Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Why Do I Listen to RAP Music?

You’re probably thinking “what does Tam know about RAP music?” Well, thanks to my bff and my quest for enlightenment via ART I’ve slid on over to this genre.

Overall, my interest in rap music is solely educational. I consider myself to be an artist in many ways: whether it’s blogging, poetry, singing, etc. So I take note when there are other artists doin’ they thug thizzle better than anyone else in the game. Music is by far the GREATEST unifying element of society today. Seriously, it knocks down walls of age, race, income bracket – you name it and I bet you can find at least 2 people who listen to or play the SAME kind of music and other than that they are complete opposites. For example, list the characteristics of a Michael Jackson fan. I bet you will have traits all across the spectrum because overall, MJ was a performer. It didn’t matter if you was “black or white” because when it’s time to “BEAT IT” or you see a “PYT” walking down the street honey shuga iced tea, you were ALL EARs.

Now to understand the POWER behind music and the INFLUENCE artists have, let’s discuss your experience with this system of beats, lyrics, melodies and clefs. Has music ever “taken you there?” You know what I mean. When you were sitting at home one day by your lonesome, did you not put on some Whitney Houston, “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” or some “Stanky Leg” and supremely KICK IT. You didn’t need no crowd, no drank and no distractions. When it was time to pick the songs for your wedding, did you not borrow the classic lyrics from the O’Jays, Babyface & Luther Vandross? See, music will take you places: voluntary or involuntary.

See the dangerous element of music is its ability to creep into your subconscious, plant a garden and have you sprouting up emotions you never thought possible. I can recall a many of times riding in the Cobie and “One Last Cry” from Brian McKnight simply take me to a rough time in my life…now I’m crying ‘cause I’m remembering “the one that got away” and all the HELL that last foo’ took me through. So BE CAREFUL what you allow to enter in your spirit. MUSIC can be a dagger or a hoist, use it wisely.

Back to the topic at hand: RAP MUSIC. What I love about rap music and any music with quality is how clever they string together the song as a whole. As I mentioned before, I sing, write poetry and most definitely respect MUSIC as an art form. So when I listen to music: I dissect the lyrics, critique the beat and if it doesn’t intrigue my mind or spirit, I turn it off. For the majority of my musical life, I’ve only considered R&B, Gospel and more of the “calm” side of music to fill up my cassette case and disk drive. That was until I heard these artists below….

Christian Lecrae, Da T.r.u.t.h., Flame, Sho Baraka, Trip Lee

All these artists TEACH the word of God to the masses.
Their target audience is the YOUNG ADULTs in and out of the church.
All have a testimony that would normally disqualify them from ministering, BUT GOD!

Secular Jadakiss, Wayne, Nappy Roots, Lauryn Hill

All these artists TEACH you their principles of how to live life.
Their target audiences are quite diverse.
All have life stories that, for the most part, coincide with their identity in music.

So you might ride past me in traffic BLASTIN’ some “Background” from Lecrae or “Tie My Hands” by Weezy F. Oh my word – how can a Christian justify listening to SECULAR music?!!!

Simply put: I use it for various ministry moments & the METAPHORs are ridiculous!

I put some of my favorite pieces below. Guess who they belong to.
Only the 9 artists listed above are choices. You might be surprised.

1. I'm leaning to the right. The light is where I'm running.
    I thought I wanted life, drunk, sexed out and blunted
2. As I look at what I've done. The type of life that I've lived. How many things I pray the father will forgive
3. But who am I to talk? We in the same picture but we all got different poses
4. If I was worth dying for, yes this God’s worth living for.
5. I just wanna make you famous.
6. ...scared to get some water, roaches hangin’ over the faucets
7. I'll mess around and lose my life man tryna walk in you
    I'm standing on these stages and got these people believing me
8. Why they gon’ give you life for a murder - turn around only give you eight months for a burner.
9. If the bible was re-written and the writers put me in it. I wonder how my life would read? Would the people that have heard of me read just to learn of me be turned away by what they see? Or would they slump in their sofas blown away and sober by my life... didn't come to believe. Or would they do a once over read the pages of my life, and once it's over, close the book and say that's not how I want to be!

*Answers will be e-mailed to all readers that leave a comment.*

Did I write this to make you start/stop listening to rap whether Christian or Secular. NOPE! I consider myself to be open-minded at my core so I’m like a SPONGE – tryna get educated and enlightened in any way that I can. Do I listen to every Weezy F song he puts out? NO because sometimes I can’t handle its profanity or I’m on something different that day. I respect his hustle tho’. I’m becoming more and more aware of what I allow into my personal bubble: people, music, teaching, spirits so of course I’m not promoting either artist but I will say that if you want to bring people together, stop judging people by the music they listen to. It might be mess to you but it could a reflection of their own life. No, I’m not a gangsta and no I’m not a saint but I am ME: an artist at heart, child of God, hustla’ in my own right & lover of music. Jesus didn’t hang out with the saved all day long, did he? He was in the streets so if I can connect with a person on the music front, maybe I can convince them to lower their wall and consider another viewpoint – after all, you can’t have a ministry moment with a conversation starter!

Hope you enjoyed my insight.

Go pick up that Le’Andria Johnson and Kirk Franklin (Hello Fear) album (shameless promo).

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Learning from the Oldies: LIFE LESSONS taught by R&B Classics

Anyone that knows me knows that I am a MUSIC FANATIC. So of course, my musical interests are diverse: country, R&B, gospel, rap, blues, etc. However, when I want an emotional release to clear my head, give me a laugh or help me vent I find myself dipping & dabbing in some of the music my mom played on her record player. I can recall plenty of times where I would sit and listen to some Prince, Michael Jackson, Teddy P. & a slew of others. I was only a young buck (12 yrs old), but the songs spoke to me. LOL As an adult, I started to actually listen to the lyrics. This analysis led to a few conclusions: 1). Music is a lost art 2). Real music outlives the time period in which it is created & 3). All my older adult friends/family better not say nothing about how disrespectful, sexually-oriented our music is because honey sugar iced tea y’all was doing the same thang!

*chuckle, it’s ok to laugh*

So of the numerous selections I had to choose from, these were the first ones that popped up in my head & media player on my phone. These songs taught me a lot about life, love & everything in between. Go back in time with me for a minute…I know what you’re gonna say: “what about so-and-so” & “why you put it on the list.” It’s not an all-inclusive trip, just a speed bump in the musical era I call, “The Oldies but Goodies.”

No Pain, No Gain (Betty Wright)
Anything worth havin' at all
Is worth workin’ for and waitin' for
Some gifts are just to make him feel better while he's on his guilt trip
Sometimes flowers mean "Maybe we should just be friends"
In order to be something
You got to go through something
Be a cook in the kitchen, a lady in the streets
You can't show your teeth to every guy you meet
It's alright to be a little sweet
But be a mama with the kids and you know what in the sheets
No pain [No pain], no pain [No pain]
No gain [No gain]

*LESSON: Love is a plant – it needs both SUN & RAIN!

If Loving You Is Wrong, I Don’t Wanna Be Right (Percy Sledge):
*LESSON: Don’t be no fool – you will never be happy with a MARRIED MAN! He ain’t leaving his wife & ain’t gon WIFE you. You shouldn’t want a man that would CHEAT with you ANYWAY!

Always & Forever (Lutha Vandross)
Always and forever
Each moment with you
Is just like a dream to me
That somehow came true, yeah
And I know tomorrow
Will still be the same
'Cause we got a life of love
That won't ever change


‘Cause I Love You (Lenny Williams)
*LESSON: When a man truly loves a woman, he can’t eat, sleep or think about anything but her. If yo’ man ain’t fighting for you, then ask yourself – WHY? If you ain’t fighting for him, then maybe the feelings are mutual.

Stairway to Heaven (O’Jays) – ENUFF SAID!

Woman to Woman (Shirley Brown)
*LESSONs: Understand your POWER & VALUE as a woman. Secure women don’t go after men that are already attached. Know that I’m gonna check ya if you have overstepped your boundaries with my man. At the end of the day, I was me before I met him & honey I hope you can say the same.

Ribbon in the Sky (Stevie Wonder): ENUFF SAID

I Apologize (Anita Baker)
*LESSON: Be woman enough to say you’re SORRY. We yell at men for upsetting us and not caring about our feelings, but when we wrong we try to cover it up and excuse it. Wrong is wrong and even if he is wrong 99% of the time, you need to be secure enough to accept blame & take responsibility for mending the problem you created during your 1%.

We are FAMILY (Sister Sledge)
*LESSON: Family sticks together. It starts with immediate family, then extended family, then family in the Faith. Unity empowers us and selfishness will DESTROY us.

Practice What You Preach (Barry White): ENUFF SAID!

Superwoman (Karyn White)
*LESSON: Every once in a while we (women) have to remind them (men) that we are not SUPERWOMEN. Yes, we take care of the kids, clean the house, work a full-time job & try to keep you satisfied but please believe: there is going to come a time when we won’t be so eager to be at your every beck & call. So treat us right or be a lonely fool. It can't be one-sided: we both hafta give our time, heart & effort to make it work.

So Much Love (B Angie B)
*LESSON: Men (and women) will stray, sometimes even when the grass IS green on their side. You can’t waste time PROVING you’re good enough for him. If he can’t tell, let HIM GO! Fight for your man, but you shouldn’t want ANYBODY that DON’T WANT YOU! Simple as that.

After the Love Is Gone (Earth, Wind & Fire)
It’s best to end a relationship while the friendship still exists. Nothing good comes from staying in an emotionless, LOVEless situation. It’s not fair to you or them. Know when to walk away. Sticking around is worse than being REAL about your issues. Love ‘em enough to let them find someone BETTER.

Love & Happiness (Al Green)
Love and happiness
Something that can make you do wrong,
Make you do right

*LESSON: Love is crazy enough to make you act a PLUM FOOL but sweet enough to get you through some of the roughest time.

It’s Not Right, But It’s Okay (Whitney Houston)
Ladies, if you find out your man cheating. Don’t make a scene, don’t cuss HER out and please do not bust the windows out his car or key it. Keep your composure, remember that what goes around comes around and LEAVE! He’ll regret degrading you and if he doesn’t – OH WELL.

Whitney said it best: I can pay my own rent. Pay my light bill & take care of my babies.

Hope you enjoyed this flashback! As always, thanks for reading.