By 8:00 a.m. on weekdays, Monique Williams herds her five energetic sons into the car for the one-block drive to the elementary school. She insists on making that short drive, fearful of the regular violence in her neighborhood. By 8:45 a.m., Monique has transformed into her hip-hop alter ego, MoeBetta ThaGoddess, eager to make the most of the next seven hours during which she’ll write, promote herself on social media, and make countless phone calls to schedule another performance at a local bar or club. Learning how to cope with her lonely childhood, Monique started writing poetry when she was 11 years old, which was the first time she found an outlet of expression she deeply connected with. A friend recommended she try transforming her poems into rap lyrics. Monique describes writing music as an avenue to turn her pain into power. Instead of dwelling on her past, she channels that energy into creating music that is reflective of her own life and relatable to others who may face similar situations.