A Sophisticate Raps

"Me against enemies, me against friends/ Somehow they both seem to become one/ A sea full of sharks and they all smell blood/ They start coming and I start rising/ Must be surprising, I'm just surmising " Lyrics from 'Fly' by Nicki Minaj

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The first rap song that got my attention was U.N.I.T.Y by Queen Latifah. After the music of a Jazz saxophone floats her voice and and anger hit like a hammer. The Jazz saxophone floats through afterwards thereby isolating her lyrics from the rest of the song.  When I first saw the video,   I saw her anger but also her pride. It was infectious. 

Even before I experienced what she was talking about, I could hear my inner voice come out through her lyrics. 

The fact she called herself a Queen showed young women  like me that you didn't need anyone else to give you the title of "Queen".  It was after that song that the floodgates of her and other Rap music artists came flooding through my headphones. 

Did you fail? Rap music says "Who cares, keep going."

Rap music says "Too bad, I'm not giving up."
Rap music says "You haven't seen the best of me yet."
Rap music says "Life is rough, accept it."

Rap music lifts her up when she is feels scared and insecure. The steady beat in the background of  a rap song keeps to the beat of her heart. When she working out or needs a lift this steady beat carries her and motivates to keep moving.

“A poet's mission is to make words do more work than they normally do, to make them work on more than one level.”  Jay-Z 'Decoded'

Rap music is poetry. Rap music is truth. A Sophisticate Raps because she hears, sees, and listens. A Sophisticate is not going to be quiet in the face of injustice, pain, or anger. 

"Only God can judge me" Tupac Shakur 

Punk music is defiant, rap music is angry. Rap music is constructive anger. Harvard believes a class based on the lyrics of Tupac Shakur will provide an education that allows them to understand and see how language can affect social change.  (See Harvard University offer courses using Tupac Shakur's Lyrics)

A Sophisticate Raps because she is angry and wants to talk about the injustice in the world. She talks through music. A Sophisticate Raps to speak what is true without fear of judgement. She is a change agent bringing to the attention of many the injustice she feels and sees  Rap music is brave, unafraid,  whether people are going to judge. With the words she speaks she dares people to judge.  

When she Raps she not only reveals the ugly parts of reality, she shines a light on the pain, the injustice, and what people ignore. 

"Even though your fed up, you got to keep your head up" Tupac Shakur

Rap music tells you to hold your head up high. 
Rap music expects respect.

A Sophisticate who Raps is a poet. She knows that when speaking about social injustice it's not about the melody, it's about the lyrics. Rap music is not about the beat it's about the heart. Where Jazz music the notes shape a song, when a Sophisticate Raps her words and syllables are the notes of a song. A Sophisticate who Raps doesn't need the notes behind her to speak her mind. 

As much as Rap is the complete opposite of Jazz when comes to the arrangement of sound, it is also the direct descendant of Jazz. Rap music what the Harlem Renaissance did to change music forever. The move toward joy from anger, the conscious move to success from failure, the conscious move toward confidence from insecurity. 

Watching Nicki Minaj  in David Guetta's 'Hey Mama' is similar to watching Josephine Baker in the 1920's. Nicki Minaj has the same artistry, confidence, beauty, talent, and star power as Josephine Baker. Nicki Minaj also has the spontaneity that made Josephine Baker a legend.  When writing a Rap song, a Sophisticate uses her impromptu emotions and feelings to develop lyrics or create her poem and speak the truth. 

Sophistication in the 21st Century is about being completely yourself, faults and all. It's about truth. There is nothing as truthful and unapologetic for that truth like Rap music. In the end, unapologetic and unafraid a Sophisticate Raps because she is truth and poetry personified. ;D