I had to do it.
It had to be done.
You see, ever since he forced me to guess 'who's on third?,' my intrigue and admiration for L-U-P-Emperor sprinted past 'homie's nice' straight to 'Homie's the greatest!' at break-neck-speed. I don't remember exactly when it happened. All I know is somewhere between "Can't see me like B.I.G. on CMT" and those perfectly delivered, boxing/shoplifting analogies on the sublime "Much More," I had a brand new best-to-ever-do-it.
From then on, my iPod was pretty much all Lupe all the time. Relating to him. Learning from his content. Looking for flaws. Deciphering metaphors. Admiring the dexterity, the originality. I even started putting him into head-to-head playlist battles with lyrical greats and legendary albums. F&L vs It Was Written. Fahrenheit 115 vs The Blueprint. The Cool vs Capital Punishment. No matter the combination, like Mike in his prime, Lu couldn't be beat.
My cousin Sha calls it a "corner" - that point in time when everyone is doing one thing, then something powerful comes along, and everyone changes direction and follows the leader. Rakim was a corner. Nas was a corner. Before them, heads didn't rhyme like them. They were what he is, "something new, something fresh, something different." After them, everyone was forced to build their skills. Lupe is that next corner...and not-so-coincidentally rap is moving back to the lyrics.
But problems emerged when I realized that I was so immersed in this murk that I couldn't appreciate other artists in the same way.
Former favorite artists.
No matter who it was, no one was exempt. If "Dear Summer" came on, I wished it was "Dear Fall." If "Diamonds are Forever" played, I rapped the words to "Conflict Diamonds." "Thief's Theme," "Hip Hop is Dead?" - give me "Twilight Zone." Biggie didn't feel as BIG. Jay's flow wasn't as effortless. Nas sounded surpassed. It got so bad that even when I heard a track that Lupe wasn't on and never remixed, I still wondered how he would've approached it (think about what Lu couldve done with "I Get Money"). No one compared. Nothing could compete. Oddly enough, for me, the ultimate Emcee was killing the art of MCing.
So I dropped Resolution #16 in early 2008 in an attempt to regain some semblance of balance to the force. And although the galaxy is still grossly tilted in favor of Mr. Cornell Westside, at least I'm back to appreciating other artists.
Who cares if they're only fighting for second place?