'When it comes to anger, anger is like a driving force to hide the emotions that you are actually going through. I got rejected and rejection is a pain, so I put up these walls and anger in the forefront of it all. I wanted people to fear me so they couldn't really see me. So my anger was a lie.
I ran away from home when I was young. I was angry with everybody. I used to sleep on kitchen floors. The older guys would come and kick me in the head to wake me up. They would give me a fiver to take something and give it to other men. I didn't know what it was until later on when I saw a man ‘OD’ing on the floor. I realised that was the stuff that I was giving to those men. I didn't know how to get out of the situation - I just knew that I didn't want to be in it. I started defending myself. By the age of 13 I started a gang. I have been in jail seven times. The second time was when the violence and anger got worse. There wasn't one person that I could have turned to and saw hope.
I remember sitting on a wall, and I saw this van. I thought to myself, what? The windows were blacked out and it looked weird. What was it doing on the estate? And then I walked over to the van and Ethan opened the door – I looked in and realised it was a recording studio on the van. I was shocked. I asked him "Can I use it?" and he said "Yeah!". Then I was even more shocked.
I would do my lyrics. Ethan would always compliment me. It was just really good to escape from my other life. We stayed in contact, even though I was hard work. There were many times I was shouting on the phone saying that I wanted to hurt somebody and Ethan was able to calm me down. It's funny because no one could calm me down but somehow he always did.
I took steps from what Ethan said. Started changing small things and the small things that I changed made a big difference. I remember coming out of the police station one day, and I prayed a prayer. I said “I believe that you came to die for my sins. I need forgiveness for the things that I’ve done. And I promise you that I’ll make something of my life; I’ll change it around. I’ll live my life for you."
XLP saw my potential. They asked me to start mentoring other youth. They accepted me and now that's who I am. I am a mentor and I train government staff to help them understand street culture.
I have become more than what I ever expected. XLP helped make it possible. All that anybody really needs is help and understanding – then they are good to go.'