This shit makes Shakespeare look like a Hallmark Card. But, don’t let this turn you away. There’s a reason for it. Hold up, I’ll explain in a bit. If someone tells you they casually listened to this album and understood what the fuck was going on, you need to punch that motherfucker straight in the face. Like, hard enough so you hear their nose crack. Lots of rap albums will not have allusions to Theology and History or have thick metaphors running throughout their lyrics. Everything you need to know is right there in the tracks. The fancy school poetry way of calling this style is, “New Criticism” (That’s right, universities love to piss on fun). Then there’s shit like this. Where you need some serious research skills, a good internet connection, and a good amount of determination to even begin understanding what the fuck is going on. (Postmodernism, New Historicism and a thick helping of Critical race theory.)
Obvious question. Why the fuck would anyone want to do this? Who would want to take all this time deconstructing a fucking rap song? I’ll tell you why. First, it’s one of the most entertaining and effective ways to learn something. I’ve had rap songs explain to me the inner workings of Nietzsche, Marxism, and obviously a few have perused the subject of racism. None of these songs or artists were dicks about teaching me this shit either. They didn’t try to look down on me while trying to lift me up. Secondly, if you deconstruct your own shit, it sharpens your mind. Instead of just lazily chewing on whatever is shoved down your throat (“All you need is love!” The Beatles taught me that!) you get to make up your own mind. Also, you can pack way more information into this kinda format. These songs are like a bunch of dehydrated encyclopedias but for your ears. And, last but not least, even though you might think I’m full of shit, it does become fun to break down this shit once you get the hang of it.
Just look at the some of the names referenced to on track two called “Dead Money”: Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels (German philosopher that helped found Marxism with his buddy Karl), Charles Rangel (US Representative for New York from 1971–2017), Bobby Jindal (55th Governor of Louisiana from 2008–2016), Mr. Wendal (reference to the song “Mr. Wendal” by Arrested Development), Mangosuthu Buthelezi (South African politician who founded the Inkatha Freedom Party, was Chief Minister of the KwaZulu bantustan, and was Minister of Home Affairs of South Africa) Nelson Mandela (the man himself), Herman Blount (musician Sun Ra). Holy fucking shit, right?
This isn’t even getting into what the song is about. But, just look at that. Look how much information in packed into 3 minutes and 30 seconds. That’s denser than a black hole in a baseball bat.
I’m not going to bore you down with more of this shit. I’m just saying there is so much to see on this album. These lessons are said in easy to understand language and behind bad ass beat. So, I feel like the obvious question is why wouldn’t someone wanna learn shit this way?