Masters of Conspicuity: Blatant Poetry
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Poetry… KRS-One called it the language of imagination. T.S. Eliot, (which has touched every project housing in the United States) is considered one of Europe’s best poets, of all time, even beyond the existence of King James. Although that was always difficult for me to gauge (although accepted) since I never knew quite exactly #wtf he was talking about, except that maybe all those drinks helped him express that something might’ve been depressing him. But I digress though, he could’ve been the Ghostface Killah of his time, with his audience claiming that he (T.S. not Ghostface) just didn’t make any sense (which I never did, when it came to Ghostface’s “Supreme Clientele”. Reading books and studying the 120 Lessons with the hoods’ most intelligent helped with understanding that musical opus tremendously.)
Rap wouldn’t be what it is today, or any year, that is, after 1986, if Rakim didn’t make mention of just how poetic things can get, when you want to be paid in full. Rakim added his own definition to the vault of poetry, when stating that, “Self-esteem makes it seem like a thought took years to build.” And don’t forget about his mathematical buildup into the 21 MC salute. As if that wasn’t enough, way was made for “The Abstract” from A Tribe Called Quest. Although, I must admit, Q-Tip’s content was never really kufi (above my head), but rather supplied simple cleverness, that always inspired ripples of inner peace which surpassed beyond the ending of a song.
Eric B. & Rakim “Eric B For President”
The gift of gab can sometimes be an impressive setback though, especially for the American audience of Rap music. They want less! But less is more, according to many American marketing department employees, who know exactly… ALL about what you want or dont. And since less is more, it means they want more! More or less?? More or less… than the ability to rhyme a storyline backwards, like Nas (“Rewind”), or the ability to say something that sounded like “to”, exactly 22 times, like Jay-Z (“22 Twos”), or the ability to fit the words that are found in your ingredients label packaging in a 16 bar structure, like the RZA (“Wu-Wear”), or of the transcending into times and spaces and even becoming people who died long ago or never even existed outside of mythological stories, like KRS-One (“Ah-Yeah”), or the ability to paint astronomically damaging images while converting 3 people into a double entendre of a gold chain within 1 verse, like Big Pun (“Where Ya At”), or lastly, the ability to rhyme in exact alphabetic and reversed order, like Papoose (“Alphabetic Slaughter”). Did you just read a run on sentence, pretending to be a paragraph? Yes. And yet, none of that was enough. Rather the less, which is actually more, is what we wanted.
“I dumbed down for my audience to double my dollars,
they criticized me for it, yet they all yell “holla!”
D.I.T.C. (Diggin’ In The Crates Crew) f/ Big Pun & Milano “Where Ya At”
Some people wanted all that hoopla about extensive lexiconic abilities to stop beating around the bush and get straight to the point! Just tell things the way they are, and start calling things by their rightful names.
Example #1 of the mastery of this conspicuous tactic. Let’s take a look at 2 Chainz. First of all, notice the name. His blatant disregard of all intellectual facades reign supreme with the attribute of his superficial bearings. You always know what and how much of what is going to be on his neck! No more, no less my friends. Your brain will never be preoccupied with new concerns over how many chains he’s wearing, because he’s already explained it to you for all of eternity, by merely introducing himself! Genius! (And I don’t mean from the Wu-Tang).
“All I want for my birthdayyyy, is a big booty hoe!”
– 2 Chainz “Birthday Song”
Next, he expressed his expert ability of having done away with the timeless Hardy Boys mystery of what niggas want for their birthdays. No more guessing and looking into Cosmopolitan magazines, no more taking tips from whatever hot shot tv show host, who knows what your man wants for his b’day more than you do. No more snooping around, asking his friends (that you don’t even like) for their advice. No more sticky notes with surprise questions, that are all clues about your b’day cluelessnes. No more! All he wants, is a thick voluptuous woman, who he’s never seen before. THAT’S IT!! As the legendary David Porter once said, “The Masquerade is Over!” And this is not about romance or the lack thereof or fidelity issues. Us guys like whatever our eyes like (hence the visual creatures excuses that explain the roots of all our problems). And our eyes like new shiiiit! Punto! (A la Pedro Pietri). And I know some ladies, sisters, queens, empresses, Goddesses and Earths, might love “Mind Sex” by Dead Prez (#RBG!!), but I’m personally not ready for any Marcus Garvey references, while I’m trying to Jodeci you (nahmean? Ghostface voice).
Regressing back to the topic at hand, these forms of blatant poetry have found their places in the living rooms (and pretty much any room equipped with a 8 to 10 foot pole) all across the United States. Yet and still, orthodox Hip-Hop heads aka the zealous “purists” (the right wing of Rap) act as if chewing bubblegum exists outside of their daily dimensions. I mean c’mon now, everyone has a moment to turn up a bit more than just a bit. And in this age of positive affirmations (check the conscious twitter feed between 7-10am any morning for hundreds of 140 character mantras. Which is social media’s form of spiritual paganism) everyone advises and is advised to live in the moment. For example, the legendary Bobby McFerrin said “Don’t worry, be happy” (pretty conspicuous to me) and French Montana responded with, “I ain’t worried about nothing! I ain’t worried about nothing! AHHHHH!!”
French Montana “Ain’t Worried About Nothin”
Lets take Nina Simone and update her with French or 2 Chainz and take a look at how to address a joyous moment in an instant. “Moon in the sky, you know how I feel. I’m getting high, you know how I feel. She’s swinging poles down, you know how I feel. Drinks & broads in a new place, strippers in my face, you know how I feeeeel. Hooooohhh, and I’m feeling gooooood!”
See? No hop, skipping and jumping over metaphors and similes of rewinding effects. Just straight playback. Just like life in its own pure essence.
Some have expressed discontent in the art that comes from these masters of conspicuity, as if it were a downgrade. Yet, everyone loved it when it when Rick James said, “she’s a superfreak!!” or when James Brown said,”I’m Black & I’m proud!” Or when Hector Lavoe holla’d back at his disloyal lady saying, “Mentira!”. Or how about when the Beastie Boys said, “You gotta fight! For your right! To Partyyyy!”. But not when 2 Chainz and a few others, revealed their senses of vulnerability in stating “I love bad bitches, I got a fucking problem!”? The first rule in rehabilitation, is admitting that you have a problem. Well, 4 MCs did that in the open all together. Meanwhile, I’m still to be convinced that this is a problematic thing. But, what can I say? To each its own bias.
A$AP Rocky f/ 2 Chainz, Drake & Kendrick Lamar “Fuckin’ Problems”
Meanwhile an MC with so much poetic value, who was accused of inventing his own words and language, Raekwon, whom many right wing backpackers also herald, doesn’t seem to have a problem with joining his acrobatically dexterous lyricism with French Montana’s mastery of conspicuous rhyming. The blatant and complex go hand in hand.I must make mention of Meek Mill also. He is most certainly another master of conspicuity, with no need to hide his superior talents under a barrage of empirical language, like these “lyricists” out here.
“Slow money don’t make no money, if i ever go broke, i’ma take yo money!”
– Meek Mill “I’m A Boss”
And you will be hard pressed to ever find any extra-curricular script from this young talent, who’s looking to make a show out of any so-called lyricist with poetic appeal.
The reality that is being expressed here is that, life is pretty simple and blatant and we have no time to waste, to figure out the Earth’s circumference and its distance from the Sun and Moon to make birth chart readings trying to make sense out of trivial star stuff. We do have time to become superstars though. As an associate once spoke to me of Jay Electronica, he said, “I don’t give a fuck about Peruvian shrines nigga! You want a message? Go get a book!” But not in the school of hard knocks, cause all the old school MCs took them and forgot to return the books they borrowed. But we ain’t worried about nothin! AAAHHHHH!!!
And now a tribute to some of the legendary masters of conspicuity. The ones with parentheses represents the MCs who were brought into the game by their more lyrically acrobatic counterparts.
Memphis Bleek aka “The new & improved Jay-Z” (Jay-Z)
Big Noyd (Mobb Deep)
Infamous Mobb (Mobb Deep)
Lil’ Cease (Biggie)
Lost Boyz (Heavy D)
Juelz Santana, Jim Jones & Hell Rell (Cam’ron)
Fat Joe (Diamond D)
Chuck D (Public Enemy)
Lord Jamar (Brand Nubian)
Biz Markie (The Juice Crew)
LL Cool J (Def Jam)
Dr. Dre (NWA)
Tribe Called Quest (Zulu Nation)
Remy Ma (Big Pun)
50 Cent (Jam Master Jay / Eminem)
Tony Yayo (50 Cent)
Sheek Louch (Lox)
WC & Mack 10 (Ice Cube)
Group Home (Gang Starr)
Capone & Noreaga (Tragedy Khadafi)
Black Rob (Diddy)
Harlem World (Ma$e)
9th Prince (Wu-Tang)
Wocka Flocka (Gucci Mane)
and a few others that are on their way here.