Individuality is essential to the soul. To paraphrase John Stuart Mill, "Individuality produces well-developed human beings." The individuality of man must shine and shine brightly, for in one man's individuality do all men find a light. A light that leads all mankind forward and to a better place. I believe that Shawn Carter speaks to that level of individuality that has moved mankind forward.
On his latest album, "4:44", Carter takes an introspective look at the culture. On the first single off the album, "The Story of O.J.," Carter described the track as "a song about we as a culture, having a plan, how we’re gonna push this forward. We all make money, and then we all lose money, as artists especially. But how, when you have some type of success, to transform that into something bigger."
"I told him, "Please don't die over the neighborhood
That your mama rentin'
Take your drug money and buy the neighborhood
That's how you rinse it"
I bought every V12 engine
Wish I could take it back to the beginnin'
I coulda bought a place in Dumbo before it was Dumbo
For like 2 million
That same building today is worth 25 million
Guess how I'm feelin'? Dumbo"
Essentially, Carter is using his individuality to speak to the masses about taking care of our own and he does so in the aforementioned beautifully worded verse. And for those individuals who do not understand what he is saying...well, he makes it abundantly clear later in the song.
"Y'all think it's bougie, I'm like, it's fine
But I'm tryin' to give you a million dollars worth of game for $9.99"
For some time now, Carter has actively spent his time, energy and money on helping to advance the culture. It is in this vein that he and Mill are kindred spirits. Both Carter and Mill refused to have their individualities crushed for the greater good of society. They believed that society is a better place when we do not always conform to the standards of man, but rather live our lives by the spirits of our individual souls. Souls that at their very core bleed for humanity and its continued existence and evolution.
P.S. - Forgive the latest of my post, my wife has been in the hospital since Sunday.