“Don’t ever ask me about my business, Claire.”
I was just re-reading my first Tumblr post and I saw that I referenced this scene from the Scrubs season 8 finale. One of my favourite moments from one of my favourites shows ever, that this isn’t the last that remember of Scrubs has to be one of humanities greatest travesties (fans of the show would remember the cringe-inducing failure that was the 9th season).
In this scene, we see JD leaving Sacred Fart (*he he* an inside joke for the Scrubs fans, the hospital was called Sacred Heart) and he starts to imagine what his uncertain future has in store for him. Just a very pleasant, positive montage, with seemingly all JD’s dreams coming through; from marrying the love of his life Elliott, to finally receiving that hug from his mentor Dr. Cox. At the end he asks “And who’s to say this isn’t what happens? Who can tell me that my fantasies won’t come through, just this once.” Wonderful sentiment.
I love this scene because it restores feelings that are too often dwindling (including currently); namely hope and optimism. I used to see myself as being perpetually optimistic, but shit over the past few years have made me more cynical and at times bitter. It might sound silly, but watching this - along with many other moments from the Scrubs series (the “My Way Home” episode, for example) - make me feel that way again. The way I want to be…again.
Oh well, I’m off to watch some episodes of Scrubs.
Peace and Love.
I would like to cite this song, Lupe Back, and the entire mixtape, “Friend of the People” as the first prominent example this century has of a mainstream artist critiquing the music industry from within.
The release of this mixtape comes a few months after Lupe’s highest selling single, The Show Goes On, sold more than two million digital units, the same number as Lil Wayne’s, 6 Foot 7 Foot. Lupe’s last album “Lasers” debuted at number one on the Billboard charts and sold over 200,000 units in its first week. Both of these statistics serve to prove that Lupe has achieved monetary and mainstream success, he is now a household name in suburban America.
Taking into consideration the fame Lupe has garnered via radio play, reluctantly or not, it is beyond shocking that “Friend of the People” would open with lyrics as controversial as, “these record labels prostitute you” and “You can stick that 360 between your asscheeks. Artists let’s mobilize, and unionize like the athletes. Radio is making our craft weak, forced to repeat the same dumb shit that work, only as hot as your last beat.” He also goes on to say, “they (record labels) said you really need a hook”, making the extended silence in between verses extremely meaningful.
This is a blatant rejection and condemnation of the record label Lupe works for; such an act of rebellion has not occurred in the music industry in at least a decade. Although the subject matter and themes of “Friend of the People” are not new, the idea of a radio friendly rapper releasing a mixtape with lyrical content comparable to Immortal Technique is preposterous because of the potential financial pitfalls. These lyrics come after five minutes of samples from media coverage of the Occupy Wall Street movement, a controversial topic in itself. The fact that Atlantic allowed “Friend of the People” to even be released represents a gigantic victory for artists who desire complete control and ownership of their music. Whether or not you agree with what Lupe is rapping about, there is no denying that him blatantly bashing Atlantic and the government at a time when corporations and politicians are being heavily scrutinized is not good for business. I would guess that Atlantic fought this mixtape with everything they have, and it says something about Lupe’s influence as a celebrity that he now has the leverage to promote anti-capitalistic ideologies in a clearly capitalistic system.
I have read various online criticisms of “Friend of the People”, pointing to the dub step beats and slower delivery as proof that Lupe is a sellout and lost his style. I do not believe anything else could be further from the truth. I am not a fan of Dubstep or electronic music, but the sampling on this mixtape is a risk taken by Lupe, not the record execs. Experimentation and evolution are vital risks an artist must take during his/her career, and Lupe has done just that. If you are going to argue that “Friend of the People” is wack, you should at least acknowledge it is not wack in the same manner as “Lasers”. It barely has any hooks, the electronic samples are not pop friendly at all, and all of the lyrics are painfully anti-establishment. Personally, I think the dubstep samples are actually used effectively, creating a new hip hop genre that should be embraced, not ridiculed for its deviance from the norm.
Some have argued that Lupe has just become a wanna be rebel, bitching about problems he sees in society and not making the music fans have come to know and enjoy. Lupe Fiasco has made it clear from his beginnings that he wants to make music about what he thinks is relevant, and today, he thinks it is relevant to discuss social and political issues because he believes the entire world is entering a transitional phase. Lupe Fiasco is the first example our generation has of a successful, mainstream artist aligning himself with a political cause, similarly to Muhammad Ali and many of the rock artists of the 60s and 70s. Food and Liquor II (his next album) will still be the deciding factor of whether Lupe has fallen off or not, but this mixtape should be understood as a commitment from Lupe Fiasco to deliver music he believes to be intelligent and significant, a promise no successful rapper has made so blatantly in years.
Phonte - The Good Fight
This is the po’ working man’s anthem. Dedicated to a certain “Big 4” professional services firm…lol
It fluctuates. Enjoy it when it’s good.
“Only thing that keeps Phonte out of everyone’s top 5 is no solo album, period.” – Anonymous.
What can we say about Phonte? The Little Brother frontman, one half of the Grammy nominated Foreign Exchange, eighties pop music aficionado, self-proclaimed ‘lationship counsla’, and even –…
“Tap on my window, knock on my door I, wanna make you feel beautiful…” reminds me of that song…
This looks like its straight outta Mad Men, just replace the tie with a skinny tie though…