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Community Portrait: Teen’s rocky journey makes him want to help others

Community Portrait
By: Story and photos Michael Kirby
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Brandon Scott recently got a car. It’s an older Honda, the air conditioner doesn’t work and the windows don’t roll down, but it’s OK because it’s all his. Considering his past, this is a big accomplishment. In his early teen years Scott, now 18, was heavily involved in drug and alcohol use and definitly headed down the wrong road. His addictions led him to problems with law enforcement and eventually Scott found himself in violation of probation, under the influence and sitting in jail. “While I was in jail I started to really think about my life and what I really wanted out of life, and where I was headed,” Scott said. Released from jail and checked into rehab, clean and thinking a lot clearer, Scott excelled. “I started learning about what was going on inside of me, why I had an addiction and what triggered my substance abuse and why,” he said. In rehab, Scott opened up and took on a leadership role with other teens in recovery. “One of the first things I learned in rehab was that I had to change every corner of my life,” Scott said. He soon found that as he got sober his so-called friends were nowhere to be found and stopped coming around. “They just wanted to get high and I was just getting in their way,” he said. Scott began to speak publicly and at high school forums about alcohol and drug abuse, performing his songs that mirrored his story to help other teens with their addiction issues. Always important to Scott was his love of his music. Before he was clean, Scott was into gangster rap and rap music about drugs. “Of course it was no coincidence, I was using,” he said. “After I started getting clean, that kind of rap just did not appeal to me anymore.” Scott writes and performs hip-hop music with a meaningful message of hope and survival. His lyrics reflect on his recovery and the importance of feeling good about yourself, self-confidence and of making it in life. He belongs to the local chapter of the Hip-Hop Congress, a non-profit organization that shares the positive aspects of hip-hop culture with Auburn’s young adults. Scott is a popular performer in area hip-hop shows telling his story, the story of self-respect and how he changed his life. No one could call his epiphany an easy road, but Scott’s wish is that others will hear his message. He performs under the name of “Chozin” from a lyric in one of his songs. Scott plays guitar, bass and drums and uses an electronic keyboard to write the background tracks that he performs to. As for the future, his plan B is to become a drug counselor. Plan A is to go to school and become an audio engineer. “I would also like to teach workshops in high school about drug addiction and the positive aspects of hip-hop culture,” he said. Sure, his past is always there and relapse always a danger, but he knows the triggers and has learned how to deal with it. Recently Scott moved to Loomis and works at a recycling center in Auburn. He performs whenever possible on stage. Mature beyond his years from his experiences, he’s really trying and his unique message delivery just may be able to help other young adults.