Posts Tagged ‘promise’

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why young money has won me over.

January 17, 2011

OK, so as I am unwell and off work, I might as well try and do something productive. I haven’t done a music review on this blog for ages – and while this isn’t a traditional album review, I thought that I would write a music-related article.

I was reading on Toya’s World Drake’s recent comments on how Aaliyah inspired him as a singer to make his songs relatable across genders and across situations. This connects to one of the best songs on his album, “Unforgettable”, which samples her. Unfairly, I ignored Drake for an unfeasibly long time, and it was only hearing his songs covered by Teairra Marí on her Point Of No Return mixtape that made me decide to give him a chance. I am so glad that I did – rather than just another overhyped rapper who featured on every R&B and Hip Hop single of the moment over the last year and a half, his album betrayed a talent for rhyming and exposing vulnerability and honesty over beats that combined some of the raw soundscapes from Kanye West’s 808s and Heartbreak with horn-led Swizz Beatz productions. I was thoroughly impressed by Drake’s honesty about fame, and his lyrics which alternated between self-hype and self-deprecation. While Kanye West’s stellar new album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy equally shows him exposing the insecurities behind his ego on songs such as “Runaway” and “Blame Game”, the difference is that Drake has been upfront about his insecurities from the get-go. This is something I feel is admirable for a male artist in any genre – traditionally, female artists are emotional and find strength in their vulnerability, while male artists are sex-hungry, predatory and invulnerable to emotion just as they portray themselves as being invulnerable to everything, bullets included (a quick flip through rap history should indicate that this is certainly not the case – 50 Cent aside). So Drake utterly won my respect for being frank and honest, while also creating a really good album that still had some swagger songs, but was not afraid to step away from that and both rhyme and sing with equal sincerity.

Nicki Minaj’s mixtape Beam Me Up Scotty was utterly thrilling, but again betrayed something more than your average hyper-sexual female rapper. Her idiosyncratic delivery, and her willingness to be vulnerable and honest about her music industry difficulties (on “Can Anybody Hear Me” she proclaimed “Def Jam said I’m no Lauryn Hill / Can’t rap and sing on the same CD / the public won’t get it, they got ADD”). By extension, we can understand that Minaj has a clear vision of who she wants to be as an artist, but is being somewhat held back from that and steered in a slightly different direction.  It’s no accident that “Save Me” is one of the best songs on Pink Friday, and it is the only song which Minaj sings from start to finish. Image-wise, Nicki Minaj is clearly hailing after Lil’ Kim, and to a lesser extent Lisa Left-Eye Lopes. Pink Friday at first was a disappointment to me because it was much more pop than I was expecting, and there weren’t many of her hard, crazy verses that characterise her best features, such as on Kanye West’s “Monster”. Nevertheless, the album has impressed me because it does mix in various sounds, various characters, and is not overtly sexed nor trying too hard to be one of the guys, or prove its gangster credentials – these are elements that have characterised a lot of female rap and it is brave of Minaj to forsake all of these and try to be herself, even if she is not allowed to be so fully. So again, although Nicki Minaj is hardly original and I have a suspicion that her true artistry will be revealed in years to come, her output and dedication to her craft is still promising and beyond what is expected of most new acts.

I wonder if, when putting together his Young Money troupe, Lil Wayne was aware of just how talented his acts are. I am tempted to say yes, as madness and artistic talent can often go hand in hand. Young Money’s album itself comprised catchy, if disposable, chart fodder which nevertheless promoted a collective ethos above highlighting individual talents. This is all well and good, but apart from Wayne, Minaj and Drake, how many of the others can you name? Sure, Shanell is memorable for being the other female in the group, and has contributed solidly to Nicki Minaj’s songs “Handstand” and “Cupid’s Got A Gun”, exhibiting a controlled and evocative vocal on the latter. She also wears that interesting jewellery across her face.  Tyga stands out by dint of his recent collaborations with Chris Brown on “Deuces” and other songs. But neither of these artists (nor any of the rest) have yet been allowed to stand on their own two feet. I mean, between Wayne’s own mixtapes and those of Drake and Minaj, along with their official studio albums, singles, collaborations and features, they already saturate the media. It is likely that if all were given the same treatment simultaneously, the public would scream for respite.  But I wonder, since Young Money clearly comprises talented members who, importantly, have their own vision and are not afraid to express it, just how many more talented members we haven’t yet been exposed to. This intrigues me and suggests that the collective is filled with promise.

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escape.

October 19, 2009

I am tired of being treated like a leper.  I am tired of not being asked how I am or how my day went.  I am tired of being made to feel like I am not permitted to speak or make any noise in your presence, except in order to answer your questions or support your arguments.  I am tired of being told to be quiet and stop singing during the day, only to have to listen to the sounds of you fighting in the night.  I am tired of of being made to feel uncomfortable in the midst of your baggage.  I am tired of being accused of never listening to you, when you bombard me with so much speech that I finally have to tune out your voice in order to save my sanity.  I am tired of being made to feel that I should be neither seen nor heard, and only trotted out on an occasion when you need to feel proud of yourselves that you raised a son like me.  I am tired of being asked to move from one room to another because “I don’t belong there”, when in reality I don’t belong anywhere at all according to you, and you only want to displace me that little bit extra to make me feel more insecure.  I am tired of being misunderstood or misdiagnosed, which just proves how little you know me, love me and care about who I truly am rather than the version of who you think I am.  I am tired of being punished for having my own opinion.  I am tired of being made the scapegoat when I dare to disagree with your views which you present as gospel or unshakeable fact.  I am tired of biting my tongue.  I am tired of feeling miserable and worthless.  I am tired of wondering why I am never good enough for you, when I am more than good enough for absolutely everyone else.  I am tired of being made to feel like I am the problem.  I am tired of being on the verge of tears only to never cry.

One day, I will never warn you, but I am going to find somewhere else to live and to be.  I’m already working on it.  Then I will pack my shit, change my number, and vanish. Y0u will never see me or hear from me again.  I deserve to be free, and I finally will be. And I will not miss you.

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gift.

October 10, 2009

So my birthday is coming up, and literally just now my mother asked me whether I still wanted a flat screen TV.  Originally, I was after one so that I could better see the graphics (and actually be able to read the on-screen instructions!!!) when I’m playing my Playstation 3.  But I was going to move my current TV into my ‘office’ area (where I have my printer and filing set up for uni) and according to plans my mother has to put a wardrobe in there, I don’t think it’s gonna fit.  And I don’t really play PS3 enough for it to be worth just buying a new TV.  So I’m gonna nix the gift, and now I have to think of something else!

And it’s hard but I almost got a little bit tearful for a moment there because if I could choose another gift at this moment, I just wish that my parents would stop fighting.  This last couple of weeks, it’s been really really bad, alternating between silent treatments and raging rows.  I’ve just tried to get out of their company as soon as I can after dinner, and work by myself in my bedroom / the spare bedroom / the hallway, because it’s just traumatic.  I remember when I was 8 years old, and I used to listen to them fighting upstairs and just cry and wish for it all to stop – well, I react differently now (I go and have a shower to drown out their voices; I contemplate going downstairs and telling them to grow up) but I still feel like I’m 8 years old again and a little child listening to the world falling apart.  I don’t know what to do.

Maybe this is why my little crush at uni isn’t really a crush.  I just want somebody to protect me and hold me tight and for everything to be ok.  I try and maintain the façade of having everything together as much as possible, because I don’t want anyone to know that I am actually feeling quite vulnerable, but I think I’ve let a couple of things slip that maybe betray the fact I’m quite upset about it.  When I daydream (or night-dream), it’s not really a sexual thing but more a protective thing, that somebody will hold me and not leave.  I have made my friend Mike promise that as soon as he has a decent flat available and my bursary comes through, I am going to move out because I’ve just had enough, and also I really need my own space where I can just be at ease and have my own privacy and invite people round and come and go as I please.  I don’t get on badly with my parents (after all, they’re not shouting at / being silent with me) but maybe it’s just being 23, nearly 24 and still living at home is a little constraining.

So I now have to deal with the conundrum of what to ask for as a birthday gift from my mum. (I haven’t asked if this is going to be on behalf of both of my parents, as my dad usually remembers my birthday – he didn’t buy me a birthday present once and a Christmas present another time, but that happened in the past so I don’t know if he would still forget these days.) Although I want a Gucci necklace, I don’t think I am going to mention it.  I may have a window shop today and see if I find anything that tickles my fancy, but other than someone scooping me up and telling me everything is gonna be alright, or a place to call my own (both things I can’t exactly ask for!), I really don’t know what I want.