Remember newh2o.com? Me neither…but I used to write for that website, and quite a number of years ago now a young artist from South Texas named 350 reached out asking for his music to be posted on our site. He says to this day that I was one of the first people to give him a chance. I’m stoked to be able to share our conversation with you, about his debut album, Love You, Divine.
Listen to 350 Below:
Talk about moving to Atlanta. So you used to live in way South Texas, like almost Mexico, right. And now you’ve moved to Atlanta.
Believe it or not, bro. It’s not that big of a jump. Okay. I live in an area called North Cross, which is in Gwinnett County. It’s called Peach Tree Corners, but it’s so Latino here, and it’s not just Mexicans. It’s Puerto Ricans, Colombians, Dominicans, like it’s all kinds of Latinos. And it’s pretty cool though. I think I just got lucky with that. Quick, cool transition.
I moved out here for the music, just trying to pursue a lot of my friends out here. The scene here of Christian hip-hop and hip-hop in general. But a lot of the people I worked with, I was flying over here a lot anyway.
Being in a border town, I wanted to offer my kids more, than just you know, hot things and palm trees and stuff. So I really wanted them to experience more. But also, I don’t want to look back when I’m in my fifties or something to be like, dang, I’ve been here my whole life, you know? So from where I’m from, they’re always like, if you get a chance to leave, leave. It’s kind of the motto of the RGV. I loved my home, but yeah man, I think it was more of like a career choice and a lifestyle thing as well.
I’ve noticed in the last year, you’ve been able to network a little better. You got some crazy features. So that’s probably been part of it. Like getting to know some of these other rappers in that community more and stuff.
No, honestly not [laughs]. I think all that happened when I was there in Texas. Because of my networking, I felt more comfortable to move out here. I wouldn’t have moved out here if there wasn’t any fruit, you know what I mean? But there is a lot to move off of, you know to make that kind of big step. I mean, because it’s not just me, it’s me and my wife, my two dogs.
So talk about the new album. What’s this artwork? There’s like some imagery going on there. There’s maybe a little nod to what you’re talking about in the project?
Dude. Definitely. Shout out to Cassandra Jolie the artist she’s amazing, not just an artist, like a singer, but she’s also an artist as far as creating visually. So I linked up with her and we created this piece. I wanted something that you can hang on the wall, you know like I want it to be not just a cover with my face on it or something, but I wanted it to be something deeper than that. No text, just a scene, I guess you can call it. So you’ll see on the cover art there’s a person holding flowers and you see a trail of flowers on the ground behind him or her.
I mean I guess it could be a bald lady, [laughs] but it just symbolizes a person. This is in reference to the theme of the album of anxiety going to the song trauma. When I wrote the song “Trauma,” I think that’s when I really felt like there’s something to be said, there’s a project that needs to be made.
So I made the song “Trauma” by starting with a poem that I wrote in the shower. The poem goes “anxiety’s like a leaf on a tree/It comes and it goes, says bye for a season ’til it blooms and it grows/ trauma’s like the root from the seeds, it grips and holds. You can never just rip it out/It leaves a scar in your soul.”
View this post on Instagram
So starting off with that you know, the anxiety, the depression, those are our symptoms, right? The symptoms are just fruit, to the main seed, the main root of it all, which is trauma. So for me, that is the theme. I go on to say in that poem, that people come into your garden, like our bodies are gardens and our lives are meadows. And people go into your meadows, people come into your life and they plant seeds in your life. Then you never know what they left until you see the symptom of it. So whether it be grief, whether it be envy you know, greed, jealousy, like these are all things that that people leave in your life. So that is that person in the garden. It represents somebody in your life causing you trauma.
It’s a really dope album, man. I feel like you’ve always kind of had that wavy stuff, that melodic stuff going, but you like really spit on here too. There’s a lot, I mean, you still kind of have the trap stuff too. I feel like this is 350. But I feel like on a deeper level, you’re talking about a lot of heavy stuff…a lot of like, I took some notes of drug references and stuff like popping pills, Ritalin, Adderall, swallowing insecurity, pop a bean. Just talking about mental health, like man, so are you speaking from a place where you’ve been there or are you speaking like just trying to help people out through that?
No, this is definitely my life and this is definitely my experience, unfortunately. It’s just something that’s been too real for me because I never got the help that I needed. That’s where I would resort to, you know, and even now, to this day, I’m still on drugs, but now they’re prescription drugs. Lexapro is the one I take daily, you know, kind of too much information, but whatever. Then Xanax for panic attacks. Like I’m still learning how to deal and how to cope and how to live in freedom and walk with Jesus, walk in with Jesus, and Him perfectly making me perfect. Because we’re perfectly-being made perfect as the word says.
You know, so he’s still working on me and still pruning the vines. So it’s still a daily process dude. Obviously, I like to point out that there’s not an abuse of drugs. You know, as, as it once was. In one of my songs, Blame, I say ” who’s to blame for me taking this,” you know, “who’s to blame for my issues that I’m dealing with?” And I think a lot of times we want to label it or point the finger at what this is that this is that this is why you’re feeling this way.
And this is why you have anxiety, this is a trauma that you felt. But alluding to the first song “Regardless” you know, the first line of the hook is “you may never know where it started.” So it’s funny because that’s the start of the album, you know, just kind of putting it out there. Medicine has been a thing that is a heavy theme on two different levels because a lot of times in our culture, we like to put bandaids over things. And I think medicine and drugs are band-aid solutions. It’s heavy stuff, but I know the Lord didn’t give it to me for me, you know what I mean? A lot of people are feeling this way. So it is definitely my experience, but it’s for other people as well.
That’s good. I mean, I feel like mental health is something that people just don’t talk about that much. And especially a Christian artist, trying to figure out how to talk about it in their songs. I feel like there’s another level to that even. You know, you can be in your small group or at church and share struggles with the people around you, but it’s another level to go and write a song about it. You know? I feel like that’s something that sets you apart though. And it makes you more relatable to the listener because it’s like, ‘oh man, here’s a person who understands the struggle. Here’s a person who needs God, here’s a person who’s looking for hope around every corner and is still trying to figure life out’.
Yeah. And I think I’ve been trying to train the listener with songs like “Wilm,” you know, “wish I like marijuana.” Or “Drive Me Home,” which is about you know, intoxication. So it’s like I’ve always been talking about it and sometimes it may seem like I want the drugs, but a lot of us do or we at least feel like we need it. You know what I mean? And that is the real struggle of the Christian. From the Christian perspective, a lot of people feel this way. But because of Christian culture, we don’t talk about it and that’s, what’s scary, bro. And you know, the word says, things that don’t come to light, they can build and grow, and they need to be brought to light. And if I can, I want to share my perspective.
I’m not the poster child for mental health whatsoever. I feel like me, I was just trying to be the perspective of it. Yeah. For people that may not understand what anxiety is, it’s not just feeling you know, jittery or nervous. It’s real for me, and it’s a disorder that I’ve been diagnosed with.
But a lot of people develop it, and it’s a learned trait. So that means it can be stopped, you know, but it’s huge within our faith as well. Sometimes it may even be hard to say, it may even be triggered by our faith because we are taught. Shout out to A3, this is something that he talks about in his album. But like feeling like you’re not being good enough for God or not being good enough for the church or just hiding and pushing down your feelings and who you are, not letting who you are really shine. Those things are triggering within the Christian culture. Those are just food that feeds that darkness of anxiety and depression and we need to talk about that because that’s what I’ve lived, you know?
I’ve heard it said before, that when you talk about these things they start to lose their power over you, so the more you talk about it, the more they lose their power.