One of the strangest reasons for people not liking a rapper and their lyrics is when they say, "I can't relate to this." Therefore in their mind, the music is not good or it lacks substance.
Let's take Eminem for example. People on social media have said things such as "Y'all listening to a dude talking about his mom's drug addiction and him wanting to kill his baby mama? Can't relate." Yeah, no shit you probably can't relate.
But it's not about the lyrics themselves that you need to relate to in order to understand or feel the message being presented. In some cases, rappers aren't trying to be relatable. They're just trying to live their truth.
And they say the truth shall set you free.
"First Day Out"
November 6, 2016
There's something about those Michigan rappers, they really know how to tell intricate stories. This single from Tee Grizzley was recorded just two days after he was released from jail. And from that point on, his life would never be the same.
This was supposed to be a single just to get his name out there, instead it made his name one to be respected. Not only in the streets as someone who has lived through some shit, but as a new up and coming artist with dreams of going from nothing to everything.
"First Day Out" starts out soft and subtle. He is going through his mind and thinking about everything he has gone through to get to this point. Whether that was cooking dope, being dead broke, or sitting in the court room wondering if he would ever experience another "free" day in his life.
Grizzley talks to all the people who have been through the fire with him. Reminiscing on all the violence and criminal activities they committed before they were able to learn from their mistakes. He is essentially setting the table for what is about to be a hefty meal for the listener.
Go get a thermometer for the pot, I need this shit cooked right
What starts out as a song that songs like a heartwarming comeback story, turns into a hard hitting moment of truth. At about a minute and a half into the song, the beat and mood of the story completely changes. Grizzley turns from a man of reflection into a man with his sights set on everything.
His entire spirit is exacerbated and he allows himself to let out all the feelings he had cooped up while in his jail cell. Three years of being behind bars was a small price for him to pay to achieve this level or artistry.
One can only imagine what it is like to be locked up and feel like the world is against you. While facing multiple charges for armed robbery and home invasions, he continued to fight the system and his own demons so that he could keep pushing forward.
Some people could have easily folded in this position. Allowed the system to hold them down and continue to fall into the same criminal traps to get them right back where they were. But Grizzley knew he was destined for more.
Don't let them get the best of you, just get the revenue nigga
The constant bars in this song are unmatched from many artists in the game right now. And considering the fact that he wrote this just two days after getting out of jail while being an unsigned artist, truly makes this story that much more powerful.
Every bar is a story within the story. Every line means something to him, the person he is referring too, or the situation he was in at the time.
He wanted to share this moment with his younger brother. Getting out of jail, and having that first day with his family meant the world to him. However, his brother was already in jail by the time he had made it out. Only adding more fuel for his fire to make sure his message was felt by the world.
The feds say my name hot like when the oven on
It's not always about what music is most relatable to you. If every song you listened to made you say "Same" then you as a listener would never allow yourself to put yourself in someone else shoes for a day.
This man told his story of his "First Day Out" of jail. Something most, if not all of you, will never experience.
So the next time you are listening to a rapper spit some shit that makes absolutely no sense to you, think about where they were coming from when they wrote it. Think about how they must've felt when they were able to finally put their story in writing and get through it without having second thoughts about whether or not to share it with the world.
These words are more than just bars to them, it represents their moment.
Quality over Quantity.
Less is More.
It's a Numbers Game.
The world is one big cliche. You don't have to be crazy to live in it, but it helps. And going outrageously dumb at venues (GO DAV) helps too.
June 5, 2019
Five years into his career, P-Lo continues to keep on going. And by going, we mean going stupid just in time for the summer. Somethin' Light lives up to its name as it is just a three song release.
P-Lo somehow found a way to give the world exactly what it needed for the summer in this small package. The sounds represent everything the about the Bay Area weather that everyone travels miles to see. Put Somethin' Light on wherever you're at and you'll feel the Bay Area breeze.
He opens up the release with "Hella Fun." A track perfect for the strip clubs. (Not that we know what is played at the strip clubs. We're just assuming because of the lyrics that they would play it there. Don't tell Mrs. Irrelevant.)
"Going Hella Dumb
Jay Anthony on the chorus is a throwback to some Diligentz vibes. His smooth voice makes throwing one's sound like a hoot.
P-Lo has done his due diligence by consistently putting local artists on his work. From Jay Anthony, to ALLBLACK, to AKAFrank. He never doesn't stop putting the Bay on.
The next track on this release sounds like something between Zapp & Roger and Dave Steezy. "Luh You" is your typical rap love story.
A man has some plans to make her his girl.
He tells her that he's different and that she's independent.
He trash talks her ex.
Uses the term "Nothin' above you"
Is full of perfect Instagram captions, which we will display next.
"You text back, I hit my dance"
This track is perfect for the ladies who want to be sung to. And its perfect for the dudes who are looking for that special girl to call their summer love.
This last track is guaranteed to be a major banger. Put "Type Beat" on in the car at full volume and try not to let the feeling of the 2005 Hyphy Movement take over your mind and your limbs. It's the kind of beat that hits so hard that you start dancing while driving ad you take your hands off the steering wheel.
With every bar P-Lo spits, you'll be shouting "Aye! Aye! Aye!" while encouraging your passengers to hit that shit hard. The authentic Bay sound let's you know that the dream of Mac Dre still lives on through P-Lo.
Or if you don't like to be an unsafe driver, put this on at the pool party. Everyone will be giggin' with a red cup in hand, making sure not to spill a single drop of that ice-cold Patrennesey.
I know that they prayin' I don't hit again
Read those lyrics in Mac Dre's voice. Anyone who has ever listened to him can hear his voice saying these words. This is the precise lyricism that the listener won't get from anyone not from Northern California.
P-Lo has yet to release music that can't be danced too. But his music isn't all beats, there is substance in the work. If it was just about the beats, he'd just simply be a producer.
He continues to prove why he is one of the best artists in the Bay Area, and one of the best producer/rappers in the game. Somethin' Light has something for everyone.
We're going to try something new today. Typically, we do music reviews or think pieces on music from the past that we are pretty familiar with. We like to break it down and extrapolate it to the point that what we're hearing messages that weren't intended to be put forth.
However, there has been a growing number of artists (mostly new young rappers) who look like they just stepped out of a scene from the movie Blade. They look like nightclub vampires with tattoos all over their face and piercings in every spot imaginable.
White, black, brown, the race hasn't mattered, they all sport this new look. So if you just scroll through Instagram, you'll find a handful of these kids. This next guy is no different. Now we've never heard any of his music before, so this is an instant reaction.
Bexey is an artist from London. He has been making music for about 3 years now, and worked closely with the recently passed Lil Peep. On the immediate surface, that's about all we know so far. But his millions of YouTube views paints out a different story.
His following seems to be strong and displays a willingness to support his message. Whatever his message may be is unknown to us at this time. But we'll go on this journey together.
This first video has over 9 million views, and is not what we expected when he first looked at him.
There's something about those all-black contacts that is just not right. It looks like something out of a horror movie where some little girl comes in with straight black hair and just stares into your soul.
Before even clicking play, we were expecting to hear some hard rap. Talking about guns and drugs and whatever other violence kids claim they know about when they really don't. But the chorus is refreshingly honest and full of emotion.
Stay alive for me
Poetry of love was not what we were expecting at all. Suicide is all too common across the world, especially among the youth. But the bigger problem is that they don't talk about it until it is too late.
And kids need to realize that they're not fighting this fight alone. These lines show Bexey talking to somebody about love and death and that the power of love could prevent the latter.
One word of advice to the kid, love is not life and death. Love is powerful in many ways but can be broken in a moment's notice. Not everyone treats love with the same gravity as others, so the loss of love should never lead to suicide. Keep your head up kid, real love is out there.
Again with the damn contacts! Well that's his look I guess, at least he owns it. I like his style too, that matching colorful suit shows a lot of life and vigor.
Even though he is still singing a bit throughout his verses, this is a little bit more of what I was expecting. Still no words of violence, but much stronger vocally on the beat.
There is this subtlety of respect for women that is rare in today's music, specifically rap music. This sound is more grunge than anything else, but is probably considered rap if it were to be put into a box.
Do a woman no wrong
"Do a woman no wrong" is a line that may have never been spit in a rap song before. And if it was, it was probably replaced with the word "bitch" or "hoe."
Now if you never pretended the floor was lava, then just close this page right now. You can't relate to anything we're talking about over here. Those were the good old days, and now he can barely see the floor because of all of his designer bags. That's probably a little excessive, but if you've got it flaunt it.
Those last two lines are relatable to anyone who has ever been in love. Like real love. Having someone so powerful in your life that you feel your spirit leave your body is a scary thought. The fact that someone could control that much of every part of your being is a lot to carry. It's no wonder he uses music as an expression of his feelings.
On the surface, Bexey looks like a crazy ass kid who breaks the law, does drugs, and loves violence. And maybe behind the music he does. We don't know him personally, so we can't assume.
And prior to listening to his music, we made assumptions about him that probably aren't cool. It's all about remembering that thing your mom told you when you were five years old, "Never judge a book by it's cover."
From what we've seen so far from Bexey, he fits the criteria of people to not judge. He may be scary at first glance, but his music offers a reminder to the world that there is love in everyone. And Love is the most powerful drug of all.
Well except like real drugs. Don't do drugs you guys, it's not cool. Wear black contacts instead.
Sometimes, the greatest pains we feel in life bring us the greatest joy in the long run. Especially when it comes to heartbreak from a relationship.
In the moment, we are devastated. Someone you opened your entire world to crushed it with their actions or lack of care. We sit and sulk in our own misery because we don't know any other way to cope with what just happened.
But once you get past the point of sadness and you reach acceptance, you realize that you're better off without them. All the times they said that they loved you were just words. You now feel stronger than ever because you know you are ready for whats next.
It's time for you to have the confidence of The Mack.
"Return of the Mack"
March 18, 1996
If you've never heard this song, you're a rare one. This classic 90's super banger is an all-time great. The type of story that gets passed down from generation to generation. A story a love lost, and new beginnings.
And even if you've heard this song a million times, you still may not have realized that this song is about a deep hurt this man went through. The beat is so easy to dance to and get lost in, that the emotions that were meant to be conveyed somehow got lost.
But, don't worry, we're here to make you feel sad.
You lied to me
Man, this shit is messed up. How many times did she lie to him? How many times did he say he loved her? How many times did he cry? Must've been a lot for him to expose her to the world for being the shady backstabbing jerk that she is.
If you've ever experienced heartbreak, think about the first time. Did they hurt you so much so that you made a legendary song just to show the world how much they screwed you over? Unless your name is Mark Morrison, it's highly unlikely.
Men so often get pegged as the ones who screw up the relationships due to cheating and lying, but this song is more realistic. Men, don't let the mainstream media make you think that you're always the ones supposed to do something wrong! Women can't be trusted! They're all dogs!
Yeah, I bet the women didn't like to read that. Well guess what, that's what men have gone through for years. how does it feel? Not good, right? Be nice to the men on this planet, and hopefully eventually we'll have a world full of good men. Tell them they're good men! Speak that shit into existence. Quit knocking them down!
Sorry, we just had to give love to the fellas one time.
Give Morrison credit, that's a grown ass man telling the whole world that he cried. In an age where people were not yet ready to put their broken heart out there for the world to see, he was ahead of his time.
Well, I tried to tell you so (Yes, I did)
Alright, now that we got past the fact that this song was actually made from pain, let's dive into some happiness. Tupac once said that there was a rose that grew from concrete. And Mark Morrison sang the greatest comeback story of all-time. So who's really the GOAT?
Let's imagine this quote as if it's a dramatic scene from a telenovella.
Morrison sits in disbelief as he hears about the lies she has told. His eyes begin to red, and fill with years full of love. As he cries, the love begins to evaporate into the atmosphere.
All the time he has spent wasted on someone who treated his love as if it wasn't one of a kind can't be replaced. But then Morrison realizes something. He realizes this is a fresh start. A chance to find his true self in a world full of people who don't.
He wipes his face dry of all the love he's spilled. He looks at her and says, "Baby, now I've got the flow."
So, I'm back up in the game (Hustling snow)
As the kids say, this song is a Big Mood. A story of the resiliency of man. His comeback song, is the whole world's comeback song.
This song should be played at a high volume in your car on a 80 degree day with the windows down. And if you aren't screaming the words for the whole world to hear, then you're disrespecting The Mack. He made this song for anyone who needs to get back up on their high horse.
Speaking of high, I think that first line is about selling cocaine. Which is illegal, but hey if it brought The Mack back then we can't really be mad about it.
Just imagine he gets caught selling cocaine and Morrison just turns to the cop and is like, "Before you try to arrest me, let me sing you this song. Then you'll know why I'm doing this." Guaranteed he'd get off with no charges, except for bringing too much heat to the streets with this track.
One's man comeback story, is a billion listeners' treasure. So although that girl who broke his heart was cold blooded, it gave us a timeless track that will never not bang. So let's thank her, and the thousands of cold hearted women out there, for making a stronger generation of men who aren't afraid to share their feelings with the world.
"The Return of the Mack" is deep, and if you didn't know before, then you do now.
According to Lil Wayne, God is a man. Such an outdated viewpoint. Ok, so the Bible says that God was the one who impregnated the Virgin Mary, big deal. It doesn't say that God had a penis, just that God put a baby in Mary.
The New Testament refers to God as "Father," but also makes many maternal references to God. So when Lil Wayne says "God took His time when He made me," it sounds correct because that's what is implied when God is spoken of.
But our women are the ones who gives birth. Our women are the caretakers. Our women are the superior gender. God is a woman, and if you disagree you're probably a man. And if you don't even believe in God then just remember that you are your own God.
"Took His Time"
Tha Carter V
Momma said God took his time when he made me
After what seemed like an eternity, Lil Wayne was finally legally allowed to release his album Tha Carter V. It's been a long time coming for himself and his patient fans. And if his God had anything to do with this album, then patience was the key.
This song feels like it encapsulates everything that Wayne has gone through while awaiting his trail with Birdman to end. All the beef with Cash Money Records is over, and he's looking past it. Not just because he's over it, but because he feels a sense dominance after the dust settled.
In broad day like "let's play," lil' kids playin' jump rope
Damn, it really feels like Wayne is talking specifically about Birdman on this track. With their trial and beef out there for the whole world to see, Wayne winning the legal case that netted him well over $10 million was just the beginning. The battle was over, but Wayne just had to flaunt a little bit.
Wayne left Birdman's body out there for the whole world to see. People started to piece the puzzle together and realize that Birdman had been doing shady deals with young artists his entire career. Wayne refers to the other artists on Cash Money Records as "the unknowns." A little jab at their top artist, Young Thug.
I been feelin' like Galactus
Galactus is a super villain from Marvel Comics who has powers that are similar to those of a God. And similar to how Galactus has unlimited abilities and powers in his world, Wayne feels the same way with this track.
People may be wondering or asking to themselves if Wayne still had it. If after all these years between albums, he could still come with the bars we could always expect from him. If he still had the fire that drove him to be one of the most successful and decorated rappers of a generation.
His sound still transcends music nearly 20 years after his first album, and this track is a look into where his mind has been all these years. If you have been a Lil Wayne fan since the beginning, you can feel the power he displays on this song.
It not only lets you know where he's been, but it allows you remember what it feels like when he used to leave his heart and soul out on each and every verse and hook. If time has taught us anything about Lil Wayne, it's that he doesn't adhere to the same time frame that most do.
He has been up and down throughout the years, but by taking his time with "Took His Time" he allowed the world to not only hear his art, but feel it once again.
November 17, 2017
To be iconic is to be a person that is revered or idolized. Most icons are not idolized until after their death. Jaden Smith wasn't being so humble when he wrote "ICON." And that lack of humbleness is a big mood. It's probably a little bit cocky to call yourself an icon, but life is too short to not think highly of yourself.
It has been a long time coming for Jaden. He has been making music since about 2012, mostly stuff that wasn't too popular but was still heard by many of his followers. So what better way to get people to take his music seriously than to speak his work into existence.
This wasn't his first single off of his debut studio album, but it was the one that encapsulating his sound and his spirit moving forward. Let's break this song down.
I need you to listen to the vision (woo)
The first verse on this track intentionally comes before the chorus. For anyone who hasn't listened to Jaden before, this is his way of getting you to pay attention. Whether you haven't listened to him because of who his parents are, because he's a young kid, or because you have some preconceived notion of what he represents, this is your opportunity to listen to his vision.
A lot of music out right now, specifically rap music, consists of "dirty" lyrics and messages that aren't pushing the young generation forward. Jaden's goal is to cleanse your palette with his unique sound that is different from what you're used to hearing.
And while it is near impossible to be completely unique in your sound, it's all about the vision. He has that goal in mind that he wants to change the perception of himself and the music itself.
I am not a Mayan, I'm a menace (menace)
The Mayan's had infinite knowledge and were to believed to have known much of the future based on their calendars. Jaden isn't trying to act like he knows what's next, instead he is acting as a menace in the industry by attempting to break down the walls of what is supposed to be known.
He doesn't want to waste his time by trying to diss other artists currently in the game, he'd rather sit back and do his thing. The message being displayed in this part of his second verse is one of self-reflection. Living in his moment, he is able to realize that he can put prove the "professors" wrong who may have told him his vision wasn't clear enough or even attainable.
As an actor, writer, thought-provoker, fashion symbol, and musician, he is beginning to realize that he is someone that people look too as iconic.
I'm going straight to the top with the crew
The vision and goals are big. There is no point to limit himself to whatever others believe he is capable of. Yet, he knows that he should not rush anything.
There is a slight fear of what is on the other side of his goals. He believes that if he achieves all that he perceives is to be achieved, then there will be nothing else to accomplish. This is a real fear of many of us. The grass seems greener on the other side, but what happens once you're there?
If you accomplish everything too soon, there may be a sense of contentment. Jaden wants to take it step by step and enjoy the process, so that when his goals are finally reached he can sit back and reflect on everything he's earned.
Put a hundred thousand in a bible (Bible!)
With some closing words to his verse, he is betting on himself. Many people will say "bible" when they are stating that they are serious about something.
Now listen, there isn't a single artist in the rap game right now who doesn't owe something to Kid Cudi. He is the originator of most of the sounds that all of these artists are trying to create. A lot of rap guys want to be rockstars and be unique, and it all stems from the music Cudi has been creating for years.
Jaden's nod to Cudi is just one of the many that artists have been giving to him over the years. And as long as Jaden is willing to follow in Cudi's footsteps, the more likely he is to continue to create influential music.
He ends the song with the simple repetitive hook of "I am just an ICON livin'." This message is stated many times to pose as a reminder to himself and the listener exactly who he sees himself as in this moment.
The future looks bright for Jaden. And while he may never be able to live up to the name of his father, his influence on his generation will be iconic.
Most 13 year olds are worried about their Pre-Algebra test they have on Friday. Wondering if their parents are going to sign their permission slip so they can go to the dance after school. Thinking of a way to come up on $20 so they can go to a PG-13 movie with their friends.
But for kids growing up in the projects of New York, they need to mature a little bit quicker. The streets of the Bronx may have kids trying to find ways to get their own hustle on, whether it be legal or illegal. Smooky Margielaa is using his musical gift as a way to get to a bag at a very young age.
Smooky Margielaa is a 16 year old artist from the streets of the Bronx, but he is slowly taking over the sounds of the streets across the country. What he has done since he met A$AP Rocky at 13 years old is inexplicable for a kid who should be worrying about his early high school years. Yet, here he is. Doing tours with A$AP Rocky and dropping music videos constantly.
His musical roots come from his father who used to make music as a young man. He came to America from Africa to tour and display his own sound to a new country. He came to New York and never went back home. This paved the way for Smooky to live out his father's dream of being an American musician.
Without a mixtape or album, he has still been able to create a huge following through his singles and features. His Spotify currently only contains 10 songs that belong to him, but he can be heard on many features. His biggest feature work he has done came off of Cozy Tapes Vol. 2 with the A$AP MOB. He showed off his vocals on "Black Card" where he does an exclusive feature with Rocky.
On the block where they trappin' the hard way
Although he talks about growing up in the streets and what it took to get out, he loves his fashion. His name speaks for itself. You can see him rocking his Margielaa shoes in his video for "Stay 100."
This video was released in July 2017 and has 5 million views on YouTube. The visuals are what you would expect from a then 14 year old kid. Him and his friends having fun and dancing at a playground.
He has said in interviews that he enjoys being viewed as a young kid. It makes him feel like he is the youngest doing it, and he pretty much is. He states that he stays true to himself and his music, and that he couldn't fall into the trap of the street life.
His feature work has mostly come with members of the A$AP Mob. But he has also worked with Chris Brown, Juicy J, Playboi Carti, Soulja Boy, Lil Yachty, and ScHoolboy Q. It will be interesting to see who else asks Smooky to get on their work with them as he gets older and perfects his sound.
For most artists you see his age that try to get onto the scene, you get the very repetitive sound. But because his father showed him Michael Jackson at a young age, he learned how to add versatility to his music. Something you don't see from artists until their second or third album.
His track "VLONE FLEX" mixes sounds you've heard from Rae Sremmurd mixed in with Future with a New York twist. Sticking to his love fashion, he talks about one of his favorite brands in VLONE continuing to show what is important to him in his youth.
The video has many visuals of him flaunting his treasures. A new car, house, diamonds, clothes, and a scenery that looks like a nice neighborhood in Southern California. He keeps his friends close by, and always looks like he is having the time of his life.
Vlone on my body, I pull up and then I flex
From making music videos for YouTube, to working with a lot of artists in the game now, Smooky Margielaa is now doing his own shows. You can see at this point that he is blessed with the position he is in.
His most recent visual "Too Blessed" is a small look back on the short journey he's been on. He talks about how he made it out of the streets, the friends he lost to the streets, and the people he still prays can make it out.
I grew up with niggas goin' through shit in the hood
He lives by the slogan GRAPE. GRAPE stands for Get Rich And Pray Everyday. The kid has big goals, but also continues to think about others while on his own journey. It's rare to see a kid this age with this kind of success in the rap game.
Following in father's footsteps as a musician, he has been able to make a name for himself. Smooky Margielaa has a bright future, and 2019 may just be his biggest year yet.
For many years, the Super Bowl has been the premiere live sporting event in America. It's basically a national holiday at this point. Most people who watch the game aren't even watching it for the football.
Instead, their attention is turned towards the entertainment value. The National Anthem, the commercials, and most importantly the halftime show. Some people literally go to the Super Bowl just for the concert that is right in the middle of the game.
Because of the fact that it is a singular event makes it all that more easily accessible to the people who don't typically watch the sport. Whereas with baseball, hockey, and basketball, their championships are a series of games. And unless you're a fan of that sport, there would be no reason for you to watch.
The NBA is trying to change the image of their one singular event with their entertainment value. And they can now thank themselves and J Cole for changing the future of the NBA All-Star Game.
Over the past few years, the NBA has made it a priority to get respectable talent to perform at halftime of the NBA All-Star Game. Since 2014, they have had performances from Alicia Keys, John Legend, Nicki Minaj, Arianna Grande, N.E.R.D., and the Migos. But J Cole had a performance that stood above the rest.
Rocking a retro Starter Charlotte Hornets jacket, he was there to put on a show for his home of North Carolina. Charlotte was not only a homecoming for one of the greatest in Steph Curry, but also a stage for one of the best in the game right now. Cole was ready to set a new bar, while also showing off his newly grown out dreads (multiple women have told me that he has to have extensions or something because theres no way his hair grew that fast, I don't know. That's just what they told me).
As the lights turned low, the spotlight was shining on him with a lit up basketball hoop as his background. A live band begins to play the beat for his newest single "Middle Child," and his voice comes in steady and smooth like a Paul George jump shot. The beat drops, and the fans surrounding him on the floor add their own vocals with the classic "AYE! AYE! AYE!" to the beat.
With every word, you can draw comparisons to this moment.
I love you lil' rappers, I'm glad that you came
The NBA All-Star Game is all about who is the greatest right now. The NBA should hold this same standard for the halftime performance from now on. This showed they are heading in a new direction.
Cole continued his show with a tribute to the recently discriminated 21 Savage, with his verse off of "A Lot." As he makes his way onto a smaller stage that put him right in the middle of the crowd, he says "21 Savage! We love you!"
The camera pans to the band and DJ on the big stage. They are feeling themselves and the beat, and are in perfect harmony with Cole. The background singers mimicking his every vocal, giving all of his words a vibrant echo. The crowd that surrounds him is in awe of the moment, and some are soaking it all in while others are capturing it with their phones so they can relive it forever.
He increased the energy as he flowed into his next song with "ATM." The beat and the chorus had the whole crowd going crazy. At this point, those who were watching at home were off of their couch and dancing in their living rooms. This is the one that had everyones hands in the sky, feeling the happiness in the arena and through their television screen.
Cole is feeling himself on this one, as he had a message for his former educators who may have doubted his decisions as a young man. But they definitely can see his vision now.
I balled on the principal
It has been some kind of journey for Cole. His career began in 2007, but has really sky rocketed over the last 5 years. He threw it back to one of his more emotional songs from his album 2014 Forest Hills Drive with "Love Yourz." As he took a seat and told the crowd to wave their hands slowly, he spilled his soul.
The arena was lit up with lights from people's phones as he gave some solid advice to the world. His words rang loudly not only through the speakers, but through his emotions as he stated "No such thing as a life that's better than yours. . . Hear my words and listen to my signal of distress."
As he stands up, the arena goes silent. He tells everyone to put one finger in the sky, and after a few seconds of silence a beat drops and he proclaims, "First things first rest in peace Uncle Phil..." and the crowd answers with a resounding "FAREAL!"
With "No Role Modelz" Cole shows that it is just him up there. He made it to this point on his own accord. With his last three albums containing no major features, he performed all on his own. Accompanied only with his musicians and his background singers.
Up until this point, no artist had really put this much heart and soul into this gig. Cole can see that the NBA's popularity is on the rise, and he decided to take them to the next level.
This performance is the new bar for the halftime performance of the NBA All-Star Game. If they want this one singular event to draw viewers that are simply there for the entertainment value, this was a great place to start. J Cole set the new standard.
Although, this may never be topped.
There are few times where an album is more than just an album. A therapeutic release for an artist can't be defined as just an album. There are rare occurrences when the world can understand and relate to the artist on levels deeper than music.
So often, artists give the world music that the world wants to hear. But hardly ever do we get music that the world, especially young people, need to hear. By sharing her personal stories and life experiences with the world, SZA takes control.
June 9, 2017
It's hard for any young woman living through her twenty-somethings to navigate through life in a male-dominated world. She is still trying to learn about herself while still having to live up to certain "standards" that have been put up for her by outside influences. How she's dresses, her goals, the guys she does or doesn't date, her hair, her skin, must all fall in line with how society says its all supposed to be.
SZA is bold enough to say "Nah." A true role model for young people and young women specifically. She talks to herself, ex's, friends, family, and the listener throughout this album. Sometimes its not about getting answers, yet just about being heard.
Her story, relived.
Chapter 1: Supermodel
Leave me lonely for prettier women
What is it about physical beauty that leads men to believe it will lead to happiness? It has been this way for thousands of years, but today much of it has to do with the social media world we live in. They want to flaunt all the great things they have in life, including their women.
There is even a term called "Trophy Wife." Women are not an accomplishment, or even some type of award. For too long, women have been viewed as an amenity and not a necessity. We need our powerful women, who are all beautiful in their own right and must be appreciated as such.
The trap this creates is the woman begins to believe that she is not beautiful. Beauty lies within the eyes of the beholder, yet the one to behold sees no beauty within herself. SZA fights with her own thoughts and feelings and it leads herself to believe that she needs him, even when she has a million reasons not to.
Men, believe in your women.
Chapter 3: Doves in the Wind
Real niggas do not deserve pussy
The Pussy Song! Pussy Pussy Pussy. That's all that matters in this world, honestly. But not the pussy you're thinking of. SZA is talking about a woman's entire being. Pussy isn't just pussy. Pussy is everything the woman has to offer.
Love, care, and knowledge. For men, the ultimate goal has been to get to the pussy in her pants. But men have been looking at it all wrong for far too long. Men should be seeking those three key traits that give themselves the courage and power to really consider themselves accomplished men.
Think about Forrest Gump. That guy lived the best life anyone could possibly ask for, and he really had the pussy the whole time. Jenny gave everything except for that one thing and he accomplished everything in the world. Men too, can accomplish everything if they can change their own perception on pussy.
Chapter 6: The Weekend
My man is my man, is your man
Relationships get complicated sometimes. And just like men, women have the capability to be imperfect when it comes to fidelity. Whether you're on the girlfriend side or you're the side chick, there is still hurt to be felt from every perspective.
SZA is speaking from the perspective of the side chick who knows she's the side chick, yet still see the beauty in all of it. She doesn't mind sharing him, but probably mostly because he is not technically her man. In her mind, everyone wins because they all are getting what they want out of their relationships.
Yet the pain her words and her voice can still be felt. She knows she is simply there for the weekend. She talks about how if he wanted more of her, she would open herself up to that. The time may be enough for now, but eventually the weekends may not be enough.
Chapter 7: Go Gina
Damn Gina, damn Gina
In case you have never watched the show Martin, Gina is in reference to a character on the show who always seems to be holding herself to a higher standard and sometimes comes off as corporate and business minded. She finds it hard to allow herself to be free willing and carefree.
SZA seems to be talking to herself as she is trying to talk to her inner Gina. One side of her is trying to tell Gina that it works for her. She talks about how hard it is to hold herself up when she is the way she is. Giving examples of how cool she is when she is just hanging out with her high friends.
Sometimes its about not worrying about what anyone else thinks. And sometimes its about not worrying about what you think anyone else thinks. These little tips she gives herself in this song are meant to not be hurtful, but to build her up into a strong yet carefree woman.
Chapter 8: Garden (Say it Like That)
Need you for the old me, need you for my sanity
Alright men, sometimes you guys are pretty good. Y'all got a lot to handle. Women are very delicate creatures, and it is your job to display comfort and care constantly. Any little misstep and it could be explosive. But all you need to do everyday is remind them who they are and why they're here.
If your girl asks you if her booty looks bigger, the obvious answer is yes. Unless of course she wants the answer to be no, then you say no. Your words are like ingredients to an elaborate recipe. Put a little too much salt and you may find yourself in the doghouse.
SZA knows how she is, and she doesn't know how hard it must be to have to deal with her difficult ass. But at the same time, it's his job to know what he got himself into. Whoever she is talking to, keep doing what you're doing. Because you got the juice.
Chapter 12: Normal Girl
This time next year I'll be livin' so good
What even is a normal girl? And is it a good thing or a bad thing? SZA makes the normal girl sound boring and bland. She sarcastically states that she wishes she was a normal girl, because maybe then he would like her.
All these dudes out here are dating normal girls, while SZA is doing her own thing. In her own words, she be "wylin'" sometimes. Well shit girl, do you. Men are so clueless, they probably think she really wishes she was normal.
Don't be normal. Be yourself ladies.
Chapter 14: 20 Something
Stuck in them 20 somethings, stuck in them 20 somethings
The most challenging time in ones life, those twenty-somethings. Still trying to figure out who you are and what you have to offer to the world. Getting old enough to consciously ask yourself what you're doing with your life, yet still young enough to not care. Everyday is like a ping pong game in your mind.
Some of your friends are moving on in their lives. Starting a new career, getting married and having kids, and spending less time with you. You will lose some friends along the way, but its all a part of life. This time in your life may seem difficult at times, and it may drain you mentally and physically.
As she states, it even kills some innocent souls. She is praying that you get through your twenty-somethings alive, well, and still holding on to some friends.
SZA's first full-length album under Top Dog Entertainment is unlike a lot of music out there. There isn't too many artists allowing themselves to open up and be so free with their feelings. Being able to be in control of her life and her emotions has allowed her to find a way to cope with her twenty-somethings. At 29 years old, she was able to reflect on goals, relationships, and her life.
This album is both honest and bold. It allows the listener to build courage, feel fear, as well as challenge themselves to be better.
Listen to this album to help take control of your life.
The article that you are about to read will challenge all of your preconceived notions of what you believed was simply an article. You are about to experience a new way to feel, perceive, and share love.
Thousands have gathered for the experience of the year. They come to see one man who has traveled across the globe to spread his message in a unique way.
He has captivated crowds since his path began. Releasing his thoughts, emotions, and life to all those who have come across him in his journey. His journey through the ultimate experience; Life.
A loading screen featuring classic black and yellow smiley faces spin around on the screen as the crowd waits in anticipation. Every second is one closer to the beginning of something new. They believe they have an understanding of what is about to happen to them, but they yet to feel it.
The arena goes dark. A simple caution symbol is now displayed on the screen. The lights slowly begin to bring the room back to life. A dense fog takes hold of the stage, if only for a moment. The words of the man they came to see begin to enter their world, yet no man is seen.
The people can feel what is happening. They realize now that they are in something completely different. Something they've never felt before at a rap concert. Something that is... real.
With the crowd, the words, and the fog setting the stage for him, he brings it all together. In a flash, he enters their sights. His presence sends the people into a frenzy. A$AP Rocky has now commenced The Injured Generation Tour.
A$AP Rocky's newest album "Testing" was the inspiration for the tour. For months, the album and videos that accompanied the music were all just trailers for the event. He planned a more intimate setting for the shows, making them more exclusive by only performing at 18 venues in less than one month.
He opened the show with the top single off of the album "A$AP Forever." Sprinting onto the stage, fully clothed with a hoodie and a ski mask on. Hiding behind the mask was an artist with a lot to say and many emotions to share.
Come fuck with the MOB, shout out to the Lords and the Gods
The fog is finally settling after a few songs and Rocky is asking the crowd if they are ready for the rules. They must follow these rules if they are to accept the experience in its totality. His goons who are joining him on stage and in the crowd are also rocking the ski masks, and it is their job to set the tone for the people and to ensure that everyone is following the rules.
You must love one another. You must smile when you are told. You must clap when you are told. And finally, you must mosh when you are told.
So he tested his crowd right away to see if they were paying attention. He performed a major banger with "Yamborghini High" to get everyone who was on the floor to dance around like some maniacs. He then followed it up with "Multiply" which consists of intense beat drops. By this time, it is certain that at least two or three kids down in the pits had some bumps and bruises.
He had the crowd in the palm of his hands. And with everyone locked in, he asked for a moment of silence in memory of his best friend A$AP Yams. Although it has been over 4 years since his passing, his name still rings on thanks to the love of his friends in the A$AP Mob.
This silence led to a change of scenery for the show. It was time for Rocky to flex a bit.
After a brief intermission, he opened his second act with the second single off of the album with "Gunz N Butter." A large sheet covered the stage fell to the floor. And behind the sheet was Rocky levitating on a floating crash test car. He is performing mid-air in front of a screen displaying him on the ride of his life, while taking the crowd on the ride of theirs.
As he is getting down from his car, he stops the music for a second. He sees two guys fighting in the crowd, and he calls for them to come to the stage. He explains to the crowd that by fighting, they are breaking the rules originally set for the show.
He made them apologize to each other, and dance with him on stage. The two kids were either drunk or on some type of drugs because they still couldn't comprehend what was happening. But once that "OG Beeper" beat dropped, all was forgiven and forgotten.
Got my first pager, that was 1998
Things were starting to get a little bit too crazy, so Rocky decided it was time to take a trip. Not like a trip down memory lane, but like an actual acid trip. More specifically, "L$D."
As he lay on the ground looking up at the ceiling, the screens displayed images that the mind could only create while on hallucinogenic drugs. The smaller screens showed the crowd watching in awe. And once he began singing to the women specifically, the stage began to get flooded with bras.
A$AP Rocky goes by many nicknames, but he said after tonight his new name would be the Lingerie Lord. And as he transitioned into the next phase of the show, all of those girls who threw those bras on stage were feeling like it wasn't enough for the Pretty Mutha Fucka.
Titties began to take control of the big screens. Big titties, little titties, saggy titties, and most likely some underage titties. You could see all of the teenage boys eyes lighting up, because it was probably the most action they were going to get that night. The Lingerie Lord encouraged the ladies to continue sharing their wealth while he continued to tear down the stage.
With everyone getting their breather with the slow songs, he ramped up the energy one last time before the night was over. He wanted the crowd to spread out and really go at it in some crazy mosh pits. With every beat drop, you assumed that someone was going to have to get stretchered out due to injury.
But the name of the tour said it all. The Injured Generation has gone through enough emotionally and mentally to prepare them for this moment. A nod to Three Six Mafia with "Slob on my Knob" really showed the age difference amongst the crowd as one could tell that at least half the kids there did not known the song, but still went crazy because they could feel the energy.
The energy was high all the way until the final song of the night. The show was ending, but A$AP never ends. As he performed "Long Live A$AP," the crowd experienced a bittersweet moment. They were thankful for the ride that he took them on, yet they did not want it to end.
As he thanked the crowd and took his final bow, the crowd chanted "A$AP! A$AP! A$AP!" He gave one final wave goodbye, and he exited the stage. All that was left was a cloud of weed smoke coming from the crowd, and a screen with the smiley face image on it again with the words "Thank you for coming!"
If you made it to the end of the show, you survived the crash test. And you can now put "A$AP" in front of your Twitter handle and pretend like you're in the MOB.