Bryson Tiller x Trapsoul Review

While my expertise lies in the area of personal interpretations and reflections in songs, I feel that I should get into the zone of album reviews due to my love of music and the appreciation that I have for each genre.

Today’s review will be on “Trapsoul”, Bryson Tiller’s debut album which was brought to stardom through his breakout single “Dont.” Nowadays it is not the norm for an artist to rise to fame through media platforms such as Soundcloud, Youtube or even Twitter (Just ask Post Malone and Fetty Wap). Tiller is from Louisville Kentucky as well.

Prior to this release, I heard the song “Don’t” due to its phenomenal success, but did not come to appreciate it until I gave a couple of listens. After Trapsoul came out at the top of October, I found myself in my dorm a month later listening through the whole album. While albums are meant to be played from top to bottom, there are only a handful which I can actually do that with (Wale x Attention Deficit, Isaiah Rashad x Cilvia Demo, Kendrick Lamar x Good Kid Maaaad City). Upon the first listen, I noticed something in Tiller who somehow became lovechild born with the genes of Drake and Ty Dollar Sign. Somehow, the album felt like a book and each chapter was built off the prior track.

I have discussed Tiller’s content with many individuals and the majority opinion (from the people that I have talked to) is that Tiller is pretty “overated” with comments ranging that he will never be as good as Chris Brown and the he is not that good of a signer. Hearing statements like these prompted me to analyze this album and develop an understanding on my own. If it is something that I have noticed time and time again, is that people’s opinions change and and it takes time for people’s opinions to change. That’s why it takes a couple of album listens to for me to fully decided whether I enjoy an album or not. What I found in Tiller was that he emulated the basic concepts that are associated with R&B, but he somehow created his own “sound” that will remain unique to him. Whether you are a Tiller fan or not, you have to recognize that he is somewhat versatile compared to other artists that have only one distinct sound (in reference to Mr. Dirty Sprite, Future Hendrix himself).

One thing that I will commend Tiller on is his production. I feel that production is something that can make and break you, if you have great production and an bad content you can still have an appeal. These factor plays well for rappers such as Dom Kennedy, IloveMAKONEN and Mr. Ba$ed himself, Lil B. While these rappers do not have high quality lyrical content, I feel that their production makes up for what their lyrics lack. In this case, Young Tiller has quality and production thus, maximizing the appeal that he has on his fans.

While I will commend Tiller’s talent, I will bring up the question of versatility again. Music nowadays can be described as the latest fad-people will listen to whatever is popular at the moment. I mean, I know if that if Lil Uzi Vert never blew up, there is little to no chance that I would have heard “Top” or his latest project “Luv is Rage”. While I feel that Tiller has hit a homerun *insert slugger fx from Rambo* on this project, can Tiller still crusie on the R&B scene by talking about love, relationships and girls. I know that Drake is highly successful because of his versatility; he can rap about girls, create a turn-up vibe and even talk about real-world issues on the same project. While I feel that many people compare other artists to Drake, I feel that he always has a new factor to bring to the table. But then again music is an algorithm that is always altered, Kid Cudi has created his style for so long and when he choose to divert from his traditional sound with projects such as “WZRD and Speen’ Bulltet 2 Heaven.”

Aside from production, I feel that the signing was great and the songwriting was amazing. The only thing that I wanted to point out is that I feel that Tiller can improve on his rapping and try to get out of his shell for the next album. Tiller’s “Molly” (Track that is on his soundcloud) is a great track the displays his rapping skills. If Tiller can keep up with his singing, experiment his sound, get his rapping skills to another level and collaborate with other artists his next album will be sellout.

Favorite Tracks: Overtime, Open Interlude, Let Em’ Know

Least Favorite Tracks:  The Sequence, Ten Nine Fourteen

Overall Rating: 8.5/10

Additional comments: Bryson Tiller is coming to Penn State at the end of April and hearing an artist on an album and hearing them live are TWO different things. I recommend coming out to the show and seeing what Young Tiller has to offer. Plus, he has an great duo opening the show.

Young Vic X Shot You Down

Today I will be analyzing another one of my songs, which is entitled “Shot You Down”. This song is a remix to the Isaiah Rashad version which was the lead single to his breakout project “Cilvia Demo”. This song was written during my “experimental phase” where I tried to create my own sound but had no direction  where to go. In a week this song will be two years old.

Lyrics:

(V1)
Man I’m feeling a sensation, a making of my creation.. Hard to figure out if someone genuine or faking.. This beat so diverse, bout to lead it to the hearse.. In anything I do I try my best to come out first. I’m never slacking, I got a lot I’m packing.. Life throws a lot , just figure what you’re catching. Hard to say I have regrets, I learn from my mistakes. I can so do better, oh wait I’m quoting drake. The older that you grow, and the wisdom that you know.. My eyes start to open.. The key unlocks the door. Black thoughts, thoughts with insomnia.. Metabolize, making energy like mitochondria.. Dang. Using science reference, I’m so nerdy.. Tryna spell some stuff out, not talking about fergie.. Nothing calms me than composing new tracks.. Tryna keep the hustle no room to relax. Just tryna state some facts, maybe need state farm, my charm I’d to calm a situation with alarm. Woo lemme take a breather, no days off never lazy not a sleeper. If you got a good girl, I advise that you keep her. People mistake cocky and confident no J bieber. I’m turning y’all into believers.. I’m catching everything like I’m the fastest wide receiver..
I’ve seen myself become impartial to certain things, I’ve seen myself go numb when know that it should sting.. I guess there’s things I will never understand. Life is a beach and I’m playing in the sand.. I’m feeling like I got the whole world in my hand.. I just need it play it to impress like a band.. Maybe need insurance to avoid the reprimand.. On my Allstate, are you in good hands?

(Hook)
I came, I saw, I conquered, eh I shot you down.
And your brain ain’t go not conscious, eh what you do now. I came, I saw, I conquered eh I shot you down.. & I bang, I bang, I blocka, eh what you do now?
No negative ppl, eh I shot you down..
No two faced jekyils..eh I shot you down
No negative ppl..eh what do now
No selfish narcissists.. eh, what you do.. don’t make a sound.

Lyrics and Personal Interpretation:

I open up by saying, “Its hard to figure out if someone is genuine or faking” I feel that there are a lot of fake people in the world who magically appear in your life when they need something from you and sometimes it is hard to see if they are down for you or trying to take advantage. I then go on by saying this beat is “diverse” here I am emphasizing that I am trying new things in music (because this isn’t a beat that I would normally rap on). I continue by explaining that I work hard (a theme that is reiterated a lot in my music) and that life has so many things that it will throw at you, its all about being comfortable and not biting more that you can chew. As you grow in life, you get wisdom and wisdom/knowledge is power.  With that, I feel that I am always thinking about something at any given time. Whether it is about my future, an exam grade or what I want to eat for breakfast the next day; somehow thoughts like these ones keep me awake at night. I then make a reference to science, by saying “metabolize i’m making energy like mitochondria” its pretty self explanatory in reference to science but what I meant by this is that I am hoping to boost morale and energize all of the people that will be listening to this track. Even though I want to provide energy, writing songs are my escape in life-it somehow makes me feel whole again and allows me to forget anything that I am trying to forget.

I then go on by explaining that there are no days off (well, mentally I guess). What I mean is that I am always “grinding” in an aspect that will develop me. Whether I am studying, writing music, reading books, or educating myself, everyday I am working on making myself a better person. The next line will be defined as “people do not know what they have until its gone” thats why I am advising all the fellas to take care of their girl if they have a keeper.

I begin to close by becoming personal. “I see myself become impartial to certain things” that line goes along with as I grow, instead of having direct assumptions about things I have to actually think about what is going on. For example, when Mike Brown was killed I did not jump to conclusions and assumed that he was killed intentionally. I took my time and became educated about the situation before I talked to anyone else about the situation. Generally, I close by saying that I am growing and because I am growing mentally, the way I have handled things before are the ways of the past.

Listen to “Shot You Down” below: 

Lil Wayne ft. Jake Troth – My Heart Races On

Today, I will do a song by an artist that so many of you already know Lil Wayne or Weezy F Baby. The song of the week is “My Heart Races On” which appears on the Free Weezy project. This album is a project that I feel is overlooked by many people (me included), but after giving the album a second chance, I managed to find some hidden gems.
Lyrics:
[Jake Troth:]
When this world comes crashing
And time flies right past us
Love only lasts if my heart races on
So I step on the gas, burning faster and faster
‘Cause love only lasts if my heart races on
I’m racing on it, on
I’m racing on, if my heart races on[Lil Wayne:]
Uh, I’m priceless, remember me like they remember the Titans
Reality bit me and continue to bite me
Got no degree but where I’m from, that’s the original climate
Where you can’t tell a fiend a crack rock isn’t a diamond
Hold on, Lord if my Bugatti come to a dead end
I’ve already been everywhere except heaven
And tomorrow’s not promised, when I’m gone but not forgotten
I hope my homies calming down my momma, Lord
I guess I’ll see you on that other side
Where the flowers never die, the angels never lie
Yeah, the revolution will be televised
I just hope my contribution will be memorized
Oh, momma hate I got my daddy’s eyes
Never looked into my daddy’s eyes, he ain’t have the time
F–k him, the revolution will be televised
I just hope my contribution will be memorized

[Jake Troth (Lil Wayne):]
When this world comes crashing
And time flies right past us (Hold on)
Love only lasts if my heart races on (Hold on)
So I step on the gas, burning faster and faster (Hold on)
‘Cause love only lasts if my heart races on
I’m racing on if (I’m gone), on (I’m gone)
I’m racing on, if (I’m gone), my heart races on

[Lil Wayne:]
Uh, Tunechi you an angel
Must be here for a reason, and that might be the main one
Fuck it, I’m making money before making changes
I sold my soul to the devil, he bought it then exchanged it
Fuck it, I’m working bitch, I know you see me working
Searching for better days, before a better person
I’m perfect, just ask my bitch and she’ll say that’s so urgent
I purchased, my children gifts and I just keep the curses
Yeah, my heart right and my head ain’t, cause I’m never in my right mind
But I’m Einstein when I do think, and I grew wings
If you catch a feather just keep it, and I’ll be racing on
No short cuts, no cheating

[Jake Troth (Lil Wayne):]
When this world comes crashing
And time flies right past us (Hold on)
Love only lasts if my heart races on (Hold on)
So I step on the gas, burning faster and faster (Hold on)
‘Cause love only lasts if my heart races on
(My heart right and my head ain’t)
I’m racing on if (I’m gone), on, (I’m gone)
I’m racing on, if (I’m gone)
My (There’s nothing left but to fly, if you catch a feather just keep it) heart races on

[Lil Wayne:]
This morning I woke up on my good side
Life is just a race against time so have a good time
Heart racing, thoughts racing, competition, goodbye
I turn around, run backwards to see what second place look like
Oh Lord, what are we running from?
The police cause they already killed enough of us
Stay out them streets cause they don’t fuck with us, they hunting us
We in a race against racists, that’s a color run
I keep my feet above the ground, we gon’ run the town
Heart racing on, beat, beat, beating, knock and pound
Love marathon, getting deeper by the mile
I see no finish line, on your mark, set, pow

Interpretation and Reflection:
Jake Troth  opens up the hook with a serene tone along with a vibrant melody. He says that if everything else fails and the world is going to end, the only thing he will have is love. If this worst-case scenario does happen to occur his heart will actually “race” to accommodate his emotions.
Lil Wayne starts the first verse by referencing the movie – Remember The Titans (disney movie where boys played football together as blacks and whites at a time where racism was prevalent).
Wayne continues with his amazing wordplay by saying I got no degree but where I am from, that’s the original climate. Take a second to reminisce on that line. He is basically saying he never went to college but its not a big deal because everyone in his environment probably never saw college as an option. He continues on this tangent by referencing the presence of drugs in Hollygrove (lil wayne’s neighborhood). He then reminds us that tomorrow is never promised but if it never comes, he wants to be remembered for all of his works. Weezy then closes by getting personal by referencing that he has the same eyes as his father-who left him when he was young.
The second verse, Wayne says that he has a purpose in life and that he can’t leave the earth until all of his goals are accomplished. In his career, weezy has made a lot of money (maybe because he sold his sold his sold to the devil)? He hopes that one day he will be able to achieve them all thus allowing “his heart to race on”.
Over the past ten years, this has to be one of the most meaningful songs that weezy put out. The first time that I heard this song, it somehow touched my soul because everything that Wayne was talking about was so REAL. Again to my Schoolboy Q reference, this is not Weezy’s lane but if he decides to start taking this route, there is no way I can be disappointed. In the end, I really wonder what makes our heart race on.
Listen to “My Heart Races On” below:
https://9xtunes.com/single/4090/my-heart-races-on-lil-wayne

Wizkid ft. Femi Kuti x Jaiye Jaiye

I know that my focus in rap, but today I think it is time to change it up a bit and get into different genres (because I know you guys listen to other genres as well). Today’s song comes from Wizkid, who is one of the biggest (if not) musicians on the African continent. Wizkid is a musician from Nigeria who emphasizes in Afrobeat (R.I.P Fela Kuti) while blending a mix of his native tongue – Yoruba (which is spoken in my home).

“Jaiye Jaiye” (“Jai-yea”) is the introductory track to his sophomore album Ayo (“eye-yoh”) (which means joy in Yoruba).

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lyrics and Literal Interpretation: 

(Intro)Arararara –
Ororororo
Yah
As you can see (oh yes) —
You are all very welcome (very very welcome) ——

VERSE
Mo fe kole fun mama mi —- I want to build a house for my mum
Mo fe rale fun baba mi —— I want to buy a house for my dad
Aiye ni miami – life in miami
Maserati fun iyawo mi —- maserati for my wife
Ferrari for soshi – Ferrari for soschi
Ferragamo Bugatti –
Owo lo dun to yii — money so sweet like this
Mo fe lowo bi Adenuga – I want to be rich like Adenuga
Mo fe fe Esosa – I want to marry Esosa
Ngozi penperenpe —
All of them for me —-
Ati Tee baby now — and Tee baby now
You cannot believe what I have seen with my eyes —-
Say my people it is a beautiful story (na na na) —-
See I fought through defeat now I am living a better life
And I’m thankful for the life that I am living (nuh nuh)

CHORUS
Wizzy baby loke loke
Seb’Oluwa lo se o —- Its God’s blessing
Owo n wole wa —-  money keeps coming in
Seb’Oluwa lo se o ah —- Its God’s blessing
Lagos today and London tomorrow
Oluwa lo se o —- Its God’s blessing
Omo jaiye jaiye —– a child of success and joy
Seb’Oluwa lo se oh ah —Its God’s blessing

Wizzy baby loke loke —- Wizzy baby is moving up
Seb’Oluwa lo se o — Its God’s blessing
Owo n wole wa — money keeps coming in
Seb’Oluwa lo se o ah –  Its God’s blessing
Lagos today and London tomorrow
Oluwa lo se o –  Its God’s blessing
Omo jaiye jaiye — socialising guy
Seb’Oluwa lo se oh ah —Its God’s blessing

VERSE
I’m balling I’m balling..
I’m balling for two
Let nobody do me bad or intrude
I’m balling I’m balling..
I’m balling for two
Let nobody do me bad or intrude

Wizzy bad musician
Sarz bad producer
Ahhh you already know
We run every show
Owo n la wole (amen) – money kepps coming in
A kole mole (amen) —- we keep building more houses
Maserati Ferrari (amen)
Ferragamo Bugatti (amen)
Owo nla wole (amen) — they keeps coming in
A kole mole (amen) – we keep building more houses
Maserati Ferrari (amen)
Ferragamo Bugatti (amen)

(CHORUS)

VERSE
Yaga
If you call am woman
African woman no go gree (she go say i be lady o)
If you call am woman
African woman no go gree (she go say i be lady o)

She go say I be lady
Seb’Oluwa lo se o  – its God’s blessing
She go say I be lady
Seb’Oluwa lo se o ah – its God’s blessing
She go say I no be woman
Oluwa lo se o
She go say I be lady
Seb’Oluwa lo se o ah
She go say I be lady
Seb’Oluwa lo se o
She go say I be lady
Seb’Oluwa lo se o ah
She go say I no be woman
Seb’Oluwa lo se o
She go say I be lady
Seb’Oluwa lo se o ah

Interpretation and Thoughts: 
People from Nigeria love Wizkid because of his “rags to riches” story. Wizkid started singing in his choir and kept working at his music until the success and the wealth came in. In this song he talks about what motivated him to become so successful. Things that motivated him included, building a house for his parents being able to buy anything he wants and to keep making the music that he loves. This song also serves as a token of thanks to God for blessing him with his success.
Now remember in the beginning when I said that Wizkid emphasizes on Afrobeat and I also said RIP Fela Kuti? If you did not know, Fela was the pioneer in Afrobeat; he was known for the beats, rhythms and drums that gave the African people no other choice than to dance. Here, his son Femi is featured as he lives on in his father’s legacy (ended the song with a sick saxophone solo). Wizkid pays homage to the greats and tries to live their legacy through his music.
Wizkid is on of my favorite musicians due to his versatility, the producers that he recruits and his strong work ethic. If you ever want to learn about Afrobeat, Wizkid is an artist you can look at.
Please Watch the Music video for Jaiye Jaiye below *Skip to 3:27* for that solo: 

 

Blessed Schoolboy Q x Kendrick Lamar

Today, I will analyze a very deep song that talks about being blessed. To be honest, the first time I heard it I didn’t fully understand everything that Schoolboy and Kendrick were trying to convey, but I eventually caught on.

Blessed is the first track on Schoolboy’s debut entitled “Habit and Contradictions” where he emphasizes on being blessed (obviously) but primarily how they both made something out of themselves especially coming from the rough city of Compton.

Lyrics:

[Verse 1: ScHoolBoy Q]
What it’s like for a ni–a like me
Livin’ out his backpack every night needed a new place to sleep
But this is now, ni–a!Ones for the money, two for the bitc–s
Three to get ready cause I feel I finally did it
Four’s for the jealous rapper mad because he finished
Turn that motherfuc–r to a critic
Man, I got so much s–t up on my plate dawg
I was hangin’ on them corners late
Pockets wasn’t straight, bi–h
I ain’t gon’ make it at this rate, dawg
Know what I’m sayin’?
Nigga prayin’ up to God just hopin’ that he hear a ni–a
I know the world got more problems and it’s much bigger
But I figured, I’d get some –t up off my chest
To all my nig–s I would die for
Load my pistol up, go out and war for
To all my nig–s that’ll never make it out the streets
F–k it, keep goin’ hard, don’t let ’em see you weak
To all my ni–as first time steppin’ in the pen
Read a book and exercise, keep your spirit in
To all my ni–as that’s gon’ fuck around and die today
Take our hats off, bow our heads and let us pray
Just wanna say[Hook: ScHoolBoy Q]
Stay blessed my ni–a, blessed my ni–a
Really think about it, could be worse my ni–a
Don’t stress my ni–a, yes my ni–a
We all blessed my ni–a

[Verse 2: ScHoolBoy Q]
Now how the f–k I’m ‘posed to say this?
You see, my ni–a just lost his son while I’m here huggin’ on my daughter
I grip her harder
Kiss her on the head as I cry for a bit
Thinkin’ of some bulls–t to tell him, like
“It’ll be okay. You’ll be straight, it’ll be aight.”
Well, f–k that sh–t, whatever you need, yo, I got it!
Whether it’s money or some weed or puttin’ in work, f–k it, then I’m ridin’!
You know wassup, but now a ni–a couldn’t stick around
Told myself that after y’all moved that I’d be a fu–in’ fool
To be livin’ by the street rules
F–k police tattoos, that happens when you ditch school
But anyway, keep the faith, stay strong brah
Remain’ solid brah
Keep playin’ ball cause it’s the only way up out it, brah
A ni–a proud of ya’
Tell Floyd to enjoy his newborn seed, I’ll have whatever he needs
We the last of a dyin’ breed, live life, smoke trees
See how far we’ve come, but most, I’m sorry for your son

[Hook]

[Bridge: Ab-Soul]
And you ain’t gotta shed no tear
I’ll be everywhere
And I’mma always be right here
I ain’t forgot those years
I’ll be everwhere
But I’mma always be right here

[Verse 3: Kendrick Lamar]
Livin’ in a premature place – wait
Never grow to see the pearly gates – break
Every time a bullet detonate – dates
Of obituary carry crates of a scary picture
With a family member that relate to ya
In December you was finna pin another case
On your record in a stolen Expedition, play it safe
As the record spinnin’ you was hearin’ angels entertain
Every pun intended, that was wicked, comin’ from your brain
Recognize you listened and you didn’t hit the block again
That’s because the minute after you had knew you would be slain
Open up another chapter in the book and read ‘gain
Story of a gun-clapper really tryna make a change
Everybody ain’t (blessed my ni–a)
Yes, my ni–a, you’re blessed
Take advantage, do your best, my ni–a
Don’t stress, you was granted everything inside this planet
Anything you imagine, you possess, my ni–a
You reject these ni–as, that neglect, your respect
For the progress of a baby step, my ni–a
Step, step my ni–a
One, two, skip, skip
Back, back, look both ways
Pull it off the hip
Blast at anybody say that you can’t flip
This crack into rap music every other zip is a track
Get used to it, get it off quick
Come back, give back to the city you’ve built
That’s that, don’t trip, see money, fuck nig–s, dawg
It ain’t nothin’ but a bunch of fuck ni–as dawg
In a minute everybody gon’ be winnin’
Put a little faith in it then recognize that we all

[Hook]

 

Interpretation and Personal Reflection:

Before I get into the interpretation I just wanted to state that the “n–word” can be described as a word that is “apart of the dictionary” in rap (You probably knew that either way, just wanted to clarify).

Q opens up his first verse reflecting on his past where he had to struggle everyday to survive; sleeping on couches, not knowing where his next meal would come from. While he is reflecting, he recognizes that he has come a long way from those days to become a successful rapper. Because of his struggle, Q made money the only feasible way that he could think of -by selling drugs. With his day-to-day struggle, he felt that God could come save him from the tribulations that he was facing. Q ends his verse by giving a tribute to everyone who has experienced the same struggle as him. People that are going into jail, people on the street selling drugs, and people who may die soon.

Q’s hook is very simple, meaningful and straightforward. At the end of the day we are all blessed and even if you are struggling just recognize that the situation you are in could be worse. Because of that, there is no need to stress.

Q opens the second verse by telling us by telling us that the harsh reality of life will face us sometimes. His friend’s daughter died and he has no idea what to tell him (due to the fact that he doesn’t know the pain of losing his daughter). Instead of trying to think of words to comfort him, he tells his friend he will always be at his side to support-no matter what.  Q goes into more reflection, talking about how he ditched school and lived by the streets.

Kendrick opens up the third verse with words of encouragement and motivation. Kendrick says “Living in a premature place” -referencing his city, Compton where only a few make it out and are able to become successful. Then he makes a reference to the violence, the gunshots, the lives lost and the funerals that are arranged for all the people who have died. Because of the people who have died, the person he is talking about never goes into the street again because he knows the outcome that most of his peers have faced. Because of that, he opens a book begins to educate himself and tries to make a change. Now Kendrick gets really deep, he pleading saying that everyone has the opportunity to be great, to be something in life.  Kendrick is saying to keep your circle tight by eliminating the people who are not trying to reach the same destination as you. Then Kendrick uses imagery to close. He references pulling out a gun and “shooting” anyone that is trying to bring you down or who does not believe in you. He finished the verse by saying once you are successful, come back to the city where you are and help all the brothers there that are struggling. At the end of the day we are all blessed.

This song was surprising coming from Schoolboy Q, who is more of a “turn-up” rapper compared to “conscious” rap.  To hear his pain and struggle turn to advice was really eye-opening to me. In my opinion, this is one of Kendrick’s best verses if not the best verse. A lot of people may not know the reason behind the title of his 2nd album: Good Kid Mad City. This album reflected how Kendrick was a “good kid” not joining gangs or selling drugs. Ironically, the person he is referencing in his verse is himself. He “shot down” everyone saying that he would not make it out of Compton, he did come back to the city that he helped established, he did help the brothers out in the street who had no other direction to look all he did was have the faith.

At the end of the day, we are all blessed. Whether you have religious affiliation or not, just be thankful that you are alive, well and in school getting an education. There is a lot of people in the world that would die to have the same opportunity as you.

Listen to “Blessed” below

Kanye West ft. Chance the Rapper and Kirk Franklin – Ultralight Beam

Todays track is the introduction track for Kanye West’s recently released album – The Life of Pablo. If you are not a Kanye West fan or just not into rap, I recommended this album especially because it did not feel like it was strictly rap. Kanye’s production and vocals were all over the place, making it a must listen for a listener of any genre.

After anticipating this album for three years, when it finally came out I listened to it completely back to back at least five times. After listening, the two standout tracks included Ultralight Beam as well as Waves ft. Chris Brown.

This song has to be the most “religious” song Kanye put out since Jesus Walks.

Without further or due,  please let me introduce you to this “Ultralight Beam.”

Sidenote: In the beginning, you can hear a sample of a little girl praying. Check her out here: (Pretty adorable right?)

Sidenote 2: This post will be actually pretty long, but the fact is I feel that this song is very POWERFUL. If you don’t read the whole post, please at least watch the performance all the way at the bottom.

Lyrics: ((feat. Chance The Rapper, Kelly Price, Kirk Franklin & The-Dream)

[Kanye West & The-Dream:]
I’m tryna keep my faith
We on an ultralight beam
We on an ultralight beam
This is a God dream
This is a God dream
This is everything
This is everything
Deliver us serenity
Deliver us peace
Deliver us loving
We know we need it
You know we need it
You know we need it
That’s why we need you now, oh, I
Pray for Paris
Pray for the parents
This is a God dream
This is a God dream
This is a God dream
We on an ultralight beam
We on an ultralight beam
This is a God dream
This is a God dream
This is everything
Everything (Thing, thing, thing)

[Kelly Price (Choir):]
So why send depression not blessings?
Why, oh why’d you do me wrong? (More)
You persecute the weak
Because it makes you feel so strong
(To save) Don’t have much strength to fight
So I look to the light
(Lord) To make these wrongs turn right
Head up high, I look to the light
Hey, cause I know that you’ll make everything alright
And I know that you’ll take good care of your child
Oh, no longer am afraid of the night
Cause I, I look to the light

[Chance The Rapper:]
When they come for you, I will shield your name
I will field their questions, I will feel your pain
They don’t know, they don’t
They don’t know, they don’t know
Foot on the Devil’s neck ’til it drifted Pangaea
I’m moving all my family from Chatham to Zambia
Treat the demons just like Pam
I mean I f–k with your friends, but damn, Gina
I been this way since Arthur was anteater
Now they wanna hit me with the woo wap the bam
Tryna snap photos of familia
My daughter look just like Sia, you can’t see her
You can feel the lyrics, the spirit coming in braille
Tubman of the underground, come and follow the trail
I made Sunday Candy, I’m never going to hell
I met Kanye West, I’m never going to fail
He said let’s do a good ass job with Chance three
I hear you gotta sell it to snatch the Grammy
Let’s make it so free and the bars so hard
That there ain’t one gosh darn part you can’t tweet
This is my part, nobody else speak
This is my part, nobody else speak
This little light of mine
Glory be to God, yeah
I’mma make sure that they go where they can’t go
If they don’t wanna ride I’mma still give them raincoats
Know what God said when he made the first rainbow
Just throw this at the end if I’m too late for the intro
Ugh, I’m just having fun with it
You know that a nigga was lost
I laugh in my head
Cause I bet that my ex looking back like a pillar of salt
Ugh, cause they’ll flip the script on your ass like Wesley and Spike
You cannot mess with the light
Look at lil Chano from 79th

(Hook)

[Kirk Franklin & Choir:]
Father, this prayer is for everyone that feels they’re not good enough.
This prayer’s for everybody that feels like they’re too messed up.
For everyone that feels they’ve said “I’m sorry” too many times.
You can never go too far when you can’t come back home again. That’s why I need…
Faith, more, safe, war
Lyrics and Personal Interpretation:
Prior and post album release, West’s twitter was ablaze with tweets concerning the album, rants and conversations (which also helped with the album promo). Along with this, he provided the meaning of the Ultra Light Beam he was referring to.

“Ultralight Beam” is the positive vibe and energy that you get from being successful and providing prosperity to the individuals around you.  It also refers to Kanye’s faith in God. This track is pretty religious considering Kirk Franklin is on the track and it even ends with a prayer.

Kanye opens out his verse with the Dream with a mellow organ by asking for deliverance and guidance from God. He is also prompting his fans to Pray for Paris.

Now, Kelly Price comes in and her solo was amazing!! I felt that she sounded even better during her live performance. Back the religious reference, Kelly asking questions from God. Questioning him why is her life so hard and why can’t he make her situation much easier. She eventually confirms that it is God she is referring to. As she does not have the strength to fight all her battles, she looks up to go to deliver he in her times of trouble. With her faith in the Lord, she know that he will protect her and at the end of the day, everything will be alright.

Now, enter Chance the Rapper who I felt was HIGHLY underrated prior to this record (Been a fan since ACIDRAP). After everyone heard his verse, the internet was ablaze with the fire that he spit. Aside from that, he added even more to the powerful message that was already given.  Chance opens up by saying when the come for you, I will defend your name. Back with the religious reference, he is claiming that he will defend the name of the Lord when nonbelievers come to destroy his faith that he has in him. Then Chance states that he will move his family from Chantham to Zambia. Chance grew up in Chantam which is a neighborhood in the south side of Chicago, while Zambia is a country in Africa. He wants to move there because Zambia was considered one of the most peaceful countries in the world whereas Chicago is known for its prominent gun crime. Now the next line is a reference to the 90’s sitcom Martin. Pam was Gina’s friend who Martin would always ignore and Gina was Martin’s significant other. When she would cause trouble for him, he would respond with, DAMN GINA! Now, everyone should get this one. He goes on to say that he has been this way since Arthur was anteater. The picture below will be very self explanatory:

Chance begins to wind down by giving us some information about the music industry. Usually, albums that are sold  are only eligible to win a grammy. So if he releases a free mixtape, no matter how good it is, it will be ineligible to win the award. This all goes to say that Chance wants the Academy to change the rules a little bit.  Another interesting side note: Chance says “Gosh Darn” instead of “God Damn” so that he can avoid using the Lord’s name in vain. With the verse and platform that Kanye gave him, he feels that this is his time to shine and show the world that he should be respected even more as a recording artist and closes that statement by giving glory to God, because he feels that he has brought him all the way there. As he closes the next line is a direct reference to Noah’s ark. Chance stated that he will make sure that they will go where they cant go and if they don’t wanna ride he will still give them raincoats. In the Bible the story of Noah is pretty well known where God flooded the Earth. Chance said that if they dont want to ride with him, he’ll still provide protection when the wrath comes. Chance finally closes by saying that by having fun, he was lost which again looks like a reference to the well-know Christian Hymn “Amazing Grace.” With the birth of his daughter, Chance gave up smoking and drug use so that he can be closer to God. In fact, Chance was a very avid Acid user, to the point he was dependent on it to create music. Hence, the name of his critically acclaimed mixtape:

Kirk Franklin closes with a prayer. Many people were in uproar for Franklin  working with Kanye West because Franklin is a gospel singer and Kanye is a recording artist who has a high level of profanity in his music. Check out what he had to say about it.

Kanye is not me. I am not him. He is my brother I am proud to do life with. No sprints, but Marathons; like most of us are on. Before one song was released, I was crucified because my brother asked me to take a picture. Again "no Kanye, you're not good enough"? No. That is a dangerous message I believe we send to the world when our posture is they have to meet certain requirements before they are worthy to kiss the ring. It says people are not redeemable, forgivable or candidates for grace. That my friend is religious. I will not turn my back on my brother. I will love him, prayerfully grow with him. However long he'll have me, and however long the race takes. To a lot of my Christian family, I'm sorry he's not good enough, Christian enough, or running at your pace…and as I read some of your comments, neither am I. That won't stop me from running. Pray we win.

A post shared by Kirk Franklin (@kirkfranklin) on

“Ultralight Beam” is a very powerful song and I love doing my passion posts because I am passionate about the music and the meaning an artist is trying to convey. While doing this, I learned a lot about Kanye, Kirk and especially Chance. Next time that you listen to a song, please take a second look at the lyrics because a song is only powerful if you can interpret it.

Watch the “Ultralight Beam” performance on SNL below:

Click this link here!

Link to mp3

Young Vic – Dreams (Passion Post #4)

I know that you guys know that I rap and I think it is time for me to do a lyrical analysis on another one of my songs. While I need to formal introduction I might as well tell you the story of how I got into rap in the first place.

Basically, during my freshman year of high school I wanted to find an activity that was productive and kept me occupied at the same time. One day I heard the radio and thought to myself, “If they can do it, I can do it and add some meaning to it as well.” Eventually, I started rapping people liked it and it went off from there. Like I said, I just love music.

Dreams is a song that I wrote that talks about my mentality on life and who I eventually plan to be one day. It also speaks about how I plan to make these dreams a reality through the journey that it will take.

IMG_3855

Lyrics:

Hook:  Got some, got some dreams x4

 (First and only verse) I got dreams, some big and some small, no matter what they are I promise i’ll achieve em all. Supporting the fam and  becoming someone in life.. sometimes I think I want left and then i’m headed to the right man its a fight.. sometimes I have an inner conflict, a voice within my head telling me i’m not the s–t.. Sometimes i’m vulnerable, believing the stupid myths.. but realities comes, I take it and then I will not quit.. I flip the script.. At the end day, I have a solid foundation.. foundation so strong, that we believe God got us from satan, foundation so strong I play my fantasy with Peyton.. foundation so strong I can overcome any temptations.. i’m steady waiting.. like I said, Im writing all my goals praying they all get bigger.. I see the picture.. man I just figured.. life is a game and im playing it like billiards hoping one day Im balling out.. like the wizards.

I think I rap too much the about the world and not my life.. I want my fans to hear my thoughts, my emotion and advice.. i’m a born sinner but the world so damn cold.. But if something aint working switch it up before you’re old..

Lyrical Analysis and Interpretation: 

I open up the verse by saying I have dreams (I mean who doesn’t), this song was also inspired with a quote from Wale which said, “Life without dreaming is a life without a meaning.” I feel that if you do not have goals and are not working towards them each day, what is your purpose in life?

I then go on saying that I want to take care of my family (which I am sure that everyone wants to do as well). Then, I eventually get more personal by saying “I want left then I am heading to the right.” I feel that sometimes, I may bite more that I can actually chew and take too many things on at the same time. This is also a tangent that things may not always go as planed. Which is okay, because life still goes one.

I get even more personal by saying that “Sometimes I have an inner conflict, a voice in my head telling me im not the s–t” I feel that sometimes when I make a great accomplishment, I am fighting myself  by becoming the biggest pessimist. Personal Example: [ I graduated as the valedictorian of my class, but in my eyes I never seen  it as a big or a huge accomplishment, due to the area and the school district that I was in was not exceptional and up to par with the rest of the state.] I don’t know how it happens sometimes, but I feel that when things get hard I start to think that I was not cut out for it in the first place or if I succeed it was not through all my willpower.

Whenever I find myself at that pit, I always climb back up. Thats why I am always happy and cheerful all the time, because life is too short to throw a pity party every time. This is where reality finally hits me and then I feel that I can do anything. I feel that I can do anything because of the foundation that I have; I compare this foundation to faith in a religion, the strength to avoid temptations and using Peyton Manning in fantasy football (He even went on to win the Super bowl)!

I end the verse by saying I know all of my goals and I can see myself attaining all of them one day. That’s the “bigger picture” that I can see. I then compare life like a game, because I feel that anything can happen; but it depends on how well you can handle certain things and the practice/training that you have already had. I end on this tangent by comparing life, to a game of billiards. Like the game of life, I hope that I can “ball out” like the Washington Wizards. 

I end the song by explaining this song was one of my personal records. I feel that I rap a lot about the world that we live in, but somehow people do not understand the real young vic. I end with a double entendre by comparing myself to J. Cole by saying I am a “born sinner” (as he has had an influence on my music) and claiming that the world is cold (sounds like Cole and is reference to his sophomore album, Born Sinner).

Please give “Dreams” a listen below (Produced by Scoop Deville):

J. Cole x Love Yourz (Passion Post #3)

Today, I will analyze a song that has a great message for not only me, but for everyone that will be reading this blog. The song entitled- Love Yourz is the 12th track on J. Cole’s 3rd studio album, 2014 Forest Hills Drive. Personally, this is one of my favorite albums because of Cole’s ethic, passion. message and delivery. I was glad when this album went platinum, because this album was a resemblance of Cole’s growing maturity from making radio records to more conceptual music. (And the fact that he did little to no promo for this album).

Love yours
Love yours

[Hook:]
No such thing as a life that’s better than yours
No such thing as a life that’s better than yours
No such thing as a life that’s better than yours
No such thing, no such thing

Heart beatin’ fast, let a ni–a know that he alive
Fake ni–as mad, snakes
Snakes in the grass let a ni–a know that he arrive
Don’t be sleepin’ on your level cause its beauty in the struggle ni–a
Goes for all y’all
It’s beauty in the struggle ni–a
(Let me explain)
It’s beauty in the struggle , ugliness in the success
Hear my words or listen to my signal of distress
I grew up in the city and though some times we had less
Compared to some of my ni–as down the block man we were blessed
And life can’t be no fairytale, no once upon a time
But I be God damned if a ni–a don’t be tryin’
So tell me mama please why you be drinking all the time?
Does all the pain he brought you still linger in your mind?
Cause pain still lingers on mine
On the road to riches listen this is what you’ll find
The good news is ni–a you came a long way
The bad news is ni–a you went the wrong way
Think being broke was better

[Hook]

For what’s money without happiness?
Or hard times without the people you love
Though I’m not sure what’s ’bout to happen next
I asked for strength from the Lord up above
Cause I’ve been strong so far
But I can feel my grip loosening
Quick, do something before you lose it for good
Get it back and use it for good
And touch the people how you did like before
I’m tired of living with demons cause they always inviting more
Think being broke was better
Now I don’t mean that phrase with no disrespect
To all my ni–as out there living in debt
Cashing minimal checks
Turn on the TV see a ni–a Rolex
And fantasize about a life with no stress
I mean this shit sincerely
And that’s a ni–a who was once in your shoes
Living with nothin’ to lose
I hope one day you hear me
Always gon’ be a bigger house somewhere, but ni–a feel me
Long as the people in that motherfuc–r love you dearly
Always gon’ be a whip that’s better than the the one you got
Always gon’ be some clothes that’s fresher than the ones you rock
Always gon’ be a bi–h that’s badder out there on the tours
But you ain’t never gon’ be happy till you love yours

(Hook)

Interpretation and Personal Reflection

Cole opens up, by telling us, if you have nothing else to be thankful for, just be thankful that you are alive. No matter what you are going through, there are people out there who had the essential gift of life taken away from them in a matter of seconds. Now, Cole brings up an idea-that there is beauty in a struggle. At first, I was wondered, what is  this man talking about? But with time I saw his point. You have to take into account Cole has seen both sides of the story-success and the struggle that he has went through to get to where he is today. (Side note: Cole would stand outside everyday at Roc-a-fella records demanding that he get a meeting with Jay-Z). Now, growing up Cole didn’t have much and life at home was not always cherries and blossoms, but by comparing himself to the other people that lived in his neighborhood he always had something to be thankful for.  He goes off this tangent by referencing his mother and the relationship that she had with a man at that time. (2014 Forest Hills Drive is the address of the house that Cole live in while growing up). Eventually after the relationship began to turn sour, money went south and eventually lead to the house being foreclosed. (Don’t worry Cole bought it back when he got rich).

To reminisce on his life, Cole makes a statement that being broke is better and then asks two questions: What’s money without happiness and hard times with the people you love. Now, Cole goes into another tangent where you really have to understand Cole in order to get what he is saying. Remember in the introduction when I said that this was one of my favorite albums because it was a reflection of Cole’s mentality- he felt that he was losing his grip because he was criticized on the content of his last two albums (aka radio hits).  Again, Cole emphasizes that he feels that being broke was better. Still, I am confused but you really have to think about it. When you are broke, life is simpler, you enjoy the little things that life give you even though everything may not be pretty. But like Jay-Z said, with more money comes more problems. Because of this, it seems that Cole is seeing the other side that fame has to bring, He continues by explaining, (because he does not want to offend the people that are broke or struggling). He reiterates that he is a man that has seen both sides- being rich and being poor. Cole closes by making comparisons and claiming that no matter what you have, there will be someone out there that has it better. He is trying to get the message that happiness comes from the within; if you are not happy with what you have, you will always search for something that you claim to be better.

I am a firm believer that there is beauty in a struggle. Being a college student, I realized that the good things in life do not come easy. Sort of reminds me of my summer bridge experience (but that is a story for another day).

I love this song because I am glad that Cole gave me this message to spread to people who will never hear this song. I feel that in life, I do not want to make a ton of money, I just want to be comfortable and live my life with a happy family. Because what is money if you dont have anyone else to enjoy it with, what is happiness if you are always searching for the next big thing? If that mentality is adopted, you will find yourself in a never ending loop. So to all my fellow bloggers. Love Yourz. 

Listen to Love Yourz Below

Wale x Shades (RCL Post 2)

Today’s song goes to a determined emcee who came a long way to make it in the game. One thing that we have in common is our Nigerian roots (both born in America with immigrant parents). In this song, Wale goes in-depth with his experience and tells us the hardships that he had re-adjusting in order to fit in with the other American students. This song is very personal to me as it is to the writer and the first time I heard this track, it really spoke to me.

“Shades” is track 8 on the Attention Deficit album, which is Wale’s First studio album.

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(Marvel does awesome hip-hop cover art remix’s so I thought I should at least drop it here to see the comparison)

[Verse 1:]
[Wale]
Chip on my shoulder
Big enough to feed Cambodia
See, I never fit into they quotas
Sneakers wasn’t fitting and my knees needed lotion
Long before I knew the significance of a comb
I roam like phone with no vocal reception
Immigrant parents had me feeling like a step-kid
And black Americans never did accept me
That’s why I thrive so much, win and respect dig
I never fit in with them light skins
I felt the lighter they was the better that they life is
So I resented them and they resented me
Cheated on light-skinned Dominique when we was seventeen
I figured I’d hurt her, she’d evidently hurt me, and all women who had light features
See, I never let a light broad hurt me
That’s why I strike first and the first cut’s deep

[Chorus]
All my light skinned girls to my dark skin brothers
Shades doesn’t matter heart makes the lover
Boy you’re so beautiful boy you’re so beautiful shades doesn’t matter heart makes the lover
Boy (beautiful caramel),
Boy (beautiful coffeepot)
Boy (Beautiful chocolate)
Boy (Beautiful toffee)
Boy (Beautiful pecan)
Boy (beautiful licorice)
(boy you’re so beautiful)

[Verse 2:]
Just another knotty head nigga
Hoping Wes Snipes make my life a bit different
In middle school, I had the right to be timid
I had beautiful words but girls never listened
Listen, blacker the berry, sweeter the product
Well, I’m fruit punch concentrate and they water
Walk into my room thinking how to make moves
Ain’t thinking like a student but how Ice-T do it
Light dudes have the girls looking there all year
It’s not fair, the ones with the good hair
Couldn’t adapt to naps, I wavecap they naps and slept on me
Man, I hate black
Skin tone, I wish I could take it back
Or rearrange my status, maybe if I was khaki
Associating light skin with classy
The menstrual show showed and me, that was not me

[Chorus]

[Verse 3:]
They say black is beautiful
But ask them beautiful light girls if its black they attract to usually
What if Barack skin was all black, truthfully?
Would he be a candidate or just a black in community?
Because black dudes tend to lack unity
And them blacker girls ain’t on the tube, usually
Right now, at 23, I ain’t mad at them reds no more
But for long time I had gone cold
Blindfolded my own insecurity was holding me back to reds, I ain’t know how to act
They would get the cold shoulder and know it was an act
A defense mechanism what I thought that I lacked
Confidence

Lyrics and Personal Interpretation:

Wale opens up the first verse by saying “Chip on my shoulder big enough to feed Cambodia,” he uses this metaphor to describe the way that he felt becoming new and accustomed to the American culture while growing up. Because of this, he had weight on his shoulder as he claimed that “Black Americans never accepted him.” This song is entitles “Shades” and Wale reiterates the significance of his skin color while growing up. To him, he felt that the light-skinned people got more attention and they were able to do what they wanted because of their lighter complexion compared to Wale’s that was dark.  So eventually it came to a point he had a girlfriend who was light-skinned but cheated on her because he felt that she would do the same, finding someone of a lighter complexion that would satisfy her more. Here, he is stating the insecurities that he had with himself because of his upbringing and the new culture that he was living in now.

The hook sang by Chrisette Michele is beautiful. She is saying that it doesn’t matter what your skin color reflects, because everyone is beautiful the way that they are.

Now Wale opens up the second verse with imagery, describing that his head was often “nappy.” (A comb and a  brush were invented for a specific reason). But Wale continues with another crazy metaphor. “Listen, blacker the berry, sweeter the product Well, I’m fruit punch concentrate and they water.” Just think about it, concentrate is the purest form of a a drink and people tend to add water in order to diffuse the sweetness. So if he is concentrate, he is again implying that he was very dark and by water-he is referring to light-skinned people. Now, he continues on why he hated his skin color at that point-the people of lighter complexion got more attention and were popular among his crowd.

To finish the final verse Wale talks about his insecurities and tells us how he would ignore reds -short for redbone – another word for light-skin. He explains that he would ignore them whenever they tried to initiate him and it was all a part of his defensive mechanism to prevent himself from being hurt. Wale ends by telling us, he has finally grown and he has the confidence to be comfortable in the shade that he is in.

I could definitely see where Wale was coming from, but I feel that his experience was not as bad as mine. Growing up, I didn’t feel as comfortable with my African heritage, due to the way the culture was back then -surrounded by ignorance. When people would pronounce my name wrong and I constantly told them how to pronounce it, it felt demeaning especially when a substitute teacher came in.  Terms like “African-booty scratcher” or other names was part of the reason I was not a big fan of my culture. But now as  I have grown and culture is much more welcoming, I am proud of my name, where I come from and who I am. It really doesn’t matter what shade you are. We are all beautiful.

Listen to “Shades” below

This I Believe

Going through high school, I never knew that I would be so dedicated to anything other than my academics. All I wanted was an activity that kept me occupied and out of trouble; eventually I found that outlet in running. Don’t get me wrong, I had the ability to compete, but I do not LIKE running. What kept me focused was the end goal in mind- Winning races, receiving medals, breaking records and bragging rights were my only incentives pushed me to attend practice everyday. So that’s what eventually happened, I began to run in the winter and in the spring seasons.

During my senior year, I had an amazing season but slowly and steadily I knew that the track season and my high school career would be over and I knew I wanted to leave a more before my forced retirement. The county meet was coming up and I knew there was a chance where I could show the entire world what I was capable of.

The day before the county meet after practice, our coach told us we already knew what to do and that he was not going to tell us anything else. Somehow I knew what he was talking about, but those words did not hit me until I received the catalyst-my baton.

On the day of the county meet, I knew the race I was going to run with my relay members but I didn’t think that anything spectacular would come out of it. I knew that we were facing teams that beat us and I knew that we were facing teams that put up faster times than my team could ever think of. I also knew that people did not even recognize my relay as a contender to at least place in the race.

Somehow, I let these thoughts run into my head and something was telling me that I had no chance at success. Another voice in my head was telling me that it never hurts to try.

When the prompter told me to line up, my emotions were at an all time high. I usually get scared to run, I get scared to feel the burn of pushing my body to its extreme limit to the point I worry about it giving out on me.

The prompter tells us to set our mark, and the gun goes off. I felt weird that day, somehow I was less nervous that I usually was before races. Somehow, when I began to run my inner beast unleashed and I am suddenly awakened into a new person, a Victor that I have never seen before.

I begin to run, and somehow I see myself keeping close proximity with the frontrunners and somehow a voice is telling me to push and go faster. So I begin to push until I know that I cannot push anymore. One second, I see myself passing a runner. Two seconds, I see myself passing another runner and after five seconds I see myself at the top of the pack.

This is when I begin to hear screaming and people yelling my name. I continue to move, left foot, right foot, and left foot again. Now I feel my senses becoming heightened. I can hear the runners behind me exerting themselves to catch up with me but it suddenly pushes me to go faster and when I get faster, I suddenly hear the thuds of the other runners becoming fainter and fainter.

When I ran that day, I felt like a different animal, there was nothing out there that would stop me. I remember my heart beating rapidly, my emotions swirling around my head and my feet throbbing after a couple minutes. Even through all of that, I did not allow those distractions to mean anything because I had the mentality to win.

That day I broke my personal record in the 800m, helped break a school record in a 800m relay and helped win my school the gold in the 800m in 20 years. I believe everyone has that X-factor that will push them beyond their normal limits. I believe that the past does not matter when you are living in the present and I believe it doesn’t matter how you start the race, but more about how you finish it.

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