Up@dawn 2.0

Monday, June 12, 2017

Chap vs B. Chap

Hip-Hop has played an integral role in my life since the first time I heard "Da Butt" by E.U. Now, I am not going to fake the funk like I got bars, but hip-hop's effect on me was subconscious. I grew up as a book-smart young man living life based on the facts of the books that read. Yet, hip-hop was essential to helping shape some of the principles that I still live by to this day. Thus, at a young age, I found myself in the midst of a war for my philosophy on life.

This war is one that affects many young men, but especially young men of color. For us, the choice that we make shapes not only our existence, but the very existence of our families. Yet and still, the essence of hip-hop is free-will determinism. It is the perfect dichotomy of idealistic materialism. Take for example Jay-Z's wordplay on "Moment of Clarity",

"If skills sold truth be told

I'd probably be lyrically Talib Kweli
Truthfully I want to rhyme like Common Sense (But I did five Mil)
I ain't been rhyming like Common since
When your sense got that much in common
And you been hustling since, your inception, fuck perception
Go with what makes sense
Since I know what I'm up against
We as rappers must decide what's most important
And I can't help the poor if I'm one of them
So I got rich and gave back to me that's the win, win
The next time you see the homie and his rims spin
Just know my mind is working just like them (The rims that is)"

In this moment, Jay-Z is being very clear that his principles are shaped by the facts of his reality. A reality that is not lost on myself either. A reality that William James foretold back in 1906.

Thus, my personal philosophy is a keen to Jay-Z. I try to live my life by a set of principles that have been shaped by the facts of my reality. My free-will determinism could be described as a river moving forward, adapting to the terrain as it changes. Always forward, never backwards. 


  1. "Everything of course is necessarily determined, and yet of course our wills are free: a sort of free-will determinism is the true philosophy." Lots of philosophers will look at this statement and shake their heads, but James would understand the mean-streets view of facts as you and Jay-Z represent them. "Go with what makes sense" indeed, that can be another pragmatist mantra - alongside "What practical difference to you and me does it make?" Etc.

    1. If we are to call Jay-Z a pragmatist, is it correct to call Talib and Common, idealists?

  2. Could be. Depends, as always, on how we define our terms.

  3. Anonymous9:04 PM CDT

    Hello Brandon. I think I left my umbrella in your office.

    1. Joshua, please come by the office tomorrow. Billie Jean may be able to assist you.