MONCTON – A legally blind rap artist in Moncton is making his way across the Maritimes using his voice and powerful lyrics to help others to see beyond his disability.
Mike MDB Dow is originally from Amherst, N.S. — his music is edgy and his image is anything but squeaky clean, but there is no denying the message in his song “Blind Man”.
Dow says he is trying to overcome the stigma of being blind.
“The message is that I am just like everyone else and blindness does not mean I can rap better than anyone,” he said.
Dow was born with a cyst pressing on his optic nerve and lost his sight at the age of two.
“At one point I was completely blind, but after I had the cyst removed some vision came back,” he said.
However, he was still legally blind and spent much of his young life unable to accept that he was different.
“Elementary school was tough,” he said. “I got into a lot of fights because I didn’t even like the word blind.”
But then Dow turned to music at the age of 12 and found self-acceptance through his lyrics.
“It made me stand out in a good way. They already respected the talent, and then find out I have an obstacle and they have that much more respect,” he said.
Dow is currently on tour in the region and plans to take his show on the road to Ontario. Part of the proceeds from every show will be donated to the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB).
Amanda Bent from the CNIB says Dow has been a long-time a client of the organization.
“He’s just a great enthusiastic young man and is really a great ambassador for our cause,” she said.
Dow is refreshingly honest and admits he’s no angel. Images from an online documentary show him partying and dabbling in drugs.
“I feel like I am a good person,” he said. “I don’t feel like drinking or smoking … has any influence on me as a personality as a person.”
He’s a rapper, but first and foremost he’s all about giving back.
“With rap, the stereotypes for it are sex, drugs and violence, which isn’t necessarily true,” he said.
“There ire all different perspectives. It depends on who is talking about it. They say to know a book truly you need to know the author, and it’s the same with music.”
© Shaw Media, 2014