“Back in ’96, that’s when life got hard / My grandmother died / Mom’s locked in the yard / With no visitation in the hole or the cell / It’s hard to think you love me when its coming through the mail,” is how Maryland rapper Avery LR starts his track “Never Surrender.” The video is equally stark, starring a teenage girl in an abusive household, who finds refuge in the internet. Ultimately the young girl overdoses because of the struggles she encounters in her life. Who was there to save her? Who was her real life refuge? Blanket statements are broken promises. This idea is reiterated by 10asee as he purposely uses redundancy at the end of the track to inquire about the questions we often ask ourselves but don’t necessarily say out loud. The take-away is that you have to believe in the words you preach, or else they will fall meaningless. This is especially true for musicians who draw inspiration from their checkered or storied pasts and are often judged because of it. Don’t knock something until you’ve lived it, and even if you’ve lived it, still, don’t knock it. To somebody somewhere, that story or film or song is their reality.