Tag: hip hop

New Video: Grieves’ Call to Celebrate and Live Life Urgently in Visuals for “A-Okay”

Benjamin Laub, best known in hip-hop circles as Grieves is a  Chicago, IL-born, Seattle, WA-based emcee, by way of New York, Colorado and San Diego, CA, who with the release of his first four full-length albums — 2007’s independently released album Irreversible, 2010’s Budo-produced 88 Keys & Counting, 2011’s Budo-produced Together/Apart, and 2014’s Winter & the Wolves — has managed to achieve critical and commercial success; in fact, 2011’s Together/Apart debuted at #112 on the Billboard Top 200, and 2014’s Winter & the Wolves debuted at #57 on the Billboard Top 200.

His Chords-produced fifth, full-length album Running Wild was released earlier this year through renowned indie hip-hop label Rhymesayers Entertainment, the label home of JOVM mainstay Atmosphere and others, and if you had been frequenting this site around then, you’d recall that album single “What It Dew” found the Seattle-based emcee focusing on succeeding against all odds, despite haters and naysayers over a swaggering and soulful production consisting of electric guitar, boom bap beats, brief bursts of organ and swirling electronics. But underneath the swaggering and slick production and witty punchlines is a honest devotion to pure hip hop — i.e., dope production and dope emcee paired together. 

Running Wild’s latest single “A-Okay” features yet another soulful production consisting of stuttering drum programming, twinkling organ, a sinuous bass line and warm blasts of guitar paired with an infectious hook but at its core is a call to celebrate and live life with  urgency and passion as the song finds the renowned Seattle-based emcee essentially saying “life is short, and sometimes we gotta turn this motherfucker out and cherish the small things”  because ultimately, life is about the small things: the smile of a potential lover at the club or at the bar, the drinks and bullshitting about music, life and art with friends, listening to your favorite song on your headphones or at your favorite bar, etc. And as a result, the song manages to feel appreciative, as its narrator recognizes how truly blessed they are to be alive and in the moment. 

Directed by Ryan “Pants” Gross,” the recently released video for “A-Okay explores a series of carefree and fun situations through the eyes of a stereotypically miserable Debbie Downer type. As the renowned emcee comments, “Life is way too short to be mad at other people’s enjoyment. Go out and live a little, rent a hot tub boat, get your butt touched, whatever…Just smile!”

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New Video: JOVM Mainstay Statik Selektah Teams Up with The Lox on the Boom Bap-Era Inspired Single “But You Don’t Hear Me Tho”

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site throughout the course of the past five years or so, you’ve come across a handful of posts mentioning or featuring Statik Selektah, a Boston, MA-born, New York-based DJ, producer, radio producer and founder of ShowOff Records, who’s also one-half of hip-hop duo 1982 with frequent collaborator Termanology.  And as you may recall, the Boston-born, New York-based producer, born Patrik Baril, much like anyone who’s involved in music, was introduced to music at a very young age; in fact, he can trace the origins of his own musical career to when he began experimenting with his parents’ eight-track tape deck, cassette recorders and turntables. By middle school, Baril had begun DJ’ing school functions, but as the story goes, Baril became truly inspired to be a producer and turntabilist after hearing DJ Premier and Funkmaster Flex on Hot 97.

As a high schooler, Baril, named himself DJ Statik — the Selektah came much later, after he had heard a local reggae artist say it — and began doing radio at Phillips Exeter Academy‘s radio station, WPEA, and where he also occasionally DJ’ed some of the Afro-Latino Society Parties. He began to DJ clubs and private clubs throughout New England; however, by 2000, Baril had returned to Boston, where he pursued an audio production degree at the New England Institute of Art. Around that time, Baril began releasing a mixtape series titled “Spell My Name Right,” which he then followed several years later by creating ShowOff Marketing, which eventually had Reebok, G-Unit Records, Virgin Records, Capitol Records and Puff Daddy‘s Vote or Die Campaign as clients, before spinning off into a label, which released Termanology’s Out the Gate and Baril’s 2007 debut Spell My Name Right.

Since the release of his 2007 debut, Statik Selektah has released 7 more albums including his 2010 breakthrough 100 Proof: The Hangover, an effort that eventually reached #37 on Billboard‘s Heatseekers Chart, and has produced and collaborated with an incredibly diverse list of artists including Freeway, Strong Arm Steady and others. Statik Selektah’s eighth, full-length album, the aptly titled 8 was released yesterday — December 8, 2017, which may be rather auspicious — through his own ShowOff Records, and the album has the renowned producer 

Statik Selektah’s eighth full-length album, aptly titled 8 is slated for an auspicious December 8, 2017 release through his own ShowOff Records, and the album finds the renowned producer collaborating with a who’s who’s list of contemporary hip-hop including 2 Chainz, Wiz Khalifa, Action Bronson, Wale, G. Eazy  Joey Bada$$, PnB Rock, the late Sean Price and others. Album singles like the Pete Rock-like“No. 8,” a collaboration with Conway, Westside Gunn and frequent collaborator, the aformentioned Termanology and the neo-soul-inspired “Ain’t A Damn Thing Changed,” a collaboration with  a backing band consisting of Brady Watt (bass), a member of The Lesson and DJ Premier’s backing band, Cas Weinbren (keys) Utril Rhaburn (horns),  Enisa (vocals), G. Eazy and Joey Bada$$  further cemented Baril as one of contemporary hip-hop’s best producers. 

The album’s latest single “But You Don’t Hear Me Tho” is collaboration with The Lox and Mtune featuring golden era-inspired production consisting of a looped sample of twinkling keys, blasts of horn and tweeter and woofer rocking, boom bap beats, and the old school-like production is roomy enough for the members of The Lox (Styles P., Jadakiss and Sheek Louch) to trade bars reminiscing about what hip-hop has -meant to them as people and artists, while making pointed commentary on the fickleness of the industry. Along with that, each emcee seems thankful that they’ve managed to survive the trails and tribulations they’ve faced but underneath the surface is a rather profound question of where they’d be without their love affair with hip-hop. 

Directed by Najee Evans, the video features the renowned producer with his adorable daughter, as he takes her to his favorite record store to crate dig but perhaps more important, the video is a revelatory flashback on his career, featuring cameos from Joey Bada$$, DJ Premier, Lord Finesse, Buckwild, Westside Gunn, Conway, as well as footage of The Lox. 

New Video: Everest, Psycho Realm’s Sick Jacken, and Rhyme Syndicate’s Divine Styler Team Up on Gritty, Boom Bap-Inspired Single

WARPORN Industries is an art/hip-hop collective comprised of Everlast, Psycho Realm’s Sick Jacken and Rhyme Syndicate’s Divine Styler and the trio’s latest single “A Day In The Life” off their debut mixtape Warporn features the trio rhyming about balancing the difficulties of improving oneself and the conflicts of brotherhood while on the come up. And they do so over an old school/golden age hip-hop-influenced production featuring tweeter and woofer rocking, boom bap beats, a looped horn solo and some explosive scratching. As the trio’s Divine Styler says in press notes . . . “We must go through it, to get it.” 

Directed by Chad A. Marshall, the gritty and recently released video focuses on the difficult decisions between loyalty and getting yours, of the struggle between the call of the street and of your art, and so on. 

New Video: The Surreal and Lysergic Visuals for Jesse Medina’s Woozy Collaboration with Kool Keith

Jesse Medina is an up-and-coming San Jose, CA-born, Bay Area-based emcee whose life experience has helped influence him and his sound. Growing up, he moved from place to place and was raised by various family members in different socioeconomic situations and different environments, frequently hanging out with skaters, stoners, hippies, punk rockers and others, and as a result he has an incredibly unique style. Medina’s latest single, which was released through Granjer Records, “Chasin’ Franklin” features the up-and-coming Bay Area-based emcee collaborating with the renowned and legendary Kool Keith, as the duo trade bars over a slurring and sloshing Mr. Aeks production comprised of layers of bleating horns, sputtering boom bap beats.

Unsurprisingly, the drunkenly slurring track is specifically meant to be a celebration of excess and hedonism as both emcees make copious references to drinking, drug use, womanizing and misbehaving, as well as the prerequisite braggadocio about how dope they are as emcees; but what makes the track wild to me, is that both emcees trade menacing and surrealistic verses, full of left-field, complex inner and outer rhyme schemes, with each emcee weaving their verses within the mix like two wobbling and tumbling drunks.

Directed by Matt Posada of Film Block Productions is a hazily lysergic video, rooted around lines like “Acid trippin,’ fuckin’ in the kitchen,” featuring some bizarre, yet sensual imagery and a guest appearance by Kool Keith’s alter ego, Dr. Octagon.   


Comprised of Posdnuos, Dave and Maseo, De La Soul is arguably one of hip-hop’s most beloved and influential acts. thanks in part to their use of incredibly clever and quirky word play, innovative and soulful sampling and hilarious skits; in fact, perhaps unsurprisingly, Mos Def has openly cited them as a major influence on the early part of his career. And although their seminal debut 3 Feet High Rising may be their most commercially successful release – perhaps in part to the success of singles like “Me, Myself, and I,” which employed the use of a sample from Parliament’s “Not Just Knee Deep” and the Native Tongues anthem “Buddy” – they’ve managed to release a number of critically applauded albums including De La Soul Is Dead, Buhloone Mindstate and Stakes Is High among others.

I caught the legendary hip-hop trio at The Meadows Festival earlier this year, and they were among one of the festival’s most memorable and most fun  career spanning sets featuring songs off  3 Feet High Rising, De La Soul Is Dead, Buhloone Mindstate and Stakes Is High and their critically applauded  . . . And the Anonymous Nobody, which was released last year. Album single “Pain,” a collaboration with Snoop Dogg featured some of the most incredible bars in recent memory over a soulful, Roy Ayers-like production featuring twinkling keys paired with thumping, tweeter and woofer rocking beats.

Recently the JOVM mainstay artist Rhythm Scholar  remixed De La’s “Pain” with his imitable and effortless mashup/remix that retains the song’s woozy, soulful vibe but further emphasizes it with samples from Oliver  “Heart Attack,” feat the aforementioned De La Soul,The CommodoresI Like What You Do” and “Brick House” — with Keith Holden (bass), and Mr. Fender Rhodes (Fender Rhodes). And although the Rhythm Scholar remix turns the song into a 70s disco-inspired club banger, complete with explosive horns. Interestingly, the Rhythm Scholar doesn’t include Snoop’s verse — and the remix is so slick that you don’t notice it.

 

 

 

Born Patrick Baril, Statik Selektah is a Boston, MA-born, New York-based DJ, producer, radio producer and founder of Showoff Records, as well as one-half of hip-hop duo 1982 with frequent collaborator Termanology. Much like anyone who’s involved in music in some way or another, Baril was introduced to music at a very young age, and he can trace the origins of his own career to when he began experimenting with his parents’ eight-track tape deck, cassette recorders and turntables. Unsurprisingly, Baril began DJ’ing school functions as a middle schooler; but as the story goes, a young Baril was truly inspired to be a producer and turntabilist after hearing the likes of DJ Premier and Funkmaster Flex on Hot 97.

As a high schooler, Baril, named himself DJ Statik — the Selektah came much later, after he had heard a local reggae artist say it — and began doing radio at Phillips Exeter Academy‘s radio station, WPEA, and where he also occasionally DJ’ed some of the Afro-Latino Society Parties. He began to DJ clubs and private clubs throughout New England; however, by 2000, Baril had returned to Boston, where he pursued an audio production degree at the New England Institute of Art. Around that time, Baril began releasing a mixtape series titled “Spell My Name Right,” which he then followed several years later by creating ShowOff Marketing, which eventually had ReebokG-Unit RecordsVirgin RecordsCapitol Records and Puff Daddy‘s Vote or Die Campaign as clients, before spinning into a label, which released Termanology’s Out the Gate and his 2007 debut Spell My Name Right.

Since the release of his 2007 debut, Statik Selektah has released 6 more albums including his 2010 breakthrough 100 Proof: The Hangover, an effort that eventually reached #37 on Billboard‘s Heatseekers Chart, and has produced and collaborated with an incredibly diverse list of artists including FreewayStrong Arm Steady and others.

Statik Selektah’s eighth full-length album, aptly titled is slated for an auspicious December 8, 2017 release through his own ShowOff Records, and the album finds the renowned producer collaborating with a who’s who’s list of contemporary hip-hop including 2 ChainzWiz KhalifaAction BronsonWale, G. Eazy  Joey Bada$$PnB Rock, the late Sean Price and others. Now, as you may recall, the album’s title track “No. 8” found the renowned producer pairing his golden era hip-hop inspired production featuring enormous, tweeter and woofer rocking 808s and a jazzy sample reminiscent of Pete Rock with ConwayWestside Gunn and frequent collaborator, the aformentioned Termanology contributing some fiery and swaggering bars.

“Ain’t A Damn Thing Changed”  8‘s latest single is a warm and neo-soul leaning production featuring a backing band consisting of Brady Watt (bass), a member of The Lesson and DJ Premier’s backing band, contributing a sinuous and strutting bass line, Cas Weinbren (keys) contributing twinkling, arpeggiated keys, Utril Rhaburn (horns), contributing some mournful horns fed through gentle washes of reverb, enormous, twitter and woofer rocking 808s and some incredible scratching from Statik Selektah and a soulfully sung hook from Enisa. And the production is roomy enough for G. Eazy and Joey Bada$$ to trade bars about achieving  success beyond their wildest dreams and yet finding that many aspects of their lives have ironically remained the same; they may have a multi-million dollar home but find themselves struggling to pay for it, they’re still scheming for the next opportunity — and while we may still admire them and their incredible talents, what both emcees suggest is that if you didn’t know who they were, they lead fairly average albeit very odd lives. While further cementing Baril as one of contemporary hip-hop’s best producers, 8‘s latest single may arguably be one of his most straightforwardly soulful and contemplative tracks he’s ever released.

 

Both as a solo artist, who released four highly acclaimed albums during his life — 2005’s Monkey Barz, 2007’s Jesus Price Supastar, 2012’s Songs in the Key of Price, and as member of Boot Camp Clik and of one half of hip-hop duo, Heltah Skeltah, and as a member of Random Axe with Guilty Simpson and Black MilkSean Price established himself as one of underground hip-hop’s most beloved and renowned emcees.  Since his death in 2015, there has been quite bit of material release posthumously, including Coalmine Records’ Record Store Day, Black Friday release, “Refrigerator P,” a collaborative effort between Philadelphia-based producer Small Professor and Sean Price that features Price’s Heltah Skeltah partner Rock. Of course, if you’ve been frequenting this site throughout it’s almost eight year history, you’d know that I prefer my hip hop to be rough, rugged and raw street shit — and this track is arguably one of the most rugged tracks I’ve heard this month, as Price spit bars full of references to the Super Bowl XX Champion Chicago Bears over an enormous and menacing production featuring a looped string sample and tweeter and woofer rocking beats. The hook features Price teaming up with his longtime Heltah Skeltah partner Rock while renowned turntabilist DJ Revolution scratches. Certainly, this track should stay as a reminder of Sean P’s incredible talent and how sorely its missed.

 

 

 

 

New Video: The Gritty Sounds and Visuals of Frank B’s Collaboration with Heltah Skeltah’s Rock “Brooklyn Vs. All”

Up-and-coming Brooklyn-born emcee Frank B first emerged into the national scene with an appearance on Missy Elliott’s UPN series, The Road to Stardom with Missy Elliott , which resulted with him landing a record deal with Elliott’s imprint Gold Mine Records; however, the Brooklyn-based emcee is now doing things on his own with his own imprint Nobel House — and with his new imprint, the Brooklyn-based emcee hopes to enter 2018 in a big way with the release of his forthcoming album Let Me Be Frank, which will feature guest spots from Pro Era’s Nyck Caution, Onyx’s Sticky Fingaz, Heltah Skeltah and Boot Camp Clik’s Rock and a lengthy list of others. 

Let Me Be Frank’s latest single, the GIT Beats-produced”Brooklyn Vs. All” finds the up-and-coming Brooklyn-born-and-based emcee teaming up with renowned, fellow Brooklynite, Rock. Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the course of its almost eight year history, you’d know that if I usually prefer my hip-hop to be rough, rugged and raw street shit — and “Brooklyn Vs. All” fits that mold, as the GIT Beats production consists of tweeter and woofer rocking beats and ominous instrumentation over which both emcees spit about their hometown with dexterous word play and complex rhyme schemes lovingly and realistically describing the starkness and beauty of their home borough. 

Directed by Mike D. Visuals, the noir-ish visuals manage to emphasize the grittiness and desperation of the song — featuring footage shot in bleak back alleys, basements and industrial areas during dreary Northeastern fall days and nights. But it also nods to the fact that there really ain’t anyplace on Earth like Brooklyn. 

New Video: Statik Selektah Teams Up with Conway Westside Gunn and Termanology on Swaggering and Gritty Track off Producer’s Soon-to-Be Released Album

Born Patrick Baril, Statik Selektah is a Boston, MA-born, New York-based DJ, producer, radio producer and founder of Showoff Records, as well as one-half of hip-hop duo 1982 with frequent collaborator Termanology. Interestingly enough, much like anyone who’s involved in music in some way or another, Baril was introduced to music at a very young age, and he can trace the origins of his own career to when he began experimenting with his parents’ eight-track tape deck, cassette recorders and turntables. Unsurprisingly, Baril began DJ’ing school functions as a middle schooler; but as the story goes, a young Baril was truly inspired to be a producer and turntabilist after hearing the likes of DJ Premier and Funkmaster Flex on Hot 97.

As a high schooler, Baril, named himself DJ Statik — the Selektah came much later, after he had heard a local reggae artist say it — and began doing radio at Phillips Exeter Academy’s radio station, WPEA, and where he also occasionally DJ’ed some of the Afro-Latino Society Parties. He began to DJ clubs and private clubs throughout New England; however, by 2000, Baril had returned to Boston, where he pursued an audio production degree at the New England Institute of Art. Around that time, Baril began releasing a mixtape series titled “Spell My Name Right,” which he then followed several years later by creating ShowOff Marketing, which eventually had Reebok, G-Unit Records, Virgin Records, Capitol Records and Puff Daddy’s Vote or Die Campaign as clients, before spinning into a label, which released Termanology’s Out the Gate and his 2007 debut Spell My Name Right.

Since the release of his 2007 debut, Statik Selektah has released 6 more albums including his 2010 breakthrough 100 Proof: The Hangover, an effort that eventually reached #37 on Billboard’s Heatseekers Chart, and has produced and collaborated with an incredibly diverse list of artists including Freeway, Strong Arm Steady and others.

Statik Selektah’s eighth full-length album, aptly titled 8 is slated for an auspicious December 8, 2017 release through his own ShowOff Records, and the album finds the renowned producer collaborating with a who’s who’s list of contemporary hip-hop including 2 Chainz, Wiz Khalifa, Action Bronson, Wale, G-Eazy, Joey Bada$$, PnB Rock,  the late Sean Price and others. The album’s latest single, album title track “8” finds the producer pairing his golden era production featuring enormous 808s and a bluesy and jazzy sample reminiscent of Pete Rock with Conway, Westside Gunn and frequent collaborator Termanology contributing some fiery and swaggering bars. While Hot 97 may be playing Future and god knows what else, thankfully, there’s real hip-hop like I remember still being made and released.

The recently released video begins with footage of an actual shooting in Buffalo that took place while recording the scene introducing Conway. The video then introduces Westside outside of a cheesesteak place and Termanology on a stoop serving as a reminder that hip-hop is always about the streets. 

 
 

Live Footage: Bilal and The Roots Perform Politically-Charged Single “It Ain’t Fair” on NPR Tiny Desk Concert

Currently comprised of founding members Tariq  “Black Thought” Trotter (vocals), Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson (drums), along with Kamal Gray (keys), “Captain” Kirk Douglas (guitar), Damon Bryson, a.k.a. Tuba Gooding, Jr. (sousaphone, tuba), Mark Kelley (bass), James Poyster (keys), Stro Elliot (production, sampling), The Roots can trace their origins back to when its founding duo met while attending The Philadelphia High School of the Creative and Performing Arts. As the story goes, Trotter and Thompson would busk on street corners — with Thompson playing bucket drums and Trotter rhyming over Thompson’s rhythms, and by 1989, the played their first organized gig at their high school’s talent show under the name Radio Activity.

After a series of name changes including Black to the Future and The Square Roots, the duo eventually settled on The Roots, after discovering that a local folk group went by The Square Roots.  As they were building up a local profile, the duo expanded into a full-fledged band with the addition of Josh “The Rubberband” Adams, who later went on to form The Josh Abrams Quartet; MC Malik Abdul “Malik B.” Basit-Smart, Leonard Nelson “Hub” Hubbard (bass); Scott Storch (keys); MC Kenyatta “Kid Crumbs” Warren, who was in the band for the recording sessions for Organix, the band’s full-length debut; and MC Dice Raw, who made cameos on later albums. And although the band has gone through a number of lineup changes since the release of their debut, The Roots throughout the course of their critically applauded, 10 independently released albums, two EPs and two collaborative albums have developed a reputation for a sound that effortlessly meshes live, organic instrumentation featuring a jazz, funk and soul approach with hip-hop, essentially becoming one of the genre’s first true bands. Additionally, throughout their lengthy history together, the members of The Roots have developed a long-held reputation for collaborating with a diverse and expanding list of artists across a wide array of genres and styles, revealing an effortless ability to play anything at any time.

Of course, unless you’ve been living in a remote Tibetan monastery or in a cave, The Roots have been the house band for NBC’s Late Night with Jimmy Fallon from 2009-2014 and for presently being the house band The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, further expanding their profile into the national and international consciousness. And while being extraordinarily busy, the members of The Roots have been busy working on their 9th Wonder and Salaam Remi-produced 17th full-length album End Game, as well as contributing a politically charged track to the Detroit soundtrack, “It Ain’t Fair,” a collaboration with the renowned soul singer/songwriter Bilal.

Born Bilal Sayeed Oliver, Bilal is a Philadelphia, PA-born, New York-based soul singer/songwriter, best known by the mononym Bilal. Throughout his career, he’s received praise for his wide vocal range, work across multiple genres, his live performances and for collaborating with the likes of Kendrick Lamar, Common, Erykah Badu, Jay-Z, Beyonce, Guru, Kimbra, J. Dilla, Robert Glasper, Esperanza Spalding, the aforementioned The Roots and others with his full-length debut 1st Born Second, which featured contributions from Soulquarians and production from Dr. Dre and J. Dilla being a commercial and critical success, peaking at number 31 on the Billboard 200 charts and receiving comparisons to Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Sly & The Family Stone, Prince and Curtis Mayfield.  Although since then, the renowned singer/songwriter has developed an increasing reputation for his work becoming much more avant-garde and genre-defying.

Interestingly enough, Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter and Damon Bryson, a.k.a. Tuba Gooding, Jr. of The Roots and Bilal, along with a horn section went down to NPR Tiny Desk in Washington, DC to perform “It Ain’t Fair,” a deeply reflective song that thematically and lyrically makes a thoughtful nod towards Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On?, Syl Johnson’s Is It Because I’m Black? and others, as its creators unflinchingly and fearlessly call out a societal construct that denies a group of people the equality, dignity and decency that they too deserve. The song’s creators manage to empathetically offer a glimpse into the hearts and souls of those who love this country and would like to stand for the flag but simply can’t until the evils of inequality, racism and supremacy no longer exist — and when this great country actually lives up the ideals it claims it stands for. 

As I mentioned on Facebook, I was recently in Philadelphia for business related to my day job, and as I walked from my hotel in Center City through Old City, past The Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, I recognized that I was walking on many of the streets that the Framers once walked on, as I’ve done several times before. I could picture ol’ Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, John Hancock, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton and so on, in their powered wigs and wool coats during that hot summer of 1776. And the song managed to remind me of the bitter and uneasy sadness I had begun to feel, remembering that the Framers, who could write about man’s inalienable rights given to him by God, didn’t see those same rights applying to anyone, who remotely looked like I do (or anyone, who wasn’t a man, or a property owner, etc.); that their independence, their revolution was never mine. The Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the pledge allegiance to the flag just didn’t apply to me.

If I go back just five generations ago, my ancestors on both sides of my family were slaves. Five generations ago wasn’t that long ago in the overall scheme of things — we’re talking about the parents of my great-grandparents. And on the streets of the City of Independence, I thought of the unfathomable horror and suffering they went through to justify someone else’s desire to be superior — and naturally, the song reminds me quite a bit of a lifelong bitter pill that’s so very difficult to swallow.