After listening to the song that my classmate suggested, it struck me that a lot of the songs that Lupe produces are a form of protest poetry. Looking specifically at the song “Jonylah Forever”, Lupe outlines an idyllic history where the baby killed in the shooting gradually grows up(with Lupe highlighting specific moments at specific ages), intellectually curious, to become a brilliant doctor who chooses to use her talents in a way that helps the poor community she came from:
“But your father taught you work hard and achieve. And you complied, accepted by every medical school you applied. But the coolest thing–when they offered you that high paying spot, you replied, ‘they need me in the hood’ and that’s where you reside. Free clinic, nobody denied”
This struck me as a sort of protest, because the implications are that maybe if this little girl had not been claimed by the gun/gang violence of Chicago, she would have went on to grow into a positive part of the hood. Lupe seems to be offering the idea that such violence not only harms the victims, but the perpetrators(clearly a free clinic would be beneficial to gangs considering the violence they commit against one another) and well-being of the community, as a whole.
There several other Lupe songs that are examples of protest poetry. In January, Lupe was kicked off the stage for performing the song “Words I Never Said” that implicates Obama in the Gaza Strip bombing for his lack of response. “Gaza Strip was gettin bombed, Obama didn’t say shit. That’s why I aint vote for him”
The song he was performing
Actually, I’d say Lupe’s own style of rapping focused heavily on complex lyricism is a sort of a protest against the sort of gangsta rap, autotuned, dancing style of rap found heavily on the radio today. This song “Dumb it Down” depicts him refusing to dumb down his music for both the record labels and rap community… by making it as complex as possible, with the style, allusions, metaphors, etc. reflecting the message he’s trying to convey.