Writing 101, Day 3: Top 3 Selected, 2.

Daily post have presented a nice challenging task for writing 101. Select 3 important songs to you, they say. Little did they know about the panic and intense pondering they had plunged me into. For me, selecting only 3 important songs to talk about, is like gathering my close friends and family into one room and telling them that only 3 of them are important, and only 3 of them will be joining me on a special prize holiday. It’s mean and it’s cruel, but it definitely got me thinking, like one of those house fire scenarios, those “If your house was burning, what 3 things would you grab?” Type questions.

I remember the songs I chose for my last contribution to this challenge, last time round. At that point in time, those three songs were the three songs that I felt deserved a mention. I have decided on a fresh three today. A trio that are relevant to my current lever thinking. So I appologise for the lack of diversity in genre, because it’s hip hop time, we’ll be touring some fly rhymers, with some dope commentary on some straight truth! Here are my current 3 important works of hip hop.

Can I Holla At Ya – J.Cole

 

J.cole wins his audience with a level of honesty, he is a clever lyricist who doesn’t conform to many of the popular culture structures of rap. “Can I Holla At Ya”, with a Lauren Hill sample, mirrors an all too familiar sensation. Looking back and finally saying those words we never said. J Cole steals an opportunity in each verse to address 3 different subjects with honesty and a humbling openness. The emotional content is rich and without a doubt, very raw. He talks to an old sweet heart, exploring the possibilities of what could have been and the connection that may still underly, he wants to revisit the one that got away and he offers is a front row seat to the dialogue. He then portraits an honest monologue to a father figure, one that was filled with it’s fair share of tempestuous emotion. From a boy he remembers that relationship and carries a burden inside him, he shows us the development of the relationship and the underlying resentment, “by now you’re probably and old man, but I won’t be satisfied until we throw hands…” The reality of that relationship does scare call, maybe a part of that father figure lives on within him. He then addresses a childhood friend. From J. Coles start to his success he has understandably changed and the faces around him have changed in certain ways. There are people we lose touch of ,after a long time it’s hard to identify where we fit. Do we pick up where we left off? The beautiful thing about writers, poets, musicians, is the ability to connect with an audience on relatable strands of thought. J Cole knows how to do this well. He is calling his subjects aside in memory for an honest heart to heart. When was the last time you wished you could pull someone aside for an honest “Can I Holla At Ya?”

 

Family Business – Kanye West

 

Kanye West has played with my loyalty dramatically over the years. From late registration, college drop out days through to Yeezus, I have both celebrated and detested his work. But if he played it safe he would not be the Kanye I respect as an artist. Family business does what it says on the tin. We all have our moments of weakness, we have our strengths and down falls. Blood is thinker than water, sometimes it’s this density that might feel like a lead weight holding us back. Family is not a perfect word by any stretch of the imaginatiom. We are victims of our own humanity, so the ambiguity of character can cause harmony or friction at times. It’s undeniable that family is forever, just because I detest my cousin, it doesn’t make him less of a cousin, he simply becomes a cousins I hate. Kanye identifies different family elements, giving a guided tour of the different characters that piece together to make that family. “You know that one auntie, you don’t mean to be rude, but every holiday nobody eating her food…” Home truths. He plays with humour well. We will run shoulders, but as we done together, sit together at the same table we are bound to bump shoulders. We all have our demons. “We ain’t letting anybody in our family business” we may not be perfect, but we are one.

 

Bitch, Bad – Lupe Fiasco

We are confusing ourselves with popular culture. The conflict between the cool and our core is bordering on disunity. I have chanted along to “I like bad bitches that’s my fucking problem” by ASAP rocky, Knowing full well, I would feel a certain way of the special woman in my life would associate herself with the term “bad bitch”. We are casual with this conflict at times, we can nonchalantly draw the line between entertainment and personal values, those core principles. We feel as though we are relatively mature and can make that distinguishment. Sadly we are confusing a generation that are coming in after us. Lupe Fiasco addresses this confusion in Bitch, Bad. He talks about the possible confusion of a young boy watching his mother sing along to her favourite record, referring to herself as a “bad bitch”. He recognises her a source of support and strength, and in his head builds a picture of a bad bitch as a strong dependable woman to his mothers likeness. Lupe moves on to contrast this image by addressing the potential outcome of some young girls listening to the music, watching the videos online. The internet is there for everyone, even moderately tech savvy youngsters can discover the world, in good and bad ways through it, ” It doesn’t matter if they have patental clearance, they understand the Internet better than there parents”. The young girls attach themselves to a very different definition of a bad bitch, the video vixen, forever flaunting her flesh, the apple of the protagonists eye. Lupe furthers this confusion by introducing the boy to one of those little girls. Both have an image of “Bad, Bitch” with both conflicting with each other’s definition of the idea. He never knew a bad bitch to dress this way, in his mind a “bad bitch” was firm source of support, the the young girl “Bitch” was still an offensive term. There are a host of contradictions that we look over because they are a done thing, having slowly become some kind of a social norm, breeding confusion and conflict in the way we, and the generations coming into there own, perceive themselves and the world around. We say “it’s just music”, We are lucky when we cab make that distinction.However music has been a big influence in social culture for a long time, Lupe does a good job of discussing the consequences of these contradictions. Words have power, and popular culture does have the potential to confuse us and the budding generation, leading them astray. Message from me and Lupe, think about what you’re actually saying.

 

Writing 101 – Day 6: Music & Lyrics

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Her fingers were tipped with magic, they teased at the strings of her guitar, sweetening the air around and stealing me away from my own thoughts. The sun danced to her medleys, her lips, full with passion and grace traced out words to new worlds that lived in song. Her whole body was immersed in music, the passion filled her cheeks with life, they dawned a scarlet warmth that radiated from the brightest smile, with a single shallow dimple poked into her left cheek. Her nose did a little dance as she sang, she’d sway to the music and disappear behind her thick lashes.

At first, I only heard the music. It was enriching the painting of the summers day unfolded in front of me. I was sat beneath the giant Elm tree, scribbling away at my notepad and working my way through a book. Between watching the park fill with a mosaic of faces, coaxed into frenzy by the summers brilliance, I’d peck away at chapters of my book and scatter words onto the blank pages of my note book. It was out of curiosity that I turned her way, the sound of that guitar pried me out of my world of words and ushered me into the pulsating current of polyphonic brilliance. I adjusted to face the music, and there she was, enjoying her picnic for one. Enjoying herself, making merry in accordance with the radiant delight of summer.

She had won my audience, I listened in appreciation. The music had perforated the last barrier that would have deemed us strangers. We became two residents of the same home, inhabitants of the same present, woven together by music. The notes she played nurtured our smiles into nods, which opened the door through which the two worlds bled through.

The prelude our initial interaction had glossed my impression of her richly, we had no problem diving into engaging conversation, Pealing away the layers in a jovial joust, fighting away the thin veneer of  the unknown that lingered. I spoke of words, she spoke of music. Music meant so much to her, she adopted a certain vulnerability when she talked about her music. She spoke sweetly and full of certainty,  she spoke as she sang, with captivating grace, hooking me with every sentence she uttered. She had these eyes, these shy eyes. Like a sobered tempest, still, blue, teasing up a storm in every glance, they traced my features and welcomed my gaze, filling me with warmth. She had a character of intriguing allure. She wore her hair boldly, a rebellious blonde that swept one way, just reaching low enough to hide her ear lobs, and gently framed her radiant face, it complemented her boisterous nature perfectly.

The hours were dwarfed into endless strands of a mutual fascination. Fleeting minutes, falling over to the next in haste, time was passing us. I unwrapped every chapter of her mind with zeal and wonder, she wandered into my labyrinth of nuances and quirks, with surprising delight. The conversation caught fire and consumed the day light. The cold air that rushed along her soft skin was  a sure sign it was time to go home. We parted ways with a promise. We promised to hunt down any open mics and poetry slams. We spoke everyday and fantasized about chasing storms. Vibrant storms, where music and words can catch fire once more.

Writing 101 – Day Three: Top 3 Selected

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Music  is a crucial component in the life of me. I love it, I need it, I want it. The beautiful thing about music ,like with a lot of things, is that it comes in a vast array of forms, styles and intensities. Regardless of your mood or where you are within yourself, you will be able to find the perfect, aurally compatible companion. When I read the days mission statement for the Writing 101, I was greeted by an alien cocktail of emotions. You would think I would have been filled with excitement, receiving that green light to talk about something that moves me deeply. The emotions weren’t so clean cut. I was engrossed with panic, and the tiniest flicker of sadness. These emotions where sparked by such a minute component to the days brief, the number, “Three”. I was required to do the seemingly impossible. To reduce an endless assortment of important songs, down to only three that meant a lot to me. Hours of head scratching later, I ruthlessly cut the roster of  ‘important songs’ down, and I believe I have managed to pick out the three songs that have a significance importance to me.

Here goes!

claude debussy

First on the list, is a gift from the French, with one of Claude Debussy. He was a french romantic composers preludes, one of which was “le fille aux cheveux de lin”. What a seductive title, The girl with flaxen hair. This was a brilliant piece that entered my life in the final years of studying A level music. For a portion of my final grade, I was required to play a hand full of solo pieces. Having played piano early in my life, and fallen in love with the swinging jazz melodies, classical pieces were truant in my list of favourite pieces to play. This piece defied precedence and won me over instantly. The notes held character, a smooth tonal topography of … bliss. I had to acquaint myself with  ‘ the girl with flaxen hair’ . The journey to a mutual understanding, between her and I, was long and  fraught with many trying at times. However, every time I battled against the sporadic dissonance or frustration and emerged victorious , I would melt inside the notes. Fingers dancing to the choreography of Claude Debussy, I would run away with my Flaxen Haired maiden till the last note rang out and I was forced to re-enter reality. Heartbreaking.

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Now I bring us all forward in time. We have reveled in the beauty of the work of a  19th century, romantic french composer, Monsiuer Debussy, now we must press on. Here we enter a time more akin to this day and age, 1992 to be more specific. This was the year that Eric Clapton first performed his song “Tears in Heaven”. This solemnly strummed song was inspired my an emotionally devastating event in his life. Eric Clapton had lost his son the year before, and this song  was written as a touching ode to his seed. Whenever I get a chance to step closer into the music, it deeply enriches my experience of it, this was the case with this song. This was one of the first songs I learned to play on the guitar, and it remains one of 3 songs that I can partially, pluck, strum or fumble my way along the fret board to – doing it no justice to any chance listeners. This delicate melody and heart felt verse helps to encapsulate what makes music such a potent form spiritual libation. The music and lyrics are vivid with this message, “Would you know my name, if I saw you in heaven?” He yearns for his lost child, and his mind toils with a reunion in the afterlife. The melancholy chord on beautifully played acoustic guitar massage you into his hearts view of thing, “I must stay strong, and carry on, because I know, they’ll be no more, tears in heaven” . How could his sons memory ever fade, even to stranger such as me. The music is so genuinely filled with emotion, sentiment and rich sounds.

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So we reach the final leg of my race to share my three songs. This tour in time and in my tastes leads us even closer to the now. Here it is, from Compton California, we have, Kendrick Lamar. He had an album titled “Good Kid Maad city” which featured a track titled “sing about me”. Not only is this track a redemption of the lyrical capabilities of modern hip hop, but it incorporates what i under stand to be important in music and in RAP, Rhythm and Poetry. “Sing about me” takes you through 3 verses from different perspectives based on real events. It travels along the concept of retaining a legacy, a story, with different reactions to being immortalized in discourse. “When the lights shine off, and its my turn to settle down, my main concern is promise that you will sing about me … promise that you will sing about me” The first verse is spoken in the voice of a hard nosed young man, victim to the violent cultures of his surroundings, aware of his premature exit to life and hopes that he is remembered. The second verse is a touching conversation with a young promiscuous woman  who resents the speaker for speaking of her sisters habits, without an understanding of the way she sees things, “… And if you have an album date, just make sure I’m not in the song, cause I don’t need the attention, bring enough of that on my own…”. As a writer and a musician myself, I hold individuals who can communicate with skill, in an entertaining fashion, in high regard. Kendrick Lamar was feeding perspective, Kendrick Lamar was telling a story, Kendrick Lamar continues to imprison my attention with “Sing About Me”.

Music will always have a special place in my life. This was a fraction of keyhole glance into what music touches me. I picked these 3 songs because they represent different corners of my broad taste, each song played a part in fanning my passion for music and its power communication. The clarinets words aren’t learned by all, in those room we filled into when the school day began, however we know when its stories are sad or cheerful. That the beauty of music. A universal Language.

Under Estimated

The platform is set, my art forms neglect

is less heart warming, more shards storming my respect.

It’s expected for me to fail, flail wildly in a breeze,

crash in higher classes, slumber in cold debris.

The cold in its degree revolutionises my hustle

so strength of word supersedes physical muscle

I’ll smile at neigh sayers, when they pay us, “the fallen”

through troughs we peak, creep, seeking our true calling.

Who sees the hours mauling, at the writers brick walling?!

Axe and pick scrawling to breath, break a holding!!

Suffocated in a genre that’s been judged from the start,

I crafted my lexicon so they can call it an art,

I don’t ask to be admired, just acknowledged as here

amongst strangers, as much as my closest of peers.

Abolish the fear! quick! So we can storm from the rear

produce a product validating the thorns that we wear.

I wasted time, paced my mind, just to taste that lime …. light!!

Taken the heat, forged my mind so in time I shine … bright

It’s not charity I seek, no, I ask that we repeat

the same respect for fine art, to what is thrown to a beat

the public are narrow viewed, so in gallows we cue

left hung waiting for a simple chance to be viewed

I’d lend my eyes so you can see as I view its true deliverance

Hip Hop the rain drop to feed famines of ignorance