Thursday, February 14, 2008

29 Days of Lupe: Love Starved

Lupe gets no love, at least from the average Rap fan. I've found it insanely odd that a dude with such a great ability is seemingly heard by few. Why is that? I'd like to direct my comments today towards Black Rap fans. I'm not at all black so I'm assuming here but I have my reasons. Black people like and support Lupe, no doubt. But that percentage is tiny. There's a disrepctful tone when Lupe's brought up, as if a teacher just said there's going to be a pop quiz. What's the deal with the blatant disregard. Why the divide? White people/anybody else listen to rap too but isn't there something wrong when Black people cannot vibe with music made by fellow Black people? Nobody has to agree just because of race, gender etc., but c'mon Lupe's talking about himself and to his people; he's immersed within his expression and seeking an understanding. There are many factors why people do not have the aptitude to hear Lupe out.

Music, especially rap, is based on importance. If the individual finds a connection or reason in a particular artist, they proceed to listen. If the artist has no meaning in their life, they steer clear. Britney Spears may be important, yes even today, to some teenage girls who like to dance. I'm not a teenage girl nor do I like to dance so that's why I employ earmuffs. Gucci Mane, Hell Rell--they're trap rappers who tote rugers (the latter). Excuse my Zoeism but "Hood Figas" connect to these dudes. They may carry guns, trap or frequent the jails/strip clubs. I ain't never seen a gun, a trap or a strip club up-close so I don the Hata Blockas. Lupe fans are similiar as well in education, economics, individuality and age.

What's the first thought that comes to Lupe? Super conscious cat who wants to debunk the so-called "ghetto images". He got big words and talk a lot too. The misconception is false; Lupe isn't all that super conscious--I'd say he's quite realistic. What's wrong with social issues, music is expression. Slick rhymes about cocaine is expression but Jeezy's expressive capabilities are at an undeveloped 5th grade level. Misconceptions stem from ignorance. Ignorance is never attended to because of fear. People are afraid to even try to listen to Lupe, they might feel overwhelmed and exhausted, like their head's about to explode. If you took a poll on the fans of Lupe's music and their education level, college attendence would be 75%. And that's really not funny to me. That's a strong ass barrier just to even give an artist a listen. Imagine how many people that excludes, no matter the race. *Stereotype Alert* Terrell on the block doesn't listen to Lupe, probably never's heard of him. He hustles and may be a drop out. What he rides to: Game's loyalty to being a gang member and Murder Mysteries by Fat Joe. Now doesn't that further his foothold in his game's mud? Lupe won't change people but Game and Fat Joe can be a destructive force: they bombard you with utter irrelevance and fake experiences. Regardless of how mentally tough you are, the things you do (activities, friends, music, choices) rub off on you. Education can block what sticks. In a sense you know ridding around in a 64 on a Tuesday afternoon usually isn't productive.

Econmic stature is connected to education levels. It's simple, the more educated you are, the more money you're likely to earn (I know it doesn't always work that way). The more "successful" you are in society's terms, the more likely you are to listen to Lupe. Again, you may not be banking a 100k but you're going to school to one day do that. I guess you could forget "success" and throw in "bettering yourself" ("bettering yourself" is in quotations because we are just conforming to The Man's logic--I got the otherside covered too!). But they're some outliers with Hip-Hop heads as they may scrounge for a living but uphold Hip-Hop 101 with all their heart. I'm talkin legit money too, like paying taxes and having banking accounts! Although Lupe draws from being poor/middle class I'd say his fans are more towards middle class than the poor.

Fear also comes from straying from the norm: people aren't supposed to be themselves. Individuality is not superiority though but sheep don't think like that. The universal concept of peer pressure is evident with music. If you listen to something else, and let it be known--you're viewed as a square. If you bang Arcade Fire in inner-city Detroit, what would people think of you? They'd definitely look at you funny. That hard stare kills people. Acceptence can be character defining. Shunning is an avoided feeling, so we'd drop the indie-rock, or Lupe, and pop in Lil' Scrappy. And Lupe's apperance and style are different, so he appeals to those who can think outside the box. If you think 9's and Arm & Hammer, you're not rocking to Lupe.

Age is another overlooked factor. I admit to wondering why Nas was so ill back in '95. It took me until I was almost 20 to understand and appreciate his ilk. I was 9 years old then, do you think I knew what a metaphor was? I'm suprised at any Lupe fans under 18. They should get a gold star. The youth control music so it's no surprise Soulja Boy is an A-List celeb. But once you grow up, like 22 years old, then I'll judge you. If you're still believing in Mobb Deep when you're 28 then damn, the hood got you.

All this explanation is to point out the obstacles faced at Lupe's music. In order to be able to give him a listen you have to "pass" these certain criterea. Otherwise you won't get him, or even gravitate towards him. Education develops people. Without it adults are just grown up versions of a 12 year old. The less we know, the more susceptible we become to the ills of our environment. These are the reasons Lupe gets no love in general and from a majority of Black Rap fans. The "system"/greedy music execs cannot be blamed entirely. Rap music is worsened by the rampant increase in Hot Dollars and Lil' Bigs. Lupe's music is bettering yourself and it's a shame people in general cannot easily get beind his force.


At 12:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shit, if you really think Lupe Fiasco is the extent of this then you are dead wrong. You should maybe delve a little bit deeper and not just listen to the conscious movement fags (lupe fiasco, common, kanye west and soo on) then you might actually reach a good level of music.

At 12:47 AM, Anonymous Richie Rocks said...

im not sure what anonymous suggests but the conscious movement fags of which you speak (bar kanye i dont know if he qualifies THAT much) really arent conscious at all i agree with the Maj that its sad we make this distinction and that the "conscious" rappers are the ones alone on the island singled-out when it should be the other way around, i guess its the same way the really smart kids are nerds, but then do way better in life (but may lack some social skills?)

and on the other interpretation of what he may be saying if your asking us to look into the introspective side of music (aesop rock, atmosphere, etc...) then that shit doesnt stand toe to toe with Lupe because that shit doesnt carry any message except i can string together groups of large words to express my deepest darkest of emotions in an extremely abstract decoded manner lol that shits fine to listen to sometime but Lupe maintains mainstream appeal with his hook writing skills and melodic swag while spitting some down to earth shit at me, all while never seeming to have to try very hard

I work at a recording studio and only like 2 cats out of an uncountable many that have come through here fuck with Lupe... the rest say they cant vibe to it or he does too much or tries too hard or a myriad of other write-offs and excuses sucks

At 1:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, I'm black and I see where you are coming from but I wouldn't even say that it has to do with black rap fans because I know educated black people who don't even like Lupe's music...they think Lil Wayne can rip Lupe!!!??!!?? That's absurd, but it's a shame that he gets no love, because just like 30 is the new 20, hate is the new love, dumb is the new intelligent.

At 9:45 AM, Blogger The Major said...

@anonymous: what do you suggest to offset my love for the cmf movement?

@richie rock: atmosphere strings together groups of large words = how true! And yes Lupe does mainatain balance.

@anonymous #2: Education doesn't = Listening to Good/Substantive Music. I was exploring the difficulties presented to those w/o education in listening to Lupe. And more often than not blacks have less education/less means of education. Lupe should be important to them. Tupac was so popular because he gave his THUG message along with his conscious plug. But it's because Lupe isn't a thug that most forget about him. Education instills this: you don't need to necessarily have a connection point (ie being a thug) to be heard.


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