I’m not much of a religious person. I grew up in a multi-cultural household, my mother is Episcopalian, my father is Jewish, and my sister is Catholic. Yet somehow, I always found that I got more out of a good lyric or a book than I did from something supposedly handed down from a higher power. However, after realizing how much religion has meant to the talented young musicians I know, I can’t help but feel slightly blessed. My most recent bout with faith is thanks to Leo Manzari.
At 17, Leo is more of a man than half the kids I meet on a daily basis in my collegiate setting. He raps, sings, tap dances (like, in shows that people pay to see), plays basketball, and is what I believe to be an invaluable quality, a gentleman. I love him. He’s great. So when he sent me what was his most recent track, “Never Understood,” I was happy to take a listen. What surprised me the most was how much I loved it.
Next to a fluid, seductive beat, Leo’s flow is literally unlike anything I’ve ever heard before. While reading the lyrics, I didn’t necessarily see how it would work. There was something off about it all. I quickly realized that was the point. He hits every other measure in a lyrical two step, killing it in a song about success, music, faith, life and death. Although the message is a sad one,
“If we’re all Goddie’s children, why we struggle ’till we cry?
Wonderin’ how life’s a blessing when so many of us die
We’ve got friends, and you”ve got friends, and they’ve got friends
Yeah well all know
No matter how we love them we still have to see them go”
Leo’s honesty touches upon the very reason why some people, like myself, don’t identify themselves with a specific church. The lyrics are harsh, but the song’s killer, forcing me into a little bit of a conundrum. Generally I wouldn’t listen to something this heavy on repeat, but I guess I can make an exception. The kid’s got the heart of a lion, and talent to match. If that’s not enough to make me reconsider my faith, well shit, I don’t know what is.