Archive | September, 2011

Profound Hip Hop Quote #36: Say Somethin’

24 Sep

“uhh, but I guess things change,
it’s funny how someone else’s success brings pain,
when ya no longer involved that person has it all,
and you just stuck standing there…
” 

—“Say Somethin'” by Timabaland featuring Drake

Timbaland & DrakeWhy does success change people: not just the people who become successful but sometimes the people who are around the people who attain success?  Perhaps the more appropriate query is are these people not really changing at all and simply experiencing a metamorphosis or just evolving into who they truly are meant to be?  For instance, does money really change people, or is it magnifying negative or positive traits that a person already possesses?  Even though Timabaland’s song featuring Drake, “Say Somethin'” addresses multiple topics, the actual hook to the song is one almost anyone can identify with.

In these particular lyrics, Drake exclaims, “…I guess things change.” To guess not only establishes uncertainty, but it also gives an impression that it is not necessarily what a person wants.  Change, especially with loved ones and those we expect to be there for us when we are successful is difficult to embrace.  Usually the change is one of negativity which reigns true in the following line, “it’s funny how someone else’s success brings pain.”   Is it implausible for a person to not rejoice in another person’s happiness or success when his or her circumstances appear to be bleak?  It takes a strong and spiritually grounded individual to be able to remain supportive with authentic sincerity as he or she potentially struggles with  covertly coveting that person’s success or is envious and wondering why he or she has not reaped the same “harvest of triumph.”

As a result, some people remain involved with those who have attained success or are on their way to being “successful” in hopes that they will be rewarded, but something to remember is that person’s success is that person’s success.  Of course, no one reaches that zenith on his or her own without the help of someone or something; nevertheless, are you entitled to the status, respect and even money associated with someone else’s success just because you were there or are there?  Be supportive for the sake of being supportive, not because you want to catch the windfall associated with this person’s possible success.  Sometimes it’s imperative to evaluate who’s who and if they are there for you or what you can give them.  As painful as it may be, on occasion, you must leave the people “stuck standin’ there” when their only purpose of being affiliated with you is to feed off of your success.  There are those people who are steadily moving up the ladder of success and those left standing there, dormant and complaining about why everybody else is doing well…which one do you want to be?

Please feel free to share your thoughts.

~Anonomz aka Tanya Harris

Bonus English Lesson:
In these particular lyrics, Drake employs a slant rhyme using assonance.  This means the vowel sound is the prominent rhyme feature.

“uhh, but I guess things change,
it’s funny how someone else’s success brings pain”

The “ge” in change and the “n” sound in pain do not rhyme, but the long vowel sound for the letter “a” does.

Profound Hip Hop Quote #35: Imagine Beats, Rhymes & Life Without A Tribe Called Quest

17 Sep

A Tribe Called QuestWhen they left their wallet in El Segundo, we empathized and went along for the ride to retrieve it. We rooted for them to be put on by Bonita Applebum. They taught us how to check the “rhime.” Interestingly, they asked repeatedly if they can kick it when of course anyone plugged into hip hop during the late 80s throughout the 90s can attest to this group’s ability to come with that butter flow in any scenario and bring that electric relaxation to take us on that long overdue award tour. If you have yet to figure out who I’m referencing, then you are missing one of the prototypes who represents authentic hip-hop.  During the summer of  2011, a documentary, by Michael Rapaport, entitled, “Beats, Rhymes & Travels: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest”  was released in select theaters.  Unfortunately, by the time I and many other interested viewers were made aware of the film, it was no longer on the big screen.  Nevertheless, all hope is not loss.  This documentary, which has received praise, will be available on DVD on October 18, 2011, approximately one month from now, and I plan on being one of the first people to obtain my copy.  A Tribe Called Quest has always been one of my favorite groups.  I love their jazzy vibe beats, the delivery of their rhymes and their topics about daily life occurrences that range from record label headaches, to date rape to just partying and having a good time.  They will always be on my top ten list of best rap groups. So,  I’d like to not only celebrate the pending release of the documentary but my love for these artists by providing a playlist of some of my favorite ATCQ songs and lyrics.

A Tribe Called Quest

  1. Check the Rhime“Rap is not pop, if you call it that then stop.”
  2. Butter: “Your whole appearance is a lie and it could never be true.  And if you really loved yourself then you would try and be you.”
  3. Award Tour: “The wackest crews try to dis, it makes me laugh. When my track record’s longer than a DC-20 aircraft. So next time that you think you want somethin’ here. Make somethin’ differ, take that garbage to St. Elsewhere.”
  4. Bonita Applebum: “Hey, being with you is a top priority. Ain’t no need to question the authority. Chairman of the board, the chief of affections. You got mine’s to swing in your direction.”A Tribe Called Quest
  5. Jazz “Stern firm and young with a laid-back tongue. The aim is to succeed and achieve at 21. Just like Ringling Brothers, I’ll daze and astound, Captivate the mass, cause the prose is profound.”
  6. Buggin Out: “I never walk the streets, think it’s all about me.  Even though deep in my heart, it really could be.  I just try my best to like go all out.  Some might even say yo shorty black you’re buggin’ out”A Tribe Called Quest
  7. Oh My God: “Listen up everybody the bottom line.  I’m a black intellect, but unrefined; with precision like a bullet, target bound, just livin like a hooker, the harlett sounds.”
  8. Lyrics to Go:  “A Tribe Called Quest we on the run for whatever. Trials and tribulations that we have to endeavor”
  9. Scenario:   “I could give a damn about a ill subliminal.  Stay away from crime cause I ain’t no CRIMINAL.  I love my young nation, groovy sensation.  No time for hibernation, only elation.”
  10. Show Business:  ” So you still wanna do the show business?  And you think that you got what it takes?  I mean you really gotta rap and be all that…And prepare yourself for the breaks

It was extremely difficult to not only limit myself to ten songs but to only include specific lines from those selected those ten songs.  What’s your favorite A Tribe Called Quest song?   Please feel free to share.  Also, if you saw or plan on seeing the documentary, share your thoughts as well.

All the best,

Anonomz aka Tanya H. Franklin


Profound Hip Hop Quote #34: I Wanna Know

10 Sep

“(I wanna know) You’ll believe and me and keep away your pride
(I wanna know) Cause I cant imagine you not by my side
(I wanna know) That you’ll share with me your hopes and all your dreams
Cause baby I love you for loving me.
” 

—“I Wanna Know” by Foreign Exchange

Foreign ExchangeWhy are most people in relationships?  Better yet, what causes people to remain in relationships for better or for worse?  Is it all about the hope for wants and needs being fulfilled by this special someone?  Even though I’ve been with my husband for quite a while, today we’ve been married for one month, and I could not be happier.  So I thought it would be a wonderful idea to explore this inquiry by analyzing a profound hip-hop quote from Foreign Exchange’s sophomore album “Leave it All Behind.”

True hip hop head are familiar with the rapper Phonte yet may be accustomed to hearing him spit tight bars and witty metaphors and similes on a tracks as a member of Little Brother, or making guest appearances on a plethora of other mainstream and underground artists, but when he teams up with Nicolay in the group Foreign Exchange, he morphs into a crooner who still has that hip-hop swag.

The actual video for the song, “I Wanna Know,” depicts Phonte having difficulties with his woman being dissatisfied with his actions, yet she does not verbally say what she “wants” from him or “wants” for him to do.  As he prepares to hit the road for a show, she gives him the infamous “silent treatment;”  nevertheless, she meets with her friends and openly discusses what the problem is and how the situation with Phonte is upsetting her.  How often do people in relationships tell their friends and family what they want and need but never actually verbalize it to the person with whom they are in a relationship?

In the chorus of the song, Phonte is tired of playing mind games and trying to figure out what his lady wants, so he takes the initiative and he clearly tells her what he wants, “(I wanna know) you’ll believe in me and keep away your pride.”   Pride: is a necessary evil and one of the seven deadly sins that causes so many rifts in relationships.  Do you let pride keep you miserable within your relationship and keep you from obtaining that happiness you once had?  Think about why you decided a few months ago, a few years ago or even a few decades ago do start a relationship with this person.  Phonte eloquently provides the reasons that represent my feelings.  My husband “believes in me and keeps away his pride.” as I do “believe in him and keep away my pride as well.”  I absolutely “can’t imagine life without him by my side.” Thus far,  we’ve both “shared our hopes and all our dreams,”  and I’m eager to see those hopes and dreams come into fruition.  Lastly, people tend to not only take their loved ones for granted but the love that they give for granted as well. When is the last time that your thanked somebody for loving you or made an effort to display your love even more as a result of the love they have given and shown to you?

Please feel free to share your thoughts.

~Anonomz aka Tanya Harris

Bonus English Lesson:
Usually, one uses parentheses for phrases that are insignificant, and the most important information is outside of the parentheses.  In this instance, Phonte, of Foreign Exchange, actually uses the parentheses for emphasis.  Prior to each line, he sings in a somewhat falsetto tone “I wanna know.”  This creates a since or urgency as well as desperation.  These are requests that must be fulfilled to save the relationship.

Profound Hip Hop Quote #33: Greatest Story Never Told

4 Sep

“Lo and behold, “Greatest Story Never Told”
Chapter 1, Verse 1, the genesis of my scroll
Is realer than 9/11, I rhyme about lyin’ reverends
While showin’ ’em total respect to the big guy in Heaven
I rap about politicians how money’s their acquisition
To get it they gotta keep us without a pot to piss in
.” 

—“Greatest Story Never Told” by Saigon

SaigonEverybody has a story to tell.  As a matter of fact, people often refer to their lives as stories.  What makes for a great story?  There must be a well-thought-out plot, interesting characters, an appropriate setting, an established theme, etc. to bring the story to life.  However, there is one literary attribute that oftentimes goes overlooked: the point of view.  From whose perspective is the story being told?  This aspect cannot only change the purpose of the story, but it can also determine what information is or is not relayed and with whom the reader identifies or empathizes with the most.  There will always be a point of view of a story that remains unexposed.  This could possibly be “The Greatest Story Never Told.”

Saigon, born Brian Daniel Carenard, (http://www.saigonnation.com/) is a witty rapper who hails from Brooklyn and has no problem recalling stories from his past, present and where he’s headed in the future.  I became familiar with him through “Scratch” magazine back in 2006 and have been an avid listener of his mix tapes and street albums ever since.  In 2011, Saigon’s Studio album “The Greatest Story Never Told” debuted, and I am happy to report that the album is a must-have in any true hip-hop collector’s arsenal.

Of course, the beat, produced by Just Blaze, captivated me, but as I listened intently to the lyrics I was entranced.  In these specific lyrics, Saigon exposes those leaders whose stories people readily believe or not.  Saigon wants listeners to acknowledge that there is always another point of view: the untold story.  For example, he says, “I rhyme about lyin’ reverends while showin’  ’em total respect to the big guy in heaven.” On many occasions, people believe the stories they are told because of the source.  Sadly, some people of the cloth can be the most deceptive  because they know that their “flock” will accept their stories as truth because they are supposed to be spiritual leaders.

Furthermore, Saigon proclaims, “I rap about politicians how money’s their acquisition.  To get it they gotta keep us without a pot to piss in.”  Most people, even politicians themselves, will admit that there is corruption in the political system which often stems back to money and power.  During election time, a plethora of advertisements are on TV, the radio and even online encouraging voters to “Vote for me; I’m the best candidate for the people!”  The hope is that there are some honest politicians out there who truly want the best for their citizens, but who knows what story or point of view to really believe?

Another interpretation to consider with the concept of “The Greatest Story Never Told” is coming back full circle to your own story.  Sometimes we allow others to tell our stories or are too afraid to start new chapters, get rid of or add certain characters, or possibly change the setting of our story for a better ending.  Presently, some people may feel that their stories are horrible and not worth sharing, while others hope their stories never end.  Even though listening to the stories of others and even being a part of their stories can be essential, we mustn’t allow our own lives and aspirations to be “The Greatest Stories Never Told.”

Please feel free to share your thoughts

~Anonomz aka Tanya H. Franklin

Bonus English Lesson:
Saigon, along with many other rap artists, has chosen to drop the “g” from the gerunds in his song.  For example, instead of “lying” it’s lyin’, and instead of showing it’s showin‘.