From ‘Cole: A Response to Week Four’s Response

Good reading Sky! I thoroughly enjoyed hearing your take on it. “Keys” = Kilos is something that blew my mind when I first heard it, so it’s definitely something I wanted to share if I could.
I’m really really glad you enjoyed “Keys.” ^^ It has a soft spot for me because it’s one of the first tracks I ever examined in a classroom setting. When discussing it with my prof at the time, he spoke more about the production of the track–the idea that the crescendo reminded him of the upward/downward movement of the stock markets, and how the track mimics the capitalist leanings that Pusha discusses in the rap– it’s all about the lifestyle as the driving force for making money.

But Mr. Me Too is about capitalism too! I think that’s why I put them together this week (although it might just be because I love the production–simple, in the best way).

The rhymes point to the movement from simple street violence and survival to magnificence and opulence–it’s no longer about the street, but about making the street life into the lavish life. “Pyrex stirs/ turn into Cavalli furs” is one where I had to just sit back and say–whoa. It’s no longer about getting by. It’s about rising up.

I love how the tracks point to different things than what Biggie wrote about– it’s evolved from “super nintendo/ sega genesis” to name-dropping Cavalli (and we see this continue with Hova–TOM FORD, Yeezy–Louis Vuitton Don, etc.) If we were going to speak of this in a linguistic-centric discussion, I’d have to bring up the idea of representation and how it works in language. But for right now, I just want to look at how Mr. Me Too is really into the idea of “keeping up with the joneses” in a way that previous rappers were uninterested. I mean, Biggie would never have been like “Yo I got that PS4, you still on that PS3 shit.” All the comparisons he made were about his past/present. This one’s about one-upping each other in a way that takes you off the streets and into consumerism.

And that’s what is interesting about this time period in specific– the idea that it’s no longer about having a car, it’s about having that car. Not about having champagne for breakfast, but Cristal. The brands carry significance and meaning that point to their place in consumerist society– it’s not about survival, but prestige. And those are the kinds of doors that Clipse is interested in opening. Kind’ve more refined than it was previously.

I know that Clipse isn’t the first to do this sort of thing, but it’s definitely one of my favorite albums to examine in this light.

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