Started from the Bottom Now We Here.
Wiz Khalifa moved from simply being a highly successful stoner to rap’s foremost normcore dad.
Many thanks to Corban, Meaghan and Wesley for letting me do this. Always happy to gush about the man of the summer Makonnen!
I saw my dad reading this on his phone yesterday which oddly made me feel stupid happy he’d go out of his way to read something I posted about on Facebook. *heart explodes*
Quick link dump, cause I’ve gotten behind on recent things I’ve written about.
This album is soooooooooooooo much fun.
Pitchfork put to together its list of best songs from 2010-2014. Again part of me thinks it’s a bit fucked to ask to ya’ll to read all of these blurbs done by myself, friends and people I’ve looked to writing since before Tumblr even existed, as last night was another night of constantly refreshing Twitter and watching the news coverage of Ferguson and holding back feelings of wanting to vomit. But, personally I wrote my blurbs in a swell of too many emotions after watching Chance the Rapper’s Lollapalooza livestream sitting alone in my room wishing that ANYONE I call my friend could be with me, maybe we could use a breather. I know as another week is about to beginning, I could.
I specifically wrote about “Started from the Bottom,” “I’m On one,” “Danny Glover” and “Streetz Tonight.” I just wanted to say that “I’m On One” more or less was sparked from leaving the Pitchfork Music Festival alone heading back to Crystal’s place and seeing kids drinking a 4loko on the Blue line and me feeling oddly so old and young. And the serendipity of that particular blurb being a couple page scrolls above Jordan Sargent’s “We Can’t Stop” write-up makes me smile because I don’t know if the AM blurbs that were college weekends could be better summarized than those two songs.
If ya’ll didn’t know, “Started from the Bottom” remains my own personal motto. It connects to why I never stop listening to Acid Rap, The College Dropout or why “Look What You’ve Done” never stops calming and aching my heart. They capture their own middle class privilege, but realize that one leg up isn’t enough and keep their black feet running forward to bigger dreams, which is what I honestly tell myself everyday even doing the most minor of things.
And finally I don’t NEED a reminder of the disgust for those blessed to be YOUNG, BLACK and American, but goddamn if it doesn’t hurt seeing all of this reflected back through a never ending media feed. One grows harden to shifty looks white people give you walking on the street, but being kicked in the head every night and morning that such mistrust can lead this has been too much even if my last twenty-two years didn’t already let me know this to be the case. Part of his might be defeatist, but waking up and pretending the new day isn’t smack us down isn’t reasonable. But we always get back up and that isn’t going to change.
I must put a disclaimer here that all of these plans are subject to change because I’m pretty sure the only thing I’ve gotten right about this summer was going to Pitchfork Festival, which itself was more amazing than I even imagined. But here are some general thoughts/places I may be before the end of this year and when I try to double down and maybe figure out a life path (lol).
- Charlotte (!): I live here. If any of ya’ll are here, let me know. No promises we’ll hangout or I’ll show you a good time, but couldn’t hurt to ask.
- The Triad or Triangle: I went to school at Elon so I’m kiiiiiiiind of familiar with those areas and probably gonna be back there sporadically, so you know wouldn’t be against learning more about my fair state.
- New York City: I’ve been pretty set since graduation to go up to New York City in October to meet my friend who’s up there. That plan is still more or less on and I have a few people I’d like to see, but the whole never having been to New York makes me pretty open. I’ll probably mention this again, but just sayin.
- Chicago: Yo, I want to go here again.
- I also want want to go the Atlanta Fool’s Gold show at the top of November. But anyway, most of my small family lives down there, so you know probably gonna be there many many times over these years.
But again, knowing me none of this will happen because something will happen I didn’t see coming and I’ll be stuck at home or apartment hunting in some cold weather unforgiving city. The best laid schemes of such…lol.
The song is bookended with quotes from Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1964 Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech—a reminder that those rattled feelings of being black in America ring loud, no matter the date on the calendar.
Charlotte acts including Well$, High I’m Ry, steal the spotlight from Atlanta headliner.
I’m gonna let that little auto headline stay. Key! was pretty awful and so were a number of earlier acts. But shout out to Frais who appeared the to be the happiest guy on stage all Saturday, also there was a rapper named Jerry because SEO is an enemy that must be defeated.
Chicago rapper Vic Mensa’s video for “Down on My Luck” captures something dumb about being social that I just kind of love. The video have him reliving a night out after he gets drugged, hit by a truck and arrested for graffiti, only to eventually figures out the right combo for a good night out. Ignore the woman at the bar, say fuck it to all texts and barely give dap to the bros. Just dance and making sure you have a good time.
Back at school, there was an always an early AM or late AM next day string of complaints out of people about going to a party or to the bar and not meeting or getting with someone, which dampened the quality of a night. Tapered expectations might be soften by expectation, but it’s was rare to think that I didn’t have a good night. Was the music good? Did I laugh? Was it worth whatever money spent or the hangover I have right now? Did I laugh?
My own internal expectations for nearly everything are very tepid, so when I always laugh when people say “Did you have a good night?” or “I’m sorry you had to drive us around last night.” Nah, it’s all good. Though I’ve only recently internalized when is the right time to peace out for an evening and just sleep. (Self-awareness something I’ve never lacked, but any value in the trait is something I’ve only recently discovered.)
A couple months back I think I had a perfect day. I was home till 3pm watching TV, answering emails and allowing the process of making food to take as long as possible. I went to an afternoon rap show, interviewed one the guys performing and got hit by a mini-pool of water. After the show and slowly drying, a friend and I went to dinner, got in an evening walk and just kind of wondered about the neighborhood. I didn’t feel like doing much else, so I went back home and was off to bed by 11. I fucking loved it. It was super uneventful, but it was full of the right events. Maybe I should have talked to a few more people at the concert or maybe my friend and I could have stopped by a bar before going our separate ways, but not doing so didn’t linger in my mind.
A lot of my own “fear of missing out” has wilted into the ground. The video for “Down on My Luck” bops to the left and to the right on top of those deflated feelings, which makes it being a great club track even sweeter. Vic doesn’t need his crew or take someone home from the club; he ends his evening with a puff of smoke and a fade to black. Isn’t that how every night ends.