positive rap music

Welcome To The Fellowship Is Coming Soon!

Chris Swan’s sophomore release from Soul Motivation Records is coming November 6th, 2018!

Welcome To The Fellowship contains 10 songs that chronicle Swan’s story of struggle, recovery and ultimately hope!

“My mission with this record is to help others overcome their obstacles and to find the hope that is waiting for them,” says Swan.

Hit the button to pre-save it on Spotify today! 

How To Be Perfect

"I always thought that I was supposed to try to be perfect."

I am a perfectionist. Always have been since I was a little kid. Almost to the point of being obsessive about some things. I am very grateful that God made me this way because it drives me to work hard and to strive to be better. But it has also brought its challenges.

My goal has always been perfection. I don’t think I really realized that in my conscious mind for a long time, but in my subconscious mind that has always been what I was trying to achieve. And the reason is this:

If I’m perfect, then no one can hurt me.

If I have no flaws and I am superior at everything I do, then no one can say anything negative about me. Even better, if they do, I’ll know they are crazy because I’m perfect. I have no flaws. My pursuit of perfectionism was my defense mechanism. I know this is true because even to this day if someone says something bad about me or I feel inferior somehow, I get a drive in the pit of my stomach to go be the best at something. That’s when I want to practice the most, or write songs or study something. Because I want to be able to prove to them that I am amazing. So I go to work mumbling under my breath “I’ll show them!”

The real result of this mindset has been constant failure and a very deep, dark depression. I could never live up to my expectations of myself, therefore, I was always failing. Instead of being the best at something, I was a loser at everything. I began to hate myself because of this. And it got worse and worse as I got older. Until one day I looked in the mirror and I was a 500+ pound alcoholic.

I was frustrated and sad constantly. I could never accept love from other people because I didn’t love myself. I was lonely. Never good at long term relationships. I was finding comfort in food and alcohol. Like A LOT of food and alcohol! And I was barely hanging on to life. On the outside I seemed cool, laid back and fun. But on the inside I was steaming mad at myself, stressed out and angry.

Is this what being perfect is all about?

I finally had to accept the fact that I will never be perfect. Ever. It is hard for me to even type that sentence right now. But I finally know that it’s true. And I know it has been a big source of pain in my life. I have to let it go.

Now, I am striving to be perfectly imperfect. I laugh at myself a lot because I really love who I am. The pressure is off. I can be me and use all that energy I use to put towards trying to be perfect towards something that matters. Like making music that will change people’s lives. Telling my story to those who need to hear it. And being a part of a community again full of imperfect folks just like me.

I wrote a song all about my struggle with perfectionism called….ready for it…”Perfect.” If perfectionism is something you struggle with, I hope you’ll take a minute to check it out. I think you will be able to relate to a lot of it. And I think you may walk away knowing you are already perfect the way you are.

Coming October 1st, 2018!

P.S. Funny side note. I made a few short promotional videos announcing this single to the world. On accident, I misspelled a word in two of them. After publishing them to my Facebook page, I noticed I had misspelled a word. I could have taken them down and fixed it. The old me wanted to. But I decided to leave them up. What a fitting tribute to a song called “Perfect.” :)

Lost?  Not sure where to go next?

An Apology Letter To Hip-hop

Hiphop Apology.png

Dear Hip-hop,

I owe you an apology.  I'm sorry I walked away from you all those years ago.  I just couldn't handle how much you had changed.  When we met, you use to inspire me with your clever lyrics and thought provoking prose.  You use to make my day better with your infectious beats.  I remember, spending entire days hanging out with you.  Back in the day, I use to lose sleep because I was so excited for my Columbia House CD's to arrive.  I knew with each package that was delivered to my house, you would deliver to me so much truth, hope, joy and excitement.  I knew every time you showed up at my house, I was going to learn something new.  I was going to experience something I've never experienced before.  And I would be inspired and challenged to create my own songs that were even half as good as the ones you gave me.

But then you changed.

You became bitter and dark.  You began to focus entirely on the negatives in the world.  You began to lose your wit and wordplay that use to inspire me so much.  Soon, all you wanted to talk about was girls, jewelry and money.  It seemed like all you cared about was immediate gratification because you saw the world as messed up beyond compare.  And don't get me wrong, I like all those things too, but come on man.  There's more to you than that.

Look, I know you've been through a lot.  I know you have had to watch a lot of injustice done to you, your friends and your family.  I know you've been pissed at the world.  And I totally understand why.  I'm pretty pissed too, sometimes.  But I know there is still hope inside you.  I know the world is not a perfect place, but you always helped me see the better side of people.  You always helped me see the good that still exists in the world.  And I need you now.  We all do.  More than ever.

I'm not saying you can't go out and fight some battles.  That's part of your responsibilities too.  But please don't turn your back on all the good stuff.  And please don't let people make you part of the problem.  You are above all that.  And it's time to show the world who you really are.

I'm really sorry I didn't understand all this better all those years ago.  I was young and naive.  Instead of trying to understand you better, I just gave up.  I should have stuck with you and encouraged you all this time, but I thought you had given up so why shouldn't I? 

I was wrong. 

You've always been there, trying to figure this all out.  I can't control you.  You are free to be who you want to be.  So I am going to let you be free.  I promise I will always look for the good in you because I know it is always there.  And I'll be here with you during the bad times too.  Right by your side.  Rooting you on. 

Thank you for being such a huge part of my life.  I'll never leave you again.  And I really believe you were meant to change the world.  I'm here to help in anyway I can.


You're #1 fan.

Why I Stopped Messing Around

"I don't even miss how it use to be."

The Mess Around.jpg

I am an alcoholic.  Through and through.  I have never been able to go out and have one drink.  If I'm going to drink, I'm going to do it right.  I am going to get drunk.  And not just a little buzzed.  I mean really drunk.  But after years of drinking so much, it became really hard to get drunk.  I was drinking Long Island Teas with Grand Marnier shots all night long.  I remember, I would show up for gigs, down two long island teas and two shots of Grand Marnier back to back before I even started playing!  It was becoming harder and harder to get drunk.  Drinking became a chore.  It wasn't fun anymore.  And here's the real catch - I didn't even like the taste alcohol!  I just liked the effect.  So finally I found myself just trying to gulp down as much as I could as fast as I could, holding back urges to throw up, just trying to get drunk.  I knew something had to change.

"Not looking back on what I use to see."

It wasn't until I ended up in the ER with severe heart palpitations that I realized this was a life or death situation and all this madness was not worth dying for.  I lied there on the gurny while they were running tests on me just thinking "What am I doing?"  I remember, hearing someone in the room next to me crying out in pain.  It was so heartbreaking and I knew that would be me soon if I didn't make a change.  I decided then and there to quit drinking.  That was over 2 years ago now and I haven't had a drink since!

"Stronger now than I was before."

The real miracle is that after I quit drinking, I continued to work in bars every night.  I had to sit there and watch everyone else getting drunk and having a good time, while I drank water and watched in envy.  It was really hard for the first 3 months or so.  I would feel pretty bitter most of the time and just get out of there as soon as my gig was done.  But as time passed, I grew stronger.  I just couldn't stop thinking about how miserable I felt all the time when I was drinking.  I was in a constant haze everyday, perpetually hung over.  No energy.  Little motivation.  In the worse physical shape I've ever been in in my life.  There was no way I was going to go back to that life, so I hung in there night after night.  Day after day.

"You can't take this life from me, don't mess around anymore."

Now, I can't even imagine going back to that life of drinking.  I feel so much better, yes, but I also feel a freedom I never felt when I was drinking.  There is something really beautiful about letting go of an obsession or addiction.  It lets you enjoy life again.  It lets you feel emotions again.  Drinking was stealing my joy away one shot at a time.  I thought it was making me happy but it was really making my life miserable.  I was caught in a cycle of obsession that I couldn't get out of.  There is no way I could go back to that life now.  Don't get me wrong, I get tempted occasionally just like everyone else.  But all I have to do is go back to that night in the ER in mind, remember how miserable and scared I felt, and any temptation I was feeling disappears. 

I am so grateful to be sober over 2 years now.  Most of my friends and family have been really supportive of my choice to quit.  But some people don't get it.  Misery loves company and often I encounter people who want to buy me a drink and don't quite understand why I would say no.  So I wrote a song along with Chela Mancuso (an incredibly talented singer and songwriter) about these experiences called The Mess Around.  I'm excited for you to hear it!  It's all about living a sober life in an alcoholic world.  It's my declaration to those who don't get it. 

I don't mess around anymore.  I got things to do.

The Mess Around (feat. Chela Mancuso)
Coming August 1st, 2018!

Lost?  Not sure where to go next?

New Singles From Chris Swan Every Month!

Yep, you heard that right.  Starting May 1 2018, I will be releasing a new single every month up until the release of my new album in November.  Oh yea, I have a new album coming out in November!  I'm so excited for you to hear it.  It's all about the simple joys and complex heartaches that we all go through in life.  This album is me talking to you about the struggles I have as well as the moments of victory.  I want you to know you are not alone.  And I want you to know that there is always H.O.P.E.!

I know you will find peace, comfort and encouragement in these songs just like I do.  And with the power of music on your side, you are destined to live the amazing life you deserve!




The new single from Chris Swan
Coming May 1, 2018!




Lost?  Not sure where to go next?

Top 10 Positive Rappers


I love hip-hop.  The music.  The culture.  It has been such a big part of my life since I was a kid.  I don't know if you are like me, but I have grown really tired of hip-hop being painted in such a negative light all the time.  So many people don't understand the music.  It's incredibly frustrating.  

I know a big part of the problem is that so much popular hip-hop music is focused on money, drugs, violence, and strippers.  And although all those subjects may have their place in hip-hop, I'm tired of these things always being the focus.  Music should lift us up.  Encourage us.  Not continue to take us down a dead end path of self-destruction.

The good news is there are a lot of rap artists making positive music.  I am here to tell you that positivity is alive and well in rap music today.  And to get you started on your journey into the positive side of rap, here are my top 10 favorite positive rappers along with a few key tracks to check out ASAP!

**NOTE:   Most of these songs have clean lyrics, but some of them have explicit lyrics.  It's my belief that a song can be positive and empowering while still having cuss words in it.  In my own music, my goal is to keep it clean, but that is not every artists priority.  I have marked the artists that use explicit lyrics so you can skip those if explicit lyrics offend you.



Key Tracks:  Rose Garden, Keep ShiningI Get Down




Key Tracks:  I Ain't Gave Up On You Yet, Daywalkers, Excellent




Key Tracks:  Manolo, Clouds, Too Cold





**WARNING:  Explicit Lyrics**

Key Tracks:  Truth Is, Own Light, Forest Whitaker




Key Tracks:  You Can't Stop Me, Uncomfortable, KIDZ





Key Tracks:  Let You Down, Wake Up, Therapy Session





**WARNING:  Explicit Lyrics**

Key Tracks:  Immigrants, Dreamer, I Come Prepared





**WARNING:  Explicit Lyrics**

Key Tracks:  No Problem, Blessings, Juice





**WARNING:  Explicit Lyrics**

Key Tracks:  The Light, Glory, GO!



Key Tracks:  Blessings, I'll Find You, Can't Stop Me Now


What do you think of the list?  Who are some of your favorite positive rappers?  Let me know in the comments!

Can Hip-hop Be Positive?


When I use the term "positive hip-hop," I get some funny looks.  First of all, there are the hip-hop haters who still believe nothing good can come from hip-hop.  These are the people who heard a 2 Live Crew song in the 90's and think that that song represents everything that rap is.  And as much as 2 Live Crew has its place in the rap history books, hip-hop is so much more than "Me So Horny" and those of us who are real fans, know that.  But I also get funny looks from hip-hop heads when I use the term "positive hip-hop."  I think a lot of the heads think that hip-hop can't say anything meaningful if it's positive.  Like putting the term "positive" on something makes it corny and therefore meaningless. 

Can you be positive and still keep it real?

Hip-hop began as a way to get the party started.  It was music that was used to put us in a good mood.  That's why a lot of old-school hip-hop is so corny.  It was just a bunch of dudes (and, yes, a few girls too) having fun, partying, trying to out-do each other with words as they began to figure this new style of music out.  It was a good time.  One might even say it was "positive."  But then that style became cheesy.  It wasn't cool enough anymore and hip-hop had to fight back to remain relevant.  Hip-hop had to grow up and be cool again.  Hip-hop had to get real.  And it did.  This music told us stories that some of us lived every day and some of us couldn't believe were true.  Hip-hop showed the world what was really going on.  All the violence.  All the injustice.  All the ugly.  Hip-hop turned on the spotlight and pointed it right at the things we didn't want to think about.  It made us face it.  It made us deal with it.  It made us talk about it.

Hip-hop had to tell these stories.  Music needs to be real.  Music needs to speak to our hearts and minds and so hip-hop can't just be a party all the time.  It needs to have all of its voices heard.  But somewhere along the way, we forgot that hip-hop can still be a positive force.  It can show us the problems, but it can also show us the solutions.


The music we love should not just be lost in a sea of frustration and anger.  It should not just be a tool to exploit our sins and give us an excuse to give up.  There is so much power in music and we can't forget to use that power for good too.  HIp-hop can show the world the way to freedom.  It can open up our minds and create a dialogue between all people.  It can be used to remind us of all the amazing things that happen in this world every day.  It can show us the possibility in our lives.  That's why hip-hop needs a positive voice.  We shouldn't look down on "positive hip-hop" as being a subpar form of music.  It should be lifted up as a hopeful resource that can bring the changes into our world that we really need. 

Hip-hop can save the world.

There is a place for all voices to be heard in the world of music.  If you are a hip-hop hater, take a second to remember the millions of people this music speaks to daily.  You don't have to like it, but you have to respect it and believe it is a crucial instrument of hope for a lot of people.  If you are a hip-hop head who thinks all positive music is corny, remember, the world is a harsh place.  And even if you don't feel like you need it today, the day will come that you will need a positive voice in your life.  And that voice would best be delivered through the music you love.  You don't have to like it, but you have to respect it.  Because somewhere right now positive hip-hop is changing someone's life, and it may just change yours someday too.