Went to catholic school, didn’t grow up in any kind of a pious house – not an atheist, just…think what you want.
There’s a book you’ve probably heard about even if you’re unaware of it called The Rap Year Book by a Mexican dude from Houston named Shea Serrano. Great Twitter follow, interesting story, former Grantland-er…whatever. About the Twitter and about the God thing – it’ll make you think a lot these days.
Music’s in a weird place these days in that it’s essentially a game of keeping attention among a myriad of screens and in this right I’d argue that the best or, rather, most popular musical talents are more storytellers than they’ve had to be before. Phones and social media extenders in this instance act as a long stream of consciousness for everyone – a running introspection of the day to day mundane, if you will. This says a lot about where money’s coming from – it’s why the Adele carpool karaoke video was such a win on her persona, why Kanye West continues to act crazy, why Lorde responds to personal Tumblr messages on her own page, why Tyler, the creator holds such close court with A$AP Rocky, and why the duality of Taylor Swift’s perceived unity with her fans, the relate – ability, is also her biggest downfall – it won’t ever be un-calculated.
All of these folks hold yin and yang in their own rights insofar as the personas go, Adele’s sample size is too small to really know, Kanye is a Kardashian, Lorde is kinda weird probably, and Tyler’s past has had him banned from several countries as recently as last year. It’s queer to be alive in this digital age, the footprints don’t really fade, and human nature has in no way (on a systemic scale, anyway) caught up to the narrative norm of leaving behind what was to embrace the new when it’s seen on the same shiny screen of a phone or computer opposed to some movie time lapse of life sized book pages. One would have to suppose in this instance that the Nike insignia stamped on the constitution would render the 2nd amendment a little more malleable – but I suppose we’ll never know.
So far as narratives go – I think Shea is one of the most interesting people on the Twitter sphere today. Constantly deriding himself and unable to quit tacos for a diet, his french bulldog named after Jeezy in his prime, and three kids constantly doing kid shit. His own narrative is his obviously self loving derision and quirky takes on basketball and the rap game – it’s how he’s managed to sell out of TRYB again and again and again. The whole thing appears, ostensibly – whimsical and fun, it obviously is…but even if he “never thought this would happen” it still wasn’t an accident. Humility among the obvious structures of a building is…nice, but credit needs be taken in some fashion, right?
I mean this in sincerity, because I think Shea is fucking awesome – and he covers my current favorite rapper better than anyone in a span of two tweets.
Shortly after TLOP dropped :
After Chance’s performance on Jimmy Fallon this Thursday :
A short history of Chance the Rapper includes two critically acclaimed mix tapes and a bunch of cool features with a weird, Kendrick Lamar ish cult yet huge fanship that had it’s own more mainstream following – just not quite as big. My thoughts can be found here.
In the past six months he’s been featured on TLOP and was the first independent artist ever to perform live on SNL. Some jackass also said this about his partnership with the White Sox – point being, he’s famous and the narrative is kind of typical in rebellious, drugged reference heavy early work with…god between the lines. His talent and voice got him to wherever he’s at, among other shit – but when watching a rerun of the Fallon show the other night debuting “Blessings” off his May 13th releasing third mix tape I couldn’t help but feel most peculiar.
Skips and drips in his early work about the man upstairs were cute and nominal – to the rap world – nods of personal potency among entire albums depicting acid trips and detailing finer points of how to live two lives among drug usage as an adolescent. I had assumed his work on “Ultralight Beam” to be an obvious pointer to a career shift (and a pretty unsurprising one at that), considering the recent birth of his daughter and his publicizing of quitting cigarettes once and for all – in the run up to a hotly anticipated “Chance 3” (the third mixtape – May 13).
As ever – it’s fucking tight. But ones got to wonder about the correlation between self deprecation of substance bound sense and this (or any, really) media climate into open god speak – it’s not a call to arms that he’s playing on, just a thanks anyone would struggle to misunderstand or, at the least, struggle to feel bad about feeling good for the dude. He’s an easy artist to like regardless of lyrical stability – and his fan base at this point is more than large enough to take in a full album pushing slivers of light wrapped in gospel speak…but where is the ceiling on this narrative? What happens once you’ve been found?
Every time I listen to Ultralight Beam I find myself replaying his verse four or five times before I can get on with whatever else it is I’m doing – and nothings ever made me consider going to church for myself before as seriously as the song has.
He’s a Michael Jackson or Prince in this regard – everyones kind of expecting him to disappear one of these days, up into heaven, or back to whatever planet blessed ours with his words.FOLLOW THE OPEN FIELD