My Lyfestyle Through Lyrics
I’ve met some wonderful people through social networking. Kashif is one of them. I was honored to be asked to guest blog for him on his site and in return I wanted him to guest blog for my blog. I genuinely want to know what’s in the mind of those whose work I read and how music plays a role in influencing their lives and writing. Kashif’s blog is all about writing. When I guest blogged for his blog, it forced me to reminisce about my childhood and the role writing played in my life. Thank you Kashif for allowing me to share my trip down memory lane. Readers, I hope you enjoy Kashif’s post as much as I do. I present to you Kashif
Thanks for the opportunity Lia. I love reading your stuff, and I’m sure you know that by now. You have a uniquely emotional way of writing that’s very entertaining. I’m excited to appear on your page, to your readers. Below you’ll all see see music’s influence on my writing and a bit of advice on how to use it for your own creativity.
Music is an Extension of the Soul
Jazz, Rhythm&Blues, Reggae, and Blues — That’s what played in my house when growing up. And they played all the time. When I was in my teens, my dad counted his records. There were somewhere around 3,000 at the time. That’s what surrounded me.
Our house was built in a circle with African statues lined up on every counter and record albums in every public room. Sometimes, I’d go through my dad’s room to get to mine. The first album at eye level, nearly all my life because I never grew taller than 5’6, simply said Kashif. My mom argues that she got my name from that record and my dad claims he did research…I believe my mom, but that’s an entirely different post.
What I’m trying to convey is that, music raised me. It was my soul and my house was soulful. If a Kanye track plays with samples from the 60s – the 80s, I know the lyrics to the actual sample. I grew up with Aretha, Gladys, Marvin, and a lot of Bob Marley.
It wasn’t until the mid 90s that I received my first CD, one I could call my own. And it was Coolio that introduced me to Hip-Hop:
Those were the first rap lyrics I ever learned.
Hip-Hop is Black
It’s best you know now that I’m a bit controversial, but I don’t mean to prejudice you in any type of way. “Hip-Hop is Black” isn’t a quote from me, but my college professor. She once spoke at a conference and asked several of us what we thought Hip-Hop was. “Culture, Passion, Love, Music, Swag, Life,” and the list went on until someone finally said “Black.” She couldn’t believe her ears.
“Do you know how many of my students never say Black? I normally wait for minutes before someone is willing to speak up.” She went on to say that it is a cultural thing, but it stems from Black culture. It is us.
This is difficult to explain without offending someone. It doesn’t mean that Hip-Hop belongs to Blacks. What’s so beautiful about the aggressive, emotional party music is that it’s crossed so many barriers, but influenced so many people. I think this interview is a great summary of how others view the culture of Hip-Hop:
Music Speaks to the Heart
Skipping everything else, I’m in college now and my roommate is listening to The All American Rejects, Fall Out Boy, and other Pop Bands. I hated it. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the music, but he only knew maybe twenty songs and replayed them the entire year.
Funny thing, when I got into my second year, I missed the music. I wanted to find it. At the end of my third year, a friend “found” an iPod. Mine was recently stolen and I needed one. I thought he was selling me his so I bought it, but in reality, he sold me the one that fell off the back of a truck.
All American Rejects, Fall Out Boy, Evanescence, Panic at the Disco, and more were already there for me. It took some months, but I began listening and feeling emotions. Funny thing–every time I listened, I wanted to write some epic story like Spiderman. I kept getting these ideas from this music that would stop my concentration.
So I began writing plays and my poetry got stronger. I started performing with all this emotion. Where was this coming from?
That’s when I discovered that writing to music with certain emotions, helped me establish that feeling for the reader. In other words, I was transmuting songs into my own stories.
Let’s End All This–What is Music?
Music is my heart. It’s the reason I write. It influences every bit of my life.
From the times I played the saxophone to the guitar I’m learning to play now.
The rapping I did in college to the poetry in my novels.
It has taken over my life.
Writing without it wouldn’t be impossible, but having it makes me much stronger. It ends any writer’s block I have. The second I find the proper song, everything flows smoothly.
Paramore helped me write an entire novel called Barcode: The Legend of Apollo. I’m serious! Paramore has romance and action in every line and I put that into my writing. I think the song “Monster” made me write the first few pages and “Ignorance” kept the story going, but they have tons of others that I listened to as well. There’s just so much emo goodness in their music, it’s funny. That’s my story–a funny emo punk action adventure.
So I’m a Hip-Hop head with a Jazzy history. My rebellious ways stem from my Punk attitude and my writing Rocks out with it’s socks out. My speech has more Rhythm than Blues, and my culture has red, yellow, and green soles–Reggae.
I am music or a part of its body. We all are. I challenge you to look for its influence on your life and discover ways to make your writing or overall creativity better. Music stimulates the mind and heart. It’s known to relieve stress and help you get your groove on.
*But music is predictable so if you use it to stimulate your creativity, don’t let it box you in:
It fills expectations and that’s not something we want to do as writers. If you ever read my work, just know I crush expectations. I make the reader hate me sometimes because I want endings and scenes to be unique or as far away from cliche as possible.
It’s been a pleasure,
Author of Barcode: The Legend of Apollo
Until next post,