Chicago Lighthouse helps resident Rapper pursue his dreams

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Rapping is more than just rhymes, it's a passion and a form of self-expression. That's why the resident rapper at the Chicago Lighthouse is not letting his disability stand in the way.

"I always loved rap and I always was intrigued by it. I feel like I could not play basketball or football, so it was the one way I could use my mind as a tool to be great," said Lighthouse rapper Martell Hill.

Hill was born with Cerebral Palsy and later diagnosed with Stargardt, a disease that impacts the central vision. A diagnosis that brought him to the Chicago Lighthouse.

Hill said being at the lighthouse changed his personal life and allowed him to pursue his passion.

"Allowing me to work with them and provide accessibility allowing me to express myself with rapping, which is my dream I am perusing," Hill said.

"We launch careers. We want to impact lives positively. When you have someone like Martell, who is so talented in so many different ways and exudes positivity, you just want to work with him more. You want to see him succeed and I know he will succeed," said President and CEO of Chicago Lighthouse Janet Szlyk.

By day Martell works in the call center at the Lighthouse and by night he's performing.

"It's a freedom to just say what you want. It feels great. Whether I'm talking about my life or a situation that is going on with the world or the Lighthouse, I get to give my perception," Hill explained.

Hill has a goal to make it to big stages like the Chicago Theater and one day go on tour. Pursuing his passion and hopefully inspiring others along the way.

"One thing I would like for people to understand, as far as me rapping, is that I'm good at what I do because of how hard I work and not because I am disabled. I put a lot into it, you know. It takes a lot for me to rap because of the nights I spend in the studio. I'm great because of my talent not my disability," Hill said.

That confidence makes him prepared to drop a freestyle at any time

"Rapping is all I ever dreamed about and when and you know when I freestyle I get lyrical. I wish I had my watch on and it would tell me it's time for a miracle," Hill said.
Copyright © 2020 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.