Tuesday, February 12, 2008

29 Days of Lupe: Challenge

The words Lupe used on "Dumb It Down" slapped me across the face the first time; the duel, or challenge, started. In order to listen and even apperciate the song I had to sit still and pay attention. What the fuck did he just say? I still ask that question today, 6 months after it came out. It's not that he spit a metaphor that made you think for a split second or chuckle, he made a whole track that makes you pop some Tylenol. When dissecting the song, you have to take notes.

I could reiterate what "Dumb It Down" says in this particular line but I don't have the time. My intrepretation--I've seen quite a few different ones--is it's about losing your senses. The listener, fans, want easy, digestable lyrics. Lupe assumes this fan's body and begins to lose his senses. He becomes dumber as the song progresses: the fearless individual becomes deaf and blind. To allieve his loses, he takes both pills and becomes a ghost, biting off the living. Another sense goes as he's now mute. Our attention is divertered to the sky and the seas for a moment while he's brainless. Inevitabily the water drains--because he almost drowns--and everything's back to normal.

The song mocks this fan who clamors for simple rhymes. We aren't noticing what's going around us. We're blind and deaf to all of the commercialized rap that's being shoved down our throats. Don't act like you didn't listen to "It's Goin' Down" or any of Nelly's gaa-bage! Our soul is gone when we cannot decifier this person from that person, or song to song etc. What Lupe does though is articulate his feelings as this now evaporating man. Surely only he can escape his eventual dissapperence act? Towards the end of the third verse, Lupe adds hope, "I pull the plug and I make it drain." He got out like Tim Robbins in Shawshank!?! Why can't we? Lupe's character is a paradox. We drown ourselves sometimes with these "Good Life's" or "Drivin Down the Block's" but we know better. The utmost amount of energy is given to these simplistic, if heartfelt, endeavors. Isn't there more to life than popping champaign or bumping "Show Business"?

While a "Dumb It Down" only appears here or there by Lupe, his other songs still challenge the listener to think about it even hours after they've heard it. I've never re-listened to tracks as much as I have with Lupe than any other artist. Lupe's music provokes discussion. Perfect too, that I don't think there's one right answer. There are definitley times when an artist should be challenging and Lupe isn't so out of this world like Apollo 13. You can get with his shit very easily if you just listen.

We can wake up from this dream. That's the challenge: we need to expect more "Dumb It Down's". Demand that your favorite artsist be more lyrical, more progressive! Otherwise if there's no challenge to the artist, he'll think he can skate off a "Who Shot Ya" flow.


At 10:17 PM, Anonymous Richie Rocks said...

actually on the DVD that came with the Best Buy version Lupe explains his idea behind Dumb It Down. He said he saw a movie in which three monkey statues (which he doesn't name but Id dare say its Labyrinth and he didn't want to bare the taunts that come along with that movie....which is an oldie but goodie but cmon david bowie? hard to defend) are seen one covering their eyes, one its ears, and the other its mouth. This represents the idea of "speak no evil, see no evil, hear no evil" and he said he just took that idea and made it really really abstract. I guess if you want to look into it the dumbing down of a song would be evil so he would rather be earless eyeless and mouthless than dumb it down or hear those saying it.

He also said the hook was literal and he just didn't like that people wanted him to do anything but him, hence the hook. A final note would be that he said it was the first song he wrote after months of touring so he didn't care if anyone got any of the metaphors or language usages, it was a mental dumping of sorts.

At 12:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice explanation Richie...that's pretty fucking hard...but well understood.



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