Rap on

Today’s Daily Prompt got me thinking but since I’m not very good at following directions, I’m putting my own spin on it.  I was coming back from dropping my brother off to the train station today, when I turned on the CD player (so retro) in my mother’s car and Lupe Fiasco’s “The Cool” began playing.  I thought I’d lost this album a long time ago and was pleasantly surprised.  Aside from wondering why my mom was listening to Lupe, I was pretty excited to listen to this album since it has always been one of my favorites.  It’s probably one of a handful of CDs I’ve purchased or even downloaded.  It is masterfully constructed and I always found myself in awe of the imagery Lupe employs.  Check out Little Weapon*, Streets on Fire, and The Die to see what I mean.  But I wanted to talk a little bit about my number one favorite song; the lyrics are below:

Put You on GameDon’t you know that I run this place,
And I’ve begun this race,
Must I rerun this pace?
I’m the reason it’s become this way
And their love for it is the reason I have become this praisedThey love my darkness,
I make them heartless,
And in return, they have become my martyrs,
I’ve been in the poem of many a poet,
And I reside in the art of many an artist

Some of your smartest have tried to articulate
My whole part in this
But they’re fruitless in their harvestin’
The dro grows from my footsteps
I’m the one that they follow,
I am the one that they march with

Through the back alleys
And the black markets,
The Oval Offices,
Crackhouses and apartments
Through the mazes of the queens,
The pages of the sages
And the Chambers of The Kings

Through the veins-es of the fiends,
A paper chaser’s pager,
Yo, I’m famous on the scene
One of the oldest, most ancient-est of things
Speak every single language on the planet, na’mean?

I am the American dream,
The rape of Africa
The undying machine,
The overpriced medicine,
The murderous regime,
The tough guy’s front,
And the one behind the scenes

I am the blood of this city,
Its gas, water, and electricity,
I’m its gym, and its math, and its history,
The gunshots in the class
And you can’t pass if you’re missin, G.
I taught them better than that
I taught them aim for the head
And hope they never come back
I’m glad your daddy’s gone, baby,
Hope he never comes back,
I hope he’s with your mother,
With my hustlers high in my trap
I hope you die in this trash,
I can’t help it all I hear when you’re crying is laughs
I’m sure somebody find you tied up in this bag,
Behind the hospital little baby,
Crack addicts had
Then maybe you can grow up to be a stripper,
A welfare-receiving prostitute
And gold digger,
You can watch on TV,
How they should properly depict you,
The rivers should flow with liquor,
Quench your thirst on my elixirs,
I am the safe haven for the rebel runaway and the resistor
The trusted misleader,
The number one defender,
And from a throne of their bones I rule,
These fools are my fuel
So I make them Cool
Baptize them in the water out of Scarface pool,
And feed ’em from the table that held Corleone’s food,
If you die, tell them that you played my game
I hope your bullet holes become mouths that say my name
Cause I’m the Cool

Now, I could sit here and dissect every verse and describe why it makes me clench my fist or draw a sharp breath (I wish there was a way to use this line in everyday conversation: I’ve been in the poem of many a poet/And I reside in the art of many an artist) but you’d probably stop reading if you haven’t already.  I listened to the song about three times on my way home which is not uncommon for me as I’ve described my obsessive tendencies here.

The imagery (I hope your bullet holes become mouths that say my name), the racial and social commentary (You can watch on TV/How they should properly depict you), and the personification of coolness (The dro grows from my footsteps/I’m the one that they follow/I am the one that they march with) all make me want to sit down and write and write until I either develop that level of skill or die.  Until then, I’ll write stories about kickass lady fighters and giant rats.

*Trigger warning on Little Weapon.  It’s about child soldiers and contains graphic descriptions of violence.  The first time I made my college roommate listen to it, she cried.  Sorry, Naz. 

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