I am a student of hip hop
Hip Hop is my teacher and I its needy, insecure, ‘teacher’s pet looking ass’ student. I wouldn’t wanna be my teacher either if it meant that my student would turn to me at all times, expecting too much from me. Because that is my relationship with hip hop; in times of happiness, excitement, sadness, depression, insecurity, confidence, heck even seeking courage to approach a beauty. Nothing like preparing for a date while bumping to ‘Bonita Applebum’ by A Tribe Called Quest.
(I think I’m getting better at giving the impression that I’m the type of guy who regularly go on dates)
The thought of skimming through an extremely wide hip hop catalogue may sound exhausting, and it did to me, initially. But of all the emotions I’ve expressed above and reasons to turn to music were all encompassed by one artist, J Cole. I don’t mean to make a case for why you should listen to him but just expressing why I’m writing what I’m writing and why my post is titled as above.
J Cole has a respectable discography, 7 mixtapes and 3 studio albums. And having listened to every single piece of work, I can confirm that his music has gotten me out of some less than desirable times. I mean, every single time. And for today, I am going to focus on one line from his most recent album.
“She asked me if I’m scared to fly, to tell the truth I’m terrified”
This is a line from a song titled ‘St. Tropez’, and it may have several meanings. However, this is the explanation that I would give: He was afraid of leaving his hometown to go pursue his dream of becoming a rapper; afraid for various reasons, which each one of use may be able to provide.
Not to say that we all know the reasons as to why he was afraid of leaving, but we may have been in such situations; Situations whereby we know that we are great but are too comfortable where we are at the moment. Where we know that we can do great things but fail to take the initiative, while taking back a seat and watch other people build the same dreams to completion and fruition. And when it’s all done, we will feel disgruntled at ourselves and wish that we had started much earlier. We bemoan the activities that we took part in instead of building our dreams. And after repeated promises to self that we will start with what we have there and then, sometimes we succeed and sometimes we fail. More often fail than succeed, for most people. And it is a vicious circle all over again. I would know because that vicious circle is my whole life.
I believe that there is a system with pre-existing rules intended to mislead. For example, how many times have you heard of an ‘age limit’ after which it is difficult to indulge in the things you love? For example, with Football it is understood that most players should have signed a professional contract by ‘at most’ eighteen years old. Meanwhile, a budding footballer in Kenya has spent his eighteen years of life dedicated to his studies and after finishing high school it becomes difficult to go professional? Not that he’s been restricted or anything, but his state of mind renders him unable to focus on anything but a ‘9 to 5’. The state of mind he’s been nurtured with since childhood.
Picture this other scenario. We all love music, regardless of its form. And we all have our favorites, of whom we know their story and how they came up. For example, most rappers that I listen to started rapping when they were teenagers, or earlier. I mean, more than 90% of them. How would it to be easy to convince someone with dreams of wanting to chase a rapping career to begin at 23 years old? It is not easy; they’d probably laugh you off and apply their brilliant mind to a medicine degree for which they have little or no love for. Not that this budding rapper is a negative person, but even with all the positivity that he can muster his conscious mind may listen to the naysayers and shut down his dreams. Imagine that, you shutting down your own dreams. Successfully masterminding your own destruction and being the reason why you never reached your full potential.
The possibility of been terrified of flying is very real; because it’s scary at the top. We sometimes fear the possibility of our own genius ability; we sometimes fear the people we’ll become once we achieve success; and we sometimes fear how people will view us once we get there.
Whatever the reason for fear it is, it is a terrible reason. Seriously. I tell this to myself all the time; “Your irrationality is bad and you should feel bad. Cut out the bullshit.” And I struggle to cut it out every single day, sparing none. It is easier said than done but there is so much hope and so much potential for growth that is yet to be seen.
The most important lesson that I have learnt here is that whatever dream you have burning inside you, it is a child. It will not argue with you, and it will not reason with you. It will only respond to whatever you say to it and to however you treat it. And like a child, if you want the dream to grow, you have to nurture it and feed it with what it needs. And what it needs is nothing but love. You have to love the dream. Love what’s yours. Love yourself.
Once you feel like you’re done loving yourself, love yourself some more.
Then get started with what you have. I have been ruing the opportunities I have missed due to not starting early enough since I was eighteen years old, and I have spent an additional four years being too scared to start.
Well, I am starting now. My main movement is self-improvement, and protection of the dream. Nothing matters more at the moment.
Start your movement too, and enjoy yourselves while at it J and Listen to some J Cole too!
Thanks for reading!