The Astronomical Kid – The Chosen One

June 11, 2011

A while back I wrote about the Youtube sensation The Astronomical Kid, mostly known for his viral hit “Stop Lookin’ At My Moms“. Since I stumbled upon this young phenom, I’ve been following his movements and have been very impressed. He’s a talented young MC, whose music goes way beyond a gimmick or one viral Youtube video. He’s a hard-working kid, who knows his dreams, but also is very clear about putting his education first. In his music he speaks about wanting to “make it big”, but he also has powerful lyrics, focusing on everything from his own life, to freedom fighters of the past, to issues impacting our communities, just to name a few.

He is an excellent role model for today’s youth, most especially in a genre that is often known for negative lyrics. The Astronomical Kid is a breath of fresh air. I saw someone tweet him and say that his mixtapes are really great “for his age”. The thing is, they are also really great even if he wasn’t young. His punchlines are clever, his large vocabulary is used potently and properly, and his message is on point. In may ways he is beyond his years.

The way I see it, rapping negativity is easy, because sex, drugs, and violence sells. The young group Odd Future proves that; they are indeed extremely talented, but the message in their music is over the top and vulgar. Though it speaks to many angry young people who find themselves surrounded by negativity, it actually does nothing to bring positive change in the situations and lives of those very kids, and probably just makes them more angry. Youth looking for role models need to stop turning to the ignorance of Lil Wayne, Odd Future, and the likes, and start looking up to a real role model like the Astronomical Kid, spreading positivity. He just released his fourth mixtape The Chosen One – Reloaded (Click on the title to download for free). Young, old, and in between, do yourselves a favor and check him out!

Also, become his fan on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.

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Paper, Rock, Scissors…

June 6, 2011

We often approach life’s mysteries like we approach children’s games; we accept certain rules, because that is what we were told by the people who taught us the game, and that is what they were told by the people who taught them. In doing this we potentially give simple, and even nonsensical, answers to very complex questions. Sometimes the only reason those rules “make sense”, is because that is what we were told, that is what we are comfortable with, that is what we are accustomed to, but not because they actually “make sense”.

For instance, paper beats rock, right? Everybody knows that. But what if the rock were wet? Or what if the paper were held tight and someone threw the rock at the paper. Rock would most certainly beat paper. Even answers that seem obvious, like “scissors beat paper”, are sometimes more complex than we make them. What if the paper is really thick and the scissors are really dull? What if it is an entire stack of paper, or a thick phone book? Then that simple answer would not suffice, and a deeper complexity would have to be admitted.

Looking at a children’s game like this would, of course, completely ruin the children’s game, and take out all of the fun, and make it virtually impossible to play. Children’s games need simple rules and tasks, in order for children to be able to play them. Imagine trying to play Paper, Rock, Scissors with someone who viewed the game in this more complex way. It would be virtually impossible because, no matter what, that person could make an argument for which ever option they chose. The fun of the children’s game would be completely removed. It would be absurd. But of course, life is not a children’s game, and it is equally absurd to apply simplistic “children’s game rules” to the most complex human interactions and eternal mysteries of life.

I am not saying that everything we have ever learned is wrong. Scissors can beat paper. What I am saying is that it is sad to see someone trying to argue that “scissors beat paper” in a situation where it is totally not the case, and they stand by that argument because that is what they have always been told, and they are maybe scared of the perceived uncertainty of looking at other options. Scissors beating paper is comfortable, because that is what they have always known, but the situation they face is far more complex than a children’s game.

Yes, in the game of Paper, Rock, Scissors, paper beats rock, rock beats scissors, and scissors beats paper, and even in life these scenarios can be true. But in life there are also different scenarios that can be played out, not to mention different elements like water, fire and sledge hammers. And when all is said and done, life can not be summed up in simplistic “children’s game” rules and answers, but requires a deeper look, and more complex way of thinking. Life is not a children’s game, and paper does not always beat rock.