Finding Motivation in Music

For some back story, I had a family function to attend tonight and that is the reason I’m posting an article at 2:30 am. This drive in me to write again made me say whether on time or not this article had to be written. As I mentioned in Friday’s article, I’m a big fan of hip hop music. On my drive to the event I was listening to Chance The Rapper and on the way home Drake. The motivational lyrics that both these artists have put out on their most recent albums are just what I needed.

Chance The Rapper — Coloring Book

I still remember the first time I heard the song Blessings, it was on Jimmy Fallon. It was a live performance of the version at the end of the album Coloring Book. There were featuring artists I like such as Anderson .Paak, and BJ The Chicago Kid. Then towards the end of the song they had a choir come down the steps in between the rows of seats, and it just sent chills down your spine. The power behind this song was incredible, and the very next day I looked up Chance The Rapper on Spotify.

Lyrics such as “They never seen a rapper practice modesty/I never practice, I only perform” made me think this is a different kind of artist. He’s flat out calling out the majority of hip hop artists. But when you learn more about his story it makes sense, one great example is the fact that he gives his music out for free. He’s not signed to a label and had decided he wants you to stream his music for free. I would say that’s pretty modest. It’s also very motivating as he is proving you can truly do what you love, without getting paid for it and still become very successful. The outro of the song also gets you thinking, it simply asks “Are you ready for your blessings?”. Right now in my life, I still have some work to do, but it will make those blessings that much easier to appreciate.

Drake — More Life

So on the 20 minute drive home, I threw on Drake’s new playlist More Life. I listened to the first few songs, and then skipped a couple. When I started to just let it play again and I ended up listening to Sacrifice. I will admit listening to it made me come home and write this article no matter how late it was. There have been songs on all of his albums that I have felt inspire motivation, but tonight I wanted to focus on two from his most recent release.

First as mentioned there is Sacrifices with lyrics such as “First thing they say is, “I know you need a break.”/Hell naw, I feel great, ready now, why wait?”. Then there is the hook where Drake raps “ I made sacrifices, I been ballin’ ever since”. I mean what’s not motivating about either of these sets of lyrics. The first one pointing out the fact that people will always tell you to slow down, giving you reasons why not to do something. As he says if you’re feeling good right now, why wait. The second line is pretty self explanatory, he’s made sacrifices and because of them he’s become very wealthy. Think about it, when someone offers you something for free you automatically want to know what the catch. This is because we work for everything we want in life, and sometimes this takes sacrifices. Then there is Do Not Disturb, one of the strongest lyrics being “I’ll probably self-destruct if I ever lose, but I never do”. Drake is sending the message that if he doesn’t push himself to be best, it would feel like death, blowing up to be specific. All I know is if I can both enjoy Drake and be motivated by his lyrics, it’s a win-win for me.

Sometimes it takes listening to an album or a specific song a few times before you truly hear the lyrics. By hearing the lyrics, I mean actually understanding them and finding the story within them. Not all music, or songs have this, but the music I find most motivating has some combination of these.

If you have a second I’d really appreciate your comments on the type of music, song or artist that motivates you when you listen to it. Thanks to anyone who participates, as I’d be interested to see what comes up.

Until Tomorrow

Brian Almeida