MY SPIRITUAL TEACHER, S. CARTER
Since we’re celebrating music @ theGirlMob this month + instead of being booooring + writing y’all an essay about what music means to me — I wanted to talk about my favorite musical artist. For the past few weeks I’ve been revisiting ‘444’ the latest release by none other than my favorite rapper, the incredible living legend Jay-Z. This album was dropped at a very important time in my life — it was the summer of my 25th year of life. I was entering an era that holds the promise of flowers that will bloom and intentions that will manifest. This album was created by Jay at the perfect moment in time for me... and if there’s one thing I love about his music, is how it always makes me feel like it was recorded with me in mind.
While I know that’s not entirely true and while I know ‘444’ was more about Jay coming into the fullness of his being as a man, husband and father — I can’t help but feel like the Spirit came to him with me in mind. I’m sure that most people feel this way and I’m sure that a lot of people have had the very same notion about his music… but I feel connected to him in ways I can’t describe. Him and I materialized on planet earth at the same time, by the grace of God so I could remember who I Am. I am so grateful to bear witness to the incredible artistry of the boy, Jay Hova. You might be reading this like ‘What you know about some Jigga, though?’ and I love that question because what I DO know is that his music is a spiritual experience. And I think the words, stories and emotions that he transcribes are a manifestation of the Spirit. I think that Jay-Z is a vessel for the voice of God, just like each of us — the difference being, he is fully aware of his gift and is in full control of his power.
Maybe I sound like a stan, or maybe you can relate to this and feel that knot in your throat right now — you know, the one you feel as you rap along to ‘For we’ve been together like Nike Airs and crisp tee’s’. I know you can feel the magic and I know that you hear that voice loud and clear when Hov be on his godly shit. He inspires me to do better, to do more and to always stay true to who I am — in life and in my writing. He reminds me to keep my eye on the sparrow and to be patient for my glory. I don’t want to waste your time repeating facts about his life or details about his past that you’ve def already read before… but I think a few bullets will do the trick and help me make my point:
- Youngest of four
- Grew up without a father
- Came up in the projects of Brooklyn, NY during the crack epidemic
- Sold drugs in his early life and made a business through this
These four facts about his life are typically the cornerstones for stories about our brothers, boyfriends and homeboys who become statistics — but not Jay. Not in this lifetime. Can you imagine what his 10 year old self would say if he could have a conversation with 2017’s Jay? Can you imagine what that boy would say if he was told he would become the greatest rapper in history, the most influential artist in hip-hop music, a man worth $810 million, a father to three children, a husband to one of the most powerful women in the world? (Haaaaay Beyonce) — I often think about what my future self is doing right now and try to talk to future me. I know it sounds weird but sometimes, I can hear my own voice saying ‘Everything is going to work out on it’s own as long as you stay true to yourself’ and I usually hear that when I’m listening to Jay-Z bare his soul for us.
But, like, is it really that deep Frankie?* YES. It is. It is deeper than rap. So much deeper than that. And when he dropped ‘444’ I knew. And now that I know, I need to share my understanding. So, if you’ve been following me since my early days on the internet c. 2011–2013 then you know my deep connection to the number 13. In short — this number would manifest in my life on a daily basis, on trains and buses, on receipts and appointment dates, on flight itineraries and in people and it got too eerie to deny in — yup, 2013. I figured the Universe was just saying ‘Hello, Frankie — you’re on the right track’. And then I met someone who told me about the deeper meaning of this number and it all came full circle — I learned about the Metatrons Cube and how the number 13 is one of the building blocks for our entire existence. I realized that Metatron often channeled himself through me without me knowing, I realized that my stream of consciousness wasn’t psychobabble — it was real, they were transcriptions from the Spirit.
Anyways, I am so connected to numbers — 13, 22 and 222 to be specific and when I see people develop and foster their own connection with numbers — I am reminded that we are all a reflection of the Spirit, here to push one another along whenever the going gets tough. And that yes, the Spirit speaks to AND through each of us — regardless of our awareness of it. As of recent the numbers 22 and 222 make appearances in my life and it’s because my favorite person ever, my grandmother Flor Maria Miolan Valentin was born on February 22, 1928 and in a way I was too. My grandma Mami Flor is the most important person in my life, despite the fact that she passed way in December of 2015 — she is still so present in my life. I remember asking her to please visit me from the other side when she was still with us in the physical because she would often say ‘Mija, estoy lista’ meaning ‘My child, I’m ready’ — and yes, she was ready to die and no she was not afraid.
However, I wasn't ready to say goodbye and I am still learning how to accept the fact that she has ascended. But one thing brings me comfort when I start to think about how much I miss her — she did ALL things on her own terms and she lived life the way she saw fit and did all things with compassion. And that’s probably the one quality that I can 100% attribute to one single person — my attitude about letting people make their own decisions comes from her. My grandma lived on her own terms and squeezed every ounce of love and light out of life. One day I’ll tell you her life story because she truly is an angel, a Divine spirit that came to earth to serve a purpose so much larger than any of us — just like Jay-Z. And so when I see the numbers 22 or 222 I know that she is saying ‘Hello, Frankie — I miss you too’. I’m not really sure what happens to us when we die, I don’t even think I have a theory on it because when she passed away — everything I thought about death being an ending was obliterated.
Sooooo, like — what this gotta do with Jay-Z? Well, he said he was inspired to make this album after waking up out of his sleep one night @ 4:44am and as someone who knows that numbers play such a crucial part in our lives and can provide a blueprint by which we can build ourselves up spiritually — I know that the Spirit or God or the Universe is responsible for this album and chose Jay-Z to be the vessel for it’s message. I think that some of us are hand-picked by God to live life within view of the public and are equipped with a network of others like us who help us along on our journey. Jay-Z has helped me along my journey. While I am not the youngest of four but the oldest of two and while I grew up with my father and not in the projects and never sold drugs — I relate to his experiences as someone who has tasted both the fruit of their labors and the bitter taste of hurting people who are close to me while in my own path to success. Can you imagine my shock when I realized the ominous 4:44 ads around New York City were linked to my favorite rapper? My belief that he is so much more than the greatest rapper in history was solidified.
If you keep up with his discography or have access to his album then you know that this is his 13th studio album. 13 completes the octave on the music scale and in my own life 13 represents the presence of God. Every time that this number has manifested in my life it has helped me learn new things about the world and more importantly — about myself. I guess the reason why I am so attached to this number is because its appearance helped me to realize that the Universe truly and unequivocally conspires for me. Seeing this number appear in my life solidified my belief in a higher power that cares for us so deeply that it provides, to those who choose to see, a wider scope and an unspoken wisdom that helps us interpret the signs. I think some of us are playing telephone with God and for sure, for sure — Jay-Z is a frequent caller. ‘444’ was so much more than an album — it is a living testament to the magic that Jay has created in his life and is kind enough to share with each of us. He is a reminder that we are not obligated to fall into the same old patterns and that we are not obligated to become the status quo. He is a reminder to us all to doggedly and wholeheartedly pursue our dreams and to focus on executing them until excellence in our respective crafts becomes second nature.
‘444’ is a masterpiece. I don’t care what anyone says about it, I know in my heart of hearts that this album will stand the test of time — the way ‘Reasonable Doubt’ has. And it will be possible because ‘444’ isn’t just the genius of Jay-Z and I hope he does not take offense to this — but I attribute the creation of this album to God. I think that sometimes when we become disillusioned or do things that disrespect our OWN character — the Universe steps in to put us back on the right path. And I think that when he woke up and saw 4:44 on the clock and felt the calling to record this… I think that was God saying ‘Do not be afraid to be honest and vulnerable because I got YOU’. Jay-Z addressed his infidelity and the way his actions might affect his children and basically apologized to his life partner in front of the entire world. This act was so powerful and so much deeper than a rap album, literally, because of who Jay is — he is our hero. He is MY hero. He said to black men all over the world that they must do right by their women or suffer the consequences. He showed them all that REAL men hold themselves accountable for their actions and take care of their families by any means necessary. And that message is something that our community needed, needs and will always need. This album is a testament to the millennial black experience.
For me, these 10 tracks hold more weight than most, nearly all, 20+ track albums. While I am not comparing this work to anything else — I can’t help but feel like this is the blueprint for a good album. My definition of good music is something that connects me to the inner voice that is constant within me. This inner voice is the Spirit, this inner voice is God and when I can hear someone else’s inner voice through music — it’s proof to me of God’s existence in people. The tracks that really climbed up into me and made a home of my heart are ‘Family Feud’, ‘Marcy Me’ and ‘Legacy’ — maybe it’s because they are all centered around his experience as a father, husband and/or son or maybe because he was more vulnerable than I have ever heard him. But with this album he’s earned even more respect from me — for whatever that is worth. I could sit here and type out all the lyrics that jumped out at me but I will send you off with the one that hit me the deepest — — ‘See how the Universe works? It takes my hurt and helps me find more of myself’. When I first heard that line I was in a car while ‘444’ was playing on the radio for the first time ever. I couldn’t rewind it but it was seared into my memory the moment it came through that car stereo.
By now you should know that I believe in the power of the Universe and I see how it is like that one high school Dean that rides your ass like an express train but does it because they see how much potential is hiding beneath your surface. So when he mentioned that and publicly stated that he has the Awareness that is shifting us all towards the Light? I lost my shit. I couldn't believe that he finally said it to all of us and I realized that hip-hop has always been in good hands with him around. ‘Marcy Me’ is now my favorite Jay-Z song because I can hear his agony on it, I can feel his elation, and I can hear 20-something-year-old Jigga underneath this track whispering ‘Look at what I have done. I have come full circle — I have fulfilled my life’s destiny’. This song is proof that he has lived true to his destiny and has reached his zenith — this track represents his coming into the fullness of his being as a messenger of God. The lines in this song that really make my soul ache are his references to Hamlet —‘Assume the virtue if you have not’ which is like ‘fake it ‘till you make it’ and ‘Lord, though we know we are yet we know not what we may be’ which I took as him saying ‘I know that I have all of this right now and I know it’s great and I know I am 1 of 1 but there is more out there for me because out of nothing I made all of this — so imagine what I can do now that I have everything’
So here’s to Jay-Z. Here’s to the man, the husband, the father, the artist, the business mogul, the genius, the greatest rapper alive. I am so blessed to be a witness and in me — you have a fan for life. I wish you much success, love, opportunity and a long, beautiful life with your family. You have given me so much to appreciate, emulate and admire and I owe you the world. I hope that the day we meet again you can feel the magic that has tethered us to one another for the past 12 years. From ‘Reasonable Doubt’ to ‘444’ — you have blessed me with your Message and I can’t thank you enough. You give me the courage to follow my dreams and I hope you know how important you are, not only as a rapper and hip-hop giant but as a Spiritual teacher. Believe it or not — you help me feel closer to God. And I see the Light shining through you. I see it clearly. So here’s to you — to 13 x 13 x 13 more successful projects and to many years of abundance and glory. I’ll see you at the top!