Updated: May 22, 2022
Music & Motivation
It’s o’dark hundred. A writing deadline is pressed against my temples and the upcoming day consists of sixty post-quarantine sixth-graders in crammed classrooms. I could pull the duvet over my head instead of rising to work on that novel, except there is a guitar riff in my head with the lyrical admonishment:
He who considers the wind, he won’t sow.
If you need to know everything, you won’t go.
If you never gon’ drop the bomb, you won’t blow.
If you hide your light, they-aint-gon'-see-your-soul glow.
So, Let’s Go!
This wouldn’t be the first time Yolanda Simpson’s music had gotten me to my feet, and not solely to dance to the hot basslines. I am passionate about supporting artists like her, who do more than sing for a supper, they inspire others with their gifts.
Yolanda, musical artist/composer/producer and my extraordinary little sister, has persevered in music for thirty years. She began in the same Los Angeles hip-hop scene as Dr. Dre, but contended with a male-dominated industry that preferred to leave music production to the boys. Despite this, she overcame the excuses—gender-prejudices, age, motherhood, and ongoing rejection from the industry—to continue doing what she was “called to do.”
After finding herself at a pivotal point, when ongoing obstacles could have caused her to forfeit a destiny in music, the passage Ecclesiastes 11:4 came to her mind. It is the same scripture that has become the tantalizing entrance to her debut single, “Let’s Go.”
“I still had something to say,” Yolanda explained in an interview, speaking of those truth bombs she spits on her tracks. “The music is in me.”
Yolanda continues to face hurdles in the secular and Christian music industries where her image has been porridge that is either too hot or too cold. The few women allowed on the secular hip hop scene are artists who sell overt sexuality like Nicky Minaj and Cardi B. For the Christian genre, where women are praised for docility and thus are nearly non-existent in inspirational hip hop, Yolanda’s scripture-infused music has been deemed too edgy and hard-hitting.
“Where do you put your gift when ain’t nobody checking for you?” a rhetorical question Yolanda posed with the implication that gifts must remain in action. “If you wait for all situations to be favorable, you will never do anything.”
Yolanda Simpson is the executive producer of Signet Productions,
which creates music for local artists, theatres, and organizations.
“Let’s Go” is not only a reflection of the determination Yolanda conjures when confronting her own fears and disappointments, it is a message for everyone. “There are many other people who feel the same way,” Yolanda said. “Somebody is sitting at a blank page, wanting to write that book, or to lose that weight. One day at a time, you must do something towards that thing that is in your heart, and don’t consider what people say, or how you feel, or what’s going on.”
Had it not been for her song in the early morning hours, I might not have ever made last month’s writing deadline. So, this article is a celebration of her and an admonishment to those with an ear for hip hop to add “Let’s Go” to your motivational playlists. Or put it on your gym line-up as it promises to get your jogging shoes on and those quarantine pounds off. And whether or not you are a hip-hop lover, we can all take Yolanda’s simple and potent recipe for success, which is also the morale to her song, “Get up. Do what you got to do. No more excuses.”
Follow Yolanda on Facebook. For links to "Let's Go," follow either...