There was a time during the pandemic when Jacoby Browder, a Birmingham native who grew up around Prattville, was unemployed for around seven months. Add to that the pressure of being the non-working partner in a relationship and caring for a child, and Browder found himself in a depressed state of mind.
Fortunately Browder’s grandmother saw what was happening. Her advice to him was to write, and not in his usual style as Montgomery rap artist Jacoby X.
“She was texting me and telling me I need to write a book for kids,” Browder said. “At the time, I really wasn’t listening to what she was saying.”
Eventually, he came around to the idea.
“I took it as, this is God telling her something. This is God speaking to me through her,” Browder said. “So I should just take heed and start to write a book. It didn’t take me that long to get the inspiration after she inspired me.”
After meditating and praying on it, Browder said something clicked. It took him about two weeks to write “The Words I Speak I See,” which will be released in January. It’s available for pre-order now for $14.99 from Life Legacy Publishing at authorjbrowder.com. It’ll also be available at Barnes & Noble, Walmart, and Amazon.
“We’re having our first book launch event on Jan. 9,” Browder said.
While it’s a chapter book with illustrations, geared toward grades 5-12, Browder said it’s really for everyone.
“Basically, it’s about a young boy who struggles with self identity, self love, and the love he yearns for himself and the people around him, such as his family,” Browder said. “He struggles with being accepted with people from his school.”
As the boy progresses, he learns that his thoughts can create a positive reality.
“Basically, we’re trying to get people to understand that the way that they think and the way that they speak about themselves _ how they encourage or down themselves _ can change your life in a negative or a positive way,” Browder said.
It worked for Browder, who before the pandemic was a middle school teacher for autistic children. Browder said he’s gained pride and confidence from writing the book.
“It helped transcend my mind to a different place,” he said. “And I started receiving more blessings.”
He said part of the book’s proceeds will go to supporting mental health and autism programs.
Browder recently started his own company, Artists for Autism, Inc.
“We specialize going into programs at schools that have kids with autism and other mental and social disabilities,” Browder said. “We entertain and educate them through the arts.”
He’s also set up a nonprofit group affiliated with that.
“We’re networking with a lot of other similar programs,” Browder said.
MORE WITH JACOBY
Browder, who attended school at Marbury and then Prattville, went to Tuskegee University. He graduated from there with a degree in history.
“I liked to write, but I never had any interest in creating something for the world to read,” Browder said.
Instead, he wrote music for people to listen to as a rapper, singer, songwriter. Under Jacoby X, he’s released four mix tapes and three albums _ Unapologetically Me, Fake Vibes, and Restoration.
“I’ve been doing music since 2013,” said Browder, who in June went in depth on his music history for These Urban Times on the “Pull Up A Chair” podcast with Terrell Thomas.
Browder’s love of music started at around age 7. As a preacher’s child, he used to sneak to watch artists on BET like his favorite, Michael Jackson. But when it came to rap, Lil Wayne was tops.
Browder’s early rap was in church, but it wasn’t in a style he wanted. So, he set music aside and focused on sports at Prattville, which eventually led him to play football in Tuskegee. From there, he had an eye on stepping up to pro, but it didn’t happen.
In the middle of sports, he and Tuskegee teammate A.J. started focusing on music, working in the studio A.J. had in his dorm room. That partnership pushed Browder to improve his rap skills.
Browder would go on to open for big name artists like Lil Baby, 2chainz, Migos, and more.
“He’s an amazing artist,” said Diego The Great, who worked with Browder at DTG Studios in Montgomery, speaking on the 2019 Jacoby X No Apologies This Me Episode 2 video. “He already knows exactly how he wants it to sound before he gets here.”
Browder is improving still today, and said he’s keeping strong and positive for and with his son. They’d go into the studio together frequently during the pandemic.
“I want him to see that his dad is out here doing his thing,” Browder said.
Follow Browder on Facebook at Koby Antonio Coby, Twitter (at)browderjacoby, and on Instagram (at)jacoby_x.