Pre & Post FNL

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“Gettin’ higher than the soul of lil’ Shaniya…” a line from the song that really inspired this feature I’m writing as I speak.

From, say, last year, I knew I wanted to write something in homage to the 5th anniversary of the tape (which to others may seem bizarre, right?). It wasn’t until two weeks ago at work, that I found the inspiration for writing this – as I was mopping the showers (don’t laugh, mate. ha ha). I’m not about to go “too deep…” here – this post here is really me venting thoughts on the given material, 5 years later (though I first heard it in, like, December 2010).

No lie, I got back from work about 10+ mins ago and RUSHED to the computer to do this—finished 10 mins laaaate!!! Anxiety already kicked in this past afternoon; it felt like everybody doing anything in their power to stop me—plus I’m terrible with the deadlines, dawg. “Ib, we barely made it,” meaning… I just wanted to get this shit out TODAY, on 12.11.2015. 23:59pm, PLEEAAAASE…. SLOW DOWN. I’m on my Bobby V right now. Haven’t felt pressure this hard to get something done in time since college (BMT; always missing deadlines). Unfortunately, I feel like I’m not going to cover eeeverything I wanted to say, but I’m going to try my best to get it all in, in time – *listening to FNL whilst I type. Type-AHEM…* so, LET’S… FUCKING go (whaddup QUINT!).

Friday. Night. Lights. Damn. Where. Do. I. Begin.

I know for a fact that I’m not the only soul whose life changed after this project – and believe me, it wasn’t on the first listen, but I grew with it; had hindsight that it’d be something special, because of the time that it was and what I had on my plate; or [shit I] was in.

Aight, so, I’m a 15-soon-to-be-16 year old in his last year of school, still no idea of what he got in mind to do with his future. No self-confidence (you might know this already). So, with a void of career aspirations, what do you do?

Before I even discovered The Warm Up (ESPECIALLY THAT), or The Come Up, or material from The Therapist, etc. (y’know, all daat stuff), I had this to work with. On a day-to-day basis, after school, I did a paper round (delivering newspapers, just in case Americans reading and don’t know) and if I weren’t talking to CALEB (wha gwan, young?), I would… play this shit everyday. Ask the G himself. Back in my Nokia 5230 days.

Around 2010, I was this guy who just really got into the game of talking to girls like that. Laura Dukes – wherever you are; I’m sorry but you drove me crazy. Lucy Jones – we had such incredible conversations back in 2011. Hunni – so glad to have spoken finally after my years of that nasty grudge, I’ve learned not to hold now. I’m here name-dropping like The Game right here, like say these people won’t find out and chastise me for it. So many stories of females that happened, all which coincided and unfortunately blended with the music during those time-spans (was going to say period, but you females and even males might get emotional – I don’t have that sigh-time no more, sorry).

April 2011 when I went on holiday with my family, those times I was waiting for that Sports Specialties Chicago Bulls vintage snapback – what a time it was to get back home. The car journey when I remember first listening to “Premeditated Murder” which would go on to be come my favourite. That song just got rinsed, and it felt almost like telling a story of my emotions and predicting my future. To this day, it trips me out how equal it is to my life – it just matches. The puzzle is complete whenever that song plays now.

It’s honestly just that I’ve grown so much with it. I can’t stress how much it’s helped me with and still does.

Along with albums like ‘Graduation’  and ‘Be,’ respectively, it was the motivation I needed all along, and just that belief in myself (even if it’s only been this year where it has risen) all of those works played massive parts in my journeyThe painting is still in progress, but with something to hold onto that, everyday, things that inspired you to dream of better days—and in this process, let it be clear that it hasn’t been easy, I do talk boldly on that… the whole “walk in my shoes” thing is no joke—made life bearable; just knowing now that all those years I was building and adding to my painting that is still yet to be complete; the path I am following was paved for me.

I went through my heavy phase of philosophizing; just thinking, thinking about the things I thought I was a fool for. I was the guy posting those [what some may have regarded as psuedo] “deep” statuses on Facebook; who would get people every now and again praise me and others who would attempt the ridicule on me. All those words, man, I meant them. So I pushed through that. It was, around about that particular time (circa 2011, and of course, onwards), where I’d really hear Friday Night Lights (Sidney Dean would know) and just acknowledge the words being spoke those words would then; not, say, encourage me to speak my mind; about what I want to and not feel alone; but to, on a level, feel confident in [doing] it and really breathe what I was saying  learning my worth. [It was] like: ‘I’m still going to get somewhere.’ I got a true sense of self which began to develop in those early days.

Topics and thoughts addressed on “Too Deep For The Intro,” “Before I’m Gone,” “Enchanted,” “2Face,” “See World,” and even “Farewell.” Those tracks in particular were so important at that time. I could relate to the subject matter packed within those written compositions more so than Kush & OJ, Fan of a Fan and anything else in hip-hop at that juncture where the new cats had, at this point, birthed and were now being ushered into the rapsphere the ‘money-pussy-drugs’ mantra (in no particular order) was still prevalent, and potent at that, too… although I loved the sounds. I’d always been able to enjoy music of all genres whilst respecting quality content without being that ” music snob,” which is fortunate for me because… thank goodness for Waka Flocka (and in those days, I needed my hype music just as much as I do in 2015). But it was lines long before “Chaining Day” arrived like: “How I’m supposed to shine right without the proper bling. Remember when I did the show with Waka Flocka Flame. Felt naked cuz the boy rocked about a thousand chains. Guess we rock a lotta ice, cuz we got a lotta pain,” that showed me that Cole was eyes-open to the world of rap; trying to break into this without selling his soul and I just got it, since it was fitting and so synonymous with my life.

I needed to hear something else like FNL, and the reason I think I became such a fan was just that it was provided at the right time. My life prior to experiencing it was a blur, and so it was the shift in my life that I needed; that pivotal/turning point. It was what I needed to hear, and— cliché alert—would love to know where I’d stand right now without my teacher that was nothing but, to some, “just another” mixtape. I have so much passion for it; a creepish-like, gross-seeming one, where; the more you read, the more you may just cringe but it’s the fact I’m proud to say it’s been a part of me for 5 years that… propelled my outlook on life, that… constantly inspired me to be me, that… was and created the voice in my head that I never knew would eventually stretch to become so powerful; such a being and an existence that is now almost like a part of my subconscious; a part of decision-making processes – I’m serious.

The presence of something to help you along through life is a blessing that I’d say many [who have one] don’t shout about enough. I know this won’t be the last time I get reflective on it, but I just had to do this as a respect, more than feeling obliged to. It’s the giving thanks to what honed you and would soon provide the power for you hone something. The guiding light. For 5 years I had stabilizers on my bike and they held me down, but even when I finally took them off, the stabilizers watched me and didn’t drop me like many did in the past – and it was all I wanted: support. Don’t take for granted anything where you were the only one that knew it before – even if it’s only a mixtape (or the TV show – appears that anything called “Friday Night Lights” is just that sum gud shit to me. Something can help you manifest without you really knowing it, and deserves all of that glory when it comes down to that day where you prayed for; being no longer the only one that knows it, because know they all come out to play. I believe everybody has either a calling or a wake-up call and I got mine at 16 years old.

First it was Usher, then Kanye, then Jigga, then Cole but the latter became “the one,” and I was so happy to be a fan of something. I don’t think you ever do stop once you have respect for that person, I believe. Jermaine, if you’re reading this (Drake fans this isn’t for you pissers), I’m dearly thankful for the creation that’s gotten me through these years; the lessons it has taught me; the ways; the mentalities to go with previous morals, beliefs, habits, traits – man, all… EVERYTHING. YES. The success post FNL was just what I see to be as a testament to staying true and proved that it’s what runs with the long term that counts and will determine where you stand with the people Cole just won them over, (‘Villains know).

Thanks are given out every time. Thank you.

– LSNCLR

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