Motiv8

At 12:01am I was sitting at my table, Tidal open and headphones in ear, as I listened to undoubtedly my favorite rapper of this generation release his fifth studio album; and I have to tell you from the very first listen to now I have not been disappointed.

J Cole’s new album entitled KOD dropped and by 12:02am the internet and rap world caught on fire.

What does  KOD stand for?

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From the artwork to the track listing it was clear that my boy did not come around to f**k around.

Disclaimer: This isn’t an album review.  I REPEAT, THIS IS NOT AN ALBUM REVIEW.

I love love love this album and maybe at a later time I’ll give my in-depth thoughts on this instant classic but for now though I will only speak on one track.

Drake made “Nice for what” and I knew that would be the ladies anthem for the summer.

Never fear though, because just like that fellas, J Cole gave us “Motiv8.”

That’s motivate for those of you who don’t speak millennial. LOL!

The track opens up echoing REAL ASS sentiments we all can relate to:

“I can’t have no sympathy for f**k ni***s,
All this shit I’ve seen done made my blood thicker”

No Cole isn’t speaking about that Cheeto curled color president of y’alls or the toxic amounts of white supremacy posing a threat to Black folk everyday; although now that I think about it maybe  he could be. Moreover, having “no sympathy for f**k n****s is the resolve one needs to level up, block out them haters, and truly Motiv8.

This song is my vibe and my MOOD for the rest of the year. I mean check out the opening bar on the second verse:

“Woah, suddenly, I feel like takin’ a PJ
Fly to D.R. on a weekday, eatin’ ceviche
With like half of a mili’ inside of my briefcase”

OMG! Idc.

I’m flying to DR on a weekday SOON. (I mean the flights are cheaper during the weekdays right? I’m asking for a friend). And while I don’t eat ceviche I may just order it because, I mean who flies to DR on a weekday and doesn’t order ceviche. LOL! Alas, I will certainly not have a half a milli in a briefcase; but this song in combination with the tropical sun and some frequent flier miles will due.

Thanks Cole.

Ok ok ok. I’m done daydreaming. Back to the my original point. The song is crazy and everything from the the insane beat, with the crazy Junior M.A.F.I.A, Notorious B.I.G sample underscoring it, to the dope ad-libs.

Cole has long been a master of of lyrical barrages and intentional track creation, but this time around he’s more direct, more concise yet poignant while maintaining a sort of lyrical brevity he doesn’t usually employ.

It’s fire.

A slight play on contemporary rap styles and drug abuse themes while still managing to give you something to chew on. I love it.

More than the words on the verses the hook and the overall cadence gives the song a feel that is one of one. All summer I’m going to be bumping and screaming

“Motivate (motivate), motivate (motivate)
 Motivate (motivate), moti-get money!”

LOL! You feel me.

If you haven’t done so already I urge you to go to Tidal, yup tidal preferably because……well it’s Black owned, and check out this masterpiece; J Cole’s latest contribution to the culture.

The song has had me thinking…

  • How do I Motiv8?
  • Am I motivating those around me?
  • What motivates me?

These are questions I wrestled with long before hearing this amazing song, but it’s funny how a seemingly whimsical track can reignite such powerful thoughts.

How do you Motiv8?

Last week I presented at the third quarterly for NYC Men Teach on the Pedagogy of Black Girl Magic, a workshop created by Khalilah and I.

I have to say that I caught I vibe with the educators in the crowd; all in the hopes of shifting how we view Black and Brown girls and the horrible stereotypes associated with them. At the center of the presentation was a juxtaposition of Cardi B and Maya Angelou.

Yes you heard that correctly. Maya Angelou, Poet Laureate, and Cardi B, ratchet Bronx bombshell. They actually have more in common than you think. But y’all gotta holla at us to see that workshop done in full. LOL!

Anyways… a few days after the workshop I receive a dope email from a young college student who is currently completing his undergraduate degree in education. I’ve met this young brother before when we did “Pedagogy of Trap” at his school last fall, and so it was a pleasure seeing his face again among the crowd of workshop attendees. Take a look at the message:

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I get a lot of emails when we present these days. I don’t say that to brag but to say that I love when people, especially students, reach out to me. But this one touched me. I mean the hope with any and everything that we create is that it inspires and motivates all who engage with it, want to do more, but it’s still beautiful to receive emails like that. A young man acknowledging his own faults and misunderstands of masculinity and femininity, because of something I helped to create, well that’s just priceless.

Screen Shot 2018-04-24 at 9.44.52 PM.pngI engage with people from all backgrounds and it still amazes me when I serve as a source of inspiration for others, mainly because I never thought I’d even have the ears and attention of so many.

It’s a blessing and duty that I don’t take lightly.

As I write this I’ve replayed Motiv8 like ten times. LOL! I’m so serious! It’s inspiring and just outright hot. This whole album has my thoughts percolating but this particular song moves me to action.

So I ask again, how do you Motiv8? How are you motivating? For my educators, are you motivating your students to discover their talent and reach their full potential?

In this current time, with so much craziness all around us, we must do like pop star Zendaya suggests and “practice motivation and love, not discrimination and hate.” I hope that you all find what compels you in the most purest of sense and use that as the motivation to go fourth and inspire someone else.

Check out that new Cole album if you haven’t already. Until then, stay blessed and continue to Motiv8.

Hold it down good people!

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