For today’s first, I wanted to listen to a style of music that I don’t, or won’t, normally listen to. I love all types of music, and have an eclectic mix of styles on my iPod and iPhone. I admit a preference for movie and musical soundtracks, but I enjoy just about everything else, with the exception of one genre. I’ve never been a fan of rap music.
Wanting to expand myself and open to new possibilities, today I listened to rap on my iPhone, using Pandora radio. Working around the house and driving in the car, I let Pandora select the songs, and I listened. Really listened. I initially had to overcome a dislike of the heavier beat and sometimes rough language. I quickly realized, however, that like all musicians, these artists are telling a story. Rap is no different in that regard. The sounds were different. And the cadence of words and slang usage made it difficult to understand what was being said, at least to my unaccustomed ears. But the anger or pain or sorrow came through. And the stories.
A few songs today left me shaking my head. Some made me smile or laugh. One, though, captured me. The song is “Yesterday”, by Atmosphere. I listened to it twice and then looked up the lyrics. I called this song a gentler rap, and the story really spoke to me. Rapper Slug (Sean Daley) is telling about his relationship with his father. Only I didn’t know he was singing about his dad until the song’s end. I thought he was lamenting the loss of a girlfriend. Suddenly, the whole meaning of the song changed.
Here is the hook:
Yesterday, was that you?
Looked just like you
Strange things my imagination might do
Take a breath, reflect on what we’ve been through
Or am I just going crazy cause I miss you?
I loved the poignancy of the last line, in the last verse:
Never thought about the world without you
And I promise that I’ll never say another bad word about you
I thought I saw you yesterday
But I know it wasn’t you, cause you passed away, Dad
I researched this song. The rapper’s father committed suicide a couple of years before this song was written. This is Slug’s heartfelt goodbye, offered through his music. I hope, in creating this tribute, there has been healing for him.
Am I a rap fan now? No, I’m not. But by opening myself to a form of music I’ve avoided, I discovered a powerful and moving story, hidden within a rapper’s song. And, I do still have a rap channel saved on Pandora, so who knows? I might become a fan after all.
You can listen to Yesterday, by Atmosphere, here: