“Datin is a man after God’s heart. Datin is a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and Datin is an everyday, regular dude.”
Datin’s new album Hell in the Hallway in intended to encourage the listener “no matter what trial they’re going through, no matter what storm they may be in.”
In the past year since releasing The Menace Mixtape, Datin has been facing tumultuous storms in his own life.
“A year ago, my marriage took a turn for the worst.”
Though Datin tried to reconcile his relationship with his wife, they ended up getting separated and later divorced. “I fought for my marriage. I honored the Lord through it.”
“In the divorce I lost everything and willingly gave up everything.” Moving to a new home, Datin also lost his job as he was no longer able to make the longer commute. “I started having vocal cord damage and I’m a musician and one of my close friends passed away.” In addition, a person whom he had considered a close friend tried to interview his wife in an attempt to pull up dirt on him.
With all of these things happening in a short period, Datin was driven to the brink. “Am I gonna go back to my old ways? The old Datin, that’s grounds for death. That’s grounds for me putting a bullet in your head. That’s unacceptable. You’ve crossed a line that you can’t cross with me.”
“I feel like I was tested beyond limits I thought I could be tested. By the grace of God, I was able to push through and not react foolishly.”
Datin was also slandered by a pastor and then attacked online by this minister’s followers. “It just seemed like one thing after another after another.”
Having been confident that he was following Christ and within the Lord’s will the whole time, Datin was shocked that all of these bad things were happening to him. Later he realized, “it was all for my good. That old Datin really needed to die.” He has come to understand that it was a trial to see if he would reject his sinful desires to be angry, prideful, and return hate for hate.
Datin’s new album Hell in the Hallway tells the story of these trials.
“It doesn’t harp on the divorce thing alone. I’ve dealt with panic attacks from the stress.”
The title comes from a saying, “When one door closes, another will open, but its hell in the hallway.” Though his album is full of the difficulties he has faced, “there is victory now. I am good. I am actually doing great and wouldn’t change anything just to have this same outcome. If I had to go through this hell all over again, I would just to be where I’m at now.”
Writing Hell in the Hallway was a therapeutic experience for Datin. When he makes music, he traditionally has thought about how it could minister to the listener. “This started as me venting.” The first song he wrote and then recorded was the title track “Hell In The Hallway.” When he shared the song with other friends who had gotten divorced, one of them broke down crying.
The song tells a quickly summarized story of his divorce. Datin took a big leap in releasing the song in the first place, and especially in making a music video for it. “I was literally having the shakes before releasing [the video]. I’m naturally a private person and to let the whole world into my business just was like ‘Oh, God.’ I got sick to my stomach.’”
Though it was difficult to share his story with the world, the reception he has received from it has been worth it. “I see how much its blessed people, so I don’t regret it at all.” One married couple told him that after seeing the video, they decided to start marriage counseling so that they don’t take steps towards divorce.
“Seeing the effect that this song had on people, even in happy marriages, I was like ‘Man.’ It was just meant to be a one-off, but my pen couldn’t stop.”
Datin kept writing and writing and ended up with about eight songs.
“Just when I think I’m out of the storm… a friend of mine, a very very close friend… he passed away.” Datin was in a period of mourning when he damaged his vocal cords. He kept writing, though from then on, he had to cool down his voice on the mic. “They definitely will be hearing a different tone on this album. It’s not the raspy Datin that they may have come to like.”
The writing continued and, “before you know it, you’re looking at twelve songs.”
Despite his music being a vent to get out his pain,
“God is getting glory. I’m not leaving you in this place of, ‘Woe is me. Where are you God?’”
A lot of his album comes from the husband’s perspective. Datin wanted to give a voice to men who are dealing with the pain caused by divorce. However, he does not want people to see divorce as an option when their marriage is in trouble. “You can’t force someone to stay, but you fight with everything you’ve got. You seek the Lord. You pray. You fast. You pray over that woman. You do what you must… You made vows, you put your money where your mouth is.”
With regards to dating after a divorce, Datin wants listeners to be very careful and make sure that they have had biblical grounds for their divorce. If his divorced had not occurred the way it did, Datin said he would not have had biblical grounds for the split. “You better do what the Word says. It says, ‘Be reconciled to your wife’ or else you can’t move on.”
“Fight for your marriage. If it’s too late at this point and you’re already there, man, trust the Lord. Divorce can feel like a literal death.”
Get Hell in the Hallway here.