deferred, past participle; deferred, past tense; deferring, present participle; defers, 3rd person singular present
Harlem [Dream Deferred]
What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore—
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over—
like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?
Is that enough education for you all? I had a feeling that it was, so let me just get to the point here. Skyzoo is an artist that I know a lot of you have never heard about in your life, and if you have, well damn, salute to you, you actually know some stuff. But, prior to this album, he dropped a mixtape (arguably one of the best this year) Theo vs JJ: Dreams vs Reality. He is a teacher, more so a professor, but at the same time he’s a student of the rap game. How he’s gone on so unnoticed is beyond me, but he’s been around for a while, but I didn’t really get into him until last year (Shout out to Mars). Hailing from Brooklyn, he’s just another name on the list of wicked rappers to spring out of the confines of New York City. Joey Bada$$ & A$AP Rocky are the other notable rappers to come out recently, but Skyzoo adds that dynamic style to him that surpasses both in lyrical ability, and it’s not only because he’s had more years under his belt in the underground. He’s come a long way, and wouldn’t you know that this is his 4th album? I know…crazy, but this album takes a step further in his development as an artist as he dove into more than just the music, but yet he revolved it around a different storyline, and that was the poem written by Langston Hughes, Dream Deferred.
Now, the reason why I gave you the definition of defer and the poem is to give you an idea behind what’s the theme of this album. What happens when a dream is put off to the side? Does it whiter away and die? Or does it sit and fester waiting to take control and take off unbeknownst to us? Nobody knows, but what I do know is that on this album, Skyzoo paints a picture of just what sacrifice and dedication can do to help a dream flourish. Life happens, and sometimes you have to put something on focus off for a while, but that doesn’t mean that it stops growing. It’ll always be working even when you don’t know it is. That’s my interpretation of the piece written by Mr. Hughes, and my perception of this album was that it was a story of coming up and living the ‘dream’.
For those who don’t know much about Langston Hughes, I did some research on him as well, because I didn’t know anything about him my damn self, he was one of the innovators of Jazz Poetry. It had a rhythmic vibe to it (So, look at Def Poetry Jam or Poetry Slam), and there are songs on this album that have a heavy jazz influence when you listen to it (kudos to !llmind for his production on the album – a job well done), and the album was paying homage to the piece, but also a reflection of Langston Hughes himself.
It all started off on a great vibe, and you can achieve that when you have the soul sister Jill Scott on your first song, and when you come in with a strong delivery like he does, he serves it well. Dreams In The Basement, Jansport Strings, and Pockets Full are the start-up songs that many of us can relate to as our humble beginnings: The days when we’re just in our rooms looking at the ceiling wondering about the future, thinking about where we’re going to go and how we’re going to get there, and it’s all about the transition that the album takes. As it progresses, as the dream starts to unfurl, you have your emotions that you’re where you want to be, but you’re not at a comfortable level as of yet because you can still see the bottom, but you’re looking towards the top (Glass Ceilings), and also because you have status, what comes with that? Cars, Money, and most importantly, women (Range Rover Rhythm, The Knowing, Drew & Derwin).
Maintaining a focus while in progression of your dream is important, so when you feel that there’s a threat, you have to maintain your composure and remember just what it is you’re working for is more important than the obstacles that face you, but there will be times of struggle. Skyzoo tells you this, reminds you of the struggle, but will help guide you on just how to move forward from that lull in progress, and that’s what the songs in the middle of the album represent (Realization, The Rage of Roemello, How to Make It Through Hysteria), but once you get past all of that, then you’re well on your way towards getting to your dream.
It really is a tale of rags to riches. It’s not like Ready to Die or anything of that nature, but when it comes to how the album was layered out, it’s like Skyzoo broke down the poem and dissected it so that his album would touch on the similar content in the way that it was written. From a negative to a positive, that’s the mindset that runs through the poem, and that’s what’s happening in the album. It’s a great piece of music.
Steel’s Apartment, Spike Lee Was My Hero, & The Cost of Sleep are the songs when you’ve reached the pinnacle. A great view from the top and reflection of where you were and the inspiration that drove you to get to that point in the first place is what you want to really focus in on. At the same time during that reflection, you want to not ‘sleep’ and become too comfortable, because there is a price when it comes to dozing off. They always say that you have to keep your foot on the pedal to maintain your momentum, so always have that drive, because your dream has to be big enough to do so.
I felt like this is a great album because of the poetic tribute it paid homage to, and the fact that this is an album that many people can listen to and have a relation with because Skyzoo is like an everyday person who’s rapping in the perspective of the people who listen to his music the most: The working class, the people who want to live out their dreams, but also for the people who need that extra push and/or motivating words to get them through. We all have dreams, we all have ambitions, and it’s difficult to get there, but if you’re dedicated enough, you can’t lose.
Skyzoo has been putting in work for more than half a decade. He’s a testament to the legendary poem – something gets in the way, but it’ll never stop you from getting to the dream. Still regarded as an underground rapper, but this album should get people to wake up more and hear what they’ve been missing. I know I’m a believer, and this is just one more piece of work that proves why I am. Take the time out to listen, it’s definitely worth it, but this is just my opinion & my views
That’s My Word & It STiXX
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