Archive for September, 2009

200 Or Less: Flight 187

Fifty flirts with fatalism. Forget flirts, fancies futility. While a reluctant Jay-Z downplays conflict and heralds success, 50 Cent openly contests the value of earthly gains. Curtis Jackson has seen the mountaintop; his G4 jet crashes into it. Most compelling about “Flight 187”: video mural depicting a confused but decidedly ironic multi-millionaire. If celebration and champagne are in vogue, macabre meltdowns are 50’s leverage, his levee stemming the tide.

Drake, the reluctant baller, has purred about the pitfalls of progress. 50 hasn’t pretended as much about his need for riches. Here, the first signs of wealth’s drag on his conscience. Not one for window shopping, he’s indulged even the negative parts of fame, namely feuding and vanity. But the yield has been curious.

“Brought you from the hood/Destination, hell or heaven?”

The floating question mark deranges his song nearly as much as its groaning vocal thump. In one “mm,” there’s baby mama drama, death visions, astuteness. Like Biggie before him, 50’s been ready to die from the inception. Specifically, it’s the imminence of his dream. As he nears the symbolic end, life’s hold tightens inexplicably. Black manhood ultimately corrodes vitality, discarding dreamers in the offing.

I’m a rider.



200 Or Less: Blueprint 3

Marooned in Marcy Projects. Kid hustler: grown ambition. Debuts to slow buzz. Finesse and grace belie inner Doubt. Four albums later, two classics. All his friends are dead.

Trendy but seasoned. King of New York? No one likes a monarch. Divine assignment. Progressively tyrannical. Mirrors a mafia, in name and destruction. Pacino fixations. Queens rival unearths past envy, weakens the throne. Still, dollars pile.

He won’t wear jerseys; he’s thirty-plus. Lingering “Ether” flares nostrils. But relevance trumps quality. Sponsors love it. Insecure icon begets imitative Italian. Brooklyn nostalgia punctuates.

Jordan metaphors are yet-fulfilled prophesies. Maybe you’ll love him when he fades. Spotted in St. Tropez. Bottle service and champagne flutes. Excuse me, Miss…married?

World tour, Coldplay, water for the Continent, Live 8, Minority Ownership, Kingdom Come, executive suite, Leering at landscape. Hardly photogenic.

Petty feuds dissolve. Hardcore swagger. Mid-life musing. Unsuited for introspection. American (Gangster). What’s Kanye up to? Forgets to text LeBron about soundtrack. They’ll catch up.

Oh! More classics! Redemptive leftism! Studio never seemed so small.

Crotchety formalist or unabashed trailblazer. You decide, of course. Afraid to run it back. Very afraid.