Life sometimes has us with our back against the ropes. For whatever reason. Things are never as straight forward as they should be. But is this our fault for thinking they would be? I’m often labelled a cynic, as much as someone likes to look on the bright side I see things the other way to. I’m not saying this makes me more understanding or anything, just simply I usually expect things to awry.
Obviously this type of thinking is what often annoys passengers on the “positive train” but when you’re on the outside there’s not much to be positive about. Now of course there’s a way on board. The only ticket/oyster fees your paying are in smiles and confidence that everything will be fine. For the most part things are fine, you may even go as far to say things are good. You’re smiling, you’re laughing you’re even dealing out your cheesy knee slappers and they’re going over well. You think to yourself why was I even doubting this? I’m the man!
But then “it” happens. When you least expect it, “it” happens.
We all know what “it” is, because we’ve all experienced “it”. Some more than others. Then that train we were riding suddenly crashes and leaves buried under a mess of anger, contempt and sadness. Every doubt or negative thought you ever had comes calling home looking smug. You know, that “I told you so” kind of smugness that you get from people.
You start beating yourself up over how stupid you were in thinking things are fine, that things are good, that life is even fair. It astounds you so much that you laugh at yourself. You’ve never been talked in to anything before, but you were led on to this positive train of thought. Now I love reading fiction as much as the next literary buff. But I do prefer to live in reality, and that train doesn’t exist anywhere in real life. Those that think it does need the plug pulled out of the back of their heads, so they can wake up.
Now we’re back at square one. Waiting in anticipation of something to go wrong. We’re the Queen’s guard, unmoved by smiles and laughter. We’re just waiting for the danger. Forewarned is forearmed and that’s what we are.
But soon those weapons we hold get heavy, our nose twitches or to put it simply we blink. We blink at the worst time, because as our eyes close for that fraction of a second. “It” sneaks past us. Now this “it” isn’t the same “it” as mentioned before. This “it” changes everything. This “it” sneaks up behind you on a minus zero day and wraps its warm arms around you, it brings some good news that reminds you of the days on that train. That positive feeling when you were happy and you were smiling and you were dancing. So the hell with it, you hop back on board and ride along, eyes shining bright.
Truth be told throughout life, you’ll be hopping on and off that train similarly to the way we do every morning on our travels. The trick is obviously to stay on board. But we know we can’t. We have to hop off to go to a job we hate, or visit someone we don’t want to see or in the worse cases to go home. Once we’ve hopped off there’s nothing anyone can tell us to make us feel better.
Real hip hop is immortal in the ears of the beholder…
My introduction to Dilla was late…real late. I’m talking late 2011. My girlfriend put me on and ever since that day, music has never been the same for me again. I’m not a musician (barely a poet) but I have an idea of how music should sound. Especially hip hop.
I used to think hip hop began at Puff Daddy (or whatever he goes by now) took a detour through Atlanta and California respectively before landing at Jay Z’s studio door. But quietly bubbling away in Detroit was J Dilla slowly changing the world one beat at a time. It’s no secret that this man’s talents shaped a wave of producers, MC’s and DJ’s. The real secrets lie in his catalogue of music and the artists he has worked with. It’s an old cliche but even though he may not be your favourite producer or anyone you’ve even cared to think twice about; (See what I did there) it is guaranteed that your favourite producer is a huge fan. A Tribe Called Quest anyone? How about Busta Rhymes? Common, Slum Village and The Pharcyde. These guys may not sell out the o2 arena, but they can walk in to any one of your favourite rapper’s studio session and command respect.
Any hip hop head or music lover in general should definitely donate some time to hear some of Dilla’s work (The link at the top of the page is a good place to start). Anyone in London during September should come down to “Welcome to Dillaville” at The Garage in Highbury. It will be a star studded event featuring hip hop greats such as Slum Village and The Spin Doctor working the decks. It will be a night of celebration for the man who blessed the world with his music. Once you step through the doors, you will never be the same again. If you’re falling out of love with hip hop, this will be the night to rekindle the flame!
Legends are Eternal!