Grit and determination changes the game

It’s OK to be swaggy when you got the chops to back it up

Life is about seeing things get hard. It’s impossible, truly, predict what sort of challenges might rest around the corner. An asteroid could hit your house, or frogs could rain down from the sky, or a multidimensional parallax aberration could literally tear a black hole in the middle of your classroom and destroy the solar system. Dead serious. Anything could happen, at anytime, and probably will. The world could start trembling and shaking and the paintings on the walls could fall to the ground, or start smiling and talking to you, or the sky could turn yellow one night and send tendrils of wind down and around sweepng up your neighborhood like leftover twigs. The peaceful waves of the sea near your beach house in Bermuda could suddenly shrug like a tortured goliath and wipe your tiny town from the map under a massive tropical storm. If there is one thing the universe is not, that is boring.

To my mind, the best people are the people who stick to their guns and prove themselves, against all odds and regardless of what unthinkable horror they have had to or will have to struggle with. Many of us find it difficult to believe in ourselves when we lose a job, or we don’t seem to fit in, or lose a loved one, or the going gets tough (as it ALWAYS will.) Life is about pushing your body, mind, and talent to its limits, and finding the inspiration within yourself to be your own hero. I’m a HUGE fan of this collaboration between one of my rapper idols Angel Haze, and the Canadian electronic music collective A Tribe Called Red. Today’s video is the kind of track that Olympic athletes might play in their headphones at full volume before breaking the World Record for 100-yard sprints, leaving the competition dumbfounded.

Angel Haze is alone on a black-and-white stage, with a single glowing white light behind her. Her eyes lowered, her arms tapping out the relentless beat of the backing track, her framed silhouette a stark chiaroscuro against the minimalist visual style of this music video. Slowly the camera approaches her, and she levels an intense energetic gaze on the camera.A Tribe Called Red loves to weave high-energy, Native American influenced powwow style sounds into their tracks, and their backing track makes Angel Haze seem almost like she’s invoking the fire and passion of a group of Mohawk Warriors preparing for battle. Her lyrics are pointed, ambitious, and relentless, and cascade one upon another like the bullets of a 1920’s tommy gun, tearing the listener to pieces, sweeping us up in her energy and confidence.

The biggest reason for my liking Angel Haze relates closely to my reason for respecting the work of Eminem. She came from the stark and horrific background of Detroit, 8 mile road, and the poverty-stricken area surrounding it. She grew up having withstand abuse and terrifying adversity, and found success and renown for her determination, talent, and unwillingness to submit to her critics and haters. She sings of “putting the contents of all that’s inside me into the sh** I’ve been designed for.” She is herself, open, fierce, proud against all odds. She is singing directly, and honestly,  to the people who feel that all the fortunes are against them and that every hand they’ve been dealt has been stacked in someone else’s favor.

Her refrain is, “Turn it around, turn it around/ you gotta make the decision to be the one difference in your live and turn it around.” When it comes down to it, it is not up to anyone else to stand against adversity. It is not up to anyone else to tell you who you are or what you believe. It is not up to anyone else what you think is beautiful, or what you think is funny, or what you think is cool, or who you hang out with, or who you decide to marry, or what God you decide to believe in. You think my taste in movies is sinful? Keep it to yourself. This song is about reaching for the impossible, about making the unimaginable into reality, about shrugging off the limitations that people try to place on you. It’s about climbing to the top of the highest mountain and screaming into the face of the fire and fury that the universe has to offer. Angel Haze is an inspiration, one of my personal heroes. AWESOME.

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