Welcome to a new feature on SpeedontheBeat.com called "Rejected." In this series, I'll open up even more than I usually do and talk about some times that I've been rejected, either by women or job/writing/rap opportunities because rejection only makes you stronger. Today, we're talking my "legacy" with someone I'll name later, in some way.
As an artist, I’m deeply personal. So, it’s no surprise that I used the platform to talk about love and relationships. Or the lack thereof.
As I’m on the precipice of my ten-year high school reunion, I’m reminded of one of the biggest failures I had, love-wise. In high school, I was a loser, and not the sorest kind, either. I had friends, I did my music, and so on. But, I wasn’t winning any popularity contests—aside from class president, but that’s another story. Additionally, I had some pretty unrequited feelings for a young woman. For the sake of me not getting sued (even though pictures are still out there, I've been asked NOT to show them here), I’ll refer to her as Ms. Pink Jacket. Why "Ms. Pink Jacket?" She will be named such because she used to wear pink a lot more than other colors.
Ms. Pink Jacket was one of the few young folks who gave a damn about me in some way. This led to me, as many had before me, catching feelings for Ms. Pink Jacket. After I tried to date her, she said no. But, me being young, dumb, and full of…teen spirit, I misinterpreted her words, feelings, kisses on the cheek, and whatnot as advances. Elated, yet confused, I started vibing to music to guide me through it.
I listened to Eminem talk about Kim and 50 talk about his “Baltimore Love Thing,” even though I knew it was really about drugs. I listened to LL talking about how much he needed love. It sounded corny to me, then, classic or otherwise, but I still related. However, above all others, Em spoke to me most.
Eminem’s struggles with the complexities of his feelings for Kim and others who” wronged” him, I could see myself in those bars in a way.
Eminem used his lyrics as therapy of sorts. For every moment where he stuffed Kim in a trunk, there was a moment where he acknowledged they were responsible for Hailie. I used my bars as therapy for heartbreak, teenage angst, and dealing with a tumultuous childhood, so I could vibe. But, rappers like Eminem sometimes have a hard time fully discussing love until it is right at their doorstep. That’s why we relate to them in their darkest, most vulnerable hours. That’s why I connected most with songs like “Superman,” “97’ Bonnie and Clyde,” and others. I felt vulnerable, and while I wasn’t Em-like personally, I related to the pain.
We often put ourselves into our favorite artists’ shoes because we understand the feeling of lost love, lost family, and just plain loss. These bars often, subconsciously, take cues from poetic visionaries such as Shakespeare, Petrarch and other people who vividly showcased emotions versus just “I love you.” You could argue that Drake’s unrequited situations are modern-day versions of Petrarch’s Laura poems; they feature someone pining over women he can’t—or shouldn’t—have.
So what did I do regarding Ms. Pink Jacket? Again, I wasn’t stuffing her in a trunk, and I wasn’t her child’s father. I was just me, wackily Petrarching for my puppy love Laura.
I rapped to guide me through it, finally. Since I was broke and unsigned, I would hop on industry beats. Specifically, I created a loop of Kanye’s Freshman Adjustment intro. Perfect fit, I thought, for a song where my feels would be on display. Since Eminem’s struggles with Kim were the most relatable version for me, the first verse began as such:
I used to liken you Kim to my Eminem/But we weren’t a couple…not now and not then.
I wanted to stop talking about the situation right then; comparing puppy love to the object of so many of Eminem’s barbs is a bit tricky, confusing even. It sets up for some wild conversations at a high school reunion. But, I was a teen in “love.” So, music and my feelings took control. I poured my “soul” out through that track and probably made things worse for myself with this girl through some insinuations. On top of that, I pretty much said “Hey Miss, I love you, even though I don’t really understand what the hell love is.”
To this day, I’m unsure if Ms. Pink Jacket heard the track. I pray she didn’t. But, she probably knows about it now. My bad for being stupid. No, that isn’t a “hey, at our reunion, let’s ‘link up’” invitation. It’s a genuine “I’m sorry from the pit of my soul. Let’s be cool again if the cards should align that way.” Besides, I’m practically married these days because of my dealings with her.
The situation taught me patience and to not spaz in music anytime someone said “eh, we could date, but…” Musically, I started to vibe more with songs like K.R.I.T.’s “Do You Love Me.” As I matured, I went for slightly more subdued looks at love and relationships than Eminem ranting about killing Kim and driving Hailie to the beach. I don't need those problems.
Truth be told, even when you’re coming from an honest place, your emotions can get the best of you. Look at Drake using ol’ girl’s voice on “Marvin’s Room.” She made some decent money off of that because of his emotional decision to include her to set the mood of the track. He also didn’t clear the sample, but that’s another issue. The point is: love—and emotions—can make you do some crazy, irrational things, musically or otherwise.
“Speed, what happened to the song,” you may ask.
I ended up parts of it on my The Sorest Loser project. The reimagined “Stuck on H.E.R.” began to, instead of taking heed from Em, Drake, or even K.R.I.T.’s comparisons of love to a clean-ass car, take guidance from another side of the feels fence.
Instead of singing love songs about a woman, I rapped about a “woman.” That is, the personification of hip-hop as seen by Common, for instance, in his classic “I Still Love H.E.R.” After all these years, it just felt right to do so and revisit these feelings and transplant them into my feelings about my place in rap.
Long story short, unless you can live without regretting your decision to talk about the person you’ve got feelings for, I’d stay away from dropping Loverman tracks. You don’t want to end up like me. Leave it to the professionals who give less than a tenth of a fuck.