Tag Archives: Jay Z

Product of a Black Dream

“Today a generation raised in the shadows of the cold war assumes new responsibilities in a world warmed by the sunshine of freedom”

This post is a post I’ve been talking about on social networks for a while now, not because there’s anything ground breaking about it but merely because of the side thought it carries, how priceless being from the hood/township is… literally, you don’t have to have much to be here, to be part of the family. Yes we all dream of someday moving somewhere a little quiet, where the crime rate isn’t as bad though we could never turn our backs on the very banks, no, grounds we were built on, the energy here is priceless… after so many years, from when there were just power failures to this load shedding epidemic, when the power goes out, just to come back on, all the neighbours cheer in unison, the energy here is always alive. So the post begins.

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When we were children we’d play out in the street just dipped in fate, when we were children we’d say that we don’t know the meaning of fear, oh dear, too deep, please stop thinking, I’m just a black sheep good for any wool, food for any fool, a product of my own vision, my own mission, my own dreams.

Rich people are the buying market for gangsta rap, at least that’s how I see it, mostly because I’ve always used music as an escape from reality. When gangsterism, guns and violence is something you get to witness every other day, you become somewhat scared of that culture, artistic or otherwise, it’s not like you can tell the difference when you’re just a kid. Growing up playing outside with friends struggling to ignore the presence of an ambulance from across the neighbourhood, the silent screams within the deep thoughts of our young minds of what had happened for the ambulance to be there and how it was becoming a visual ambiance of another life viciously forced to hang by a thread or not to hang at all. Feeling safe in your own home was becoming more of a challenge, listening to what may be a reminder of what was happening outside the window and what had happened inside the window was sometimes the deal but never ideal.

I know it probably seems like I’m writing all this just because I think it will make sense, it doesn’t have to make sense. I can very easily prove my theory true by simply bringing in a very popular band. Big Nuz are a kwaito hip hop group from Durban, okay, maybe I’m not sure what they categorize their music as, but what I can say about their work is that as much as I’ve crucified them for their songs being monotonous, and how they’re always “Happy” or on that party mode, I don’t blame them, they use their music to escape the demons they may have had to face growing up. I wont shy away from sharing that I think flashy artists are flashy to escape or overcompensate for what they could only yearn for growing up.

“As kids we didn’t complain about being poor; we talked about how rich we were going to be and made moves to get the lifestyle we aspired to by any means we could and as soon as we had a little money, we were eager to show it.”- Jay Z

Growing up in the township, you have good days and bad days like any other kid growing up anywhere else in the world, but what we don’t have aside from tangible luxuries are successful academics, and without that, it’s hard to get a full view, a full picture of how far one can go… getting paper the right way.

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“Hip Hop is more about attaining wealth. People respect success. They respect big. They don’t even have to like your music. If you’re big enough, people are drawn to you”- Jay Z

Product of a black dream we scream, NO, we’re breaking the silence cos we’ve been laying low too long, done laying low we jump so high we touch the ground, grounded, steady, you break away from being yet another boring brick, another brown brick on the wall, another frown freak to control, sleep becomes an enemy, sleep still a necessity cos if you don’t sleep, in truth, you’ll never wake up, wake up product of a black dream, that life was only a dream, they say when a dream is broken, the mind must be woken, woken, alive, we live with endless possibilities.

 

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The 11th Daily Bread

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Imagine there’s no heaven, it’s easy if you try, No hell below us, above us only sky, No angels but birds fly, yes, there comes a time when every bird has to fly, there comes a time when every rose has to die, when bonds untie, alone they cry, together they fight, out to test their might, practicing their rights, no might can hold it back, add a little doubt and stand back, watch it crack, watch it fall back off track, play that Jay Z track.

Man, if I had a billion rands for every time someone sampled or reworked Jay Zs “Song Cry”, I’d have…. a lot of money. Yes, if I had one percent of that for every time someone reworked the song, I’d still have a lot of money, but I just thought I’d be greedy and make it a billion. Being more realistic, Rihanna, Lloyd, letoya, Keyshia Cole and Ghostface killah are amongst the more than a dozen recording artists that have covered the song. though uncredited the Jaguar Write vocals are the soul and Jay Z verses are the heart of this Grammy nominated number. It is without a doubt one of the leading songs that made the 1st Blueprint album the masterpiece it is.

We all have rights, well, at least in paper we do. In reality the right or freedom to express yourself is bound by ideas inforced by society, this idea being a collective of ideas, two which imply shedding a tear as a sign of weakness, and admitting that you’re wrong as a sign of defeat. In Song Cry we see Hova explore his more emotional side, his mistakes, mistakes that doomed three of his relationships to failure. Though for the reasons I’ve mentioned, us men aren’t meant to cry, but they say crying helps, they say it’s therapeutic. But what happens when the tears just aren’t there, when the pride inside just wont let them out? In Jays case, he lets them out with a song, he lets the song do it, the Song Cry.