Wow. I just had a half-awake/half-asleep dream that was so amazing … had to get up and write it down. I’m going to see if I can get this to the right people because it’s just … well, you’ll see.
When I woke the words “Mazzy Men” were in my head. It was a play on words, referencing three things. The first is the 50 Cent track Many Men (video here) which have the lyrics “Many men. Many, many men.” The rhythm he says those words references the Fugees track How Many Mics (video here) where Wycleff says, “Say me say – many money – say me say – many, many, many.” The third reference is the band Mazzy Star, best known for their 1990s hit “Fade Into You” (video here). My first thought was a hip hop collaboration, remixing the music from Fade Into You and guest starring the vocalist (Hope Sandoval). Then the visuals of the idea came. Up until the end of the video everything has a dreamy haze to it, tinted light blue and white.
I pictured a brother, laid up in the hospital, not knowing why he’s there. A beautiful nurse comes to check on him and he hits on her. She smiles, tells him his “blood star content is still too high”, and says she’ll check on him again later. Confused, he goes back to sleep. The scene repeats with two other brothers in other rooms.
After the third verse the three men are brought together by wheelchair, scenes cut back and forth to show her explaining as she wheels them through the halls: they’ve been taken to be subjects of a medical experiment. The three hardest, coldest brothers were found who had no hearts, and instead of transplanting a heart into them – they’ve each been given a small piece of a star. In the room together now, looking down at their chests they can see a faint glow (Iron Man tie-in?) and realize why they’ve felt so much more peace since they’ve woken up.
The general vibe of what follows is that when you’re down in the rat race there’s a lot of competition, brother eating brother, but once you rise to a certain level that goes away. When you’ve reached that level of power you could hurt a lot of people but there’s no need to anymore because you’re not really threatened – so why hurt people? And now, why not do good with what you’ve got? It’s a metaphor for the hood in some ways.
One of the things the hip hop community’s always grieved over is a lack of positive black men for role models, and although some rappers would hate to be called this – anyone who was rapping in the 1980s is essentially going to be viewed as a grandfather these days. Anyone who was rapping in the 1980s has seen a minimum of five changes in the face of hip hop since then. We’ve got the role models, but without the Afrocentric vibe of the late 80s/early 90s there’s no record company who’ll spend money to promote a positive message … so the message is lost.
The first artist that came to mind was Busta – I think the visuals fit him as well as the message. Then Ice-T, and Ice Cube. Dre? Jay-Z? Maybe Snoop. I haven’t kept up on hip hop as much in the last few years as I did when I was younger so I’m not sure who would be right for this. But, as you can see from what’s above, I do miss some of the positivity of early 90s hip hop. Don’t get me wrong, there was a lot of anger and violence back then for sure, but there was also a lot of hope, too. Or more importantly, there was a lot more hope in the music that was available.
One of the possible outcomes of The Hero’s Journey archetypes is what’s called “Gold To Dust”, which is when the hero succeeds, wins the prize, comes back home, and when he shows it to everyone it’s turned to dust. This is symbolic of a community who’s not willing or not ready to accept the prize the hero won for them. Maybe the song can end with the line, “Don’t give me no shit about a lack of role models, we got plenty a brothers, when you gon’ follow? When the student is ready, the teacher will appear. Till then, we’ll be right here.”
PS – Hmm. I just went to listen to Fade Into You and realized it’s in ¾ time. I’ve never heard anyone spit over ¾. I’m sure it can be done, but that would be pretty wild. Talk about a shift in the game. Introducing alternate time signatures?? Oh boy.