by Addison Garry
I first heard the song “Kick, Push” by Lupe Fiasco in Tony Hawk’s downhill racing. It is a song that changed my life forever.
Whenever I hear those strings, those horns, and those drums I light up. The song has never gotten old or stale to my ears, I still love hearing this song after 8 years. Not only is the production fantastic, but Lupe is on point. He fits the beat perfectly, and he creates an interesting story about people growing up. About people falling down and getting back up. In short a tale about the human condition inexorably linked to a story about skateboarding.
If we look at the verses in the structure of acts unfolding, we can really understand the literary nature of this song. In verse 1, the rising action, we have our hero. He is unnamed, most likely to act as a cypher for us to imprint ourselves onto him. He gets a skateboard and after using it, he faces the antagonist of this story. Being rejected because of his identity. He is then banished from his house because of it. In the second verse, the climax of the story, we see that the hero has aged and is now better at his craft. He is so much better that he gains the attention of the first person in this story to cheer him on, the love interest. In the third verse, the falling action, we see that the two have gathered an entire crew of people. The resolution of this story is that they may have been rejected by others, but they accept each other and they become their own community.
This song affected me personally, because I always felt out of place in the world I lived in. It was also instrumental in sending me after good hip-hop. After Lupe, I discovered music from the likes Rapsody, KRS-One, Public Enemy, Run-DMC, Kanye West, GZA (and the whole Wu-Tang Clan), and Lauryn Hill. I can see now that if I had never heard this song I would be living a totally different existence. I probably would have never followed my passion for music to college, wouldn’t have worked live sound for years, and most likely would have never read books about Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Jr. and others like them. In all probability I would have become a closed minded, malicious, obstinate, foul, and worthless human being. So thank you Mr. Fiasco for teaching me to “kick and push and coast”. Also blaow.