Tag Archives: Phonte

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: Week #8

26 Feb

“We spent the last year writing rhymes doing shows and chopping records
And traveled all around the world to spread the message
‘Cause ain’t no rest for the weary when it comes to my team
We only sleep on December the 32nd”

—Little Brother, “Not Enough”


At what lengths are you willing to go to achieve what you want out of life?  Will you fight for it at any cost even when it does not seem plausible or reachable?

Little Brother, one of the most talented rap duos birthed in the 21st century, did just that! Though Phonte and Rapper Big Pooh’s talents and tight lyrical abilities have been lauded by most underground artists and “hip hop heads,” they have often been unrecognized by “mainstream” hip hop listeners and radio stations.  Perhaps it was due to lack of promotion or lack of awareness on behalf of music listeners; nevertheless, for nearly ten years, these guys did not stop, and I loved being a part of their sleepless journey.

Interestingly, I did not hear “The Listening,” their debut CD until a few years after its original release.    Their sophomore album, “The Minstrel Show” was my first listening experience, and I did not know what to expect from such a controversial title.  However, I loved every song and interlude and understood why the CD had such an intriguing title. I then thought to myself, these guys from the “South” are flawless, and their rhyming skills ant witty usage of figurative language cannot be denied!

When I heard these lines in “Not Enough,” I knew that many people, not just underground “hip-hop heads” could relate to their plight.  Even though there is this constant struggle of being accepted and striving to reach their goals, they managed to persist.  Do you fight for what you want?  Once you realize what you want, do you establish clear, concrete goals, and apply yourself wholeheartedly to reach those goals.  No matter how unattainable they may seem to be or how mentally or physically exhausted you may be, there “ain’t no rest for the weary.”  While you sleep on your dreams another day goes by with no progress being made, and there is probably someone living out the dream you so desperately want to be a reality.

Please feel free to share your thoughts

~Anonomz aka Tanya Harris

Bonus English Lesson:
Little Brother’s Phonte is the czar of figurative language  and witty rhymes.Perhaps is was his college education at North Carolina Central University or his exposure and affinity towards poetic techniques.  Regardless, the lines from “Not Enough” contain a compelling example of an allusion, which means an indirect reference.

We only sleep on December the 32nd.” As you may know, or should know, there is no December 32nd.  Why doesn’t Phonte simply say, “We never sleep?” He selects a date that does not exists to not only pique the interest of the listeners but to stimulate their minds requiring some critical thinking to realize this fact.  What makes this line so brilliant is he chooses a date that would be the last day in the year if it did exists, which suggests that he has worked all year non-stop yet still refuses to “sleep.”

Also, Phonte has a lyrical finesse when it comes to rhyming.  Some rap artists simply rhyme word like, “cat” with “hat” or even “cat” with “cat” again.  This would be considered an ab or aa rhyme.  Phonte, incorporates an aaba technique using slant rhymes.  This is where part of the syllable of a word rhymes through consonance (rhyming of consonant sounds) or assonance (rhyming of vowel sounds).  When one reads “records,” “message,” and “32nd” he or she may say, “that doesn’t even rhyme!”  On the contrary, it does.   Upon listening to the song, the “eh” sound in re-cord, mes-sage thirty-sec-ond can be heard.

Lastly, Phonte uses the word “sleep” which could easily be substituted with “stop.”  Why “sleep?”  Of course, it is being employed in this instance as slang, but Phonte has something much more meaningful in mind.  Why sleep when you can live out your dreams?