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  • Writer's pictureDeric Hollings

Change Ur Beliefs

Updated: Sep 21, 2022

Today’s gym time gem—a song heard when working out—interrupted my sweat-time flow and had me nodding my head to the beat, and in agreement with the chorus. “Change Ur Beliefs” by Kxng Crooked, better known as Crooked I of Slaughterhouse, is nothing short of a banger, in my opinion.

Perhaps what makes the song even more appealing to me is the existential quality of a featured artist on the joint. Late rapper and producer Kevlaar 7 appears on the track, giving one pause to appreciate what is here while it is.

For those unaware, the chorus states:

“You never know which stage you can reach. If you don’t believe you’ll make it, quick, change your beliefs (Now). The friends you keep dictate what you reap. Some, you gotta’ drop, like a mixtape for the streets (Wow). And when ya’ get in, you play for keeps.”

Quite often, I hear people critique rap as harmful drivel. Or, as one person stated, “Rap is the worst garbage to ever exist and it is a talentless genre.” I support an individual’s right to express loathing for my preferred musical genre.

This morning, I thought of the complexity in the chorus of Crooked’s song. Line by line, here’s what I appreciate about it.

“You never know which stage you can reach.”

This is a quote that gives one hope. A self-defeatist attitude would render a decision such as, “There’s no use in trying, because everything is awful!” In Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), this is known as awfulizing.

Hope can stem from something as simple as acknowledging that one’s situation, while unpleasant, may change. It is simply a mild incontinence as is. This is no less or more of a lie than the notion that one’s situation is awful, horrible, or terrible.

“If you don’t believe you’ll make it, quick, change your beliefs (Now).”

If there were one sentence to sum up REBT, I propose the chorus succinctly captured it. REBT teaches clients to “recognize and change unreasonable attitudes, false beliefs, and expectations of failure.”

Therefore, if you find that rigid and extreme attitudes are causing you to disturb yourself, changing your beliefs could result in an improved outcome. Noteworthy, the chorus suggests when to perform such an action: “Now.”

“The friends you keep dictate what you reap.”

Growing up, I used to hear a line featured in “Mannish Boy,” by The Newcomers, which states, “The company you keep is the name you will carry.” As a side note, in my opinion, Lil Rob’s “Rough Neighborhood” did “Mannish Boy” justice on that firme rola, ese! Yet, I digress.

The adults issuing me the advisement weren’t telling me what I should, must, or ought to do. Rather, they were cautioning me to consider that the choices I made had consequences. This is akin to my approach with clients when using REBT.

I don’t prescribe to clients what they should do. Instead, I invite them to consider personal responsibility and accountability related to the consequences of their irrational beliefs. The beliefs you maintain lead to the consequences you’ll endure.

“Some, you gotta’ drop, like a mixtape for the streets (Wow).”

Speaking of friends dropping like the hip hop mixtapes of yesteryear, the chorus acknowledges that at times, we may need to remove people from our lives. Unlike some other psychotherapeutic modalities, REBT doesn’t function off of idealistic aspirations—not to be confused with hopefulness.

Rather than, as one source states, “putting an excessive emphasis on positive states, whilst failing to adequately consider negative experiences,” REBT instills hope through acknowledging the positive, negative, and neutral elements of life.

Though some may disagree, REBT is steeped in Stoic philosophy. Still, others challenge the merits of REBT altogether. Personally, I appreciate a therapeutic intervention that strengthens my outlook, not one that promotes victimhood.

When I consider that the consequences of my beliefs could lead to a healthy, unhealthy, or neutral outcome, I find hope in my ability to influence outcomes. I don’t lie to myself by claiming to control matters beyond my abilities, though to flexibly accept what is.

“And when ya’ get in, you play for keeps.”

The chorus acknowledges that if one reaches a sought after stage—suggesting goal-attainment—one plays for keeps, gives it one’s all. This requires both motivation (what one wants) and commitment (what one is willing to do).

I, for one, appreciate this so-called “talentless genre.” Given my assessment of the “Change Ur Beliefs” chorus, what do you think?

For more information about my approach to REBT, I invite you to read my following blog posts:

If you have any questions, concerns, or comments about this form of therapy, I encourage you to reach out using the contact widget on my website.

As a psychotherapist, and hip hop head from the old school, I’m pleased to help people with an assortment of issues from anger (hostility, rage, and aggression) to relational issues, adjustment matters, trauma experience, justice involvement, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, anxiety and depression, and other mood or personality-related matters.

At Hollings Therapy, LLC, serving all of Texas, I aim to treat clients with dignity and respect while offering a multi-lensed approach to the practice of psychotherapy and life coaching. My mission includes: Prioritizing the cognitive and emotive needs of clients, an overall reduction in client suffering, and supporting sustainable growth for the clients I serve. Rather than simply helping you to feel better, I want to help you get better!

Deric Hollings, LPC, LCSW


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