theyskens’ theory tank top, earnest sewn jeans, rossmore necklace
Right now, I’m listening to Gil Scott-Heron and thinking about how things change. What starts off as something noteworthy, thought-provoking and with unlimited potential to change things for good often becomes watered down (at best) or completely divorced from its original meaning or intent (at worst).
For those unfamiliar, Scott-Heron was, unbeknownst to him at the time…and arguably unwanting of the title, a pioneer of hip-hop. Combining spoken word, melody, and music, he was able to highlight many social and political issues that the most often ignored segments of society face(d). Most known for songs “The Bottle” and “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised,” his aim was to exposing the struggles of everyday people in an artful and articulate way. His personal demons aside, he was a galvanizing figure whose work I greatly respect.
Now, hip-hop in its most recent iteration is a far, far cry from what Scott-Heron began in the late 1960s. The man himself noted the shift in his song “Message to the Messengers” where he challenged the new guard to be respectful, take responsibility for their neighborhoods, and stop propagating the same bullshit that was fed to them by the news through their music. He challenged them to be smarter and to treat their chosen profession as a master craftsman would his art.
Now, while “Get Low” by the Yin Yang Twins was something to marvel while I was a wild college student, I can’t consider a lot of what I’ve heard in recent memory (with the exception of Kendrick Lamar’s Good Kid, MAAD City and most of Jay-Z’s catalogue) artful or thoughtful. Very little of it makes me angry or makes me want to try to make the world a better place as much as it makes me want to dance or bob my head. I mean, I love hip-hop, but I’m sometimes disappointed because I can imagine what it could have been (full disclosure: I can probably tell you what happened on the last episode of Lazy Town before I could name 10 rappers who weren’t around 10 years ago, so I’m not the most qualified person on this subject…).
This is where I would have gone into drawing a parallel with blogging, but enough people have done that already. Things change. They evolve. And ultimately, we can’t track the trajectory of something or someone’s potential. There will always be what could have been and what was. As for what is…well, we might as well make the best of right now, enjoy it, and keep it moving.
I found two Theyskens’ Theory tank tops at Crossroads for $16 a pop. They’re collectors items now, so I bought them.