Song of the Day: Talib Kweli “Get By”

Everybody has his or her own idea of what Hip Hop is. Most of what people debate with regards to, “what is and is not Hip Hop,” should be more accurately phrased as, “when was Hip Hop.” Depending on how old you are and when in the course of your journey Hip Hop made it’s way into your music library often dictates what Hip Hop you consider true school. For me it’s the early 90s.

As I’ve gotten older and watched Hip Hop change I often find myself thinking, “the kids these days,” or, “you call this Hip Hop?” But the truth is that Hip Hop, just as in all genres, is for the people and the masses decide what is worthwhile. Sadly commercial radio and media seems to be geared toward selling music as opposed to creating an avenue to explore it. Nothing is easier to sell than sex, drugs and the rock stars that seem to have both in abundance.

Unfortunately it often seems to this DJ that tracks with a positive or intelligent message lose their impact at the gut level. But when the merger of conscious lyrics and great production does happen what you have raises the hair on your arms and makes you want to start a movement to better man kind… at least for a minute. For me Talib Kweli’s “Get By” is one of those tracks.

Talib Kweli Greene (aka Talib Kweli) hails from Brooklyn, New York. His first name in Arabic means “student” or “seeker” (طالب); his middle name in Swahili means “true”. Combine a name like that with a mom who is an English professor and you have a recipe for an incredible MC.

“Get By” is an awesome example of rhythm and word play. The message urges people to look at their life style but offers compassion for those caught up in drugs and crime. For me the chorus says it all. To wake up in the morning, every morning, and live through life’s highs and lows with simple goal to lead a better life, “just to get by.”

This morning, I woke up
Feeling brand new and I jumped up
Feeling my highs, and my lows
In my soul, and my goals
Just to stop smokin, and stop drinkin
And I’ve been thinkin – I’ve got my reasons
Just to get (by), just to get (by)
Just to get (by), just to get (by)

As a side note this track was produced by Kanye West before he got big… and ridiculous.

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