In My feelings

I’ve never been a fan of End of Year lists. Most seem like wasted copy and content churned out as a chore instead of a reflection of the year we just got to experience. As is such, I decided to write about a few songs that either resonated with me or made me reflect on on goings in my life over the past year and change.

Earl Sweatshirt ft Na’kel- DNA

You can damn near hear the death of Na’kel’s brother making him stop dead in his tracks and then deciding turn this song into an open letter. While the hot sauce in his noodles line reminded me of the various quirks that I picked up from family members as a kid, it’s these lines that punched me in the gut:

I know you in a better place, I can’t even cry about that
When I look into the clouds, I know you look down on me
Right next to grandmammy, and the rest of the ones who wanna see me happy

I’ve dealt with a lot of death in my life While I’m not 100% sure of an existence of an afterlife, one of the few things that consoles me after the death of a loved one is that I now have someone else watching over me and doing their best to protect me. It’s probably one of the only things holding me together mentally at this point.

Future- Blow A Bag

I always felt weird that this was a song that my mind used as a trigger due to the braggadocious nature of the chorus. Yet it made sense. Underneath the flexing, Future was rattling off names of loved ones who were a part of his journey to stardom and showing his appreciation for their support and loyalty.

One of the lines that stuck out the hardest was “If my grandad was livin’, I know he’d be proud of me.” Both of my grandfathers (and my great grandmother) died in the same summer*, which was the summer when I was preparing to head of to college. I’m not sure they were aware of the fact I was going to go to college or to even attempt at making something of my life. I just knew in that moment I first heard that line that they only knew the quiet yet temperamental kid who was awfully close to simply ending up as wasted potential. They’d never see the college educated entrepreneur or the guy who marched and spoke for the rights of his people. It feels as they only ever really knew my bad side and it hurts me so much.

Kendrick Lamar- Blacker The Berry

On MLK day last year, one of my friends was shot to death over a Crip/Blood feud. It was anger inducing and I had just stated to get over it when I heard this song. The last lines of this destroyed me.

I’ve always been aware of the pitfalls of gang life but hearing Kendrick rap about it the way he did almost sent me into an existential crisis. It felt as if those friendships, OG knowledge, and intricate handshakes were a bunch of bullshit(which they sort of are).

Ty Dolla Sign ft. Big TC & D-Loc- Miracle

I’m not going to pretend to be fully aware of all the details of TC’s case. The only thing I really know is that Ty Dolla has an unconditional love for his brother despite the choices he’s made and the situation he’s put himself in. It’s beautiful to see it on full display. Your brother is incarcerated for murder so you dedicate your major label debut album to him, state that all sales benefit his fight for freedom AND you let him have a song on it. It makes TC’s self-aware crooning that much more poignant.

For the record, Drake’s pretty worthless on here.

Wizkid ft Drake & Skepta- Ojuelegba (Remix)

While I had deemed the original version a classic due to it having an Arsenal shirt in it’s video in the first 30 seconds, Skepta’s verse on the remix left me with a lot to deconstruct. One moment he’s discussing life an an African immigrant in the UK and the next he’s talking about his success while tying it together by stating that you can’t forget the pain while looking forward to the good times.

Even though I’m a Mexican in the United States, it spoke to me so much. From struggling to adjust to a new culture and a new world to having to deal with the misrepresentation of your people, I could visualize my life in his lines. The closing was a reminder that despite the main face of our homelands being on of extreme poverty and murder, there are more sides to those stories and that those stories are worth hearing and telling.

*Having multiple family members die in such a short span is a terrible feeling I wish on no one. Nothing compounds that misery like not being able to attend their funerals due to legal restrictions.

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