I remember being in the Philippines last year and drinking cheap bottles of liquor in a hotel room by myself while my parents caught up with their distant relatives, and my brother went out for some smokes.
Observing a skyline view of the city which birthed me, from a 56-storey building which gentrified my family’s neighbourhoods – how could I have been so unsympathetic?
To Pimp A Butterfly was playing on my phone as I thought pensively about the journey I had taken, both spiritually and physically, to come full-circle and return to my motherland with a different state of mind as to when I left it before. Thinking about the path I paved for myself, the long nights I took, and the people I met on the way — for better or for worse.
Verse 2 of Momma hit me like a truck when I heard it in that hotel room that time and I’ll never forget that moment in my life; never in my life did I need to hear something so much and never known until I heard:
“I know everything, know myself
I know morality, spirituality, good and bad health
I know fatality might haunt you
I know everything, I know Compton
I know street shit, I know shit that’s conscious
I know everything, I know lawyers, advertisement and sponsors
I know wisdom, I know bad religion, I know good karma
I know everything, I know history
I know the universe works mentally
I know the perks of bullshit isn’t meant for me
I know everything, I know cars, clothes, hoes, and money
I know loyalty, I know respect, I know those that’s ornery
I know everything, the highs, the lows, the groupies, the junkies
I know if I’m generous at heart, I don’t need recognition
The way I’m rewarded, well, that’s God’s decision
I know you know that line’s for Compton School District
Just give it to the kids, don’t gossip ’bout how it was distributed
I know how people work
I know the price of life, I’m knowin’ how much it’s worth
I know what I know and I know it well not to ever forget
Until I realized I didn’t know shit
The day I came home”
— That verse truly spoke volumes and shades to me then and even now.
It’s 3:09 as I’m writing this, and I’m re-listening to To Pimp A Butterfly again. A set of lines on verse 3 of Momma inspired me to write this post, and I think it’s got me really shaken up about how closely I relate to it right now in this period of my life (see the Bad Warmth, Cruel Winter Playlist for further reference):
“you’re here right now, don’t you mistake it
It’s just a new trip, take a glimpse at your family’s ancestor
Make a new list of everything you thought was progress
And that was bullshit, I mean, your life is full of turmoil
Spoiled by fantasies of who you are, I feel bad for you”
To Pimp A Butterfly is one of the more personally significant albums of my life, and a personal favourite too. I even dedicated a short release-date anniversary for it on this page. The album first presented itself to me last year — in a time of heavy growth and fond friendships, and it really captured a lot of my personal feelings, events and relationships at the time. It’s great to come back to it, after a year since I first admired it, and find something new I could take out of it. DAMN. Music is such a fruitful art-form.