Tuesday, November 24, 2009

On the Run With Erykah Badu's Hip Hop Opera

Really, Erykah had a movie in her head with the songs discussed in this post: "Other Side of the Game," on Baduizm, then "On the Grind" and "Danger" both on Worldwide Underground.

First, in "Other Side of the Game" (lyrics) the protagonist tells the story of her love for and concern about her man, only referred to as "Brother," who graduated from high school, but does not work a regular job: "Brother's got this complex occupation." Then in "The Grind" (lyrics) which features Dead Prez, the story moves forward from the perspective of the male (someone else connected this song to the story for me).

"Danger" opens with the sound of sirens and a call from Brother who's in the penitentiary. The protagonist goes on the run with the baby she mentioned possibly in "Other Side of the Game" (the seed has grown and I can't make it on my own . . . what we gonna do? . . . We gon' make it, me, you, and the baby . . .).  She also mentions "mama's gun" in "Danger," which is the name of the album that preceded "Worldwide Underground."

There are a number of songs on Mama's Gun that could possibly fit in between "Other Side of the Game" and "Danger." (Someone uploaded the entire Mama's Gun album on YouTube since I first wrote this post.) It opens with "Penitentiary Philosophy," but I think the speaker's only figuratively locked up. The next song on the album, "Didn't Cha Know," is about making a wrong turn in life. I've put the album at the end of this post even though it fits in the middle of the story. Maybe you'll pinpoint which songs belong to the "Other Side of the Game" story line. By the way, if you're unfamiliar with Mama's Gun, you should know that there's no song on the album that's actually entitled "Mama's Gun." Deal with it. She's a poet, so what does it mean, what does it mean, right?

"Other Side of the Game"

"The Grind"

"Danger"

Mama's Gun, full album, choose a song or songs that you think fits in the middle of the story.

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