As of yesterday, I’ve officially been a resident of the DC area for slightly over a month and a half. Whether on the train, bus or walking the streets of ‘The District,’ you can find me with a set earphones zoning out to whatever my shuffle playlist deems necessary. Barack’s new place of residence has always been a personal favorite of mine since the days of the late ’90s when I would visit my uncle for seemingly weeks at a time. However, after his death in 1999 due to colon cancer, my visits to this place became rare…sometimes years in between. Life has a weird way of taking you full circle and I’d be lying if I said I don’t think about him every time I walk through his city. None more so than the other day.
While waiting on the bus heading towards Georgetown’s campus, Kanye appeared on that same shuffle playlist. Considering his recent actions, I’ve been highly critical of homie because, simply put, it was an idiotic move on a huge stage. Anyway, after letting his incredibly personal ode to his lifeline, “Family Business’” play three consecutive times, I completely forgot. As I’ve said numerous times before, I try to keep it strictly music with artists because that’s all I really owe them. This classic College Dropout cut was the Kanye he and the media don’t necessarily portray anymore. Humble, reflective, passionate and extremely relatable. All reasons why I became an instant fan of the Chi-Town beatsmith in 2004.
Without speaking for everyone else’s family, mine is tight, but the circle is limited. Not in a sense where we shut anyone out by any means, but you know who has your best interest at heart at the end of the day. With each lyric laid down over this reflective, yet soul piercing instrumental, I felt everything Dr. West’s baby boy reminisced upon. Looking at deceased family members portraits, those annoying cousins and even being cramped in a bed with some by the head and some by the leg, hell, I’ve done all that plus more. Quite frankly, I wouldn’t change it for anything in the world because it’s those memories which serve as the foundation of my life. I hate to sound overly introspective, but I get like that every time I hear this record. Navigating through the city with this ringing in my ears allows me to chop it up with my uncle in some odd musical parallel world-sense…even if it is only for four minutes and 39 seconds.
I’m eternally appreciative for the near thirteen years I had with my mother’s brother. That’s more than some people get, ya know? But as much as this audio scrapbook forces you to look back, anticipating the future is its most overlooked aspect. Honestly, “Family Business” is Hip-Hop gospel music. It’s touching, it’s emotional and uplifting all at the same time. Who knows if ‘Ye even listens to this anymore? Maybe he should because, if nothing else, it’ll serve as a reality check. Lord knows we all need those at some point.
Download — Kanye West – “Family Business”
Daniel Joseph – Mission Possible EP
Menace II Society OST
W. Ellington Felton & Raheem Devaughn Are CrossRhodes