Through My Eyes: A Letter by K.L.U.B. Monsta (Joshua)

Knowledge Learned Under Birmingham. Joshua, a rapper and part of the hip-hop trio K.L.U.B. Monsta, harnesses the sound and philosophies of a Birmingham, Alabama native. He constantly cultivates a more established world view and shines light on the political landscape in his lyrics. A dedicated MC, he reflects the reality of Birmingham through the music. "I run around the city, Southside and Crestwood," he says. "I get my sense of perseverance from Birmingham." In this letter, written by Joshua, he speaks on the pitfalls of the nine to five and the creative process behind When Gawd Ready.

In the song ‘Thousand Hours’ off of our album When Gawd Ready, I say:

Sometimes I get lost in my 9 to 5 like what is really my life,
Potential for greatness there but I’m wasting it through my eyes

As an artist writing this line, I felt like my daily work responsibilities were taking away from my creativity. In the making of this album, I was able to find that right balance of work and creativity, but not without a struggle.

A bit older within the landscape of hip-hop, I have a certain amount of responsibilities that come directly in contrast with the art. Often, I lose sleep on weeknights and spend entire weekends in the studio.

I have 48 hours to focus on music until Monday comes and I’m back on the clock. By no means am I ungrateful for my everyday job. My job has provided the capital to fund my musical endeavors, videos, studio sessions, and a roof over my head.

This is not an “I hate my job” rant.

I just believe that I have more to offer than beyond the confines of a cubicle.

Barring layoffs or something crazy happening, I know that nine to five check will be there. That check is the same regardless of streaming numbers, Instagram likes, or press coverage. The stability of a consistent payday fosters a certain familiarity.

Finding joy in creating art and music pushes me.

I am motivated by gaining new followers and fans that genuinely enjoy our sound.

I want to reach people and make them feel something.

The rewards of a promising music career surpass what a work check can provide, but there are also perils involved in this rap shit.

We maneuver through a musical world ruled by business.

Honesty and integrity don’t always shine at the forefront. I understand that a lot of this industry is a facade and I don’t take it personally. This is the nature of the music business.

Once we finished this album, I felt relieved because I successfully balanced my work and creative life. We made something special. Leading up to the release, we dealt with finessers, and just plain sucka people. We sought insight and references from people we thought would help us. Many did help, but others went ghost. I’d rather someone tell us “no” instead of dropping off the map and leaving us in limbo.

Parts of the album process made me want to go back to my cubicle, do my little job, and take my ass home. At least I know the pitfalls that come with my day job.

I know the managers that aren’t the best.

I know the co-workers that don’t work.

I know how to tolerate customers that raise hell.

In music, surprises surface every day. The landscape leaves room to carve a unique path, but unlike a typical job, the hazards are not so obvious. 

We analyze each new situation and hope we can gather enough information to make the right decision. Sometimes, those decisions come back to burn.

I came across a few people that had zero integrity, no moral compass, and refused to honor their word. A few things I’ve learned from those experiences:

Number one, I learned that nobody owes us shit.

And number two, expect rejection.

Expect to be ignored.

Expect lies.

Expect people to not live up to what they say they can do.

Learn to work with the flaws in people so that when you do get burned, it doesn’t deter you. It’s just part of the path.

I always go back to that verse on Thousand Hours:

Sometimes I get lost in my 9 to 5 like what is really my life,
Potential for greatness there but I’m wasting it through my eyes

I wrote that bar wanting to tap into greatness. In rough times, I never want to lose the drive to produce great art, to passionately fulfill a purpose. Greatness is transforming a seemingly stagnant situation into a movement.

I have to continue to push.

I have to keep working and investing in myself without the promise of a breakthrough.


- Joshua

Listen to When Gawd Ready by K.L.U.B. Monsta on Spotify:

Watch the music video for 'Vacant Thrones' (directed by Tig Knight) by K.L.U.B. Monsta:

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