Lupe Fiasco – “The Come Up”

Prelude

Again, it has been that kind of a couple of weeks….

Here is Lupe’s Take

https://www.facebook.com/LupeFiasco?fref=nf

To rappers from a rapper…simply write your own rhymes as much as you can if you are able. Ghostwriting, or borrowing lines, or taking suggestions from the room has always been in rap and will always be in rap.

It is nothing to go crazy over or be offended about unless you are someone who postures him or herself on the importance of authenticity and tries to portray that quality to your fans or the public at large. Then we might have a problem.

Some of the most pivotal moments in rap have been ghostwritten verses.

This leads to a bigger point.

Rapping is not an easy thing to do. It’s takes years of work and trail and error to master some of its finer points. Respect from other MC’s comes in many formats. Sales, live performances, realness etc but the one thing that is the most important is the raps themselves at least in the eyes of other serious rappers.

The phrase “I’m not a rapper” gets thrown around as if it’s a badge of honor. And that’s fine. If rap is a side hustle for you or just a come up then by all means may the force be with you.

But I know a lot of MC’s where rap is the first love and the first thing they think about when they wake up and the last thing they think about when they go to sleep.

Rappers who pursue the art form with this level of intention may not become rich and famous off selling their raps to a wide audience but that has never been an accepted metric to begin with in terms of quality or level of skill.

The vast majority of rappers will never sell 100 records in their lifetimes let alone millions. But that’s not the point, the point is that what pursuing the craft gives us in terms of the intangibles is something that record sales or fame could never represent. We achieve a mastery of language and poetics that competes on the highest levels of discourse across the entirety of human history. We express ourselves creatively and attain a sense of liberation and self-esteem via this sacred mode of creation and communication.

Page 2

Modern Radio and the commercial realm of music has injured rap. It set up ambiguous rules and systems for success that don’t take into consideration the quality and skill of the rappers craft.

It redefined rap as just a being beat driven hook with some words in between and an entire generation has surrendered to chasing the format instead of chasing the art form.

While mastering any format should be the pursuit of any self-respecting rapper including the commercial format it must be kept clear that it is just one of many formats and that you should strive to master all of them.

The art form is kept alive and progressive in the activities of the tens of thousands of rappers around the world who are everyday trying to think of that next witty bar. Trying to put that crazy verse together while at work. Trying to find that word that rhymes with catapult so they can finish off that vivid story rap about their childhood.

Meek Mill struck a nerve accusing Drake of having a ghostwriter and the entire rap world reacted on all sides of the fence because rap is alive. It’s active and it feels.

Its rules and traditions are vibrant and responsive. I enjoy both these brothers music and find inspiration and appreciation from both of them.

I remember being in Toronto at Goodfoot years ago and it was a stack of CD’s on the counter and the guy behind the counter was like “Lupe you gotta take this CD.  It’s my mans mixtape.”

I didn’t really pay it any mind I took it to the car and looked it over and just kind of set it aside focused on other things. I vividly remember saying “what kind of rap name is Drake?” The rest is history.

Once while in Philly I went to do an interview in a shabby and very hood basement studio complex. I peeked into one of the rooms and it was this tall kid with his shirt off bouncing up and down in the booth with an energy that was electric. I gave him my regards. He gave them back. I think I mentioned something about him cutting his dreads. As I left I remember him rapping something about being a boss. The rest is history.

At the end of the day, for better or worse, rap is alive even if some of its greatest moments are written by ghosts.

 

Video & Lyrics

Lupe – The End of the World – Video

Lupe – The End of the World – Lyrics

 

Quotes

Oprah Winfrey

You ‘re built not to shrink down to less, but to blossom into more

Gossip means we haven’t emboldened ourselves to talk directly to the people we take issues with 

50 Cents

I always ask people about their bad experiences, for some reason they will offer you more details. I think it is internally, their connection to the painful portion of it.  They will give you a blueprint of what not to do consistently.  ( Interview )

Boy George

What’s really sad is that a lot of very talented people are being forced to do things that are very embarrassing and I don’t intend to be one of them.

I don’t want to be a figure of disappointment.

I’ve had to write in a different way because I’m not in a bad place and I’m not heartbroken, so there’s no one I want revenge on.

Ravi Zacharias

Where destruction is the motive, unity is dangerous. Where good is the motive, unity is phenomenal

John C. Lennox

We thought we could get rid of God and retain a value for human beings. We were wrong. We destroyed both God and man.


Postlude

Here is my take.  I hope someone tried to take something from you this week. And, it made you so mad, you recommitted.

Some people think they deserve the “take down”.

So here is to bowing low to group prayer, shedding light on the gossip, finding an honest way out, getting stronger, and starting the heal.

 

Last Word

Wish I could get the last word, but the “kids over here wear crowns” crooner insists that been Over his dead body.

And, so here is a yield and letting him have the last word…

Seen what you’d do for fame, what would you do for freedom?

 

Drake & Jhené Aiko

Did not watch the live Saturday Night Life (SNL) show. But, I really liked this track.

  1. Drake @ Saturday Night Life (SNL) – “Hold on we are going home” & “From Time”
  2. Jhene Aiko w/ Drake Performing From Time Live Coachella HD

Who will not like a track with lyrical spoken words:

I like when money makes a difference but don’t make you different – Drake (From Time)

Here is another track from Jhene:

http://www.vibe.com/article/watch-jhene-aiko-makes-us-television-debut-fallon

The lovely Jhené Aiko made her U.S. television debut on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon on Friday. The 25-year-old neo-R&B singer was there to plug her debut EP Sail Out, the precursor to her debut LP Souled Out due in May. Aiko channeled old Hollywood glam and performed “The Worst” with the Roots as her backing band.

Staying Centered and Alive

It has being a bit of a melancholic couple of weeks for me.

Like they say, you ‘re rarely the only one:

Frank X. Shaw, Corporate Vice President of Corporate Communications at Microsoft:
http://blogs.technet.com/b/microsoft_blog/archive/2013/05/10/staying-centered.aspx

There are many advantages to living in a world that is mostly connected. Feedback is immediate. Weak signals are easily amplified. Voices can be heard.

Of course, every benefit has a drawback.

In this world where everyone is a publisher, there is a trend to the extreme – where those who want to stand out opt for sensationalism and hyperbole over nuanced analysis.

In this world where page views are currency, heat is often more valued than light.

Stark black-and-white caricatures are sometimes more valued than shades-of-gray reality.

It’s been a week like that, from a couple of unlikely sources. 🙂

So let’s pause for a moment and consider the center.

Though dated, here is Drake’s take.  It is the opening track on his sophomoric Album:

Drake – Over my Dead Body
http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xm88az_drake-over-my-dead-body-official-audio-take-care_music#.UZUSUis6WsY

But, you know who really stayed alive and well, are those 3 girls and their familia in Cleveland.

Leaning on Drake:

Those girls wear crowns…

We all like to be heard

       … as it is the spaces between Living and the lived.

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