Life Lessons from Rap

Music is something we all utilize everyday, whether it’s on purpose or merely by accident. Music is everywhere; it’s captivating and can change a person’s entire persona. The power of music should never be underestimated, what you listen to can easily shape you. Ever since I was a chubby, freckle-faced, wanna-be-baller of a 5th grader I’ve been listening to rap. I’ve always called it rap as opposed to hip-hop because I’m more of a guy puts emphasis on the lyrics. Don’t get me wrong, there’s almost nothing that I adore more than an incredible instrumental, but clever lyricists just seem to have my number on lockdown. There is an indefinite difference between hearing a song and listening to a song, so I encourage you to actually listen to the next song that comes through your headphones or car speakers. Hearing something is letting it go through one ear and out the other without processing the information that the artist is attempting to portray. Listening is fully comprehending, or at least doing your best to do so, and paying attention to the lyrics. The people that make these songs do this for a living, so they’re really fucking good at it, so let’s all just shut up and listen to what these people have to say.

Rap is developing everyday along with everyone’s taste. The things that I listened to when I was younger are so much different than what I’ve been bumping lately. No longer am I listening to Eminem rattle off aggressive, ferocious bars like how I was during my middle school days. That kind of rap just isn’t as appealing anymore, instead there’s a newer wave coming in every year. Artists like Future, Wiz Khalifa, and Chance the Rapper are coming along where they make you focus on other priorities, ones that target their audience, which is us. The new waves of music seem to always come from the same guy though, when it concerns our generation, the man that has his thumb on hip-hop at all times and can press it when he chooses. Kanye West, the man who basically put trap music at a level it never reached before with his album Yeezus. After that we saw people become much more accepting of trap music. That’s a big part of why Travis Scott, Future, and Migos are all more accepted now than they were prior to 2013. The same goes with how 808’s & Heartbreak set up a wave of R&B artists to combine with hip-hop. Artists like Drake, PartyNextDoor, and Bryson Tiller all look at Kanye as a sound of importance and inspiration because that sound was so different then from what you might expect. Young artists really appreciate what the generation they grew up on brought to them. Rap’s always evolving, we just have to evolve ourselves when it comes to listening so we can try and keep up.

Rap teaches me something everyday, it always has been my favorite go-to learning objective. When the world is just too distracting and full of horseshit, throw in a pair of headphones and hit play on your favorite artist. The messages in songs or albums aren’t always consistent, the things I’ve listened to over the last several years definitely haven’t been at least. So what I’m doing is compiling a list of things that rap has taught me over the last eight or nine years, from top to bottom they’re all vital to my belief in the rap game. Many different artists were considered in the making of this list, but I did my best to condense it properly:

  1. If you’re a guy and going through a breakup, listen to Future. If you’re a girl, listen to Nicki Minaj or Rihanna.
  2. Teamwork works; just ask Watch the Throne or What A Time to Be Alive
  3. White guys can rap too, you know. Don’t sleep on them.
  4. If you’re going to get into beef with someone else, don’t wait 2 or 3 days to respond to them, EVERYONE will side with your “opponent.”
  5. Your mom is the most important thing out there, and you’re the most important thing to her too.
  6. The internet is a strange place, and we’re some strange people.
  7. It’s only okay to curl up into a ball and cry if you’re listening to Marvin’s Room.
  8. You’ll save a lot of money downloading mixtapes as opposed to buying albums.
  9. But streaming services gon’ fuck you over.
  10. You can’t judge an album by it’s artwork, well, most albums.
  11. “Basketball is just so much better than every other sport, J’s are so much better than every other shoe, and my life is so much better than all of yours.”
  12. Although it’s used in 85% of rap songs, white people will never be able to use the ’N’ word freely in music. Know your boundaries, Slim Jesus.
  13. Everything green is good for you.
  14. “Make money but the money you make don’t make you.”
  15. Learn from the people that came before us, don’t make the same mistakes twice.
  16. Don’t drop out of college, you aren’t Kanye.
  17. Every year there will be a new rapper with the first part of his stage name being “Lil’” or “Young”, so don’t let it bother you, grow accustomed to it because it will never change.
  18. Don’t peak at a young age and slowly descend into craziness. *Cough cough* Kid Cudi.
  19. Save room in your memory bank for all the acronyms that will be thrown at you throughout your years of listening to hip-hop. (OVOXO, YMCMB, A.L.L.A., O.N.I.F.C., T.P.A.B., DS2 etc.)
  20. Interludes are like Monday’s, some of them are a’ight, but most of them are pretty forgettable.
  21. Bitch, don’t kill my vibe.
  22. If there’s a Future feature, you have to listen.
  23. Time isn’t wasted when you’re getting wasted.
  24. Stay in college for as long as you can (cause afterwards you’re in debt).
  25. Stop listening to so much Asher Roth.
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