The first proper album that I ever bought with my own money was the soundtrack to “SpaceJam“. I’d love to say that the next few albums were as amazing but unfortunately consisted of music from the likes of Britney and Evanescence alongside those compilation albums that everyone has, Now XX and Top of the Pops.
Apart from game soundtracks, music played a very small part of my life and I didn’t really get the appeal, probably because I was yet to find something that stirred any real emotions. That all started to change when I started secondary school and ended up discovering Rock music, which would still be my “go to” and the genre I’d chose to stick with if for some reason I was only able to pick one for the rest of my life. At the time this music helped me discover who I was, what life was really about and navigate the minefield that is secondary school, puberty and growing up in general. This followed into some heavier rock and metal and at the time was all I wanted to hear!
Once puberty was more or less over and I started to “mature” a bit, I started to branch out and enjoy other types of music also. Electro, dance, progressive and deep house. I loved these so much I even dove and dabbled in some DJing in some clubs around Dublin, not that I was ever that good. Learning and figuring out that Rock and Metal were not the only music I liked was nothing but a good thing because it allowed me to open my eyes and listen to anything and everything. Now you’d be hard pressed to give me any genre and not enjoy at least one song from its collection – I generally enjoy everything.
In the last few years however, something that I’ve found myself listening to more and more has to be Hip Hop and Rap, which is often times hard to explain because I’m far from the “target” demographic. Even for myself, for a long time I couldn’t really explain what it was about hip hop that connected with me the most.
There are a host of reasons why the best tracks are great. Amazing lyrics and stories, impeccable rhyming and an insane amount of words per minute being spit out too. Sure, in some tracks that’s all that’s on offer which may not appeal to everyone, but the greats are different. For me there is one thing that makes hip hop enjoyable and something to drive ambition within you.
“These niggaz is jealous cause deep in they heart they wanna be me” – 2 Pac, “Ambitionz Az A Ridah”
“All you niggas that said that I turned pop, Or the Firm flopped, ya’ll are the reason Dre ain’t been getting no sleep” – Dr Dre, “Forgot About Dre”
“The moral to the story is, life’s treatin’ you like dry sod? Kick it back in its face, my God” – Nicki Minaj – “Roman’s Revenge”
“Now I think the fact that I’m differently wired’s awesome, ‘Cause if I wasn’t I wouldn’t be able to work words like this and connect lines like crosswords. And use my enemy’s words as strength, To try and draw from, and get inspired off em” – Eminem, “Legacy”
“Don’t be mad at me because I’m doing me better than you doing you” – Childish Gambino, “Sweatpants”
Notice a trend? These quotes depict people not only striving to be the best, going out and getting shit done, but also not caring what others think of them. They are not impacted by the negative thoughts and rumors going on about them and drive themselves forward to reach their goals.
These artists have had to overcome adversity, power through and ignore what others were saying about them. They had to work their way to the top and it’s often easy to spot why they succeeded – An incredible amount of self belief. They’ve applied themselves in every way imaginable trying to achieve their dreams. They’ve fallen down only to get right back up again, move on, and grow. They envision themselves being the best long before it’s even remotely true. And the best part is, it’s a common theme between them all.
For me, this should be a huge part of everyone’s life. Having a high value of self-worth, determination and a belief in yourself is incredibly important in this day and age. There are so many opportunities and people in our day-to-day lives that have no problem cutting us down and trying to hurt us.
Sure, the bigger part of this problem is probably the fact that the general populate is now more “cuntish” than ever and for some reason being a nice person is becoming less and less common, especially in professional environments, but this all just makes having a clearer picture of who you are and what you can achieve all the more important.
Hip Hop inspires these kind of thoughts in me. It inspires me to determine my set of core values and figure out what it is I want in life. It allows me, by virtue of being subjected to extreme examples of a positive personal perception, to build up my self-worth and know that it’s key to achieving what I want. Most of all it shows me that no matter what I want in life, if I want it bad enough and work for it hard enough I can achieve great things. Maybe it won’t be a smooth ride right the way to the top and maybe I’ll fail a few times along the way, but the only way true failure is certain is if I give up and don’t do anything! I mean at the end of the day, if we don’t believe in ourselves then why the hell should anyone else?