“Lose your mind in an empty street.
Empty minds please stay asleep.”
--Wolf Eyes, “Choking Flies”
“Black girl sipping white wine,
Put my fist in her like a civil rights sign.
Grabbed it with a slight grind.
Held it 'till the right time,
Then she came like *robot orgasm*
That's why I'm in it and I can't get out”
--Kanye West, “I'm In It”
What is it that Kanye can't get out of? Is it that daughter-bearing “pussy”? Is it the shackles of wealth and fame, the omniscient gaze of a paparazzi society? Is it even just life itself? “I'm in it and I can't get out” is basically the premise of every story by Philip K. Dick, Franz Kafka, and Michael Bay. The only other rapper with the balls to fixate on existential dread for an entire album was Biggie and they shot him for it. Of course, Biggie came in the midst of lyrical trends that were constituted on hardness, while today's rappers are more concerned with getting high than selling drugs. Street violence is nowadays the lyrical territory of rappers with names like Gunplay and gunshots are more likely to show up as a snare hit in a trap song than as the topic of a verse. In the age of Drake, Miguel, and Old Man Jay-Z, it's pretty bizarre to hear an album that's the equivalent of screaming at your drug-smeared visage in the mirror.Read More