Friday, February 22, 2013

A Review

If you're like me and enjoyed the sound of gangster rap in the nineties, but are more mature now and don't like the typical message that generally goes with that genre, have I got an artist for you.

I picked up  the album "The Heist" by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis a few weeks ago and it's pretty much all I've been listening to since.  I would classify the genre as "adult rap" - and not in the sense that he raps about sex, Hollywood parties, and illicit drugs, but that his lyrics are about real mature issues - songs about beating addiction, LGBTG rights, consumerism, ethics in advertising, and so on...

The following song is what really did it for me:

I was seven years old, when I got my first pair
And I stepped outside
And I was like, "Momma, this air bubble right here, it's gonna make me fly"
I hit back-court and when I jumped, I jumped, I swear I got so high
I touched the net, "Momma I touched the net," this is the best day of my life
Air Max's was next,
That air bubble, that mesh
The box, the smell, the stuffin', the tread,
In school
I was so cool
I knew that I couldn't crease 'em
My friends couldn't afford 'em
Four stripes on their Adidas
On the court I wasn't the best, but my kicks were like the pros
Yo, I stick out my tongue so everyone could see that logo
Nike Air Flight, but bad was so dope
And then my friend Carlos' brother got murdered for his Fours*, whoa

See he just wanted a jump shot, but they wanted to start a cult though
Didn't wanna get caught, from Genesee Park to Othello
You could clown for those Pro Wings, with the Velcro
Those were not tight
I was trying to fly without leaving the ground,
Cause I wanted to be like Mike, right
Wanted to be him,
I wanted to be that guy, I wanted to touch the rim
I wanted to be cool, and I wanted to fit in,
I wanted what he had, America, it begins

I want to fly
Can you take me far away?
Give me a star to reach for
Tell me what it takes
And I'll go so high
I'll go so high
My feet won't touch the ground
Stitch my wings
And pull the strings
I bought these dreams
That all fall down

We want what we can't have, commodity makes us want it
So expensive, damn, I just got to flaunt it
Got to show 'em, so exclusive, this that new shit
A hundred dollars for a pair of shoes I would never hoop in
Look at me, look at me, I'm a cool kid
I'm an individual, yeah, but I'm part of a movement
My movement told me be a consumer and I consumed it
They told me to just do it, I listened to what that swoosh said
Look at what that swoosh did
See it consumed my thoughts
Are you stupid, don't crease 'em, just leave 'em in that box
Strangled by these laces, laces I can barely talk
That's my air bubble and I'm lost if it pops
We are what we wear, we wear what we are
But see I look inside the mirror and think Phil Knight tricked us all
Will I stand for change or stay in my box
These Nikes help me define me, but I'm trying to take mine, off

They started out, with what I wear to school
That first day, like these are what make you cool
And this pair, this would be my parachute
So much more than just a pair of shoes
Nah, this is what I am
What I wore, this is the source of my youth
This dream that they sold to you
For a hundred dollars and some change
Consumption is in the veins
And now I see it's just another pair of shoes

The song is (obviously) about shoes, and I had some of that issue in grade 7 and 8.... you weren't cool if your clothes came from Biway, or if you didn't have a Vuarnet T-shirt in your wardrobe, but that wasn't why this track resounded with me.....

Every stinking lyric here could hold just as true for the industry I work in.  "Your love is only as big as the diamond you buy her...", "Your success is only as great as the gold watch on your wrist" or from my perspective, "If I sell enough of these big diamonds I'll make that fat commission check to buy my love a big diamond just like one of these "- and does she ever deserve it.

It makes me physically ill.  I seriously bought into this attitude for a while... I thought I had to in order to make my sales.  To sell a product - REALLY sell it - you have to believe in it, right?


I reflected and changed my attitude some weeks ago and I'm still top sales in the store.  I'm not using my commission check to buy a diamond anymore, I'm paying off old debts.  It doesn't feel good, but it feels better.  And eventually...

I'll break free from it all.


It's the diamond selling thing again..... I know, it's all I ever blog about.

Annnnnyway, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis - Good messages, good sound, lots of catchy riffs and samples and feature artists... also heavy use of brass and string instruments.  I fully recommend giving it a listen.

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