It was a swinging 2018. Up, down and all the way around. But was concentrating more on my academic path which I am undertaking, and prepping for my lil one who is about to enter her first year in formal education. Now that she is in, it is about her adapting to her school life, and indirectly for myself. It came as big surprise for me as I didn’t think 6 years would have gone so swiftly.
So, back to the title.. I don’t know, Ghetto Superstar (yes, as in the song!) sort of came into the picture end of last year. I pretty much enjoyed going into year end, as I did let myself take a break from research and writing. Badly needed it and I was blessed to have old and new friends welcoming me join their outdoor escapades. Climbed a mountain, did a couple of trekking to waterfalls around Klang Valley. It was perfectly timed, badly needed it! Such a break from intense concentration in my research and training for the Tg Bidara Triathlon. So I did Gunung Nuang on Christmas day, and the following weeks, the trekking up to the waterfalls, and mini trekking sessions with my family.
The kids both enjoyed all the outings and I suppose anything adventurous, educational and bonding should never stop or be seasonal. I was learning a lot as they were. Patience being one of them. Being decisive, not being afraid to fall and get dirty, and being able to get up!
You prolly know this song by American rapper, Pras featuring Ol’ Dirty Bastard and Mya. The song sampled Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton’s ‘Island in the streams’ originally written by the BeeGees. Love both the original version and the hip hop/R&B version. And if you listen to a lot of hip hop, the lyrics are typically true down to the reality and never short of giving you a scoop of how reality is depicted by the community whom the songs are meant for, or the people who wrote those songs. Think Bob Marley and the songs he wrote. It basically was story telling of his life, his life struggles, and how he saw the fate of his people under white rule. Stiff Necked Fool, I Shot the Sherrif, .. and of course, there were the more melodic and romantic ones like Turn The Lights Down Low, and Waiting in Vain. For Ghetto Superstar, Wyclef did the song justice when he wrote it for the hip hop version, coming up with on point lines such as
‘Got five sides to me, somethin like a pentagon
Strike with the forces of King Solomon
Lettin bygone be bygone, and so on, and so on’
Yea, yo, yo, yo
Now every dog got his day, needless to say
When the chief away that’s when them cats want to play
I told you, dance around these fools like Cassius Clay
Stretch my heater and make you do a pas de bourre
Kick your balls like Pele, pick em doin ballet
Peak like Dante, broader than Broadway
Get applause like a matador, crowd yellin !Ole!
Who the hell want to see me, from B.K., to Cali
While these lyrics are heavily cultured to the Americans, I can still relate, given that I understand the underlying message meant by the lyricists. Its all about rising up from below. And letting struggles and difficulties of the past, stay in the past, and not allowing the past to hold you down from achieving what you want, or slow you down to achieve what you’re really capable of. Letting bygone be bygone is so cliche, but to those who have really gone through phases in their lives where those bygones should just be bygones, that’s the way the next step shall go forward. Heck with those probs, just go on and let bygone be bygone. Don’t get hooked or sucked in. This is another way of saying, be objective and positive ! And that’s the way my 2019 will be. Being positive is being able to keep that head high as the water rises or whatever odds come your way. At the same time, to me, it means being realistic instead of idealistic. Dreams are for dreamers, goals are for the sure goers. And sometimes we need a bit of both.
Hahhhh, so how’s that for a song interpretation ! Yeah, in a way that expression ‘Let bygone be bygone did remind me that baggage serves no one good as they need to progress further down their path or journey. Here’s a link should you want to know more of this expression or its origin. Interesting as this phrase was initially coined in the 16th century !
I Started A Joke
Next up… well, I stumbled upon this one by mere chance. Bee Gees fan right here, but just came upon this song yesterday ..yesss !! The original one is epic, written by the Gibb brothers, and sang by Robin. The cover? Quite a few artists actually covered this song including by Faith No More, sang by their lead singer Mike Patton. What do I think about the song and the cover? Well, not a song which comes by every decade. It took me quite a few listen before the meaning came to me. Of course, thanks to songfact, the meaning was clearer. From songfact.com it says
‘This song is about someone who has done or said something horribly wrong, which resulted in alienating everyone around him. It’s a great example of lyrical songwriting, and very much a love-it-or-hate-it song. With the opening line, “I started a joke, which started the whole world crying,” followed with “I started to cry, which set the whole world laughing,” the song can be heard as achingly poignant or overly sentimental, depending on your mindset.’
And this is what Robin Gibb said about the song “Robin Gibb told The Mail On Sunday November 1, 2009: “This is a very spiritual song. The listeners have to interpret it themselves – trying to explain it would detract from the song.”
Still figuring what the song actually sound like ? And Mike Patton amazing vocal range ? Check out the videos below (will put the original version in first then the FNM one)
Points from this song which I can relate:-
- Narcissists can never appreciate the meaning as they’re not open to admitting their fault
- Normal people do make mistake, they’re imperfect, you and I
- Its okay to make mistakes, but what’s more important is that we take lessons from where we have wronged, at least before we die!
- Careless words, we do it too often.. especially to those who are close to us whom we take granted for.. close friends, family members, children, spouse.. what are the odds?
- We should always look for ways to improve, any, ANY, aspect of the self so that we don’t end up hurting ourselves, and those who we really care about
- Always be open to criticism.. they’re poignant as most time we are blind to our own cracks.. it needs another pair of eyes to see. Hence, try not to be so defensive when our flaw is pointed out.. can be bitter, but man… that bitter goes a long way and God knows you will be thankful it was pointed out
That said, I really feel that vibe from the past, the songs, lyrics are relevant. Always a point to connect 30, 40 years after they have been released. And those vocals.. Barry’s falsetto, Robin’s vibrato to Mike Patton diverse vocal range (think Freddie Mercury). Just blow me away… I am no singer, nor am I in anyway an instrumentalist. But I have this thing for anything from the past.. there is always a story, there is always a point which can be taken no matter how small, or big. These are historical events..artifacts which will always be accessible by the future generation.
I have 2 videos which I want to recommend for you guys, if you care watching! One is on ‘Faith as a source of happiness’ — you can relate to it regardless of religion..trust me..basically the talk is on what really matters in achieving happiness ( I am questioning mine hence that talk came in handy!) and the other one is on The art of communication– to relate to the second song (I started a joke) : on what we should be saying to our loved ones, and what we should refrain from saying.. again, relevant regardless of faith. All for the good you know what I’m sayin’.
Should time not side you, just drop by again to read my song review and videos recommendation. But thanks for sticking with me to the end of this post.. its a bit rojak I know.. just reflects the state of mind at the moment..but making the best of it. Just happy to be writing to reach out to you guys again. So thank you!
My 2019.. need to work on the things I have mentioned here. My academic study is a mere vehicle , but I need to pay it a bit more attention. 2 papers due in 2-3 weeks time. Sports? Yes that too.. but focus is still getting my academics done with. Career awaits InsyaAllah. (By the way these are all the in betweens — you will know what I mean if you watch the first video recommendation).
Time to reflect if you think those resolutions haven’t been workin’ for ya! Have stopped making resolutions the past few years.. many WIPs taking forever.. hahhaa…lolz..yes, that’s the reality. The reality is that the path life takes you is not straight. There will be times you will be walking through mud, there will be times you reach a peak, only to realise there are other peaks you’ve yet to conquer, and there will be times you wish you could turn back time. But only a fool will do that. So let’s not be that fool or idealist. Be ourselves, our better selves, hopefully. Fear not mistakes, fear not of falling as those will take you to a better place, and pray we are not amongst those who are misguided. InsyaAllah.
19 Jan 2019