In the music

In Tune

There’s a dirty Sprite on my table next to a bottle of syrup that I’m not drinking. Then there’s the fact that I haven’t started taking my personal relationships seriously, but three minutes ago, Kendrick said something about, “loving you is complicated…”. We shared a similar situation on that lyric, but he doesn’t know it ‘cuz he’s a star, and I’m the fan, stuck vibing to his music to see if he still has any insight left for me.

And while Damian Marley’s gruff patois makes things like, “when the tour bus drop off and all light lock off, and I’m a mere mortal again…” sound familiar and personal, I’ve never been on tour and I’ve never known limelight, so all I do is bop, and wait for, “your love is life-saving, and I wouldn’t be the same without you gyal, your love is life-changing, you always catch me when I fall …” to come up so I can relate.

The shuffle on my playlist wormholes me from reggae to rap, and the saxophones on Isaiah Rashad’s “Brenda” take me back to a time when I was 3 feet tall, ignorant, n’ didn’t give a f*ck. Cynicism and adolescence came hand in hand, and bliss dipped out the back door as the calendars changed. And then we started to grow pubic hair, and develop appetites for things like sex, and adrenaline, and ego-trips. And we always felt like shit when life starved us of them. So we resorted to discolouring our sodas to ‘get away’, as Syd puts it. Some of us ended up edified, some ended up with dependency problems, some died. But as Bob Marley bleeds from the speakers, the line, “every man’s got the right to decide his own destiny” punctures the pockets of guilt budding in my chest, and replaces them with something yellow. I’d call it hope.

Two minutes later, Frank Ocean adds a little Blues to the palette with “Pink Matter”.

“Since they replied, what is your woman? Is she…just a container for the child? That soft pink matter…”

I’ve been out of touch with my feminine side for a minute, and now that I’m starting to tune into it, I feel like a Power-Puff. But that’s cool, ‘cuz I’m groovy. Empathy is something I’ve been learning more of over the past few months… partially because I want to give the New Year a big f*ck you by coming into it with already resolved resolutions. But majorly because I’ve come to understand that indifference is worse than hatred. Nas takes this sentiment and stretches it into a song on “Purple”.

“Talkin’ ’bout n****s who got things, y’all ready to kill his momma…”, he spits, as a random dude tickles piano keys in the background.

The weight of that lyric burrowed into my chest.

And even as Fela harmonizes something I can’t understand over the percussion of a live band three minutes later, I come away with the feeling that he’s imparting a moral that doesn’t quite need my understanding, just my attention.

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