To know me is to know I love hip hop. I won’t go and on and on about my love because I explained it before…but I love it.
Hip hop generally revolves around the same topics: Money, women, “the trap”, hoes,
women, community empowerment, bling, criminal activity, money, personal experience, rapper beef, misogyny, storytelling, ego, hoes, and of course…God. Hip hop has a sorted history with the church and specifically the black church. It began as hip hop formed in the 70’s. Long story short, pastors thought kids involved in hip hop were hoodlums and therefore harrassed them, shunned them, and made them out to be “sinners”. Since the church didn’t help the cause or support the unity it created, hip hop artists found other ways to express spirituality. I wonder sometimes what would’ve happened if the black church reacted differently…but I digress. Hip hop attracts individuals that view God and the world differently because it truly gives said people a chance to express themselves…wholly as they are unless you’re gay. With that sorted history, you end up with artists named Jay-hovah and albums called Yeezus.
So I am going to review these albums. I don’t just listen to hip hop because of the 808’s…I want to connect with the music I hear. I’ve listened to Born Sinner and Yeezus so I will share my thoughts
Born Sinner–J. Cole
J.Cole has been talking about the same topics since his first mixtape: his cognitive dissonance with his relationship with women. His lyrics seem like he is aware of the hurt, disappointment, pain, and insecurity he caused in numerous girl’s lives and I almost think he cares…except his ambivalence makes it clear that he doesn’t care. I actually like this about J.Cole because it makes for good storytelling. “She Knows” was a great story about a man who would really like to be a “good guy”, but falls short and is well aware of his flaws. Only problem, he thinks it’s okay to continue his life this way. After about 11 songs of this dialogue, he changes the topic to his other favorite topic: empowering the community? Kinda. Oh, the iron-knee! I had to laugh because this type of dissonance has got to be tiring even for a born sinner. My favorite song on the album is “Chaining Day”.
So don’t take my chains from me. I chose this slavery–J.Cole
It must be difficult to know your life is symbolic of a minstrel show and you keep going. I believe Cole experiences this “double consciousness” because he graduated Magna Cum Laude from St. John’s University. Yes, he’s real educated. He played basketball though which didn’t help his relationship with women. Like I said, I like the storytelling, but I think he’s being lazy or repressing the other side of him. Not sure which, but I’m starting to disconnect from him. He’s almost 30. He should have more to talk about and if he doesn’t, I’m thinking it’s due to laziness. I want his lyrics to reach a deeper side of him without the emo of Drake though. Just show me who Jermaine Cole truly is and we’ll be cool. The album was about 7 songs too long. I stopped really listening after “Crooked Smile”.
Let me start off with what I respect about this album. He was creative and risky with his Daft Punk-esque sound. I like that the album is concise
because I would’ve poked my eyes out if anymore of it existed. Beyond that, this is not a hip hop album nor is it “good’ or “genius” or “classic”. I’m starting to think the Illuminati let a black man in because these reviews are making me guffaw! I only made it through about 5 songs before I started feeling suicidal and had lower self-esteem. The lyrics sound like Lil Wayne was the ghostwriter. My disdain for this album couldn’t be greater and it has nothing to do with Yeezus Yehovah Ye-allah Ye-donai. It’s not hip hop. Kanye West has taken his arrogance, whininess, whohurthim, and misogyny to a whole new level. It was cool when he showed some type of vulnerability…now he just…thinks he’s a god. In fact, god affirms this on a track that features god *coughs*.
If you haven’t listened to either, you should just for kicks. Let me know what you think!
*Picture from NPR, Getty Image*