Defining the intersection between listening and living

“Folks don’t know the half”

So I just finished watching the BET awards…. Now normally I do not give/promote or encourage anyone to waste hours watching the accolades of todays black culture; however, I think that there is something special in taking part of that experience. It took me back to high school when things were simpler. Before jobs, wives, and responsibility.

There is a lesson in that just the notion of simplicity, and truth. an honesty unlike any other. In my life I try to steer away from the standard definitions and stereotypes but in knowing what type a person you are is a reconciliation between race, values and morals. I defined myself through the choices that I made when facing the many challenges and adversity by recalling life relying on my experiences. In looking back on these today the song I choose was R.Kelly’s “I wish” in part because it was sampled in his performance during the BET awards and it is one of my favorites from him. Secondly because to me it speaks of self-definition. We all loose people but it is our reactions and how we deal that defines us.

Listening to the intro and the first verse think about the experiences that you have had. What are some of the decisions that you have made that have truly defined you. Think one of the decisions that I chose first was to decide to not lie. Many say that this should be simple but I am speaking more to an overarching belief in the true. I can say sometimes I lose sight in being too frank but other times I think that this is the best course of action. I honestly listen to this verse and really think some of the things I have done were dumb and I mean really dumb but no matter what they helped make me the person I am today.

I wish, I wish, I wish
To every city
I wish, I wish, I wish
Every hood
I wish, I wish, I wish
And every block
I wish, I wish, I wish
Ghetto America!

[Verse 1]
Rollin’ through the hood
Just stopped by to say what’s up
And let you know
That your baby boy ain’t doing so tough

And even though you passed
Going on four long years
Still waking up late at night crying tears
Just thinking about those days
You used to talk to me
Smilin’ while I’m sippin’ on this Hennessy

And remember we bragged on how rich we would be
To get up out this hood was like a fantasy

In listening to the chorus it is funny because there are two parts, and in each part I begin to think of the people who I have experienced. Friends from the past and the future thinking  what will my life really be like in 5 years from now, how was it different 10 years ago. The thoughts that come to mind how I first fell in love. who I had my first crush and the various sentimental feeling that come and go in fleeting moments. These all come to mind when I hear the chorus and I know no matter what those things are what really make me the loyal person I am. I made a point in my life that if I called someone a friend it meant something to me. No matter what, no matter when I would make sure to be there to support them regardless of whether I agreed or not but to be there for them in their times of need. I make that choice every time I think of the word friend and how I apply it to my life so in I wish, I always wish that I am the friend that I strive to be.

And now you hear my songs the radio is playin’
Oh I can’t believe my ears

And what everybody’s sayin’
And boy I’ll tell you
Folks don’t know the half

I would give it all up
Just to take one ride

(With you)
How I used to kick it on the front porch
(With you)
And how I used to lay back and smoke weed
(With you)
And all the little basement party joints we’d do
Now I’m just missing you
How I wish

I wish that I could hold you now
I wish that I could touch you now
I wish that I could talk to you
Be with you somehow

I know you’re in a better place
Even though I can’t see your face
I know you’re smiling down on me
Saying everything’s okay

And if I make it out this thug life
I’ll see you again someday
I wish, I wish, I wish
I wish, I wish, I wish

As I continue listening to the song and think about the decisions I made, the BET awards and people I met I think that I would not change a thing. I would keep it all the same. I have made some questionable decision. Called some of the wrong people friends but even with that I think that it was the right time and the best thing at the moment. Verse 2 looks at what happens when you achieve what you have determined as successful. How people look at you. Is it the same? is it different? why? I have not achieve success or at least not what I think of as my success. I think I am on the verge of moving closer to my goals and making them a reality.

[Verse 2]
Now ever since this money come
It’s been nothing but stress

Sometimes I wish I could just trade in my success
Y’all look at me and say boy you’ve been blessed
But y’all don’t see the inside of my unhappiness

Man I swear this shit gets heavy like a ton
That’s why you hear me shootin’
This real shit off like a gun

Hmm I wonder how my friends would treat me now
If I wasn’t iced up with a Bentley and a house

That’s why fake ass niggas get fake ass digits
And fake ass players get a real player hatin’ ’em
Honey Love goes platinum and y’all ass come around
But y’all don’t wanna raise the roof
Until my shit is going down

[Repeat 1]

(With you)
How I used to hoop off in them tournaments
(With you)
And how I used to club hop on weekends
(With you)
Your family called the morning of the tragic end
Damn, my condolences

[Repeat 2]

Voices in my head be telling me to come to church
Saying the Lord is the only way for you to stop the hurt

Dreaming of windows black tinted like a hearse
When waking up to life sometimes seems worse

And all I ever wanted is to be a better man
And I try to keep it real with my homies land
For me to save the world I don’t understand
How did I become the leader of a billion fans?

[Repeat 1]

(With you)
How I used to street perform on Friday
(With you)
And how I used to go to church on Easter Sunday
(With you)
Instead of you all throwing them stones at me
Somebody pray for me

[Repeat 2 until end]

Following the Second verse and chorus as the song begins to trail off and end I think back over the experience.  I know I have made decisions that have made me the person that I am today and while race does play a role in the person that I am it is not what defines me. Even visiting the people who I have made those select few that I actually call friends and how I define success and what it means to achieve it have all brought me to really enjoy this song. Though some of the references and themes may allude to the lose of a love one in life, there is another meaning for me a progression through life what do you wish you could do even if it meant giving something up. As I have listen to this song replay several times I know that my wish is making sure that I can provide for my family and living up to aspirations and image that has been set for me. So take a listen to R. Kelly’s, “I Wish” if you have not and take some time to really listen to what the song is saying.

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