Legacy Track of the Week: Lupe Fiasco - Jonylah Forever
“At six you started reading whole books, at seven you knew how a brain looked, and could roughly describe all the different regions, could tell when we was sick and even knew the reason” Dedicated to all the innocent victims of the violence embedded in his hometown of Chicago, specifically Jonylah Watkins who was only 6 months old when she was murdered back in 2013 by a bullet meant for her father, this tribute for it’s content, framework, and delivery is one of the most significant records of the year. The story actually follows young Jonylah through an alternate universe, where she not only lives to see her first birthday but also grows to be a young ambitious women, who in pursuit of her academics even encounters Hadiya Pendleton; who in this reality is an alumni of King College Prep High School and is back in her former school teaching art. Conversely however Pendleton is actually another victim to the senseless gun violence perpetrated by the gang lifestyle in Chicago, thus this alternate universe where Jonylah and Hadiya grow and prosper together is the vision that the city needed, and I can’t think of any other artist that could have painted this picture better than Lupe Fiasco. The delivery of this record is Hip Hop in its purest form, and for that reason alone this record should one day be in a museum.
Lupe Fiasco ft Nikki Jean - Haile Selassie
"’Then until the philosophy which holds one race superior and another inferior, is finally and permanently discredited and abandoned, that until there no longer first class and second class citizens of any nation, until the color of a man's skin is of no more significance than the color of his eyes.’ - Selassie” An excerpt from Haile Selassie’s speech at the United Nations in 1964, this record is fully inspired by the former Ethiopian Emperor who during his reign brought the country into the League of Nations, and was also an iconic figure of the Rastafarian movement; whom considered Selassie to be a returned Messiah of the Bible, God incarnate who would lead a “future golden age of eternal peace, righteousness, and prosperity.” Sure enough musically Lupe Fiasco once again pens an incredible tribute in the man’s honor, and over in-house production by Soundtrakk this is easily one of the standout records off his seventh studio album DROGAS WAVE.
Lupe Fiasco - Manilla
“Preparations, reparations from segregation, genius at Genesis, master system SEGAs, Punjabi mommy dissecting Vedas on Sepulveda, anointed players who coin phrases, that's metal paper” Get out your dictionaries and encyclopedias, and honestly the likes of Lupe Fiasco (or maybe Nas) are maybe the only lyricists that I would ever offer that sentiment as a compliment. Sure enough you can learn A LOT from listening to Lupe Fiasco’s music, where almost every single word is perfectly crafted with an abundance of layers and meaning to it, evident as well in the song’s title which also serves as the album’s artwork - that speaks to the copper bracelets that were once used as a form of currency during the Atlantic Slave Trade. Meanwhile this production by Freeway TJay is a tone setter that almost gives off Mural vibes.
Lupe Fiasco ft Crystal Torres - Alan Forever
“Let me flex, get up, brush sand off myself, I was just holding my breath, blue shorts, red shirt, how I'm dressed, I look fresh, and I feel bleeeeeeeeeeessed, what's your name? My name Alan, sounds like island, I love smiling” Similarly interconnected to Jonylah Forever this is a tribute to Alan Kurdi, a three year old Syrian boy who drowned in the Mediterranean as his family attempted to reach Europe during the immigration crisis of 2015. Once again Lupe pens this record beautifully as he creates the life that young Alan never got to live in this lifetime, yet once again through his music his legacy lives forever. For added measure the chorus sung by Crystal Torres adds even more emotion to this heartfelt tribute, all of which is over ChristopherKillumbus production that honestly sounds like a pseudonym for Lupe himself [though in actuality is an up and coming producer from Atlanta who seemed destined to work with Lupe off his namesake alone].
Lupe Fiasco ft Damian Marley - Kingdom
“Hold the sword like a hand should, write your passions into manhood” 🔥🔥🔥Lupe Fiasco is one of the legends who despite some sporadic commercial acclaim throughout his career, has actually been underappreciated and overlooked for his time period, that’s if you at least let the social media ‘influencers’ tell it. Thus that’s why LegacyArtsMedia was founded, where the music tells the story and the quality of the art is all that’s worth mentioning.
Young Chris ft Big Face Gary - Roc-A-Fella
“Thanks to the ROC I’m bout my momma house, not only that I bought my own and bought my mom a house” I need a late pass on the Network 5 but the best rapper from Nicetown is back with zero promotion from any label or representation whatsoever, although that’s part of what makes his movement so thorough is that you know it’s not through the Karen Civil stimulus package, yet instead it’s driven by a level of lyricism and delivery that still puts Young Chris in a very exclusive category. Unfortunately this volume plays like a water down version of his previous efforts, as is the case of this particular record that he’s honestly recorded many times before and to better results.
Young Chris ft Slim of 112 - Scared
"California weed, California weather, riding in Miami back in Philly where I met her” This brings back memories of Young Gunz album two, and sure enough the chemistry is still there as this is one of the standout records on the tape.
Young Chris - Classic C
“Had to find the balance around the time I met my high school ex, now my daughter’s 13 she got high school next, and my junior on the way running around with TK, CJ, ready to celebrate another B Day” One of the smoothest spitters to ever touch the microphone, “C the Young Gunna, all the girlie, girlies wanna see the Young Gunna once they see the Rocawear”
Young Chris - Ao
“Everyday is Freddie Gray, Mike Brown’s in Nicetowns, Trayvon’s into they town, *bloaw* before they take mine, it’s for the dog in me pedigree for the kennel, no degree from Temple, no pad without a pencil it’s mental” In an era of mumble rappers thankfully there’s still artists that can actually rap.
2 Chainz ft Drake & Quavo - Bigger Than You
“Young champagne checkin' in, man, Tity Boi shit ringin' off, remember I was on pre-paid I would act like my shit was ringin' off, remember shorty told me she thought the raps good but the singing's off, watch on Young Dro now, man, boi-oing shit blingin' off” Drake spits a cool 8 bars and this is a nice promotional single off 2 Chainz next album.
Moneybagg Yo - Luv Cycle
“We dealing with a love cycle (rolling 'round) when we first met I shot her with a rifle (straight out the clouds) I'm a thug so it's hard to wife her (it's hard to cuff her), stamp like a brick so you don't need a title (go with the flow when we official, baby)” Moneybagg Yo is ready to release his debut album in November, yet if you’re unfamiliar here are some visuals from his last mixtape.
Masego ft SiRS - Old Age
“I need me a sugar momma, old lady, foxy mama, sophisticated, sugar mama” Born in Jamaica yet raised in South Africa, Masego is an international artist with seemingly natural roots in American Soul & R&B, evident in this single off his debut album Lady Lady that’s most definitely worth a listen.
Tori Kelly ft Jonathan McReynolds - Just As Sure
“Just as sure as the sun, sets at the end of the day, then the darkness fades, and the clouds, they roll away, just as sure as the hands, on the clock keep ticking away the time, and trouble on my mind, makes it hard for joy to find” Tori Kelly went gospel for her latest album and while this is more contemporary soul it’s a decent effort all around.
Prince - Mary Don’t You Weep
“No, Mary, don't you weep” Visuals from Prince’s first posthumous album Piano and a Microphone 1983, a record that was also used over the end credits to Spike Lee’s BlacKKKlansmen.