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The 'Power To Change My Life' - These Conscious Rappers Want to Empower Youth

Tania Ortega-Cowan

So, imagine…. the plumbers are cutting the concrete foundation inside your house. All the while, through back-breaking work, two slender, dusty millennials are singing and rapping about taking the high road.

This is how we came to know Kenny Holden and Allen Lowery.

KH: This is “Kenney B” Holdin, AKA Kenneth Augustus Holden

AL: “Quest” AKA Allen Ford Lowery from Louisiana

Together they create a form of hip-hop called Conscious Music, which decries violence and promotes social change through knowledge of self and personal discovery.

AL: Just in putting out the thought that maybe I have the power to change my life.

KH: (rapping) This song is called BREATHE.

AL: (rapping) Battle the machine and we battle ourselves. Everything in between. Battle heaven and hell.

As young as they are – Holden is 27 and Lowery is 24 – they have both lived through extreme hardship yet are unstoppably optimistic.

KH: You can’t glorify all the bad stuff. I’m from Chicago. My daddy was a gangster, my momma did a lot of things that I am not going to put on blast like that, but you know I have seen a lot of things. Seen dead bodies at 8 years old. But that doesn’t make me who I am! 

They hope to attract a young audience, and have named their venture: UBU Entertainment

KH: And UBU stands for You Be You which is you be yourself. If we can start getting the youth – we have to catch the youth now. We’ve got to save our future.

Lowery was born and raised in Lake Charles, Louisiana.

AL: So, I found my mom dead when I was 16.

She had a heart attack in her sleep.

AL: On Mother’s Day, May 8, 2011, while my dad was at work.

Heavy with grief, Lowery was placed in a Teen Challenge program in Arkansas where he learned…

AL: If you can understand yourself and other people, then you can understand why people do things and act certain ways and carry themselves, and then that sheds more light on yourself.

KH: That’s why a cultural difference is good. My best friend - he’s Caucasian! I am a black man! We all go through the same things. We all get tested in the same different ways.

The two met in Texas, where their music sparked. Two years ago, Lowery made his way to Vero Beach through the Dynamic Life Recovery, a faith-based addiction treatment program.

AL: I was going through a little struggle and what not and then the doors opened so I went into it and here I am now.

Holdin moved here last year and now the two work hard side by side - laboring to pay the bills - and writing music to pursue their dream. I note their strong work ethic.

AL: That’s the drive. That’s going to get us to where we need to be.

Their message to kids, to not be scared of…

KH: …challenging yourself or for taking the next step to do something.

To keep trying even when you fail.

KH: If you wake up the next morning and you breathing then that means God gave you another chance to do it different.

To make good choices:

AL: It’s basically about just being the wiser of the situation.  Is it this or that? Basically, being analytical about it. Looking at the scope of things instead of looking down one field of vision.

To navigate difficult situations and people:

KH: To just be still and things pass by – through you – instead of soaking that energy up and then passing it back to somebody else. So that is key! And you analyze what you are going to say before you speak.

And most of all:

KH: Pray hard. Work Hard. I think everything else falls into place at that point.

KH: (rapping) G-O-D, I seen him manifest and watch him bless. Everything we going through is really just a test. We can level up to the next step. It's only the beginning. We gotta love more, hate less. Yea, that's the feeling. You know you gotta breathe.

(Special thanks for beats by JeeJuh Beats).