Artists are the catalysts for social change… that’s what Harry Belafonte said. But how often does that happen? How often do we call out the demons that linger and provoke thought that may make a difference in our society?
Wale released “The Album About Nothing” on 3/31. On this album is a track entitled “The Pessimist”. In my opinion this song holds so much truth. Wale opens up about what seems to be the problem in the black community, hopelessness. This is someone who is using his artistry to influence. I would even call it a craft, the way he uses his words seems to be like a steak you marinated for hours and hours to achieve a flavor that not only captivates your taste buds when it is finally served, but is in your memory as the best steak you ever had.
Got a pocket full of lint again, but it make no difference to me
Falling out with my friends again,but it make no difference to me
godd@mn I’m hopeless
Oh man I’m hopeless ….
Above is the first half of the chorus. Our community is stuck in a mindset of lack, of self-centeredness that isolates us and creates this mentality of every man for himself. Why is that? How did we get here?
No gas in my tank again, but it make no difference to me
Overdraft at the bank again, but it make no difference to me
godd@mn I’m hopeless
Lord knows I’m hopeless
But still I pray
We spend money on material things to prove ourselves to others, while devaluing ourselves. We spend money we don’t have to do so! We spend money on drinks at the club and drugs for temporary pleasure, but what do we possess that will actually last? What do we have set aside for our families? for a rainy day? Nothing at all, but we got them Yeezy’s though.
But still I pray… meaning someone has hope. Someone knows that we need someone, something bigger than all of us for redemption. Only God can bring that.
What percentage of our HipHop makes you sit and think? And not to desire things you can’t afford? Even when our communities are attempting to take a stand to prove “Black Lives Matter” the radios continue to spread the messages that speak otherwise. Flooding our ears with “I’m in love wit the Coco” – the drug that devours your last penny, and while the man that sells it to you gains wealth. “Try me” – another example of black on black crime. Along with countless other songs glorifying the promiscuity that spreads HIV, the expensive things that lead to debt or death from coveting. I’m not knocking your jam, but pin-pointing the fact that our music is not changing our perceptions, or influencing us to do positive things through tough times!
We indulge in Love & Hip Hop and reality tv that is in fact fictional. Our minds love to be entertained by men of no worth but money and good sex. We love to see women fighting over those dudes, and making up with them later. Foolishness. So when your man cheats don’t kick him to the curb curse him, and let him buy you nice things. Thats what they do on tv.
Wale’s statements all hold so much meaning. Meaning that our culture needs to listen to, but will we listen or remain hopeless.
Will we continue to fall into the traps set out for us to be hopeless? To go on rants about the injustice of a man of different color killing a black man while we are reposting girls and dudes getting jumped just for kicks? Be real. Men are getting killed every day. When we work on ourselves can they go on the news and say he was stealing swishers or selling dope if we decide to be bigger than the circumstances we are in?
Can we all pray and be The Optimists and the serious who are working to be examples for little black children in our fields not just to be the next superstar ,but a voice… a catalyst for change.
I know we can, so I still pray.
Here is the link to Rap Genius where you can read “The Pessimist” lyrics in its entirety. The song is of course on iTunes. Information for this blog was gathered from Wale’s song feat. J.Cole & rapgenius.com, along with personal point of view,.