Two thousand and sixteen was a tough year for many, including rapper Tony Tillman, but he’s entering 2017 with an optimistic perspective explained on his latest release, “Thankful.”

The Arkansas native breaks down his point-of-view into the simplest terms, his mortality: “I’m complaining about my year and some people don’t get a day,” he raps on the song released on Reflection Music Group.

Overcoming thoughts of suicide, witnessing death, and avoiding incarceration are among the ills Tillman discusses on the song that bridges soulful saxophone notes, gospel pianos, and subtle rock guitars. He rhymes, “But pain is something that we’ve all seen / And life without a care is something that we all dream / I know the feeling of pain / And I could either complain / Or change my vision and give thanks for all the small things.”

Tillman says “Thankful” is influenced by advice he received from his mother when growing up in Camden, Arkansas. “My mom always reminded me that there is always someone who has it worse than me,” he recalls. “The sad thing about that is even now I tend to forget that so easily. Sometimes, I get so caught up in where I want to be or what I want to have that I forget that I wasn’t expected to be where I am now. I think God brings me back to a place of appreciation by reminding me of where I’ve been and what I’ve been through. Life is about perspective, and with a healthy perspective, we can find reasons to be thankful in our everyday lives.”

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