Tag Archives: 2000s Hip Hop

Profound Hip Hop Quote #48: A Blue Sky is “Common” Where I’m From

21 Jan

“Day light beams, night light schemes
This is my Inception, I’m writing my dreams
Immortal view of a star doing what I’m born to do
I see the blue sky, say the Lord’s coming through “

—“Blue Sky” by Common (Featuring Makeba on vocals)

Common Blue Sky

Most people are happy to hear the meteorologist say, “Today is going to be sunshine and blue skies” when they check the weather forecast, and the reason is obvious.  People tend to associate blue skies with good weather or even beautiful weather for that matter because it usually means that there will be no clouds, rain, snow or any storm brewing on the horizon.  With blue skies, it is very seldom necessary to cancel outdoor plans such as picnics in the park, a sporting event or just simply sitting outside and enjoying some fresh air.

Figuratively speaking, there is something awe inspiring about the blue sky.  I correlate it with a higher power,  hope and dreams, as does Common in his song entitled “Blue Sky” off of his ninth studio album, “The Dreamer/The Believer.”  Have you ever thought about how some areas of the world have blue skies a minimum of ninety percent of the time while others are lucky if they experience a blue sky with no precipitation ten percent of the time?  Common presents this juxtaposition of worlds, “daylight beams, night light schemes” which can be interpreted on multiple levels.  Someone else’s daylight is another person’s night light.  Also, to beam is to radiate and reflect the light.  Whereas schemes can be underhanded actions covertly done with the intention of accomplishing something in an unscrupulous way.  Furthermore, we all have our moments when the “blue sky” is shrouded in darkness, but it is pertinent to remember that the blue sky is still present, and we can still scheme through the night, in a positive way, to reach our goals by day light.

Have you ever been so busy or consumed with your daily routines that you don’t stop to admire the beauty of the blue sky and breathe in the fresh air of the day?  I love to just daydream and look up at the sky as I think about all of my aspirations as I reach for the sky.  In wonderment, I reflect about life and if I’m on the right path and if I’m doing what I’ve been called to do.  “This is my Inception, I’m writing my dreams,” Common proclaims.  Looking up to the sky is just the initial step; it is when we come to the realization that we write our own dreams, and each day, with the blue sky above us, from the inception of those dreams, we must think about what we have done, are doing or plan to do make them a reality.

We are all immortal views of stars.  Our actions today will have a impression on the people of tomorrow.   The problem is that many of us are to searching for what we were born to do.  What’s wonderful about the figurative blue sky is connects us to God.  When we are unsure, when our faith begins to waver, when we just need our hope and determination in our dreams restored, we can look up to the blue sky and be reminded that life is beautiful and that we are not alone.

Please feel free to share your thoughts

~Anonomz aka Tanya H. Franklin

Bonus English Lesson:
When it comes to figurative language, Common is as adept as they come.  To select one example, Common using an allusion when he says, “This is my Inception.”  He is making a reference to the movie Inception and employs an extended metaphor where the blue sky represents God.

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Profound Hip Hop Quote #47: A “Rek” in the 25th Hour

31 Dec

“We are in the 25th hour it’s now or never
We got to get .. forever remember
Time waits for no man
what’s your plan? “

—“25th Hour” by Reks (Produced by DJ Premier)

ReksWith less than 24 hours left in the new year, I pondered, “what would be a profound rap song to close out 2011?”  Then I thought about the song 25th hour by Reks (Rhythmatic Eternal King Supreme).  Now if you’re scratching your head trying to figure out who or what in the world REKS is, I was in the same position of wonderment about a half a year ago.  My husband actually put me on to the Boston native who has a butter, quick witted flow but has, for the most part, remained in the underground circuit.

On his third studio, he paired up with DJ Premier to deliver the “25th Hour.”  Most people, at some point, are guilty of saying, “I’ll get around to it tomorrow,” “I’ll start my goal in the new year,” or “I’ve still got time.”  Nevertheless, there are moments when the sense of urgency is building, and “it’s now or never.”   Think about all of the goals, hopes and dreams that you might have deferred thinking you have more time to get around to achieving them.

It’s necessary to have that passion and determination to get to your destination in life.  On countless occasions, people have asked for more time or wished that they had just one more hour in the day to get tasks accomplished.  Let’s say there was a 25th hour….how many people would use it effectively, and how many would use it to get an extra hour of sleep?  Remember, as Reks says, “Time waits for no man…what’s your plan?”

Please feel free to share your thoughts

~Anonomz aka Tanya H. Franklin

Bonus English Lesson:
Reks not  uses a hyperbole. “We are in the 25th hour”  is an exaggeration utilized to stress the importance of time or lack thereof.  Also, Reks utilizes personification.    “Time waits for no man”  Many people have uttered this adage; however, time is given a human characteristic as though we can negotiate with it.


Profound Hip Hop Quote #43: Tell Me The Way I Am

12 Nov

“And I am, whatever you say I am
If I wasn’t, then why would I say I am?”
 

—“The Way I Am” by Eminem

Eminem
Who and what dictates who you are?  Is it your actions, what you say, your appearance or what others say about you?  More than likely, it is a combination of all four.  Just because you may believe you are a nice person, does that make it so?  What have you done or said to demonstrate how nice of a person you are?  If others who know you well were asked to describe you, would they say that you are a nice person?

Released over a decade ago, Eminem’s song, “The Way I Am” is quite inflammatory as it addresses the issues that he has with the media’s perspective of him as a rapper and person.  Eminem might have controversial lyrics; however, those very same lyrics are usually quite profound.  In this instance, the actual chorus can be applied to anyone’s life. 

Most people would like others to have kind and positive words to say about who they are.  Nevertheless, is it necessary to care about how other people may perceive us to the point where we live our lives for them?  Do we sometimes allow the perceptions that people have about us to dictate our future behaviors: better known as the self-fulfilling prophecy.  For instance, are those mothers who tell their sons, “You ain’t nothin’ and ain’t never gonna be nothin’ just like your dead beat father” setting them up to actually be nothing because they believe they are what their mom’s say they are?

You are who you say you are, but be mindful of your actions, appearance and how you say what you say because it does play a significant role in how others will perceive you.  Also, do not allow the negative perceptions that people may have of you to dictate your journey in the future.

Please feel free to share your thoughts.

~Anonomz aka Tanya H. Franklin

Profound Hip Hop Quote #41: Drake Tickles My “Fancy”

29 Oct

“And you don’t do it for the man, men never notice
you just do it for yourself; you’re the f*%$^*g coldest
intelligent too ooh you’re my sweetheart
I’ve always liked my women book and street smart”
 

—“Fancy” by Drake featuring T.I. and Swiss Beats

DrakeWhy do people, specifically women, take painstaking measures to beautify themselves?  Of course, most people do like to look nice and uphold a certain image, but how much of that necessity or desire is for themselves, and how much of it is to be noticed by potential suitors or to keep the current love interest captivated?  The typical woman could spend hundreds if not thousands of dollars a month on hair, make-up, clothing, handbags and other accessories all in the name of looking good, or “fancy” if you will, but does all of this work really tickle the fancy of the typical man?

On Drake’s album Thank Me Later, his song “Fancy” briefly  addresses this issue.  No doubt, most men want a woman who takes pride in her appearance because it demonstrates that she cares about herself.  However, this interpretation may not always be accurate.  Some women do everything in accordance with what they think men or their man may want and may actually not be happy with themselves and lack self-esteem. Some women (and men) let themselves go because they have become too comfortable within the relationship, which could mean that it was always about looking good for their man or men in general, not for themselves.  Drake proclaims, “…you don’t do it for the man, men never notice…you just do it for yourself…”

Men want a woman who looks good because in actuality her fancy style might be what initially attracted him; however, most men who are serious about a woman will eventually be interested in her intellect.  A woman can have a beautiful outer shell or at least be able to create the illusion of having a beautiful outer shell with the hair, make-up, clothing and other accessories, but how long will that shell suffice?

Please feel free to share your thoughts.

~Anonomz aka Tanya H. Franklin

Bonus English Lesson:
Drake uses slang to drive his point home about the “fancy” women
“you just do it for yourself; you’re the f*%$^*g coldest”
To refer to someone as the “coldest” could be interpreted as a person who is distant and unapproachable; however, it can also mean that the person is “cool,” which in this instance means the best!

Profound Hip Hop Quote #40 Head West When It All Falls Down!

22 Oct

“Man I promise, she’s so self conscious
She has no idea what she’s doing in college
That major that she majored in don’t make no money
But she won’t drop out, her parents will look at her funny”
 

—“All Falls Down” by Kanye West

Kanye WestWhy do people decide to go to college?  Is it now a necessity in order to be successful and achieve one’s dreams?  No doubt, I’m all for education, but decades ago, people could obtain their high school diplomas and fair well in the job market if academics was just not their strong suit.  Now, landing a good paying job without a college degree or a vocational trade would be considered an anomaly unless a person is starting his or her own business. As a result, there are an increasing amount of people who either recently graduated from high school or who have been laid off from their jobs enrolling in college when they are not necessarily academically prepared making it an uphill battle.  Of course, it is possible for people with determination to overcome their academic shortcomings in math and English and any other courses that may present hurdles. However, how many of them actually go the extra mile to jump those hurdles or even know what they need to do while in college?  How many know what they want to do after college or what it takes to be successful after completing college?

We have officially reached the halfway point at my college, and some students sadly do not take their college careers seriously and may be there simply because their parents made them or just because they don’t know how to be good students (focused, no procrastinating and organized, etc.). I genuinely care about all of my students and hope they will one day attain their goals, but this revelation about some students not being as invested in the learning process or the end result is nothing new.  It is the way it was when I was a college student too.  Nevertheless, this got me thinking about the first verse of Kanye West’s song “All Falls Down” from his freshmen album.

Going to college and sometimes working and having a family can be overwhelming and stressful to say the least.  That is why it is essential to plan accordingly so that it does not “all fall down,” or “when it all falls down” you are prepared to pick up the pieces and start again. If you “have no idea what your doing in college,” take some time to figure it out.  I always knew I wanted to be a teacher, but I’ve always had an affinity towards English and literature, so that was my major in undergrad.  Even though I’ve always been a diligent and hardworking student, I later learned that the “major I majored in don’t make no money.”  If only I had done the extensive research, I would have alleviated some stress and anxiety about landing my “dream” job.  Through my experience, I came to realize that money is not everything and that I am glad that I selected a major that allows me to teach and be immersed in a subject I am passionate about: English!

Please feel free to share your thoughts.

~Anonomz aka Tanya H. Franklin

Bonus English Lesson:
Kanye West uses a double negative which is common in slang and hip-hop dialect to stress his point and also utilizes the non-standard verb choice for third person plural not third person singular.  This method also minimizes the syllables for the rhythm of the line.
“That major she majored in don’t make no money.” (Twelve Syllables)
The standard English version would be, “That major she majored in doesn’t make any money.”  (Fourteen Syllables)

Profound Hip Hop Quote #38 Like It’s My Last

8 Oct

“Now, I’mma fill this glass up like it’s my last
I’mma do, do it, like it’s my last
I’mma spend this cash up like it’s my last
And I’mma make it last, like it’s my last.
” 

—“My Last” by Big Sean Featuring Chris Brown

Big Sean and Chris BrownWe’ve all heard the cliché phrase, “Live each day like it’s your last,” but what exactly does this mean?  The “gettin’ it in at the club song” “My Last” by Big Sean featuring Chris Brown focuses more on the party aspect, so the lyrics themselves are not necessarily profound. Nevertheless, the concept of celebrating each moment and coming to the realization that tomorrow or even the next moment is not promised is rather thought-provoking.

How many people have chosen to modify the old adage about today and tomorrow and say, “Why do today what you can put off until tomorrow?”  Every few months or so, a new film hits the theaters or a television show airs focusing on the end of the world or of human kind.  This often gets people talking about how they would choose to spend their last days.  Sometimes, a major event occurs causing people to reevaluate their life choices and the direction they are headed.  When is the last time you thought about your last day alive? Or the last time you would be able to walk, talk, see or even breathe without the assistance of an oxygen tank?

People often associate the “last” with death, but there is so much in life that we take for granted.  Of course, no one necessarily knows the how, when, what and usually not the why, but what we all know death will happen at some point.  Conversely, most people do know know nor do they expect to go blind, to lose their basic cognitive thinking skills or mobility.  If you were aware of when your “last” was, would it in any way impact how you presently conduct yourself?

Regardless if a person is religious, spiritual, believes in God or not, each moment brings us closer to our last – not necessarily just our last breath. While some people’s ideal last days involve wild parties, drinking, getting high, wild sex and whatever else fancies them, others attempt to get their affairs in order by righting their wrongs, spending time with their loved ones and just enjoying the beauty of life.  The bottom line is that most people want their last moments to be ones of happiness.

Why do people take life for granted and assume that they have time?  Why aren’t more people living each moment like it’s their last?  Who knows???  Perhaps they are.

Please feel free to share your thoughts.

~Anonomz aka Tanya Harris

Bonus English Lesson:
To demonstrate emphasis, rather than use words that rhyme, each line ends with “My Last.”  This is a practice that is common, especially in the chorus of a song.

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 #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 #27: I’m Back With Power!!

9 Jul

“Listen, dude, for you that ain’t in the cards
Think the power is in the gun, but over all it’s in your heart


—TI, “I’m Back”
    View Video

TI "I'm Back"TI, aka Clifford Harris, was dubbed the Jay Z of the south, yet has had his share of run-ins with the law and difficulties staying out of trouble. Nevertheless, there’s something special about this guy. Perhaps it’s that we both share the same surname or that my paternal grandparents also hailed from Georgia.  Actually, his profound lyrics and innate “swaggerability” (Yes I just made up a new noun) are two attributes that have made me a follower of his music.  Regardless of what has went on in his personal life, lyrically speaking, this guy is alright with me.

Ironically, TI’s trouble with the authorities has, more times than not, been associated with firearms or artillery charges of some kind, but he elicits a positive reaction from listeners with his lyrics from “I’m Back.”  These in particular lyrics, “Think the power is in the gun, but over all it’s in your heart,” address an issue all too familiar with people living in the inner city and even in rural areas: gun violence.

Even though I’ve never been fond of guns mainly because of the inauthentic power they instill in people who can impulsively take another person’s life within a flash, I do understand why guns have become so prevalent over the years.  Some people carry guns for protection, others carry them with the intention of committing a crime or causing harm, while others simply get an adrenaline rush of power by having guns in their possession and just going to shooting ranges to practice.

However, who are these people without the guns?  What do their hearts reveal?  Is it anxiousness, fear, confusion, desperation, anger or even worthlessness?  Whatever it may be, people must eventually deal with the matters of the heart because that is where the true power begins, and when it comes to violence, let’s hope “for you that ain’t in the cards.” Address those issues first rather than seeking power in an inanimate object that can potentially cause a lifetime of heartache for animated human beings who are passionate about making this world a better place.

Please feel free to share your thoughts

~Anonomz aka Tanya Harris

Bonus English Lesson:
In TI’s profound lyrics, he chooses to omit the pronoun “you” in the second line of his lyrics, “You think the power is in the the gun, but over all it’s in your heart,”  causing the listeners to refer back to the antecedent, “dude” so that they know to whom he is referring.  Also, as a result of TI excluding the pronoun you, this particular line can refer to anyone who believes that the power is in the gun.

Profound Hip Hop Quote #26: Rapping Up Violence

2 Jul

In our community it’s funny how the unity,
it seems to fall from tragedy instead of love from you and me.
As we move from war to peace
and back again while mothers all cry in the streets
from the gunshots.” 


—Nicolay & Kay, featuring Chip Fu “The Gunshot”

If you’ve never heard this song before, it is a “must hear!” 

Nicolay & KayThe summer is supposed to be a time of fun with people enjoying the weather, going to the beach, the park, enjoying family and friends, vacationing, etc. Sadly, the opposing force to these moments of jubilation is violence which plagues some cities more than others.  According to the homicide statistics from the Philadelphia Police Department, there have been 159 homicides this year (including July 1, 2011).  Even though it is 21 percent lower than it was in 2007 (the homicide rate was 202 by July 1st), this is still a relatively high number. Actually, from June 1st to July 1st of this year, there have been 37 homicides; that’s more than one per day! (Crime Maps & Stats)

Yes, it is true that many rappers choose to promote and glorify violence, but that is not always their agenda.  Some actually are quite positive and influential in their communities and want to put an end to gun violence or any type of violence for that matter.  One artist in particular who addresses the need to do something about gun violence is Kay, a Houston, Texas rapper who paired up with Nicolay, the ultimate producer extraordinaire from the Netherlands to compose the classic album “Timeline.”  The production of song, “The Gunshot,” featuring Chip Fu, alone is enough to captivate listeners; however, most people would be able to resonate with and enjoy the profound lyrics of Kay as well.

It is unfortunate that many people with whom I have come in contact with can attest to having a direct or indirect experience with gun violence.  My first experience with gun violence was during my senior year of high school where two of my classmates, in separate incidents, were brutally slain.  Kay makes an observation that is unfortunate as well, “In our community it’s funny how the unity…it seems to fall from tragedy instead of love from you and me.”  Why do many of us wait for violence to strike before we take action?  Why not rally together in masses and take back our neighborhoods from violent offenders rather than have to undergo candle light vigils and teddy bear and balloon shrines for innocent bystanders and children caught in the crossfire?  Can some of these senseless tragedies be prevented with the love and peace from the community to stop the mothers from crying in the streets from the gunshots?

Please feel free to share your thoughts

~Anonomz aka Tanya Harris

Bonus English Lesson:
In order to make a poem or rap more complex and rhythmic, the writer may employ an internal rhyme, which is a rhyme that occurs within the line of verse.  For example,  the word in the middle of the line will rhyme with the ending word in the line.  “In our community it’s funny how the unity, it seems to fall from tragedy instead of love from you and me.”  In the second line, Kay actually uses assonance, meaning that the rhyme focus is on the vowel sound, specifically “tragedy” and “me.“, rather than the entire words rhyming.