The documentary In My Father's House (opening today) follows musician Che “Rhymefest” Smith’s deeply emotional, and eye-opening, search for his biological father Brian Tillman after 20-plus years apart.

Directed by Emmy-nominated directors and producers Ricki Stern and Annie Sundberg, the film is important not only for chronicling the rapper’s journey, but for its exploration of abandonment and fatherhood in the African-American community. It is a raw and brutally honest portrayal of a story that is all too common.

Rhymefest is an award-winning hip-hop producer and lyricist, co-writer of the 2015 Golden Globe and Oscar-winning song "Glory” (from Selma) and a 2005 Grammy winner for work with good friend Kanye West on the song “Jesus Walks.” He spoke with ESSENCE about the documentary, fatherhood, forgiveness, the joy of mentoring—and how this documentary has changed his life.