We may encounter many defeats but we must not be defeated
… Maya Angelou
I got Dreamchasers and I made a mill on ’em It don’t matter what city I’m in I’m going Philly in ’em.
…. Meek Mill
Rick Ross grabs the mic on ’em: “So we just ready for the Big Homie to get to the crib. Hopefully, he can spend the holiday with us.”
And people in Nigeria are waiting to receive and record with the Aboki of North Philly. Some old transatlantic culture in motion, dancing the Azonto in Accra and Ibadan with that North Philly SWAGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG. We are witnessing major developments in African Diasporic culture. Meek Mill touring Africa is like Olatunji starting in the ATL and touring the world or Saka Acquaye snatching all the prizes at Philadelphia Academy of Fine Arts and blazing the Streets of NP with dance motions and circulating once more, African Culture in USA. Can’t wait until Meek and Jalil go into the music recording studios in Kumasi, Dakar, Lagos, Marrakesh, Paris, London and Dubai. Setting off monster motions that signal a new day.
Meek Mill’s emergence on the global music scene is now fully conceptualized by those who occupy the City of Zar but headz in the Streets of Philly, Paris, Berlin, San Juan, Oyo State, San Francisco and Tokyo, Japan been knowing that he is a bright and morning star ever since Gillie Da Kid featured him on that power mixtape back in 07 or ’08. Steady building. Telling his story and the stories of so many young people in and out, through and threw. Separating the wheat from the snakes. They feeling boy on the streets and in the academy. When he appeared alongside Kendrick Lamar at the University of Pennsylvania, headz went WYLDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD. Boy on some old Pac-ish mimetic force and banging messages on his bata. Sacred and secular split not there. CHURCH!!!
4 A.M, I’m on the north side of Philly/ Riding around like these haters don’t want to kill me/ It’s a shame how they hate on me, you gotta feel me/ I started out with a dollar and got a milli
Philly’s Changing Demographics and Ethnic/Social, Cultural Melange Enables Hip Hop and Afrobeat Sharing and Progression
In a city like Philadelphia with its ever changing demographics and growing African, Latino/a, Caribbean communities, young people and those not so young feel in Meek Mill’s oeuvre a postmodern expression of cultural diversity and technological possibilities not only available in 21st century social media platforms but in Arts Garage spaces where they are in conversation. It is not only happening in musical arts but in visual arts as well. Artist/Engineers/ Beatboxers and masters of aural advanced sonics like Adam Matta, realize that only in Hip Hop Culture is there a welcoming space/place for vital creative exchange on eschatological reflections in religion, politics and life. Meek Mill is in the forefront of these postmodern explorations. It is the visual artist Matta who contributes remarkably to a visual representation of Meek Mill and Nicki Minaj engaging other planets with performative ease. And on some next ish, Witness the global response to Meek’s almost sanctified chord changes and vocalization even without John Legend’s voice on that memorable track of his first studio produced, mass marketed, mass mediated CD. This album placed theologians in conversation with Thug Ninjas who pray as often as ‘church folk’ (if one can make that kind of distinction in current Hip Hop poetics and spiritual practice). What one has to remember is that Meek’s fusion of the secular and sacred is not new to faith communities. Do you recall what happened when Sam Cooke left the soul stirrers and started a whole revolution by stirring souls in so-called secular musical expression or even further back when Brother Thomas Dorsey carried those blues motifs back to the church and when Sallie Martin launched a genre of music known as Gospel today?
Space is the place. Philly is the space. SW. Another immigrant question. Where were you born? ‘Yo, I was born in the middle of the cradle of pristine culture, SUN!” Now, I’m trying to escape the grip of presumptuous vultures.
Children of Oroho Want To See What Exists in North Philly That Produced Meek Millio
WayBlackMemories and Destinies of A Mighty People as Ancient as the Nile and With That Same Kind of Flow. OKE!
Hello Jello. The children of Oroho have returned from a visit to Ol’ Meek Milly in Philly. They dying to hear more of that Tony Story kid and the Dream Chasing escapades of Tres Mill. Ah, the last dry season ended in a fierce Harmattan that raised the African family tree that was planted there for 3,919 years. Just like it was buried in dismal swamp where Nat Turner escaped. Imperial recision from Land of Bilal Es- Sudan.
OKe: My song is now about to end/ Though songs are made to last/ When a dance ends in an arena/ And dancers are worn out/ Wiping out sweat from their brows/ And enjoying the encomiums/of admirers/ A new tune is heard that/ ushers in fresh dancers to/ Take the stage…/ Beyond The Threshold of the Moment/ Which has endured up to the fourth moment
Nwankano: “Here we are with the leader still/ in air midst singing lullabies only he understands/ We awaken from the dreams of/ distant sessions/ Into the nightmare of present time/ with not only broken promises/ But naked madness in the theatre of life
The beige Vantage GT Aston Martin drives up 27th Street with the Swiftness of Jonathan and the Meekness of Mill on some serious biz/baznessssssssssssssss. Rudy walking up Sus Q hollering, “Loosies.” How much? $2.97 a sig. What? Whut? WhaaaaaaTTT? That’s weird, Sig ran into the same baawww on Woodland Avenue. But Beans didn’t even slow down. He headed up the way. Same day. Black Bentley rolling pass The Pony Club and Beige A.M. parked in front of the spot on Ridge Avenue. Milly just grabbing that breakfast. Ritual on Wood Land and rituals up 27th. But ain’t nobody driving through the black bottom like that! Taking no chances with them Ra Ra Boyz singing lullabies only they understand. For real/FO REEL. On their way to WHIT BY. Long ways in this piece. Sun rituals all along the way. Worn the wrong way. SIGN. Ah shit , here come that Ra Ra boy. Wonder what he wants now? If he looking for DRAMA I got it. I ain’t playing. Nah! That’s weird. RaRa all alone on 52nd Street near the Malcolm X Park. Wonder why he headed in here. Ain’t no Black History Month show. Too early. Maybe Nwankano or Oginga Oding bout to speak. Looks like he’s in Search of Yemanga or at least Baby Girl. Hope she ain’t working The Pony Tail tonight. Boy got that organic chemistry exam tomorrow. See I told you she was there calming the red sea. Sharks in that deep blue sea. Words thrown off the shore of the lake like rubble. I been telling you to watch your mouth. BEEN TELLING YOU…..
Joe Meek The Monster Lyricist and Avatar of 21st Century Hip Hop Poetics, Turning Tuna Into Lobster
The Money Turned Me Into A Monster/ The Money Turned My Noodles Into Pasta/ The Money turned my tuna into lobster/ They want to do me I maneuver like a mobster
Postmodern Version of African American Vernacular Tradition
The lines above are brilliantly constructed and explicate deep meanings in language and life. Those who teach rap lyrics as poetry will find this new body of work to be not only challenging to students but also to teachers who assist them in constructing meaning. That is where your desk copy of the Yale Anthology of Rap will prove useful. Harvard University’s Professor Henry Louis Gates offers the following insight in his preface to the text: Yale Anthology of Rap: “As we have seen, Rap is the postmodern version of the African American vernacular tradition that stretches back to chants, Toasts, and trickster tales. It connects through its percussive sensibility , its riffs, and its penchant for rhyme, with a range of forms, including scat singing, radio Dj patter, and Black Arts Movement poets like Amiri Baraka, Nikki Giovanni , and Jayne Cortez. Its sense of musicality, both in voice and beat, owes a great deal to performers like Gil Scott-Heron and The Last Poets as well as to funk and soul artists like James Brown, Isaac Hayes, George Clinton, and Sly Stone. Rap is, in other words, a multifarious, multifaceted, tradition imbedded within an African American oral culture that itself shares in the rich history of human expression across the ages.” Meek Mill shares the rich familiar/familial tradition. Of equal importance is the fact that his uncle and father played key roles in giving birth to Hip Hop Culture. That is why we say he has a personal and group tradition that helped to shape and disseminate Global Hip Hop Culture. It is his uncle, Grandmaster Nell and The Punk Funk Nation who not only played a critical role in the creation and production of this art form/forum but was a major innovator and disseminator of the culture.
© James G. Spady 2015