rap song lyrics

3 May

1st verse

 

Let’s go back like a walkman

Back to the program

Back to the slow jams

That we used to rock to

Ignition had us freakin’

Lived up high school

Went to class but we always stayed geakin’

Grew up as the problem child

Always used to act wild

Teachers used to kick me out

But I never had a doubt

That I could make it in the world

Preoccupied with girls and fryin’ dudes like a burn

Was nice at basketball so you know I stayed ballin’

But when it came to academics I was all in

Kept a 4 0 but that can’t compare

To all the other times we put it in the air

How can this be fair

We all goin’ separate ways

Textin’ eachother about back in the old days

When we were worry free

No need to worry G

We all do our different things

Tryna chase our different blings

 

Chorus:

We gotta do what we do

But when it seems new

You know I’m coming through

With a pack of them blue moons

            6 pack of them blue moons

 

We gotta do what we do

But when it seems new

You know I’m coming through

With a pack of them blue moons

            You know its gonna be soon

 

2nd verse

 

Back to the present time

Gotta stay on my grind

Tryna chase that lavish life

Gotta start actin right

Gotta keep making strides

Gotta read between the lines

So I can make progress

Life got me going crazy, Bernard Goetz

Confused about my future

Don’t wanna be a loser

I wanna be a ruler

Fresh like a tulip

Gonna move to Rumson

And live with the rich folk

I’m sprintin’ through this life, Husain Bolt

Tryna be a ball coach

Work my way up to the top

I’m punchin’ in that clock

But I never punch out

I take a different route

I know you see my clout

People say I act a fool

Oh that’s really cool

Well this is really really cool

Only one more week

Til I see my friends from high school.

 

Chorus

 

We gotta do what we do

But when it seems new

You know I’m coming through

With a pack of them blue moons

            12 pack of them blue moons

 

We gotta do what we do

But when it seems new

You know I’m coming through

With a pack of them blue moons

            You know it’s gonna be soon

Question #3

2 May

            With the degradation of the hip-hop culture over the course of the last twenty years, it becomes almost necessary to reexamine our course of action and direction within the rap game.  We need to make an honest attempt to alter the music that is being produced by mainstream media and heard by society, particularly the youth.  With such an attempt it is important to decide which actions would best lead to a possible change within rap.  Tricia Rose’s proposed “Six Guiding Principles” are a pretty decent guideline for a potentially successful way of returning rap back to its roots, but, as shown in many songs, could potentially have its hold ups and restrictions in our modern society.

            The “Six Guiding Principles” are a great base for a potential movement to bring rap back to the golden age.  The first principle, “beware of the manipulation of funk”, urges people to listen to the words that are being said instead of falling into a transient state of just listening to the beats and sounds(Hip Hop Wars).  If people were to think about what is being said in the songs, they would most likely end up being disgusted or at least not support the themes of violence, sex, materialism, and drugs.  For example, Tyga’s “Rack City” has quickly become one of the most popular songs within hip-hop and made its way to other genre dominated radio stations because of its extremely catchy beat and the simple chorus that is easy to memorize and recite.  If one were to dissect what is really being said, they would find lyrics filled with sexual images and even mentions of having sex with someone’s grandma, not very promotable images in many art forms(Rack City).  If we could stick to Tricia Rose’s principle, we would be able to pass this off as garbage and look for more artistic and influential music.  The only hold up of this principle is the accessibility of music outside of mainstream society.  With the exception of internet radio sites, it is extremely hard to find music outside of what is being pushed upon us.  The second principle, “remember what is amazing about chitterlings and what is not”, urges the black community to remember where they have come from with the limited resources given to them, but also strive to gain equality and work outside the confines given by society(Hip Hop Wars).  This can be seen through rapper Lupe Fiasco who has continuously put out music that represents what it is he wants to say rather than what the record company deems as promotable.  His latest mixtape, “Friend of the People”, is filled with political commentary over beats that are stereotypically not seen within the rap game(Lupe Fiasco Friend of the People: I Fight Evil).  This principle is one that can be very effective because it urges rappers to think outside of the box and thus continue to create more ingenuity within the genre.  Rose’s third principle, “we live in a market economy; don’t let the market economy live in us”, urges people not to let the market value and goals of personal profit dominate our views on music and our society(Hip Hop Wars).  We must make our own decisions and realize the sacrifices many artists made to their integrity to get to where they are today.  This principle seems highly unrealistic because many rappers that come from urban regions are seen as role models and inspirational figures that citizens want to look at and see themselves.  “If they can make it, maybe I can” is the mentality many hold and would be almost unfair to take away some of the only inspiration to succeed that kids in urban areas can physically see and connect to.  The fourth principle, “represent what you want, not just what is” promotes the idea of talking about what we want our communities to look like instead of talking about the harsh realities that are there today(Hip Hop Wars).  This would allow for people to see an imaginable goal for the future and set their sites on it through community action.  This principle can be seen in Nas’s “If I Ruled the World”.  Nas talks about how life could be different and ghettos could be places where people wanted to raise their kids in harmony with all races(If I Ruled the World).  This type of song is appealing to the urban youth, and can be used to promote positive influences in the rap community.  This principle can be extremely effective if other rappers take Nas’s approach and work towards a better society.  Rose’s fifth principle, “your enemy might be wrong, but that doesn’t make you right”, attempts to tell artists to focus their energy on internally critiquing the hip-hop game instead of focusing on those who have opposing views on the rap game.  Some rappers have been able to successfully accomplish this goal, but too many focus on outside criticism in their lyrics(Hip Hop Wars).  If energy was better spent, rappers could urge other rappers to promote a more positive image in the community.  This would be extremely effective because peer pressure is one of the strongest forces against someone to change.  The last principle, “don’t settle for affirmative love alone; demand and give transformational love”, is possibly the most important of all the principles.  The principle recommends that the black community must not settle for affirmation of their dehumanization throughout history, but look to transform their position in society to further grow and expand their creativity(Hip Hop Wars).  Not being content is one of the most essential things for someone to possess if they wish to further themselves in society.  This principle could be the most effective if the black community were to grasp it because it would promote more creativity and expands the horizons of many youth.

            The principles set up by Tricia Rose do a great job of assembling a baseline for what can be done in hip-hop to change it, but we must take these principles and make them a reality if we hope to see change.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Works Cited

“”If I Ruled The World” Lyrics.” Azlyrics.com. Web. 01 May

2012.

<http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/nas/ifiruledtheworld.html&gt;.

“Lupe Fiasco Friend Of The People: I Fight Evil.” DatPiff.com.

Web. 01 May 2012. <http://www.datpiff.com/Lupe-Fiasco-

Friend-Of-The-People-I-Fight-Evil-mixtape.287406.html>.

“”Rack City” Lyrics.” Azlyrics.com. Web. 01 May 2012.

<http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/tyga/rackcity.html&gt;.

 

Rose, Tricia. The Hip Hop Wars: What We Talk about When We

Talk about Hip Hop–and Why It Matters. New York:

BasicCivitas, 2008. Print.

Question #4

1 May

Since rap was introduced as an art form in the 20th century, the United States has been the epicenter for hip-hop inspiration and ingenuity.  America has been the home of hip-hop, and its influences have allowed for many other countries to eventually build their own rap cultures within the boundaries of their own countries.  Since media has become such a readily available and accessible item in society today, we are just now seeing the effects of the spread of hip-hop.  These new horizons have allowed for us as Americans, to see how the rest of the world can express themselves in rap.  Although we were the first to break ground on hip-hop, we can still learn from international artists by trying to get back to the roots of hip-hop the same ways international artists have begun to do.

Because hip-hop is such a new thing in many countries, they are undergoing much of the same evolution of the hip-hop culture that took place in the United States.   As seen in El General’s “Rais Lebled”, rap was originally used to give a voice to a voiceless group of people.  The song is used as a catalyst for change in the society that El General lives in, very similar to the techniques that were used by Grandmaster Flash, Public Enemy, and other rappers that were around during the golden era of rap(El General:Rais Lebled).  Much like El General, other rappers in other parts of the world are able to use their voice in hip-hop to further their initiative of making theirs, and their people’s voice, heard in mainstream society.  Connect R, a rapper from Romania, is also a gypsy.  Because gypsies are not generally accepted by society and frowned upon, it is tough to imagine one rising to stardom.  However, Connect R was able to win song of the year in Romania while rapping about his people, the gypsies, and trying to change the opinions and stereotypes that people have towards his people.  When accepting his award, he pulled off his jacket and revealed a white shirt that said “gypsy”(ConnectR Podcast).  This act of rebellion shows the possibilities and potential that rap contains.  If one rapper can become the voice of a population, why can’t a group of rappers unite to provide a more positive image for the youth of society? 

Rap can also be used as a source of promoting stronger values and morals within a society.  Many people believe that society as a whole is losing its touch on politeness and respectful nature, and many rappers in other countries are pleading with society to make a change.  As seen with the Danish hip-hop duo No Name Requested, rap can be used as a force for promoting peace and unity, instead of violence and materialism.  The two female rappers, Natasja Saad and Karen Mukupa, believe that they can use their voices to promote things such as living peacefully and working towards a more accepting society(Danish Hip Hop Queen Karem Mukupa Podcast).  In their single “Colours of the Mind”, they talk about the terrors of war and how we can live in harmony instead of taking violent actions.  The group even promotes themes such as recycling and living a green lifestyle.  The group’s message was not one of violence, but gained them enough popularity to perform in other nations alongside the likes of Queen Latifah(DetDUR).  This shows that the positive messages that have been missing from American hip-hop can actually be profitable in today’s current market economy.  If more artists are able to see that artists with positive messages are making careers out of their music, they may be more inclined to write and perform songs that stray from the mold that is currently in hip-hop.

Rap in the United States has, and continues to have, one of the greatest influences within the American community.  It allows for people to gain different perspectives on life from areas that they may not have been previously exposed to.  But as American hip-hop continues to move away from its roots towards a genre dominated by the market economy with messages of violence and materialism, we can look to international artists as inspiration to promote messages for social change and promoting strong core values.  We need to move towards a more positive message that broadens our horizons of what is acceptable and promotable in the rap game.  As more and more artists move towards a message that promotes stronger values or social change, we may be able to change the direction of society towards a modern day Renaissance of values.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Works Cited

 

ConnectR Podcast. April 18, 2012.

 

DetDUR. “No Name Requested Fra South Central Copenhagen.”

YouTube.com. YouTube, 02 Oct. 2008. Web. 01 May 2012.

<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PhhKTxWeWlI&gt;.

 

Danish Hip Hop Queen Karen Mukupa Podcast. April 18, 2012.

 

“El General:Rais Lebled.” Mark Shaughney. April 16, 2012.

 

Question #2

1 May

Since rap has come to the foreground of mainstream media, many artists have claimed that the artistry and originality of the rap community is diminishing.  Many people believe that only things such as drugs, sex, and violence are capable of selling in a market that controls what the artists wear and what they say.  I agree with the statement that hip-hop is in a state of crisis, and that this could ultimately lead to deterioration of the genre and potentially lead to negative influences on urban society.

Although rap and hip-hop seem to be dominated by predominantly black members, those who control what is heard and seen are the white CEOs who want to sell records and the white suburban community that actually is purchasing the product produced by rappers (J. Cole Discussion).  This results in a demand for highly sexual and violent music, which gives the white suburban community with the thrill of a fast paced life from the comfort of their suburban environment.  Rappers fall into the trap of the media of talking about what sells.  Although many rappers do have conscience songs talking about real problems in the urban communities, they are not typically the songs that make it to radio play.  On the current Billlboard top 100 hip-hop and R&B songs, the top 10 songs are all songs that talk about sexual encounters and partying(R&B/Hip-Hop Songs).  This is a concerning issue because the songs that are being played the most are the ones that are talking about topics in society that degrade the integrity of what hip-hop was intended to be.  This also perpetuates new artists to imitate what is being played and sold in an attempt to make more money eventually, which ultimately leads to more party and sex songs on the radio.  This problem can be seen even on top radio stations’, such as Hot97 in New York City, playlists.  On Hot97’s playlist containing twenty two songs that run on a loop throughout certain periods of the day, the only songs that did not contain themes of sex, violence, or partying were “Sabotage” by Wale and Lloyd and “I Do” by Young Jeezy, Jay-Z, and Andre 3000.  This is an alarmingly low amount of songs, only 9.09 percent of the playlist, because it allows for the youth listening to this media to justify their actions based on what their role models and entertainers are talking about(Hot97 Playlist).  Those who do not believe that hip-hop is in a state of crisis argue that there still are conscientious rappers out there such as Common, J. Cole, Lupe Fiasco and others that are able to get their message into the mainstream media and have successful careers.  Though this is true, these rappers are few and far between and even have trouble getting their more meaningful records being played on the radio.  For example, J. Cole, a rapper who talks about much more than just sex and partying in a majority of his songs, has only had six songs on the Billboard top 100 list, all of which were songs about sex or flashy images of partying and materialism(J. Cole).  This shows one of the major problems within the rap game today.  Although many artists wish to talk about things outside the control of the media market, they cannot do so because it will not be profitable.

These problems lend themselves to ultimately much greater issues than what are seen at the surface.  As the rap game continues to be diluted by rap containing songs dominated by themes such as sex, drugs, partying, and violence, there are less and less role models for kids to look up to that present a positive message.  Ultimately, we may see the genre of rap move towards one with less and less artists striving for musical ingenuity, possibly moving towards a genre that is completely different than what it was originally designed to be. The reality of the issue is that we can potentially fall into a slippery slope of what are kids listen to as music and what they translate over into their own lives.  Children are easily influenced by what they see in the media, and as hip-hop becomes more popular throughout mainstream society, the messages that rappers are sending become more influential.  If we do not look to change the state of hip-hop as soon as possible, this snowball effect could continue all the way to urban areas who see individuals coming from the same area as them talking about the gangster lifestyle and materialistic mentalities towards life.  We must work our way out of this crisis before it becomes a larger issue.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Works Cited

“Hot97 Playlist.” HOT97.com. Web. 30 Apr. 2012.

<http://www.hot97.com/playlist/&gt;.

“J. Cole Discussion.” Class. Dr. Robin Armstrong. February 8,

2012. McDaniel College.

“J. Cole.” Billboard. Web. 30 Apr. 2012.

<http://www.billboard.com/artist/j-cole/chart-history/1309740&gt;.

 

“R&B/Hip-Hop Songs.” Billboard.com. Web. 30 Apr. 2012.

 

<http://www.billboard.com/charts/r-b-hip-hop-songs&gt;.

 

Question #1

30 Apr

            Throughout the history of rap, certain messages have perpetuated themselves through the grapevine and remained constant over the course of time.  These messages can be passed on throughout multiple generations and are able relatable to a wide variety of audience.  These messages are furthered by some of rap’s richest artistic tools, and can be seen as a way of communicating with the audience.  In Talib Kweli’s “Get By” and K’naan’s “Take a Minute”, two of the most prevalent themes in rap history, social and urban commentary as well as peace and unity, are presented through some of rap’s richest and most effective artistic tools such as comparisons such as similes and metaphors, allusion, as well as repetition.

            In Talib Kweli’s “Get By”, the rapper is able to comment on the state of society within the urban areas, as well as within the entire society.  He uses similes and metaphors throughout the song, which work to allow for Talib’s message to be easily understood.  For example, in the first verse, the rapper speaks about going “through Episodes II, like attack of the clones”.  This is a reference aimed at a broad audience, all of star wars fans, and shows the strength of the struggle the people are living in.  The other two similes in the song also target a broad audience containing white America by using comparisons to painter Norman Mailer and singer John Lennon and the Beatles.  These allusions within the similes are able to allow for a vast population to relate to the issues presented by using recognizable figures in society to compare to the struggles and successes of Talib Kweli and the people.  Repetition is one of the most important and consistent artistic tools used in rap, with “Get By” being no exception.  Throughout the entirety of the song, “just to get by” is dispersed in order to further along the message of the song. Repetition allows for the main message of the song to be drilled into the head of the listener and will be the lasing image that the audience takes away from the song.  This repetition in the verses as well as the chorus does an excellent job of constantly reminding the audience of all of the struggles and loss of morals that have taken place and continue to take place in society.  Finally, the music also furthers the message of the song.  Talib Kweli uses a very soulful based musical track that brings in very traditional, African elements(Get By).  The song has a hard baseline, but is covered with an upbeat piano and constant interjections from soulful singers as well as others joining in.  This beat allows for the text to be the main focus of the song, and the African roots present help to show how far the black race has come, furthering the message of the struggle in the song.

            In K’naan’s “Take a Minute”, the rapper is able to spread the message of peace and unity within society by using strong allusions as well as repetition.  The allusions made in “Take a Minute” are some of the more intellectual and inspirational allusions seen in rap.  K’naan references political leaders Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Ghandi in the first quartet of the song.  These references show the peaceful message that K’naan wishes to portray and allows for people to remember that change can be possible through peaceful protest.  K’naan also makes reference to Akon, an African performer.  This reference is made to show how people from Africa can be successful in mainstream society, and they have someone to look towards as inspiration.  The last allusion is simply to shout out Somalia and the town K’naan grew up in, Mogadishu.  Coming from such an area and preaching the message of peace is much more powerful than someone from the suburbs trying to preach peace.  The repetition within “Take a Minute is the most memorable and useful tools within the song.  The chorus is repeated a total of four times, and the theme of giving is present throughout the entirety of the song.  The chorus talks about taking time to relax instead of responding with violence because we all are naïve and most learn to love each other.  The constant repetition of this catchy chorus allows for listeners to not only remember what the song is talking about, but continue to spread the message by singing it.  The music in “Take a Minute has a strong relationship to the text and furthers the theme of the song(Take a Minute).  The song consists of a slower paino, bass, soothing vocals, and other drums that create a melody that is not often seen in rap.  Although there is a rhythm kept by the drums, the music resembles a laid back mentality that furthers the theme of peace and love.  The music compliments the theme instead of counteracting it. 

            In both songs, the rappers are able to use their artistic tools in order to present some of the most important messages that are in rap.  Though they seem to be contrasting themes, both talk about the struggle and how to potentially solve them in different ways.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Works Cited

 

“Get By.” Rawkus Records. Talib Kweli. November 19, 2002.

 

“Take a Minute.” A&M/Octone Records. K’naan. February 24, 2009.

sociological essay (works cited included)

19 Apr

           Throughout his career, Kanye West has been able to convey the harsh realities within the city of Chicago, and how they have allowed for him to become the person and artist that he is today.  Although “Homecoming” is not intended to be a critique of society, but Kanye West does an excellent job of portraying the social issues present within Chicago without coming out and directly stating it.  Because Kanye West uses a story about his relationship with a girl to describe his relationship with a Chicago, you have to draw conclusions about the city.  However, the song is able to convey the social issues present in Chicago and how they continue to be prevalent in society today.

            In the beginning of the song, Kanye West shows his love for the city of Chicago talking about how much soul the city has(Anthology of Rap).  This is something that often gets lost in rap due to the excessive violence and sexuality, but Kanye is able to attest to the wonders and character of the city.  He also speaks on the nightlife and how it is breathtaking to someone who is seeing it for the first time.  Kanye talks throughout the song about his love for the city of Chicago, and how it is tough for him to come back to the city because of his fame(Anthology of Rap).  This shows the strong sense of community that Chicago holds because it does not welcome people who have left the city.  People within Chicago believe that you should be born and raised in Chicago and work to develop the city from the interior instead of going elsewhere to gain recognition.  This sense of community is also furthered by the statement that people who live outside of Chicago who come into the city acting tough are quick to realize that they are not welcome there.  Kanye West is able to make reference to the drug use within the city of Chicago by referencing the girl blowing trees(Graduation).  This sense of community is one of the most powerful and important values that is held within Kanye West then goes on to talk about the gang violence present in Chicago.  He exposes the fact that people from Chicago get on television and talk about all of the problems within the city, and how that degrades the integrity of the city he loves(Anthology of Rap).  One of the main problems that Kanye West talks about is the exporting of talent and ingenuity from many of the young artists in Chicago.  Many artists in Chicago end up leaving the city because of opportunities in bigger media markets such as New York and Los Angeles, leaving Chicago dry of much of the talent that grew up in the area.  Although Kanye West does not intentionally degrade women, he indirectly makes puns that talk about the sexual exploitation of women as well as their role as possessions for men.  He talks about how she showed him how to go downtown, which works as a double entendre for seeing the nightlife as well as performing oral sex on a girl(Graduation).  This being made as an important point and shift in context allows for it to be accentuated.  Although Kanye’s message about the state of Chicago is masked behind a playful beat and his love for the city, he is able to extend his message to a mass audience. 

            Kanye West is often regarded as one of the best rappers in the hip-hop world today because of the power that he packs into every lyric.  “Homecoming” is no exception to this.  Kanye is able to pack his message of social critique for the state of Chicago through double meanings and a creative structure that allows for him to mask the meaning of his song underneath something disguised as a relationship with a girl.  This use of ingenuity is consistent with Kanye West’s career as he constantly makes strides to stretch the boundaries of the rap game. 

 

Works Cited

 

Bradley, Adam, and Andrew DuBois. The Anthology of Rap. New

Haven: Yale UP, 2010. Print.

 

“Graduation”. Def Jam Records. Kanye West. September 11, 2007.

 

In The Morning

16 Apr

I chose to do “In the Morning” by Fabolous as an example of how females are perceived within rap through sexuality.  The song is all about having sex in the morning before the girl goes to work.  The music is a laid back beat with a piano as the main instrument accompanied with a light beat of drums.  This presents a sensual feeling that Fabolous uses along with his laid back rapping style. The song talks about the sensual act of love, and talks about cherishing the company of the person you are with instead of disrespecting women.  The act of sex is not seen as one just to have countless partners, but to indulge in one’s love.  It is interesting to see how such vulgar things could be made sensual with a slow baseline and piano.