“The remarkable thing is that we really love our neighbor as ourselves: we do unto others as we do unto ourselves. We hate others when we hate ourselves. We are tolerant toward others when we tolerate ourselves. We forgive others when we forgive ourselves. We are prone to sacrifice others when we are ready to sacrifice ourselves.” – Eric Hoffer
Today’s rap music (actually today’s music in general) is nothing short of sad. You used to rewind the lyrics of Talib Kweli, Mos Def, Common, The Roots, A Tribe Called Quest etc., because you actually learned something. But now you have to rewind lyrics to convince yourself you really did hear what you wish you didn’t. Take Iggy Azalea for example, who ain’t seen one inch of anybody’s hood. She does not talk like that in real life people, is obviously racists and a mockery toward black people, but yall are all over her. Are we so blind?
I remember being about eleven years old and joking with my cousins. One of the silliest said they can make a song of anything, that they could make a song about water. And as they hummed their made-up lyrics we laughed about it, our innocence sparing no expense on the buffoonery of our cousin’s song. But today it is no longer funny. It is no longer funny because our joke has made manifest itself in the ears of our children. Our jokes have exalted itself over the years and have actually made it inside the rooms of record companies where young men and women do away with logic because it does not pay the bills; where they do away with the positive influence of having achieved something of value, of substance. A place where the Lil Wayne’s do not talk about their college degrees and the Rick Ross’s do not boast of their life as Criminal Justice officers because this does not pay in money and in power like half dressed women and drugs and diamonds bigger than your head. So, somewhere between Young Thug, K Camp and World Star Hip Hop our children are left with garbage. A hodgepodge of people who never grew up in the hood but the hood is all they rap about. But someone’s son is struggling to eat because his mother is addicted to the same crack he pledges to distribute as soon as his voice is deep enough. Can you blame him? After all, it’s fast, it’s easy, and it is all his role model talks about. A woman’s son, who probably seen more drugs and guns in his six years of life than any of his favorite 106 N Park Rap stars.But this is the music he listens to.
I just hope poetry don’t get this bad, where yall start trading your virginity for a tight lyric and hot beat. Metaphors and similes come a dime a dozen so don’t get caught up in what just sounds good. But make sure you are actually talking about something that makes sense. That you’re giving life to life so that you are truly a deliverer, and not just a tool.
If you cannot acknowledge changes you need to make in your own life, you cannot demand change to take place in the life of others. If you cannot recognize progression in your own life, you will not recognize progression in the life of others. So (inspired by poet Rudy Francisco), I have put together this list, a letter of sorts to myself. It’s not exactly a poem (yet), but if I had to tell myself about myself, this is the list of 10 things I would advise myself:
• Dear Mind, you’re beautiful. It’s OK to let down some of these walls.
• Dear Hair, we’ve been through a lot together and honestly you used to get on my nerves, but I finally appreciate you, the most beautiful ropes I’ve ever seen.
• Dear Eyes, stop limiting yourself and see beyond what you can see.
• Dear Ears, pay attention. Not with the intent to reply, but with the intent to understand.
• Dear Heart, you dictate my life that much is clear, but like seriously, control yourself.
• Dear Emotions, you take things way too seriously and store them far too deep.
• Dear Hands, the storage place for my thoughts; honestly I like you more than the others.
• Dear Mouth, learn to open in your season and not a moment before or after that.
• Dear Legs, don’t be afraid to lead.
• Dear Faith, you got roots, but the mountains are still waiting for you to move them. Keep growing.