Melanated Fathers of America had the opportunity to sit down and talk to Sacramento, CA Recording Artist M’ster Lewis!!
We talked about his childhood, his music career and the importance of building a foundation with your children, and of course his path to having a conscious mind!!
So, tell us a little bit about your childhood?
Okay, I grew up out here in Sacramento. I’ve been out here my whole life. Growing up it was mainly just me and my mom. My dad was around and in my life until about 3rd or 4th grade. He started moving in and out at that point. It felt like every year he had a new woman.
5th grade is when I remember him not being around. He would leave and come back all the way through my freshman year of high school. My mom and he just decided to split up and he just moved out for good.
I would see him every once in a while, but he was doing his thing and I was doing mine. Yeah man, I really just grew up playing basketball running around outside just trying to be a kid you know, as much as possible.
Sounds like it was tough having him in and out your life. When your dad was around, what type of relationship did you guys have?
I would say it was a cool relationship. He was really playful, we would play fight and stuff like that, I just enjoyed him being around. He wasn’t financially stable all the time but I didn’t care too much about that. Even though my mom brought that stuff up and it was in my ear I didn’t really notice it too much.
Having a male role model in those pivotal years are important. How did not having him there affect your childhood?
When I was younger, I really didn’t think about it that much. I was always playing, you know running around outside and my mom would ask me “you want to go with your dad?” and I would go with him, but I was young, so I don’t think I took it that seriously.
Now that I’m older I do feel like it affected my relationships with people in general and my family. As far as never really feeling like I had a family, as far as togetherness is concerned. You know? Things like sitting down at the table when eating or even family reunions.
I never even had one of those. My mom was adopted, I never really connected with her adopted family. My dad doesn’t know his dad and I really wasn’t too comfortable with his mom. She just did her own thing, she wasn’t involved in my life like that.
So, I feel like all I had was my mom growing up, and of course my brothers and sisters, when they came around. I had some friends that I was close to as well. I really feel like my dad not being around, and me just being with my mom threw off my stability and my foundation.
I believe even my relationships with women have been affected, he never really taught me too much about relationships or money. Even teaching me how to go out and get a job. You know? I had to learn all that stuff on my own.
That had to be tough, sometimes people forget how important a father’s presence can be in a young boy’s life. Being that your older and have a better understanding of how life works. How’s your relationship with your father today?
It’s not that good right now. There was a point that I became really serious about being vegan and changing my diet and my lifestyle. I was pushy with my parents, I would say things like: “Y’all need to change your diet” My dad has back problems.
At times, when he’s been drinking, he becomes really forgetful. He has been doing better with the drinking, I just wanted him to be more health conscious. We don’t talk as much as we used too, just messages on Facebook.
He would send me stuff to my inbox, I would send him stuff to his inbox. Well, one day he got upset at me because I sent him some information about rats peeing on cans and somebody dying from it. I sent that to him because I know he drinks a lot of soda.
He has a lot of canned food in his house, I was just trying to make them aware of the stuff that goes on out here. He got upset and said, “You better stop sending me that shit, you better watch which messages you sending me!” I was like this dude is tripping, I’m not even messing with him no more.
That’s how I felt because I’m so serious about this health movement, this conscious movement. That’s all I do, that’s all I talk about. I can’t even mess with him like that, You know? What are we going to talk about? I’m changing my life in every area that I feel necessary for me to be successful. It’s like he doesn’t want to change. I’m just going to let him be him, and do what he does.
That’s an unfortunate chain of events hopefully, one day your dad will know you were only trying to help. Do you have kids?
I have two of my own, but three altogether. My baby mom has a kid that I also take care of. He’s nine now, I’ve been in his life since he was three.
It’s great to see you have taken on that role in his life, some men wouldn’t have done that. Have you used the experiences from your childhood with your father to help parent your kids?
There’s a lot of things I told myself I was not going to do like my dad. So being around, being present in my kid’s life. Showing them, teaching them trying to mold them. I’ve learned from my dad, even the bad things that happened in our relationship.
I feel they’re lessons that can be learned in everything. I told myself, you know I’m going to be here for my kids at all times. Even with my stepson, as a young guy, I remember my dad helping out with my mom’s kids that weren’t his. That’s something I learned from him, so my dad showed me a lot, just in different ways, you know?
Ok, I like your attitude. It seems like your trying to make the best out of your experiences. Listening to you talk about health and consciousness I can tell that’s something important to you. How did that come to be?
You know, I grew up listening to my grandma and reading the bible like everybody else. I think the Consciousness did stem from going to church and reading the Bible because there is stuff in the Bible that I learned from, as far as Proverbs and Ecclesiastics it helped me become aware of certain situations and scenarios.
It always had me thinking about situations that I got myself into it. When I started doing music I began researching more just looking into health, when it started getting into health that’s really when I started to change my mind about this whole Jesus thing.
I always felt like I was conscious, as far as having a little awareness of what was going on around me. My mom is sick, she has lupus. The whole praying to heal thing never really work for my mom or anybody that I know.
So, when I started getting into health it really opened my eyes a lot more to the things that I have to do for myself. I noticed that man I must do this on my own, I don’t have anybody coming to help me. That’s really when I start opening my eyes to self-love, you know what I mean.
How do the people around you feel about the changes you have made in your life?
Really it started with my parents when I took my kids out of school and began changing our diet. People around me thought it was just crazy. They would say things like “Why are you going to stop eating meat, we’ve been eating this way since you were little!!”.
My dad would always tell me “I took you out to eat all the time and you liked it then” My mom was that way at first but now she is starting to warm up to eating healthier. With her being in and out of the hospital so much I know she’s always had eating healthier on her mind.
I would read facts about the benefits of healthy eating they thought I was watching too many YouTube videos. (laughs) When I took my kids out of public school and put them into homeschool most of my family thought I was going to mess my kids up.
They figured my kids would miss out on so much, like playing sports and socializing with the other kids. They also mentioned the prom and school dances, stuff like that. I just didn’t think so, when I look back on my life and all the things that I missed out on, in my opinion, were never in school.
I just never thought that was it for me. I always figured it was something else I missed out on. I had to wrap my mind around everything I’ve done in my life, what my parents have put me through and what we all are doing, just to follow the system.
Okay, so let’s move on to music, tell us a little bit about your group Conscious Mindz?
The original name of the group was Creative Music. I had a whole different group except for one person that’s still in the group now his name is Hills. Once we started getting into this whole awareness of the food thing and just learning more about Jesus.
Learning that everything they taught us in school wasn’t the truth. I just really started rapping about what was on my mind. The people that run society are not trying to build us up. They want us to be systematic slaves. When I started learning about that, I put it in the music.
Ok. I feel what you’re saying. It’s important to spend some time un-learning some of the things we were taught by society. How many people are in the group?
Three right now. It’s me, Self-Made and Hills. We’re out here trying to do as much as we can. We were just at the J Cole and Common show that was here in Sacramento. I do a lot of free shows. I bring my box anywhere I feel there’s going to be a lot of people.
I pull it out and just start doing music. I’m trying to control everything on my own. I don’t want to have to wait for a promoter, besides there aren’t any promoters out here that I see. Prime tracks, the promoter that I work with right now he’s really supporting what we’re doing.
He sets up shows for us that are based on how we want to move. A lot of people out there aren’t supporting the movement. They are just doing the same old thing. You know? just supporting the same type of music.
It has a lot to do with marketing and people are trying to make money every way they can. Sometimes, I’m like man these people aren’t supporting me. Overall, I’m appreciative of where I’m at right now.
So, if you could talk to a young man who has a child or may have a child on the way, what advice would you offer him?
I will tell him to focus on getting he self-right. It’s important to always have a foundation for your kids, teaching your kids how to do for themselves. Even at a young age, anything that they can do to create for themselves and not rely on the system for everything.
I would tell him to teach your kids a craft, get him into sports. Don’t get me wrong, there is more to it than just Sports and Entertainment though. I would also tell him to let your kids be creative, see what they like. Ask them things, have conversations with your kids.
One thing that I should have done before having kids was focus on getting my money right and my household right. That’s something young people don’t think about. Just making sure I had a place to live on my own, not in my mom’s house.
Making sure that I wanted to be with the woman long term before having kids. It’s important not to focus on those good times that you may have with a female. Sometimes that will blind you from what’s actually going on. Like not dealing with the fact that you’re always arguing and fighting because the sex is good. Just having a Foundation, you build for yourself.
Now, tell everybody where they can find your music?
You can find my music on Sound Cloud as well as my Youtube channel. Just type in M’ster Lewis. Thanks for having me man, I appreciate the look.