don't know, don't really care. I don't want to say if I'm done or not because it's not my choice. I'll go wherever god needs me to be. What people don't understand about me is that I only rapped because my friends said I was too good not to. So I had to force and lie to myself to pursue it. I never really had the desire to. I love music but rapping is very stressful. I love the creative process and performing but everything after that is a pain. 

Rapping already a pain but I'm in a city with a music scene that doesn't make it any better. Other rappers are annoying and talk too fucking much. People are fake. This shit just isn't fun. This year I was ready to put hands on a few people behind this rap shit and that's when I definitely knew this shit not for me. I shouldn't want to physically harm another human over this shit. I'm on social media going back and forth with clowns. That's not me. I'm very reserved. 

I've found passions outside of rapping and it is what God has brought to me. I've gotten more support for those passions than I've ever received from rap. God is telling me something and I need to listen. Those passions are going ahead of rapping and if I feel like rapping I will. Rapping is officially a hobby to me now. It's not my life. 

LOVE, BENNY is my therapy session. I didn't know if I should talk to a professional or not so I just wrote instead. I couldn't afford therapy anyway. I've only thought about suicide once. It was more in the realm of curiosity. Like would anyone care besides my family? Is God proud of me? What does God look like? I guess I'm glad I didn't have money while battling depression because I'd just disappear and never talk to anyone and it would've probably gotten worse. 

If you listen to LOVE, BENNY thank you for listening to me talk while I'm laying down on the psych leather couch. I've never been more proud of anything I've done. This project is not perfect but it's something I needed to tell myself and hopefully someone out there relates and it saves their life. 2016 was only rough because I lost loved ones but besides that I'm finally focused and happy. Thank you LOVE, BENNY. I finally love me some me.