Home Featured Strange Fruition: Finding My Own Truth in Lupe Fiasco’s Lyrics

Strange Fruition: Finding My Own Truth in Lupe Fiasco’s Lyrics

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Last week Mr. Spradley wrote a review of Lupe Fiasco’s Food and Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album Part I. He discusses his overall views of Lupe as well as some critiques and praises of the album. In our discussion of Lupe’s work, I told him I was thinking of doing a post on my favorite song on the album as a follow-up.

My favorite song on the album is track number two, Strange Fruition. It reminds me of a very short story I wrote entitled Strange Fruit. As I was looking over the track listing I expected to hear a rendition or sampling of Billie Holiday’s Strange Fruit. And as I took in the lyrics I couldn’t help but nod my head in agreement with what Lupe was saying.

“Now I can’t pledge allegiance to your flag
Cause I can’t find no reconciliation with your past”

I’m a fan of history, so it’s hard for me to forget what America’s history has meant to people who look like me. That I wasn’t around for most of those slights doesn’t mean that I don’t deal with the aftermath. If you travel throughout the deep south, a lot of southern whites have a deep resentment towards “yankees” over some beef that no one was living was around to recall first hand. Losing the Civil War caused a deep wound in mind and hearts of the south. If they can’t reconcile with the past then why should I? I jokingly told my frat brother the other week that I don’t remember the pledge of allegiance. Though I recited it almost daily — for years, for the life of me, I can’t seem to remember its words. I think, unconsciously, I wanted to forget it.

“When there was nothing equal for my people in your math
You forced us in the ghetto and then you took our dads
The belly of the beast, these streets are demons’ abs
I’m telling you that setup in them sit-ups is so sad
The system is a slab”

I grew up in the DMV area and although we had a lot of low-income housing I had no idea what real housing projects were until I moved to New York. The New York City Housing Authority (NYUHA) on the surface seems righteous giving people homes where alternatively they wouldn’t be able to afford housing. Housing projects are often breeding grounds for drug sales and abuse, violence and despair. It may seem a helping hand but I can’t imagine that it’s a roundabout about way to keep minorities penned up in one place. Is it a coincidence that 97% of NYUHA’s residents are black or hispanic?

“Corruption is the swinger sittin high ridin dirty, drag racin’ into danger
And it’s so clean, pine trees smellin good
With work off in the trunk and niggas in the hood
So I can’t shed blood on any battlefield of yours?”

My dad might as well been Furious Styles. I took his advice to heart. Do you remember when Trey told Ricky that the black man has no place in the white man’s army? I appreciate the troops but like Muhammed Ali said when asked why he refused the draft “No VeitCong ever called me n*gger.” I couldn’t imagine going halfway across the world to fight another oppressed people. I grateful for the freedoms that I am afforded by those who defend our nation. Key word is “defend”. Offensive wars bother me. Another thing that irks me is the treatment that veterans face after returning from war. Even worse are those that are wounded in battle. Have you noticed how hard it is for veterans to obtain employment? Shameful.

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“I pray the ugly truth comes and shatters your decor
And as it all falls down and shatters on the floor
I shed tears, I don’t know what really matters anymore
Cause I don’t know what really matters anymore”

There is a veil of lies that has been pulled over the eyes of America. This veil has been in place for so long that anyone who challenges the establishment these days are looked upon a nut jobs or conspiracy theorists. Either way they are not looked upon favorably. So many things have gone wrong with this country and we accept them at face value. We have become morally bankrupt. Minorities, women, the poor, homosexuals are treated unjustly — but as Martin Luther King Jr said once “The arc of the moral universe is long but it bends towards justice.” The only question is once it starts bending and the ugly truth is uncovered how will we react?

Tunde

Comment(25)

  1. Good post Doc!

    As much as I love my nation I have just as many issues with my nation. (I actually think being patriotic should include having issues with your nation.) We were never morally in the black for a sustained period. Morally we live check to check. Historically our morals have ebbed and flowed from the 1600’s onward. I wager that many of the ugly truths are well known but the average person either doesn’t care or cares but doesn’t put any effort into doing anything about what’s going on.

    As a person who considered a career in the military and has friends and relatives currently serving seeing the armed forces being misused stings. If you’ve ever been to a VA Hospital you’d see how serious it is for vets.

    1. i go to the VA hospital here in NYC often because a lab we partner with is located in the same building. its sad seeing so many veterans in there looking despondent and desolate. i've always been the type of person to challenge or at the very least ask questions of the status quo and that includes this country and its principles.

      1. I gotcha. My favorite quote describing America and Americans comes from Winston Churchill (Who was a crook in his own right)
        “Americans can always be counted on to do the right thing…after they have exhausted all other possibilities.”
        I wonder if we’ll ever use the correct principles before things get ugly.

  2. excellent post!!!

    i think any minority or marginalized group in this country has a schizo relationship with it. but yet, for some reason, if you question acts and intentions of this great nation, you are accused of being unpatriotic. smdh.

    there is no other country id rather live (well, Amsterdam if sh*t hits the fan and this country reverts back to pre-13th amendment) or pay homage but ill be damned if i dont hold my country accountable for their BS. i think thats what makes me patriotic – that i want better and demand better for my country and its people. i just hope her government and other citizens proceed with caution before we end up some where we shouldnt be.

    1. you know what's funny? the same people who are quick to call you unpatriotic if you question the beliefs and policies of this country are a lot of the same people who are quick to throw obama under a bus. those groups of people have a name but it slips my mind right now (it really doesn't).
      My recent post A difficult choice

  3. Great, great post. As I grew up I found myself questioning the way things were in the black community more and more. I live on the south side of Chicago, right by englewood, and its pretty rough. You see all the liquor stores, currency exchanges, fast food restaurants amongst other things poisoning our communities while minimum wage job are even scarce and pit us against each other threatening to fire us like common slaves. So what’s the alternative? Selling drugs? Rob? Do drugs? Suicide? I know most are quick to criticize and say go to school, work harder but there’s even a problem with that. We, as the minority, have to work so much harder than others just to get by while our schools are teaching us how to be lab rats and we don’t learn what we should have learned in grade school until late high school. Even when we make it to college how will we pay? I’ve seen countless minorities drop out of a university(read get kicked out) because of financial problems. What’s even more baffling is it happens at the community colleges also. 40 something percent of the Richard J Daley student body was charged 500+ dollars for a book voucher that was supposed to be covered through financial aod(myself included) but we were told the “book store isn’t connected to the financial aid office” although it is. I had a better support system than others but I still missed out on two years of school coming up with the money. It’s no coincidence this school is predominantly black and Hispanic. It’s really a shame what we go through on the regular. At least we can “turn up” better than any other race. Alcohol, fashion, and sex dominate our communities and that’s a huge problem. Sorry for being long winded or ant grammatical errors.

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