From Sky: Week Five Response

Alright, alright. Here we go. *Mario voice*

This week was a lot harder for me. I really have a problem with things I don’t understand. It’s a wonder I am as patient as I am when it comes to be surrounded be people who don’t speak my own language. Many people are ignorant to things that they don’t understand. This is one of the biggest issues with society. Anyhow, let’s get into Dynamic Duo.

I wanna say first off that the production on this is stellar. So solid. The first time I listened to it I found myself bobbing my head as I sat up in bed. Initially I just listened to the song once without reading the lyrics. When I tried to follow along with the lyrics as the music played I hit my first hurdle. I couldn’t do so. I would use the English words for reference, but I struggled. I then decided to only read the lyrics. Okay sure, but that’s not music… if anything that’s just poetry.

Dynamic Duo

Of all the lines I struggled with, the one that was the hardest was, “This isn’t a place where kids can play / Go back to your cradle, why make a rod for your own back?” I read this line so many times and just could not put meaning to it. I posted on reddit’s r/korean. Here is my post if you’re interested.

Reddit Post

I used some of the suggestions on here to help me understand and make meaning out of that line. “why make a rod for your own back?” I just didn’t get it. To be honest, I still don’t fully grasp it… but that’ll be the point I make here in a moment.

I tried to understand the rhyme schemes they used as inspiration, but I couldn’t accurately do so because I don’t understand the language. It’s one thing to read lyrics, but we both know that absolute meaning is often lost in translation. I feel like that is what happened with the “rod for your back line”.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always found code switching in foreign language hip hop to be impressive. Often it’s an advantage that foreign language hip hop artists have. They can rhyme words from the own language with English words and it works… at least for people who can comprehend both languages. Now, I know you don’t speak super great Korean. You know much more than I do, but I know you’re far from fluent… yet you still enjoy Dynamic Duo. I totally get this. For a period in high school I went through a massive Nena phase. If you don’t know, this is Nena:

This was off of an album of her’s where she went back and redid prior tracks in her discography. I loved this shit. I still do. I was also big into Wir sind Helden:

Even though I didn’t understand what they were saying, I totally loved both these artists. There are others I really enjoy as well, including Brazilian Nando Reis:

and I absolutely love The Koxx, a Korean indy group:

I’ve thought about this a lot when it comes to foreign films. I hated dubbed films and would much rather read subtitles. While I can enjoy a foreign language film (in fact my favorite film of all time is a Mexican film called Y Tu Mama Tambien, and my favorite director is Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar) I will never truly be able to appreciate all aspects of the art. I can not accurately judge an actor or actress’ acting because I don’t understand the language.

My point is this. I may be able to enjoy foreign music, but I do not understand the lyricism behind it. I am unable to make an educated post about the lyricism for this reason. Don’t get me wrong, this Dynamic Duo shit sounds amazing! I listened to a couple other’s from the same album and throughly enjoyed those as well. I can see why you dig these guys. However, when it comes to lyrical content, that is not my place. I think about Koreans who love American music, they like it mostly because they like the way it sounds, not because they understand the lyrics. We can never fully understand something if it is in a language we don’t speak.

That’s my piece. It’s not a cop out. It’s not talking the easy way out of this week, it’s simply how I feel.

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