Earlier today, Charlotte, NC, rapper MESSIAH! released his long-awaited project, THRU THE WINTER.

THRU THE WINTER is a collection of 11 songs, detailing MESSIAH!’s journey through battling seasonal affective disorder. The entire project seeks to highlight the realities of depression and hopelessness—often intensified during the winter months—while simultaneously promoting self-empowerment as a tool to combat those hard times. The project begins strongly promoting this message in with first song, as MESSIAH! starts PANEL 51 by saying, “I’m going to make something out of nothing when the rain comes. They can never tell me what I wasn’t, cuz’ I ain’t done. I done tried to die but my spirit wouldn’t let me.” After listening to the project in its entirety, listeners are left with a feeling of personal triumph and a newfound sense of self-motivation.

SiKK Magazine sat down with MESSIAH! pre-release to discuss the ideas surrounding this impending project. Read our interview below with MESSIAH! to gain further insights into the creative process that led to THRU THE WINTER:

MESSIAH! for SiKK shot by @nadira.rene

"I first started working on THRU THE WINTER in the summer of 2018. At the end of the year of 2018, I realized that all of my songs sounded similar and they sounded very different from DEADMAN—there’s a real empowering streak that’s consistent throughout. From there, I kind of just combined everything to paint one picture."

MESSIAH! for SiKK shot by @nadira.rene

"I realized that every winter I was fucked up. I made DEADMAN in the winter, I made HARD TO KILL in the winter. Every year, I kind of just was real depressed and unhappy and unfulfilled during the winter. I started experimenting with pills during the winter. Making THRU THE WINTER was my first winter without taking any pills or any sedatives—it was my first winter without a crutch. I made it through the winter on my own, literally."

MESSIAH! for SiKK shot by @nadira.rene

"It’s hard to choose a favorite. I think it’s between HOMEBOUND and red clay because they are kind of the same song, just with different sonic displays of the same theme. HOMEBOUND was a song I made after my uncle was killed last summer. It’s the most recent song on there, and it sums up the whole project very well. Red clay, I love it because it’s also about home. It just feels and sounds like home."

MESSIAH! for SiKK shot by @nadira.rene

"My favorite part of making any project be experimenting.I love finding out what different ways I can paint a picture—what different sounds, words, thoughts, imagery I can use—and having it come together as one thing that is cohesive. I think that also might be the most difficult part too—bringing together a cohesive thing using all these different brush strokes."

MESSIAH! for SiKK shot by @nadira.rene

"Whatever you put yourself in, there is power in because there is power in you…find that power in yourself and harness that."

You can stream THRU THE WINTER by searching @MESSIAH! on Soundcloud.

Photos: MESSIAH! shot by @nadira.rene for SiKK Nation LLC.