Monthly Archives: April 2012

No Church in the Wild: Why can’t more rap songs be like this?

Jay-Z & Frank Ocean diligently at work

It took almost eight months and a lonely drive back from Chattanooga before I finally came to appreciate the masterpiece that is “No Church In the Wild,” a song by legends Jay-Z & Kanye West(yes) and newcomer Frank Ocean.

I had heard the song on a countless number of occasions but why did it take this one listen for my ears to adjust to this excellent piece of music? The same reason why anyone likes a song months after they originally heard it: they weren’t listening to begin with.

After 37 or so more listens, I’ve become convinced that the track is a modern day classic. How many times will we see a mainstream rap song played across radio stations with references to the Holy Trinity, Plato’s Euthyphro, AND the Great Chain of Being?!?!

Illustration of The Great Chain of Being

Just think about this for a minute. At the height of his fame, veteran rapper Canibus was criticized for being too “intellectual” in his rhymes or “complicated.” I’ve heard friends shun Immortal Technique for this same reason. But two big time rappers just did the exact same thing and are preparing to release it as the last single for their album!

The main lyrics of the album that have me so fascinated are apart of the hook:

“Human beings in a mob
What’s a mob to a king? What’s a king to a God?
What’s a God to a non-believer who don’t believe in anything?
Will he make it out alive? Alright, alright, no church in the wild”

A.K.A.

King > Mob
God > King
God vs. Non-Believer??

Although I am a believer, I can appreciate it when music can make me think about my beliefs in life, and not just based on religion. The hook was so powerful to me that it has inspired my first movie script, which I will be posting in its entirety on One Brother to Another unless I decide otherwise.

But the major point of this post? A message for rappers today: I enjoy clubbing and losing my mind and going H.A.M. but why not switch it up every now and then and change the content of your lyrics? If you really want to be appreciated(as the waves of support and positive feedback this song has received shows), maybe you should try and make us fans want to pick up a book or do a Google search every now and then rather than pick up a bottle of Grey Goose.

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