Lil’ Wayne has been proclaiming to me a martian for sometime now to convey the idea (in my opinion) that he is much different than you, so different in fact, that he is not of the same species. I think it is more the ramblings of a bad sizzurp trip or too much tiger blood rather than a thought out idea. Gone are the deep philosophies of pioneers in black funk and afro-futurism like Sun Ra, George Clinton and Funkadelic. Wayne abandons the possibility of introspection for simple one or two liners explaining that he is simply different than you.
“We are not the same, I am a martian”. – Wayne the Little.
Now I happen to like Lil’ Wayne and think he is really talented but I cannot overlook the stupidity of some of his verbiage. The shit truck, however, delivered a huge package of crap in the form of Kanye West lyrics on this Katy Perry garbage.
I know a bar out in mars
Where they driving spaceships instead of cars
Cop a prada space suit about the stars
Getting stupid hah straight up out the jars
Pockets on shrek, rockets on deck
Tell me whats next? Alien sex.
Imma disrobe you
Then Imma probe you
See I abducted you
So I tell you what to do
First off, Kanye makes no sense as always. He just says a bunch of words that rhyme with space things. “I know a bar out in mars/where they drivin spaceships instead of cars”. What does that even mean? Is the bar itself driving a spaceship? Is “they” patrons of said bar? Kanye seems suprised that their are no cars at this particular bar so how the fuck did Kanye get there without a spaceship? Why the hell would you need a spaceship to transport yourself on another planet? You aren’t in space…you are on a fucking planet. That would be like if you drove a spaceship to work everyday. You would be an asshole and kill everyone on your way there because that is ridiculous. I never thought there would be a time where I would think to myself, damn I hope this rap is over soon so I can hear Katy Perry sing again but, well here we are. Oh and if you were still thinking about it, I’m pretty sure Kanye implies he just anally raped you at the end of that verse so yea…keep dancing.
After watching Perry’s video, I was reminded of another song named “E.T.” off one of my favorite albums of all time, Atliens.
The second studio album by the legendary hip hop duo Outkast made its debut in August of 1996. I had just turned 13 and was still taping music on cassette straight off Power 106’s Baka Boyz’ afternoon show. Regulators and Lodi Dodi were my two favorite songs and I could never catch all of Masta Ace’s Born To Roll on one try. I would not be introduced to Outkast until 1998 when I bought one of my favorite CDs of all time, Aquemini. I was taken aback by the unique sound, word play, subject matter — I wasn’t analyzing it like this then. They had a cadence I did not yet know how to digest but I just knew I liked it. I knew all the words to the entire album and bought Atliens at Warehouse music in the Beverly Connection on La Cienega used for 5.99. Possibly the best 5.99 I have ever spent.
Outkast is out there. They always have been. What I always thought was amazing about the group was their ability to create mythology without deviating so far from reality that it is indecipherable. In my past entry, Weird Ass Black Kids Making Music, I talked about, well, weird ass black kids making music. Atliens plays with many different themes including space, aliens, technology but it always felt more like a metaphor for being Black in America. The songs on the album not only make alien and space references but are riddled with social commentary on life in Atlanta and the South. The idea of being alien, different, misunderstood resonates with folks across all social lines but there is a distinct history of “outer-space” inter-spliced into aspects of Black Music.
George Clinton and Parliament/Funkadelic were instrumental not only in rock and psychedelic funk music but in much of the sound behind West Coast Rap. Clinton allowed musicians to use his music where as many others wanted egregious monetary compensation for usage. In the 1970s Clinton and parliament began using “afro-futurism” as a theme in their shows and music at the helm of a slew of other musicians playing with the same concepts, Bootsy Collins, The Brides of Funkenstein and more. With the help of the “Mothership” Clinton was literally bringing you music from a place far far away and was willing to take you back with him.
Before there was the P-Funk Mothership there was the “Arkestra”. Sun-Ra, an amazing Jazz musician had already taken this fusion of afro-futurism and music to another level. The film “Space is the Place”in 1974 focused on Sun Ra’s philosophy, politics and music. He believed that he was not of this world but was from Saturn stemming from an incident in the 1930s that sounds like a telling of an alien abduction. Real or not, this sparked a major change in the music and his life.
Sun Ra seeks to elevate humanity beyond their current earthbound state, tied to outmoded conceptions of life and death when the potential future of immortality awaits them. – David Martinelli
There were other musicians, pioneers and influences on this theme in music but my point in bringing this up is, of course, as always, that Kanye West sucks.
I ask the question: Are we simplifying thought? Are the ideas of yesterday being repackaged in a commodified (wordpress sees commodify and commodified as misspelled words…hmmm.) fashion, outsourced to low wage middle men and distributed out to us unknowingly? Or is it not even that deep. Is music at this level so up its own ass that it can’t recognize its own roots? I bob my head to Wayne and when “Phone Home” was released I loved it. Spaceship by Kanye West off College Dropout is one of my favorite songs by him. I think a musician or artist for that matter should be able to do whatever they want, but it is always disheartening when people have done it better and their imprint is seemingly erased. I guess at least we aren’t proclaiming to be leprechauns anymore. Where the hell is Lil Flip btw? Woo woooo.
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Now clean your ears out with this: