Top Ten: Illmatic

Nas- Illmatic

Born to the world as Nasir bin Olu Dara Jones in September of 1973. Birthed into the rap world 18 years later in 1991 as Kid Wave before becoming the living legend; we have grown to know as Nasty Nas, NaS, Nas the Villain.

Consistent persistence by A&R representatives, word of mouth and hype, Nas solidified his position in the rap world  in 1994 with the critically acclaimed LP Illmatic under Columbia Records under the watchful eye of Mc Serch. It was the untold story of a young black male growing up in Queensbridge, New York. Mellow beats with cutting lyrics, peppered occasional glimpses of the adult he was becoming, Nasir proved that he was more than another rapper vying for fame. Every track on the album delved into the darker side of the streets he had grown up on. Into a young man who wasn’t afraid to express to the world, who he was. Creating vivid images of a life many could relate to.

Lyrically inclined, he painted pictures of violence, death, and hardship in ways unachieved by rappers to precede him. A true griot, there was no filter to his tales; just honesty and the standard of seemingly insincere rappers begun shatter with his emergence. Still new to the rap game, they had already accepted him as one of their own. Branded the “new Rakim” amongst many other accolades, the Villain had settled comfortably into the world of hip-hop. Illmatic however didn’t go platinum until 2001, proving that great music remains relevant no matter how many years it’s been on the shelves. Illmatic was an opening door for hip hop and for Nasir’s lucrative career.

Many to follow  would attempt to mimic Nas, but could never touch his level of excellence on Illmatic, and still strive and fail, to achieve what he had achieved in one album in their entire careers. Rappers have come and gone but Nasir bin Olu Dara Jones  continues to stand tall and shines amongst his peers. Regular consumers and hip-hop heads alike agree that Illmatic is one of the best albums of our hip hop generation. It has been almost two decades since the debut of Illmatic, and beginners are still  choosing the idolized LP as their opening lesson. It is a definite keep for any album collection for any hip hop collection.

One of the top ten reasons to fall in love with the greatest art to ever grace our headphones.

Illmatic.

-EsVeeCee

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An Ideal Sunday

Waking up at 7 am next to you.

Bodies moulded together, inseparable clay.

Sharing the mirror.

Competitions to see who can get who to laugh first.

 Watching cartoons all morning.

 Eating our faviroute cereals.

A silence so comfortable it feels naked. So comfortable that there is never a need to acknowledge the other. Getting lost in our own worlds while still being connected to one another. Comfortable with the absurdity of the world but content because our hearts always feel at home.

Undressing you.

Showering with you.

Making lunch with you.

An afternoon nap cuddled with you.

Lounging around, quiet whispers, pillow talk. Fingers intertwined words melting to form paragraphs describing the love that motivates the desire and passion behind our eyes. Savouring every breath you take, mentally recording every sound you make. Soft caresses and warm kisses tracing the lines of our conversation.

Getting ready with you.

 Out for dinner.

 Smiling like a love sick fool.

Spending the moments with you that deserve a special place in the recollections of my life. Looking up at the sky and knowing the possibilities are endless. Feeling your pulse rhythmically beat in sync with mine as you hold me. Knowing that every moment you look into my eyes your being is tethered to my soul.

Walking home hand in hand.

Conversing loudly like children.

Chatter filling the quiet night.

Arriving home, impatiently, undressing with a meticulous insanity that is pained by our lust. Heightening the beauty of the moment. No words are spoken, out bodies sing everything we never could verbalize. Wrapped inside your arms. In a trance by your seductive charm. Enchanted by the way you sigh, gasp, the world falls behind us and it remains just the two of us on an ideal Sunday.

EsVeeCee 

a poem about love

I always have you in a time of need.
You’re always ready to help me up on my feet.
You make me whole.
You feed my soul.
And you thump like the heart beneath these bones.
Drums like a pulse and my running veins
Intoxicate me
More powerful than any drug I’ve ever known
Give me more reign, than a queen on a throne
I don’t need fancy flowers from you
I don’t need you too hold me too make me feel good
You move my body more than I ever knew
I can never get sick of you,
You make me smile like a fool
And without hesitation, I can turn to you
Make me feel like more than a woman,
You make me feel brand new
Unhealthy won’t define me
It’s an obsession with you
You feed my mind, my heart, personal soul food
I can’t get mad when you cheat on me,
I want the world to explore you
Admire your broad, beautiful tapestry
Let the others live what I lived
When we created our own fantasy
And even when you do to them
What you’ve done to me
We share our hidden secret that they’ll never see
I’d never leave you, hurt or abuse you
Sometimes I need you more than I need cooked food
I confess my love and dying adoration.
I’m yours forever.
I love you.
No matter what you do,
I’ll always keep you.
Music.

-EsVeeCee

School Daze by @FarRuckaway

Where dreams go to die…

Like many kids my age, I grew up with dreams and visions of a future fueled by my parents’ idea of what they wanted of their progeny. “What are you going to be when you grow up?”… A question we have all faced at a point or another, in school or at home. Many of us either do not remember our first dream or have given up on it around the same time we did our virginity. My dream, at first, was to be a physician; my father was a physician and our family counts 7 doctors and nurses. That dream however took a turn at “rapper” lane, another at “music producer” avenue to finally face the “parent expectations and disappointment” cul-de-sac. Needless to say I was not the only teenager with dreams to make millions rapping or shooting in the gymmmmmmmmmmm!!!! (Sorry, I couldn’t resist).

High school came and went, and soon enough, at the tender age of 18, I was on my way to University where I took up psychology as focal point of study. My father (M.D, B.Sc., M.Sc. & PhD) was not too happy with the idea of me studying something as “frivolous” and unrewarding as the study of the human mind and its functions.

Between his constant complaints and my lack of interest and preparedness to tackle post-secondary schooling, I dropped out and got the fuck up out the paint. The following years saw mostly arguments and fights with my parents while I tried to find something I REALLY wanted to do for the REST of my LIFE. Focus on these words for a minute;

REALLY. WANT. REST OF MY LIFE…
While I struggled to find my true calling and bounced from one call center job to another, my high school classmates graduated, wore the cap and gown and proceeded to flourish…
Wait… nah, it didn’t really go down like that. They graduated all right; only once they did, they hung their degrees on the walls and proceeded to join me in the call centre plantations.

The thing about the school system is that once you graduate high school and make it to college/university, you’re on your own. They no longer care about your future. They care about the money you will pay them, or borrow in order to pay them, along with the image they preserve by bell curving grades and other tricks they use to hide the fact that they’re failing you. Subsequently, you find yourself $30k+ in debt, inexperienced in your field and career-less. This last part applies more to university students, as most bachelor programs are theoretical unlike collegiate programs, which often teach hands on.

“Weltanschauung”; is a German word that refers to a worldview or way of thinking donned by an individual or group. Too many of us think or thought that going through the books, the sleepless nights, the borderline Wikipedia plagiarism that encompass post secondary education, would bring us to the doorstep of our dreams. I am not here to tell you that you are fucked; I am here to tell you to be careful and re-evaluate. I know first hand that there is a lot of pressure by our parents to jump immediately to university/college after high school. I also know, and most of you will agree, that I had no idea at 18, what I truly wanted to do in school. I changed my way of thinking regarding that whole ordeal. Being the indecisive person I am, I chose to think of this whole scenario backwards; rather than thinking “I’m going to school, then I’ll have a good job, then I’ll have the Mercedes with the spoiler”, I started at the Mercedes, then thought of the income I would need to purchase it comfortably, then researched careers that provide that kind of money.

This may not be the solution for everybody but the main point in this is; take your time, life is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. Don’t go into bullshit programs like social studies, sociology, general arts or tourism and think you will walk out of there and right into careers as…. A sociologist? (They make like 30k), flight attendant? Hotel manager? If that is your dream then by all means… If it ain’t, re-evaluate and focus on something you know; $$$$$!!!

Do not go throwing away your money because you think you’re doing the right thing.

As for me, I’m halfway through my Kinesiology major and will follow that with hopefully a master’s in epidemiology (Google may be your friend here). I finally figured out what motivates me and what I love; you should too.

@FarRuckaway