Everybody has it, (I think). An artist, album, or song that speaks straight to your soul like nobody else does.
I grew up in a cultural wasteland of white suburbia. It was very safe and comfortable place for baby-boomers to raise their children. But it was void of anything but houses, grocery stores, strip malls full of corporate stores same as everywhere else, and churches.
Starting around age 12, I looked outward by looking in. My escape was the wild wild west of the Internet. Where I was bored and stuck IRL, I have been raised by chat rooms and mIRC clients. My friends were random people on the internet whose text patterns and sense of humors were mere memory imprints associated to a handle or username.
By the time I was a teenager voice chat communications slowly developed for game competition strategy time, but it was shoddy and spotty. Kids these days can voice chat constantly and stream live on Twitch and without effort. We had to figure that shit out the hard way, but now it’s corporate revenue streams.
So I grew up in the age of Napster. I remember my first download was Inucubus – Pardon Me. There was also CKY and Bloodhound Gang on those earliest mp3s. I was raised to be a pirate and even installed an illicit version of Windows XP back in ~2003.
So as a suburban teenager I started downloading albums en masse (or the complete discography of an artist which was always overkill).
Metal music, Classic rock, and Blues were my foundation. Every other music ingredient was tossed on top of that big musical pizza.
So drivin-round-town in my Chevy C-10 truck, and later my Chevy Cobalt coupe, CDs were my streams of gold. Even to this day, on certain songs I know preceisely which beat the song ALWAYS skipped at.
Lupe Fiasco was my fav. I ate up every word that he performed. I wasn’t just listening to the music and jamming along.. I was learning, studying. I wanted to know what it was like to escape from the streets of Chicago, and the wisdom that he had to share.
The Cool remains my comfort album. While cruising around back in the day in the safety of my 4-wheeled sanctuary, I would chain-listen to it until my disc got too scratched.
Is it beyond your means, is it inside your dreams
Can it never come out cause its scared to, unprepared to
To worry about the words of the people is weird too
You don’t want em to hear you
You just wish it was a door that would appear
That you can go disappear through
Well I’m feelin your pain, I was feelin the same
Beautiful Lasers. This song has gotten me through the hardest times. Lasers is generally regarded as Lupe’s worst, but it was the first album released after I became a complete fanboy of Mr. Fiasco.
As a budding young adult, I started finding out about all the suffering in the world from my insulated suburban bubble. Going to church in the hood taught me to maintain unconditional love, and live a life of servitude.
This world is such a fucked up place
My mind’s such a fucked up shape
Everything down here sucks
Maybe what’s up there is great
It’s funny to look up these lyrics and think of how serious and angsty I was back then. Not much has changed, except now I have a wider hip-hop palette.
An anatomy, not of me, kntting me to it, nodding me to it
Eyes of the eye and others, watching me do it
Adapt in each rubik
Kubrick in plot and tone
Lots of bones, scolds to the top of the tone
Skim through it is just skin to it
You’re so thin you see the sin through it
By the time this album came out in 2015, I yearned to consume his wisdom and lyrical nuance. Living in South Korea at that time, I got a chance to see him in concert front row (in the pouring rain).
So if you want to see your favorite artist, it might be easier if you’re in another country 😀