Poetic Justice . . . Hip Hop’s Ongoing Commentary on Social Justice

Growing up, my parents initially limited my exposure to hip hop until I was about nine or ten. When I finally started listening to hip hop and took a retrospective listen of some original hip hop from the 80’s and early 90’s, its was the rhythms that got to me before the rhymes. * Drop a good beat and I’ll hit a twerk in a minute* However,  as iPod’s became commonplace and I had a bevy of music at my finger tips, I came to fall in love with the poetic lyricism. Now not all rappers are poetic but so many are . . . and some songs deserve a second look.

So I’d like to begin a series entitled, Poetic Justice (yes because I love that Kendrick Lamar song more than the movie) and because Hip Hop in itself is a way of achieving justice through rhyme. In this series, I will highlight verses from songs that have had a profound effect on me and I hope that they will move you in the same way.

This week’s feature is from the song “Enchanted” featured on J.Cole’s “Friday Night Lights” mixtape. The second verse of this song features Chicago rapper Omen who provides a very introspective view on life. I’ve written out they lyrics from this verse so you can appreciate the lyricism and I’ve added the music video in order to experience the beautiful strings paired with the rhyme, poetic justice indeed, enjoy!

Yea, let’s see God
I know you only do what’s best for me
But is it cool if we negotiate my destiny
They always tellin’ me it’s temporary
Than why it’s feeling like a cemetary
My dreams ain’t got no obituaries
My city hurting and none of us well equiped here
You heard me say I was ballin’
I probably meant tears
I’m trying to get clear
I’m tryna quit fear
Who wrote the scripts here
These kids live there whole life just killing time
Running the race with no finish line
They tryna noose us with they ropes
But I’m tryna climb
I think my foolish pride might become my suicide
But I ain’t tryna go, no baby
And through these lines and quotes you gotta find some hope
Cause I ain’t dying
My words gon’ last forever,
You can hold the treasure
Look inside you can see a diamond in my mind
I’m tired of seeing dope fiends, wiping they nose clean
Is my neighbourhood just a smoke screen
I think I’m in the Dungeon Fam, I CeeLo green
Sons raised by both queens but there’s no kings

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4 Responses to Poetic Justice . . . Hip Hop’s Ongoing Commentary on Social Justice

  1. Supreme Soul says:

    One of my favorite tracks off the Friday Night Lights Mixtape. Good find my dear and way to use the lyrics to drive home the point. A bunch of people I know barely know the words to any songs that they hear over and over on the radio except for the truly ignorant and degrading ones and that is quite sad to me. Don’t get me wrong their are some “ghetto” songs I grew up on and still listen to them on the regular, but I definitely know the difference between entertainment music and intelligent music. So I can easily differentiate between what stuff is just being said to sell a record versus what has some truth behind it. Now those that can’t do this and those who put all their stock in the purely entertaining music are often the ones that perpetuate the misleading characteristics portrayed in the music & videos and wouldn’t know the uplifting & thought-provoking music if it was put on repeat in their earphones. Now I’m not suggesting I have all the answers as to what the best music is nor am I saying I know which music shouldn’t be listened to, but what I am saying is that if you can’t comprehend the difference between entertainment music and intelligent music then you may need to look in the mirror and see what you look like when these songs come on. If your heads is down and your *ss is up or every other word is profane and bragging on all the luxuries they have that you don’t possess then chances are that you’re listening to the former and not the latter.

  2. lovelysavant says:

    Wow I really appreciate this commentary big bro. The issue isn’t the dichotomy of music per se, its a free country, its the ability to differentiate entertainment from enlightenment. Unfortunately most people can’t seem to do that in their own personal lives (Maury anyone?) so its a lot in a way to expect that from their musical choices. Its a disheartening state of affairs in which live!

  3. Tha Doc says:

    Great post ma’am and I’m eager to see more! I may even contribute to this post series as well seeing as how I share your sentiments regarding the power of music, specifically lyrics. Now I won’t go too far in the difference between “rap and hip-hop” because I have a post cooking talking about the two, but I will say that music in general is extremely powerful. If the wrong message is being portrayed, it can have devastating effects. However, one can’t solely blame the entertainer and has to take responsibility for their actions as well as educate their children.

  4. politicalK says:

    What Tha Doc said…Great post. My exposure to hip hop came late in life (within the last few years) but I’m learning. This is a new song for me, like so many I encounter here, and it’s always refreshing to listen to something new. I’m guilty of listening to the songs that I can bob my head to and not have to think about, but there’s more out there. I look forward to more to come in this series!

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