Hearing Kanye rap about his struggle with college, materialism, and just being a regular motherfucker trying to make his dreams come true despite it all was like coming up from air while drowning
I remember the first time I heard “Touch The Sky.” It was a hot summer day in Florida, I was riding backseat of my momma’s car with my 15-year-old head poked out the window desperately trying to drown out her incessant nagging. I always tried to put my favorite stations on when she wasn’t paying much attention. I had 102 Jamz on real low, and then this song came up on the radio as a world premiere. I begged my mom to turn the volume up and her voice all the way the fuck down. I heard those cymbals and that horn, and those first few lines
“I gotta testify, come up in the spot looking extra fly, For the day I die, I’mma touch the sky“
..and just like that I was moved, inexplicably.
This song changed my life and at that moment I didn’t even realize it. It isn’t even a remarkably profound song; to put sense to it, I just never felt what it was like for a song to touch my reality until this shit right fucking here. Kanye West wasn’t living in
the trap, he wasn’t blinged out on yachts and shit. He was essentially just like me, a real guy rapping about 21st century real problems. I never saw myself in any of the music, movies, shows I enjoyed. There were so far removed from my reality, until Kanye. It was everything I needed to hear at that point in my life being a young black teenager with big dreams, zero ambition, and an empty sense of hope. That age when you go from being just another fucking kid to questions about your future, college, career, being suddenly all that defined you. Hearing Kanye rap about his struggle with college, materialism, and just being a regular motherfucker trying to make his dreams come true despite it all was like coming up from air while drowning. I was like hell yeah, “I’m going touch the fucking sky, just like Kanye”
In retrospect, although it may sound like a stretch, I can probably thank the position I am in my career and my life to Kanye West and that entire album. I remember days when I’d lock myself in my room for days just straight working just because of that one Kanye bar,
“Y’all don’t know my struggle, Y’all can’t match my hustle, You can’t catch my hustle, You can’t fathom my love dude, Lock yourself in a room doin’ five beats a day for three summers. That’s a different world like Kree Summers I deserve to do these numbers”
All I wanted to do was do what he did: Strive.There’d be days I’d come off a long shift at the mall and the first thing I’d do is get in my car, recline my seat back and just blast Spaceship, at full volume.
“I’ve been workin’ this graveshift and I ain’t made shit
I wish I could buy me a spaceship and fly past the sky”
[Hold on to your knickers I’m about to get real corny] It helps more than I can explain, when you’re lost and confused to have someone or something that touches you in all your lonely places. Something that reminds you that you’re not alone and shit can get better for you. That album defines that point in my life. I was given the ambition I needed, the motivation to reach for the sky, to strive for goals that before that would have never crossed my mind. My mind was implanted with the idea that I didn’t have to listen to what anyone thought I should do. I don’t know what the fuck I’d be doing with myself right now if it weren’t for Late Registration and for that I am forever grateful.
Thank you Yeezus. *bows at his feet*