Rooftop Reverend: Songs That Kept My Spirits High

Chicago Pastor Corey Brooks spent three months living on the rooftop of an abandoned motel near his church. He was raising money to tear down the building because it had become a magnet for crime. Pastor Brooks met his goal. For Tell Me More's series "In Your Ear," Brooks shares the songs that helped him endure his rooftop residence.

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MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

We'd like to end the program today with the occasional series we call In Your Ear. That's where some of our guests tell us the songs they listen to for a little inspiration.

Today, we hear from Pastor Corey Brooks of New Beginnings Church in Chicago. We hope you remember him. He was on our program earlier this year to tell us about how he spent several months living on the rooftop of an abandoned motel near his church. He wanted to raise awareness about the crime in that building and raise enough money to tear it down. It took three months but Pastor Brooks met his goal and the motel was demolished in March. And after his interview, Pastor Corey Brooks told us the songs he was listening to to keep his spirits up.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "FREEDOM LOOKS GOOD ON ME")

NEW BEGINNINGS CHURCH OF CHICAGO: (Singing) I'm free. I'm free. I'm free...

PASTOR COREY BROOKS: My name is Corey Brooks and I'm the pastor of New Beginnings Church of Chicago and this is what I'm listening to in my ear.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "FREEDOM LOOKS GOOD ON ME")

(SOUNDBITE OF HANDCLAPPING)

CHICAGO: (Singing) I'm free. Free from insecurities. Free from all negativity. Free. Ain't no stopping me. I'm free. Freedom looks good on me.

BROOKS: The first song that I love is called "Freedom Looks Good On Me" and it's by, of course, New Beginnings Church of Chicago. And the reason why I love that song is because it helps people who are in bondage by habits, hurts and hang-ups to get out of their addictions and to know that they can live a life of freedom.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "FREEDOM LOOKS GOOD ON ME")

CHICAGO: (Singing) ...climb a mountain top. I'm free. Give me life more abundantly. Praise God. I've got the victory. Can't help it. Got to shout it down. I'm free. Somebody say. Free. Freedom is...

BROOKS: I love slow music and I love different types of music. But another song that I love is called "Talk About Our Love" by Brandy featuring Kanye West.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "TALK ABOUT OUR LOVE")

BRANDY: (Singing) I swear they got some nerve. Spreadin' what they heard. I can't give them no run. I can't be concerned with all that talk. I won't be involved. That's my word. See I'm not the one.

BROOKS: I liked it because it has a nice funky groove to it. And I know someone's going to say a pastor shouldn't be listening to that, but it sounds really good and I love it.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "TALK ABOUT OUR LOVE")

BRANDY: (Singing) Why you talking about me? When they don't know one thing about. Instead they just runnin they mouths. So all we do is tune them out. Kanye.

KANYE WEST: (Rapping) Here's a couple of things I can't honor man. How you listen to a girl who still wanna man. Tell me the truth is that a man or Juwanna Man. I'm wonderin' why she ret ta go, like Wanda Van. When we met you was a V like Madonna man. Now you went field runnin' plays like Donovan McNabb before you get in a cab. I trade in my cab just to take you back to last summer man. You don't remember...

BROOKS: And there's another song that I love. It's a real old song but it reminds me of when I was growing up in high schools by Tony Toni Tone and it's called "Just Me and You."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "JUST ME AND YOU")

TONY TONI TONE: (Singing) Just me and you, ooh baby. Just me and you.

BROOKS: Number one, I like it because it is, you know, you can dance to it. But I probably like it secretly - I wouldn't say this in front of my wife, she would probably kill me - but it just probably reminds me of my first love in high school. You know how you had that first love in high school? And the song is like it's just me and you and it's just like a Bonnie and Clyde type thing, us against the world. So I think that's why like that song.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "JUST ME AND YOU")

TONE: (Singing) ...feel like you can make me happy. Take a trip to the car and let me do my thang. Forget about what you heard let's get personal. Just me and you. Just me and you...

MARTIN: That was Pastor Corey Brooks telling us what's playing in his ear.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "JUST ME AND YOU")

TONE: (Singing) Don't worry about Michael. Don't worry about Johnny. Don't worry about Terry, baby.

MARTIN: And that's our program for today. This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Let's talk tomorrow.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "JUST ME AND YOU")

TONE: (Singing) Don't worry about Tracey. Don't worry about Tina. Don't worry about a damn thang. We don't need nobody else. Just me and you. As far as my personal taste is concerned. I really really love the way you making me wait so long. Now that the both of us really know each other...

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