The acronym R.O.S.E. eloquently translates to Result of Society’s Evil. The inspiration for the title comes from Tupac’s notion of a rose growing from concrete. This project exemplifies my Urban Dilemma concept by being a coming of age story where Phil begins to challenge all of the influences on his life thus far. He says in the track Nas Told Me “man I wish I could go back, all I can do is move on, all of this from a church boy, who moved out and got too gone”.
Although our parents try to lead us on a path they believe will result in success, we are still misled and distracted every step of the way. Phil exclaims, “hip-hop was my father figure, what was momma supposed to do?” When we finally mature and realize the negative impact our influences have had on us, we can’t simply disregard them; they become a part of who we are. Phil raps:
“Man these niggas on TV been teasing me since my childhood, stunting and fronting in the same shit that I now could. But I keep the shit 100, only say it if I done it, you rent cars for your video and go home in a bucket. Man I should slap you motherfuckers, for making me believe, that cars and clothes and hoes, is the only thing you need. It’s too late for me homie, should’ve told me way back…”
– City Lights.
“I was itching for that Mitchell and Ness when Fab had it, yeah he had me shop lifting that polo, a bad habit”
The only thing we care about is money. Why? Because it costs to live the lavish life we witness on TV; men require a plethora of women and women love men who spend money on flashy and expensive items. I wonder why? It’s a vicious cycle. I once said the commodification of our human desires lead to the destruction of first our relationships, secondly our communities. Why? Because money is placed over everything, even family morals. Phil states “I rather die than go fucking broke”.
“Look what society has changed me into, a fucking sex fiend obsessed with dressing clean, getting loot”
– Get Back
Other tracks communicate the tarnished relationship that exists between young men and women such as 2AM, Xscape, Big Mistake and The Vapors. The track One Time explores domestic violence and how it becomes hereditary.
“And that’s just the way I was raised, saw the same thing from Daddy every day, he came home late, he hit up the bottle, he hit up on mama, she stayed in her place”
– One Time
This song also touches on a very important aspect society’s influence; the glorification of street life.
“I want this shit, I want that shit. I want this chain, I want that chick. I want this crib, I want that whip. I can get it all with this rap shit. I need a million downloads on datpiff, I need a million views on my youtube. Im’a smoke weed cuz thats in, im’a sip lean ‘cuz that’s cool too. I know hood dudes, im’a learn their life, niggas gonna think that I earned their stripes. Not just that, im’a make a whole act though I never shot a gun, and I never sold crack. In the interview won’t let them know that, ‘cuz once you go live you can never go back. I don’t give a motherfuck, im’a ink my whole body, even though I told mommy I would never hold tats”
– One Time
Phil’s character in Under Achiever is the poster boy for the R.O.S.E; he justifies all of his self-destructive behavior including being unemployed and only concerned with hooking up with women, “getting fresh”, smoking and selling weed in addition to playing video games all day. It’s the 2014 scrub telling you exactly why he’s a scrub.
In my experience, parents, particularly immigrant parents, attempt to keep their children away from “American kids” and “American values”. Because they are aware of the negative imagery associated with rap music culture and the media’s perception of black youth, they view hip-hop as a problem rather than a solution. They’ll be damned if their kids turn out to be some dense superstar celebrity. They don’t realize our leaders have actually been reduced to “celebrities”, much like Tupac, and their message altered by corporate interest. They don’t understand our desire to finish where Tupac left off while creating our own destiny.
“My fam don’t fuck with my occupation … trying to make a mil out a microphone in a basement”
– Get Back
They don’t realize the frustration of being intelligent, knowing your worth but still viewed as 2nd class or “not as good” as your counterparts. Creating hip-hop music becomes an outlet to release stress and also make money. Unfortunately, we tend to get caught up with the fame and forget our purpose and end up spending money recklessly.
“Stayed off 85th two years ago, had no heat, just cold beats, I turned that into Balenciaga, a Rolex and gold teeth”
This project is the ultimate self-expression of a young man “from a home where he wasn’t allowed to cuss, to a (mix)tape with a thousand fucks”. Be sure to check it out!
Thanks for reading!