Creativity is an overused word. We are all creative. The process is the important factor. Sourcing that piece of you that puts fire in your belly. It doesn’t have to be painting. Or writing. Or music. Creativity has no mould for stereotypes.
I’ve written about drugs before. How to explain what drugs are to a child. Why people use drugs (you can read it in my book). Because people use them for a reason. And there’s no question they’ve played their part in my life. Some opening paths, answering questions I already knew the answers to. Connecting with nature. Dancing in the sharp shadows of enlightenment. Positive and negative. Dark and light. Seeing life from all angles. Embracing decay.
Artists lining my shelves have nearly all at one stage taken, enjoyed, written about and been consumed by drugs. Suffering it all. Coming back for more. Bill Hicks, Nick Cave, Hunter S. Thompson, Hemingway, Reznor, Hendrix, Manson, Iggy Pop. Safe to say there’s a fascination there for me. The connection to the elusive self that these drugs provide. Or the escape from that self. And what then? Do the semantics of that art produced then lose colour and heat in sobriety? Does the artist lose faith in their work while they lose faith in themselves? What happens to the fire when all the fun stops?
Chester P is one of the founding members of the legendary UK hip hop crew Taskforce. Known for his freestyling I was initially drawn to his lyrics. Nightmares. Beauty. Jaw dropping at times.
Having met Chester some time ago we had touched on his then more recent sobriety. It was clear to me at the time it was having a positive affect on his life. More recently I wanted to ask the man some questions. And this is what he said.
Is it fair to say that without certain drugs you would not be as successful as you are?
No I think it’s fair to say without certain drugs I would be more successful than I am, smoking weed habitually everyday for the best part of 30 years definitely left me somewhat reclusive, cocaine almost killed me and certainly knocked the wind out my creative sail, that said I became as successful as I intended I am not one for fame, I enjoy a humble life out of a constant limelight.
Is it fair to say that without certain drugs you would not be as self aware as you are?
Yes I think it’s fair to say things like L.S.D played a huge part in my awareness in general, along with many other hallucogens, but L.S.D I have been an avid user of, I have had many enlightening moments using it, on the flip side it’s not something to abuse and I am a very excessive person with an addictive personality so I have had my fair share of trouble with acid and all drugs too, it’s about knowing the difference between recreational drug use and taking drugs for spiritual purposes, and L.S.D particularly will kick your arse if it’s used abusively.
Describe your first trip for me
In all honesty it was a very long time ago, I was taking L.S.D every day of my life between the age of 14 to 16 and I honestly can’t remember my first all I do know is it was a thing that instantly became a part of my world, there are great experiences within the realms of acid.
Which drugs would you advocate and which would you question?
I question anything being used as a crutch to help you through reality, now I am older I can see that spiritual enlightenment is not found in the highs and lows of “drugs” it is something within us that must be unlocked, I will admit that you can attain shortcuts to wisdom via certain substances but these shortcuts can in fact be dangerous to your spiritual well being as they take you somewhere you may not of been naturally prepared for and can leave you severely depressed after it’s worn off, I think L.S.D is a beautiful thing used in the right environment for the right reason with the right people, but all our experiences are different and it really won’t agree with some people, meditation and working the middle path inwardly would be far more rewarding as tools to spiritual enlightenment though.
Do you feel your approach to work has changed since you’ve become sober?
Being sober for me was a matter of life and death, as I said I’m excessive and had an alcohol problem which would always lead me to cocaine and anyone honest with themselves who has or does take cocaine should admit that it’s the closest thing to the devil around, I had to stop doing it I was on a £150 a day habit in my 30’s, it destroyed my world, it ruined my soul, so funnily enough one night on L.S.D I had an epiphany, a realisation or a moment of clarity, and I saw who I was through honest eyes and then saw who I was supposed to be, and felt a strength grow inside me, like in a rocky film (anyone of them as they all have this scene) when he’s losing the fight and against the ropes being pulped, and he suddenly snaps out of it and fights back and goes on to defeat his opponent, that was me, I became tee total because if I continued smoking I would drink and if I drank I would sniff and that is my downfall, I am aware not everyone has the same excessiveness and if you take drugs and enjoy it in moderation and it brings you happiness I’m not trying to say don’t, I’m saying as long as you use drugs and they don’t use you then it’s ok, but we must analyse the fact that escapism is not really going to help in the long run, we must all of us face our reality one day, and the sooner the better.
Has accessing your creative powers become easier? Was it a challenge at first?
I always convinced myself weed was a major factor in my creativity, scared I wouldn’t be creative without it, I threw these cautions to the wind, in my mind I would rather of lost my creative flare and get sober than stay high and write poems, thankfully it wasn’t the case, I realise it is me who is creative weed was just something I did daily and I never knew how I wound live without it, or who I was without even, I’m much happier and much more creative than I had been, as a young man in my late teens up to my late 20’s I was highly prolific, this is not due to drugs it’s due to age, becoming in tune with my opinions and learning to express them creatively, I write less now than those days but I wasn’t really writing at all throughout the past 5 years, cocaine was all I was thinking about, sadly.
A lot has been written about the mental health benefits of certain hallucinogens. What’s your take?
Mental health will be affected in both positive and negative ways, what goes up must come down, for some people it could be really dangerous as they may not be ready to cope with what they find in their subconscious minds, for some it may awaken sleeping wisdoms and offer beautiful alternatives to the world they know, for all of us we must acknowledge there is good and bad in everything, don’t expect one without the other.
What advice would you give to anyone thinking of going clean?
No advice really, if you want it you will do it, when you realise all the fun has gone, and it only brings a monotonous pain then you will quit, some things are obviously harder to quit than others alcohol and heroin have severe physical withdrawal symptoms, (I never took heroin as I saw it’s damage first hand) not so easy to stop, but it’s all a matter of will, I have a huge strength of will I saw it like I was being bullied and all tough talk aside I will not let no one or thing bully me!
If you could rule the world which five rules would you implement first?
I would never rule the world, I long for a day we as humans find confidence and self awareness enough to rule ourselves, individually, I seek not the power to rule and refuse to be ruled, I am governed by the natural laws of magnetism, I study hermetic laws, inner alchemy, I wish only for freedom for all, be here now, anywhere else is futile, love yourself and all life that surrounds you, learn that we are all one, I mean the planets, stars, suns and moons, the animals and people, the trees and plants we all share one cosmic soul! Respect that soul and a lot of understanding will open for you!
Peace and love.
Huge respect to Chester for taking the time to not only share his wisdom but to do so with such honesty. You can follow him at @ChesterP_TF for more of the same.
And for the uninitiated here is a great start.