• 08Jun

    BHF Alumni: A Ghostly Fiasco

    We all have a story about where we were when we first heard our first Hip-Hop song. It is something that enthusiasts hold with them forever. Sad to say, more than a few people heard one particular sound and stuck with it forever. Unfortunately, those not given the opportunity to bear witness to The Culture’s worldwide growth believe that Hip-Hop is so formulaic that anything unfamiliar is unfaithful and/or deceitful rather than innovative. It is paradigms like this that cause riffs in the culture and stifle what would otherwise be monumental development.

    Plenty of us are guilty of limiting our scope to a particular sub genre or geographical region of rap for an extended period of time. What we often forget is that they are called sub categories because they have more similarities than disparities. When talented rappers who are relatively on opposite ends of the spectrum unite, G.O.O.D. music is more times than not the finished product. When viewing change in this light it becomes much easier to embrace and acknowledge commonality amongst rappers from different walks of life.

    So what do Marvel comics, fashion, pharmaceuticals, social awareness, love, and lust have in common? Besides them all being nouns, they are all within the sphere of influence of super lyrical emcees and BHF Alumni, Lupe Fiasco and Tony Starks bka Ghostface Killah. Suddenly, the West Brighton housing projects of Staten Island has much more in common with Chicago’s West Side. These two versatile artists continually display their uncanny ability to address a plethora of issues, accomplishing in one or two verses what other rappers take two, three, and even four songs to convey.

”Relationship is just 30 minutes long / Kinda heavy, maybe a little strong / Gonna take much more than once / Can’t trust what each of us say at least for a month / Or two / Before I bid you adieu / do this one thing for me / Out of the trillions of numbers in the world / just leave me a few / that lead to you” — Lupe Fiasco: “Sunshine” 

    “Five an a half in Boys, ass is off the hook / Heard you got the best nookie…Comin’ for days, wettin’ ya cage / My d*ck is like sprinklers and maybe ya douche. I’m here to save the day. / Solomon was wise, I got fifty other b*tches / Some eat b*tches / Some b*tches f*ck my n*****” — Ghostface Killah: “Strawberry”

    Although the two often overlap contextually, it is obvious in which realm each man resides.  When comparing songs like “Sunshine” & “The Coolest” to “Stapleton Sex” &  “Strawberry” it’s apparent that the formerly masked man is more explicit…slightly. Lu on the other hand is more refined or polished in a very traditional sense. Regardless of what direction either Emcee is coming from, it is undeniable that both have found success engaging in exceptionally creative rhyming and completing tasks outside the the realm of possibility for most rappers.

    Anyone who raps can tell a story in the same sense that anyone able to drive is capable of speeding, but the superiority of these two BHF alumni lies in their ability to tell a tale in such detailed fashion. Their cryptic, vivid, and descriptive stories are cinematic masterpieces that always leave an imprint on eardrums throughout the land. Upon a closer examination of a song, their precise and equally artistic method of storytelling will always have you adding details to your own imaginative scene. Too often, neither emcee is given the credit he deserves until years later due to the intricacy of each Emcee’s rhymes.

    A comparison between Ghostface and Lupe that has any type of depth quickly becomes one that is clearly not an apples and oranges argument. If it were anything, it would be one between a Black Russian and a White Russian. Both contain vodka and Kahlua, except the former is solely that while the latter is mixed with milk as well.  Much like the Black Russian, Ghostface is a more abrasive and emotional artist with an edge that produces a hard-hitting sound packing a punch with every listen. Though it might be a little tougher to digest, there is simply no denying its authenticity. Despite having a strikingly similar source of inspiration, Lupe’s work is more diluted, addressing topics like conflict diamonds and child soldiers. When you couple his eclectic content with the indirect and smooth demeanor, his finished product goes down much easier. Lupe’s more round about way of delivering his message is also more than likely the reason he is just as recognizable as Ghostface to the casual Hip-Hop listener.

    Time and time again Hip-Hop fans and self proclaimed critics consider rappers to be wack and/or fake simply because they are cut from a different cloth. At the end of the day, if a rapper’s shortcomings derive from his/her failure to properly represent the streets or an inability to shake free of their grasp, it does not mean that he/she lacks talent. Furthermore, if their subject matter is different it does not mean that he/she is better or worse. Once we are able to acknowledge an individual’s talent without allowing personal preference to skew our point of view, we will have even more positive groundbreaking movement in The Culture.  While we do have Grammys and other music awards, winning or selling records does not make one the best.

    And on that note I would like to say that I’m really happy for you and I’m going to let you finish, but Beyonce had one of the best videos of all time!!….I’m just saying…


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