As a writer, it is important for me to use my art for good, for a divine purpose. Writing, for me, is an escape.
Any type of art, whether it’s writing, dancing, singing, etc., is supposed to be a form of your expressions, hence the name of my blog, Blog Xpressions.
Now, let’s get into one of the mighty powers of expression, shall we?
Growing up in the urban streets of Kashmere Gardens in Houston, TX has taught me a lot about music and what certain musical genres represented.
As I sat on my cement-blocked porch in my neighborhood, I remember listening to the sounds of The Geto Boys, “My Mind is Playing Tricks on Me,” as the cars passed by with amplified speakers thumping against their trunks.
There was a special formula in that song that had me bobbing my head and tapping my feet. This song is deemed a classic, and will never be forgotten.
Shout out to my cousins (you know who you are) who I almost had a professional music group with. I’m for real, guys! Man, our group would have been a hit! We almost made it y’all. Almost.
Here’s where I need your feedback, Xpressionists…
How do you feel about the growth of the music that’s out today?
Does the music include that special will-always-be-a-classic formula?
Or, are we lacking the evolutionary creativity needed to gain back that momentum?
If you find yourself reverting back to your roots, playing old schools jams with the accompanying videos on YouTube, then you are missing the imprint that music once had on you.
I fall into that zone all the time. And all I do is smile because it takes me back to a time when I felt like life was smooth sailing.
Speaking of videos, whatever happened to the videos that translated the message of the song?
Do we not remember Donnie Simpson, the handsome, smooth-talking, green-eyed host of “Video Soul” on BET?
In my community and household, I grew up listening to the sounds of rhythm and blues (R&B) and hip hop. For me, these genres represent love, relationships, pain, growth, and passion. Hip hop and R&B was an experience for many of (and still is!)
Lyrics are the artist’s expression to the world as the paint brush is to the canvas – it allows an artist, of any kind, to express their feelings in the best way they can.
And when we consume or experience that artistry, we translate and interpret it into our personal experiences and how it makes us feel.
Let’s take my girl Beyonce’s hit song, ‘Crazy in Love,’ for example. Could we not all relate to that song? We were once “crazy in love” for somebody one time or another.
(My mood when I’m listening to some old school music)
In fact, the art of expressions bleeds through one’s soul. If you’re a part of the hip-hop lifestyle, you will be able to interpret the artist meaning.
Hip-hop is not only about music, it’s a brand, a lifestyle and music is the escape to revealing true feelings. Music is the outcry. Music is the freedom. We still bring up that time when “Rickey” got killed in the classic, “Boyz in the Hood.”
I can vividly remember that scene and the music that was played afterward. That music brought me to my knees!
The slow motion.
When he fell to the ground.
When his mom found out.
When “Dough Boy” and his boys went out and got revenge.
That’s a true hip-hop experience!
Doing it for the culture!
For instance, let’s take Lauryn Hill’s classic masterpiece, “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.” This album was a testament to her life. She expressed her cries, her hurt, and pain through lyrics and music. She painted the picture of her life.
As of today, I credit Houston’s own, Solange Knowles, who also created a great masterpiece with her latest project, “A Seat at The Table.” She, like Lauryn Hill, provides personal insight into her world, with the testaments of the Black woman, empowerment, independence, and rage.WEIGH IN: Has the evolution of music changed? Click To Tweet
Let’s break it down this way – some of today’s artists are more on the parallels of discussing the love of money, the attention, and worldly possessions.
Now, let’s take it back a few decades ago when artist discussed the opposite. Artists like the late great Tupac Shakur (a lyrical mastermind) talked about how “Brenda‘s Got a Baby” and let us not forget the poetic sounds of “Dear Mama” where he rapped about being a fatherless child, going to jail, and the hardships of growing up.
Tupac Shakur, murdered two decades ago, has left such a strong imprint on hip hop, that he has been inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. He is one of the most influential rappers in hip-hop history.
Now that’s what we like to call the power of expression! His music still lives on.
And that’s just one example…
There are other late great artists as well, like Michael Jackson, Prince, Whitney Houston, The Notorious BIG, plus many more.
Granted, there are artists today that have left and will leave great influential impressions.
I commend artist who has built their own musical empires and created initiatives to help shape the lives of our impressionable children.
But, one still begs the question – do you believe music, in any genre, has evolved? Why or why not?
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