Category Archives: Passion Blog

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: 

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: 

 

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.

View this post on Instagram

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

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

Kendrick Lamar x HiiPoWer (First RCL 2 Post)

It looks like I am back at it again with the new semester after taking the fall off for a break. I received a lot of positive feedback on my passion blogs, so I am ecstatic to analyze even more songs. Who else to start the semester off than Compton’s finest-Kendrick Lamar.

Todays lyrics will come from one of my favorite Kendrick albums- Section 80. Here, Kendrick takes us through a journey of Compton and his life. I enjoy listening to Kendrick because you can feel his emotion and somehow emphasize his past through his various songs.

(I put the song at the bottom of this post, you can listen to it before you read the lyrics or you can do it simultaneously)

Lyrics:

[Kendrick Lamar] (Intro)
Everybody put three fingers in the air
The sky is falling, the wind is calling
Stand for something or die in the morning
Section 80, HiiiPoWeR

(Verse 1) Visions of Martin Luther staring at me
Malcolm X put a hex on my future, someone catch me
I’m falling victim to a revolutionary song
The Serengeti’s clone
Back to put you backstabbers back on your spinal bone
You slipped your disc when I slid you my disc
You wanted to diss, but jumped on my d–k
Grown men never should bite their tongue
unless you eating p—y that smell like it’s a stale plum
I got my finger on the motherf–king pistol
aiming it at a pig, Charlotte’s Web is gonna miss you
My issue isn’t televised, and you ain’t gotta tell the wise
how to stay on beat, because our life’s an instrumental
This is physical and mental, I won’t sugar-coat it
You’d die from diabetes if these other ni—s wrote it
And everything on TV just a figment of imagination
I don’t want no plastic nation, (dread) that like a Haitian
While you mot–rfu—s waiting, I be off the slave ship
Building pyramids, writing my own hieroglyphs

[Chorus]
Just call the s—t HiiiPoWeR
N—a, nothing less than HiiiPoWeR
Five-star dishes, food for thought bit–s
I mean the s–t is, Huey Newton going stupid
You can’t resist his, HiiiPoWeR
Throw your hands up for HiiiPoWeR

Interpretation of Lyrics and Thoughts

When Kendrick opens up the his first verse with, “Visions of Martin Luther staring at me” I somehow, in the moment can see the same visions. Ironically, I am writing this post on MLK day and it gives me the chance to sit down and reflect on everything that MLK has done to fight for the civil rights of colored people in America. Kendrick continues the next line by referencing Malcolm X, who was another civil rights activist but often took the route of violence and had less influence than MLK.

Another thing to take into note is that Kendrick’s father was involved with the black power gang in Chicago. In order to escape the violence that was going on, his family moved to Compton. Thus, having Malcolm X having a hex on his future.

This I believe is an amazing way to open up the song, because Section 80 is an album where Kendrick talks about his background and he explains on how he is trying to empower the people from his familiar background.

In the theme of civil rights and justice, Kendrick continues verse one by claiming people (notably grown men) should speak up when they need to. He says that “Grown men should never bite their tongue.” If you feel that an injustice is happening, SPEAK UP.

To me Kendrick is an awesome lyricist, as in, his figurative language is very well thought out and complex. It may take a couple of listens before I can finally decipher everything that he is saying. With that disclaimer, I may not be able to pick everything up within his first verse.

In terms of the last paragraph, Kendrick tells us that he has his pistol pointed at a pig and that Charlotte’s Web will miss it. Again, to bring up the rhetoric of civil rights and justice the pig represents the police and the “web” represents the government.

Now what he says next I feel very strongly about. He goes on to say “My issue isn’t televised” meaning that the problems that people from his background (particularly people living in Section 8 housing) are not known to the average American or that the average American does not even care.

Again with the comment that I meant by Kendrick’s wordplay – “You’d die from diabetes if these other ni—s wrote it.” Kendrick is saying that he is trying to tell nothing but the straight, hard facts. If other people wrote it, they would try to make it sound much better than the situation really was, thus “sugarcoating” it. Side Note: You can get type 2 diabetes from eating a lot of sugar!!

To finish off the verse, Kendrick goes into the deeper meaning of HiiPower. I believe it is the initiative to finally think for yourself and not to go full-heartedly into everything that is told to you. As my history teacher told me; “The winners are the people that write history.” To get into this tangent I will explain a personal experience that I had with this issue. [ When I was in elementary school, we learned about Christopher Columbus and how he found the “new world” by coming to America first. The only problem I had with this was that as I grew older, I learned about all the heinous acts that Columbus committed specifically to the Native Americans. I didn’t learn the full truth behind Columbus because authority did not want me to know.] Like Kendrick is trying to tell us, the government will only tell us the half-truth or anything short of the full truth. That is what he means by “anything on TV is a figment of imagination.”

Kendrick ends by saying that he will create his own movement while everything is going on in the background. By being African American, Kendrick will embrace the situation he is in and use it to empower his people-which I can say that he is doing an amazing job. But don’t take my word for it.

Listen to HiiPoWer below

 

Big Sean x One Man Can Change The World – Final Passion Post

For my final passion post, I will analyze a song that has a great message and provides so much inspiration. The artist featured on this track is none other than Detroit’s finest-Big Sean. To help add even more morale to the song, John Legend and Kanye both hop on to add their distinguished vocals.

“One Man Can Change The World” is the the eleventh track on Dark Sky Paradise which is Sean’s fourth album. Aside from this song in particular, Sean has matured in his flow, style and production.

Hook

I hope you learn to make it on your own
And if you love yourself just know you’ll never be alone
I hope that you get everything you want and that you chose
I hope that it’s the realest thing that you ever know
Hope you get the pretty girls that’s pretty at everything
Million dollar cribs havin’ million dollar dreams

And when you get it all just remember one thing
Remember one thing, that one man could change the world
That one man could change the world

[Verse 1: Big Sean]
All I, all I wanted was a hundred million dollars and a bad chick
Imagine this so much some nights it felt like that I had it

Back on the mattress, starin’ at the ceilin’ tryna connect the dots
But its hard makin’ those attachments

I’m talkin’ dreamin’ so hard, some nights it felt like draft day
You know? My – my step brother used to flip them bags
Outside the crib like it was trash day
No Kim K, but he bagged yay (Ye)

But when you’re gettin’ fast money, slow down, don’t crash
With all the drive in the world, swear you still need gas

Look, think about it, close your eyes, dream about it
Tell your team about it, go make million dollar schemes about it
Success is on the way, I feel it in the distance

Used to look up at the stars
And be like, “Ain’t too much that’s different”

I be shinin’, they be shinin’, get your one shot don’t you miss it
What you know bout’ waking up everyday like you on a mission?

Analysis Of Song:

Before Sean was Big and famous as he is now, he came from humble beginnings forcing him to shine to the top one way or another. While Sean was trying to start his career, he had advice coming left and right on how to make it. In the hook, Sean shares some of the ideas that were expressed to him on the come up. He then closes the verse by saying that “One man can change the world.” In essence, Sean is trying to change the world with his music with the intent to influence as many people positively.

Sean opens up the first line of the song explaining his humble beginnings. He explains that he wanted to get rich and have the best looking females, all things that come with the fame of being a distinguished artist. With his perspective in mind, Sean wanted this life so much that he would sit on his bed and think about how he wanted everything to fall into place, this explains his “dreams and draft day reference.”

After explaining his desire to make it into the rap game, he explains his life outside of rap. Sean’s brother used to sell drugs or “sell yay” (slang for crack).

Now that Sean has actually made it, he explains to his listeners that sometimes you need to slow down in life.  He felt success come his way (and it did) so he alluded to stars by saying, “I used to look up in the stars and be like ain’t too much that’s different.”

Personal Reflection:

Because I do not want to take up too much space on the blog, I never post lyrics of full songs even though I wish I could do this for this song.  This song is one of my favorites because of the inspiration and the insight that it actually provides. Aside from all of that, Sean raps verses from his heart on a reflective piano instrumental. Sean opens up the first hook, Kanye follows up with the second and John Legend finishes by adding his relaxing vocals to conclude the song.

This song is so significant to me because I feel that I have the potential to change the world (even though this may sound so cliche). Not necessarily through community service but through the music and the message that I spread. There have been many great men in history but to continue to have even more great men, one needs to step up and change the world. Maybe I will begin that voyage while I am here at Penn State or maybe it will be during my first year of graduate school. Nonetheless I hope that one day I can be/do the name of this song-One man can change the world.

Thank You.

Listen to One Man Can Change The World Below:

Kanye West x All Falls Down – Passion Post #9

Let me introduce you to a a person that goes by Kanye Omari West. Even though many people know Kanye because of his Grammys, highly acclaimed albums and work that is done when he is outside the studio; Kanye can be considered one of the most influential artists of our generation.

The song that I will analyze today is entitled, “All Falls Down” which is the fourth song off of Kanye’s debut album; The College Dropout. Here, Kanye talks about a certain struggles that a female character is going through.

[Chorus – 4x]
Oh when it all, it all falls down
I’m telling you ohh, it all falls down

[Verse – Kanye West]
Man I promise, I’m so self conscious
That’s why you always see me with at least one of my watches
Rollies and Pasha’s done drove me crazy
I can’t even pronounce nothing, pass that versace!
Then I spent 400 bucks on this
Just to be like nigga you ain’t up on this!
And I can’t even go to the grocery store
Without some ones thats clean and a shirt with a team
It seems we living the american dream
But the people highest up got the lowest self esteem
The prettiest people do the ugliest things
For the road to riches and diamond rings
We shine because they hate us, floss cause they degrade us
We trying to buy back our 40 acres
And for that paper, look how low we a’stoop
Even if you in a Benz, you still a person in a coop/coupe

Analysis of Song:

The song is basically about an African american female that goes through some challenges such as managing expenses, getting through college and getting her life together. Kanye gets personal after he tells his mini-story.

Kanye opens up the second verse by saying that he is always self-conscious because he wears watches all of the time. It seems that he is very uptight when it comes to his physical appearance.

Going along the appearance tangent, Kanye hints that he plans on enjoying the finer things in life (Versace, Ferrari etc) but then finishes off by saying that he can’t even pronounce the names of the brands that he looks up to.

This verse is all about appearance and what Kanye does to improve/select the appearance that he wants to display on a particular day. Many people tend to care about their appearance and what other people think of them majority of the time.

I can derive from the quote, “The people highest up have the lowest self esteem” that many people who are still big have the lowest self esteem because they are either fake or do not enjoy the life that are living.  He then continues with, “The prettiest girls do the ugliest things’ to emphasize that people all over will do anything it takes to achieve whatever is on their agenda.

Personal Reflection:

This is one of my favorite Kanye songs because of the meaning that you can take from it. I also feel that Kanye is actually “relating” to us given the fact that he is humbling himself, despite the fact that he is a mega celebrity with a wife and a daughter (even though they did not exist during the creation of this song).

If you notice, the song has the vocals of Syleena Johnson in the background, which I can say compliment the song very well.

A point that I want to make has to do with the progression of Kanye’s music after The College Dropout. As this album was released 11 years ago, you can can see many differences in Kanye’s music (more synth, the use of more instrumentals, sounds more commercialized) and can tell that it is more “dark”. I have not always agreed with these changes, but still continue to support Kanye.

Watch “All Falls Down” Below:

Logic x Buried Alive – Passion Post #8

Hello fellow bloggers, today I will be introducing you to an emcee that is not as popular in the game but has all of the potential it takes. The person that I am talking to you about is none other than Gaitherburg’s finest.

Buried Alive is the 5th track on Logic’s debut Album, Under Pressure. Sampling his own voice and being a part of the production, Logic finds a way to blend his vocals along an upbeat hip-hop instrumental.

Logic Speaking about Buried Alive

 

Lyrics: 

[Hook:]
Tell me how you feel
I feel like the grass is green
And everything I do is unseen
But I know that’s just in my mind
I know everything is just in my mind
Do you really wanna to be famous?
Do you really wanna be a superstar?
Do you really wanna get dangerous?
Do you even know where the groupies are?
Women out here be shameless
And I really wonder where they parents are
Look around, everything changes
It feels like I’ve been buried alive

[Verse 1:]
Everything happens for a reason
People only in your life for seasons
Word to Aunt Viv
Death and taxes that’s all we given
You can make a life but can’t make a livin’
You can make it work but that still ain’t driven
Give a lot but that still ain’t givin
Livin’ life like this ain’t real though
Every night like this I feel so
Dead wrong, collision is head on
My vision is dead and gone
Perception of right and wrong
I been here so very long
Right here in this very song
Look around everything changes
Seem like everybody just strangers
Don’t go outside cause it’s dangerous
Why everybody wanna be famous
I’m so OCD if they notice me
I might jump out the grave so they know it’s me
Man everybody want this sh__ for free
Hand out palm up when they get to me
In my mind no I never let it get to me
Everybody got a time will it get to me
V’s up mother, that’s victory
Tell me why what I’m doing ain’t sh__ to me, damn

 

Song Analysis:

Logic opens up his verse saying that “Everything happens for a reason” which implies he is a firm believer of fate. He then makes a statement saying that “people are only in your life for seasons”. Meaning that throughout life, people will come and go. He then makes a reference to Aunt Viv from the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air as an example of an actor who remained on the show for a couple of seasons.

In the next couple of lines, Logic expresses how he feels about hard work and you can see through his words and tone that he feels frustrated and/or even disappointed. Logic continues by saying “Every night I feel so dead wrong” which meant a couple of things. Here, Logic is questioning his path and his sustainability in the rap game because he is a relatively new artist.

Because he has been making a name for himself in the rap game, “everything is changing” for him. With that he gives a reference to his hometown, Gaithersburg by implying that it is not always a safe place to live in AND it means that he is exploring/living life by “going outside”.

He goes on to express his dissatisfaction by saying, “everybody want this for free”. Meaning that a lot of people just want to become famous, but when it comes down to do all of the work it takes to become so prestigious they want to back out. With that, comes in reference his close affiliates and his album.

A) Affiliates – Many people believe that since Logic is “on the rise” he is entitled to give them money, the are expecting his “handout”.

B) Album – As stated earlier, this is Logic’s debut album. Because of this, you will have to pay for it. This is a huge change because all of Logic’s previous projects were available for free. (Can be considered a triple entendre)!

Personal Reflection:

I love songs like this because they allow you to see an artist for who they really are through their reflections and deep emotion. Here, I can tell Logic is truly genuine and passionate behind all of the music that he makes; he is just fighting to get his name known and develop his fan base even more.

Everything behind this song speaks to me; the hook, the verses, samples and the background instruments. You can tell that logic spends a great amount of time in the studio trying to get everything in perfection for his listeners.

I have listened to Buried Alive many times and this is one of my favorites off the album.

Listen to Buried Alive below.