Lupe Fiasco with the relevant rhymes

On March 11, 2013, 6-month year old Jonylah Watkins dies in Chicago after being shot 5 times from bullets intended to shoot her gang affiliated father who was holding her.

Four days later, on March 15, Wasalu Muhammad Jaco, a rapper from Chicago known by his stage name Lupe Fiasco releases a song imagining how Jonylah’s life could’ve turned out if her father would’ve turned his back on gang life.

In the alternate reality that Lupe Fiasco describes in his song “Jonylah Forever”, Jonylah lives on to become an intelligent young woman dedicating her life to helping others, also crossing path with Hadiya Pendleton (another victim of gun violence shot dead at 15) and eventually saving herself from what happened to her in real life.

Read the lyrics to the song below.

[Verse 1]
How about them bullets ain’t slow you up
You ain’t really die, we watched you grow up
At 12 months you took your first steps
Awkwardly across the kitchen floor to your best
Your first breaths that we can call words
Were in your father’s lap on November 23rd
And they were “live for me”, and he did for you
Flipped to Neutron and stayed inside the crib for you
And this commitment from your father
Imparted a deep sense of value you’d forever harbor
And we were all so proud as we seen you getting smarter
And bond grow deeper between a mother and a daughter
But you were not a martyr

[Verse 2]
At six, you started reading whole books
At seven, you knew how a brain looked
And could roughly describe, all the different regions
Could tell when we was sick and even knew the reasons
The world wasn’t at peace, gunfire every weekend
But you were hardly there, cause you was always leaving
Field museum, planetarium, aquarium
You saw something special in that tank you were starin’ in
And those moments as a little girl
You realized it was a bigger world
Bigger than the South Side, bigger than Chicago
You were bigger still wanted rims on your car, though
And big ass woofers in your car door
So you could wang like your daddy at the park eating sharks
Went to King where you were teased for being smart
Where you bumped into Hadiya teaching art
You live forever

[Verse 3]
At sixteen is when you got your scholarship
At twenty-two is when you got your doctorate
Even now it’s kind of hard to believe
But your father taught you work hard, and achieve
And you complied, accepted by every medical school you applied
But the coolest thing is when they offered you that high paying slot
You replied: “they need me in the hood” and that’s where you reside
Free clinic, nobody denied
That’s where you heard the shots and quickly ran outside
And saw a man and a van and a bleeding baby in his hands
Fading fast, but you knew she could survive
Did everything you could to keep this girl alive
Stabilized until the ambulance arrived
And in that moment, where you gave your help
I bet you didn’t know that you saved yourself

This is just one of the incredible tracks featured on Lupe Fiasco’s latest album “DROGAS WAVE”.  Listen to the rest here:

Ivy Sole got soul

I first fell in love with Ivy Sole’s amazing poetical talent when I heard her song “Life” with Dave B., which has been one of my all time favorite songs ever since that I always come back to when I feel emotional or find myself in deep thought about life. I recommend listening to it while looking down at the passing clouds from a plane window. Now, needless to say I’ve been looking forward to this album because I feel like this 25 year old artist is filling a gap in the midst of externally motivated female rap, reminding us of the essence of the art which is poetry with a deeper underlying message. Ivy Sole is like this magical girl at a poetry slam that gets you really emotional because she makes you think. And isn’t that what art is supposed to do?

Explaining the meaning behind the cover art of her album, in an interview with Billboard, she says: “There’s something about being close to death every day that makes you want to really value and cherish the life that you have” and “There are parts of me that have been put to rest and I am outgrowing those former selves.” See what I mean? This girl got depth!

Talking about her album, I am in love with the little details like the sound of ocean waves crashing onto the shore on “Lovely Fiction” and a car engine starting in the beginning of “Backwoods”. Also the fact that she, very subtly, samples my favorite motivational Instagram personality @jstlbby on “Overgrown” and at the end of “How High”.

Her lyrics read like poetry, and lines like “Spaceships don’t come equipped with rearview mirrors, so I’m staring down my future finding space to see it clearer” just amaze me and make me smile really hard. If I would have to pick a track of the project as my favorite I would probably choose “Bones” because it is basically a really beautiful, not corny, love poem and things like that just get me.

Now the saddest song on the album is definitely “Bloom” which Ivy wrote for a friend that had recently passed away. “The sun was on the way to you next, it must’ve known you needed light for your steps, dark path, dark past, it enlightened us but it’s heavy sometimes it dims the bright in us”. Damn! Yeah I know…

All in all Ivy Sole’s album is a very whole project that is honest and bold and exactly the kind of realness that this world needs more of. Oh and in addition to that its sound is very soulfully beautiful and diversified. Plus, unconventional features like the one by Ghanaian artist B4bonah are just very much on point.

So, listen and enjoy!

H.E.R. = Highly Elaborate Relevance

Oh my! I wrote about why H.E.R. (which actually stands for Having Everything Revealed) is the future of RnB a while back and having seen her live on stage I truly feel like she will become so big! She’s such a naturally talented, beautiful soul who is using her gift to have a real impact on the world by spreading love through art. That being said, she just released her new EP “I Used To Know Her: The Prelude”  which is nothing short of amazing and features a song with Bryson Tiller, a collaboration I had been anticipating ever since I heard her first song.

So the whole EP is great but there are two songs on it that I would like to emphasize because they are not just great they are way above average and literally on another level of musical and poetical brilliance.

The first one is “Lost Souls” which pays hommage to Ms. Lauryn Hill’s “Lost Ones” and basically directly addresses Trump. Her rap part sounds almost more like Lauryn Hill than Lauryn Hill herself and I mean this as a great compliment and the lyrics are amazingly bold and clear “A lost soul can’t lead the people” she sings. AMEN!
Listening to her lyrics it’s so hard to believe that she is only 21 years old;
“But the public ain’t the enemy it’s the inner me so what you gonna leave with your legacy? It’s like we don’t believe in longevity, I was overseas and seems that we the only people with dreams of material things”
WOW!!

The other song that I would like you to listen to, especially my female readers because I know every single one of you will be able to appreciate this song…A LOT, is titled “Against Me”. In this song H.E.R. tells us all what we need to hear basically every single day “To my women with the utmost respect, intellect, we often forget and neglect intuition can see through illusive intent, listen to it, just listen” and this is just the beginning of the realest poem you will ever hear!! Truss me!

So now go listen to it and have your mind blown. You’re very welcome!