Photo illustration by Em Thampoe/B&W Staff

The Brown and White Playlist: 8/6

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Lifestyle reporter Matt Mardirossian, ‘22, shares his current musical favorites and their significance pertaining to the world today. Listen along on The Brown and White’s Spotify playlist as Mardirossian shares his favorite rap songs for the summer. 

Looking back in history, rap has always been somewhat of an underrated genre. It was not until the late 1900s that rap started to gain popularity in the U.S. Fast forward to today, and rap has become one of the most popular mainstream forms of music. There are many popular rappers that can be attributed with the rise in popularity that helped bring attention to the unique qualities rap has that are not as prevalent in other genres. 

The authenticity and complex storytelling that exists in rap is what makes it so special. When diving into the lyrics of a rap song, many of them have meaningful messages that can teach us a lot about the world we live in. 

 

Title: Wishing Well

Artist: Juice WRLD

Album: Legends Never Die

Released: July 10, 2020

Known to be one of the most talented, authentic rappers of this generation, Juice WRLD once again delivered with his new album, “Legends Never Die.” Out of all the songs on this album, “Wishing Well” had a captivating and catchy beat and a powerful message. 

In this song, WRLD describes his battle with his addiction and his love-hate relationship with painkillers by saying, “If it wasn’t for the pills, I wouldn’t be here. But if I keep taking these pills, I won’t be here.” This song is a cry for help from WRLD, as he was consumed so much by his addiction to the point where he felt like the drugs are helping him stay alive, but killing him at the same time. Although he is no longer with us, WRLD lives on through his music, which continues to positively impact the lives of many. 

 

Title: This is America

Artist: Childish Gambino

Album: This is America

Released: May 5, 2018

Childish Gambino’s “This is America” is a perfect example of a rapper using his platform to try and enact positive change in the world. When this song first came out, it immediately made headlines across the country, as it highlighted how many people in America are blind to the problems the country is facing. 

Gambino alludes to various issues plaguing the country, such as police brutality, race issues and other forms of violence that often go unnoticed. When he says at the beginning that “We just want to party,” he is implying that many people in America love fame, fun and money, but are completely oblivious to more serious problems others across the country face on a regular basis. Unfortunately, many of the issues Gambino spoke about in this song are still occurring in this country, which shows how critical it is that we listen to his message and work to solve these issues. 

 

Title: Mask Off

Artist: Future

Album: FUTURE

Released: April 18, 2017

Ironically, Future predicted the future with this song, as society today is dealing with the issue of trying to get people to wear masks. However, it has a much different meaning in this song, as the mask symbolizes people covering up their true selves. 

At the beginning of this song, Future mentions his nickname “Hendrix,” which is an ode to rock star Jimi Hendrix. Hendrix is seen as a revolutionary figure, as his electric guitar style was unlike anything ever seen in rock. In this song, Future seeks to be like Hendrix, as the title “Mask Off” is him saying he wants to show his true self and take risks with his rap career. Nowadays, whenever I hear this song, it makes me excited for the day that we’ll all be able to literally take our masks off and live life normally again. 

 

Title: Money Trees

Artist: Kendrick Lamar ft. Jay Rock

Album: good kid, m.A.A.d city

Released: October 22, 2012

Coming from one of the most popular albums in history, the song “Money Trees” sometimes gets lost in the shuffle. The slow yet lively beat of this song allows Lamar to tell an interesting story.

Lamar’s line “Halle Berry or hallelujah,” speaks to a problem that many have in this country, as many would choose money and power over doing the right thing. Later on in the song, Jay Rock comes in and notes how everyone says their goal is to go and achieve as much success as they can in life. In order to achieve this success the right way, we must always remember where we came from and give back to and inspire that community. Overall, this song reaches the conclusion that we do not have to choose between success and doing the right thing, as it is possible to do both as long as we remain humble. 

 

Title: Best Day Ever

Artist: Mac Miller

Album: Best Day Ever

Released: March 11, 2011

“Best Day Ever,” by Mac Miller, has an uplifting and positive message. The quick, spirited beat of this song fits perfectly with the lyrics, as Miller reflects on the success  he has achieved in life. When this song came out, Miller was at the apex of his career after becoming one of the most popular rappers of all time. 

What made Miller such a great rapper was the amount of dedication and love he had for his music and his fans. Miller constantly looked to improve, saying, “If it ain’t about a dream then it ain’t about me.” This positive attitude is one that can speak to all of us, as we must appreciate and value ourselves, while still always trying to improve. This song is perfect to play during a tough workout or while studying for a difficult test, as the uplifting beat and lyrics always make me push myself to get better. 

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