FeaturesWritten by ZEKIEL on September 20, 2019
Many of us can link a certain album to pivotal moments in our lives. Whether it’s the first record you bought with your own money, the chord you first learnt to play on guitar, the song that soundtracked your first kiss, the album that got you those awkward and painful pubescent years or the one that set off light bulbs in your brain and inspired you to take a big leap of faith into the unknown – music is often the catalyst for change in our lives and can even help shape who we become.
ZEKIEL — Lasers By Lupe Fiasco (2011)
Dear Lupe Fiasco’s Lasers,
I still remember the first day I met you. I was 14 years old, working at CIVIC video… the days of returning DVD’s, eating all the Hershey’s chocolate and listening to my manager Kylie explain how the DVD industry was turning to shit. She wasn’t wrong either… about 6 months later our store went out of business. But, in my short time at CIVIC, I was introduced to an artist and an album in particular that reshaped the way I looked at music and, moreso, my life. Two singles in particular – ‘The Show Goes On’ & ‘Words I Never Said’.
‘THE SHOW GOES ON’
I’d never heard of Lupe Fiasco before this track. Like, EVER. But as a teenage kid who was starting to question everything, especially my own worth and purpose in life – I could feel the emotion and sincerity in his voice and I connected with it straight away. The story, the message, the sound – so empowering and inspiring. I learned every word meticulously and dissected each bar to understand it better. The more I did that, the more I appreciated Lupe and his intellect. He was one of the first artists that I felt was speaking to me and only me. He was beyond powerful with words:
“No matter what you’ve been through,
No matter what you’re into,
No matter what you see when you look outside your window
brown grass or green grass, picket fence or barb wire
Never ever put em down raise em till your arms tired
let em know you there, that you’re struggling, surviving but you gon’ persevere
Yea – ain’t nobody leaving, no bodies going home, even if they turn the lights out the show is going on”
– Lupe Fiasco
‘WORDS I NEVER SAID’
One of my favourite tracks of all time – still to this day. Don’t get me wrong – I still regret many things I actually say, but it’s usually the things I don’t say that I end up losing sleep over. And this song epitomises all the things we regularly let slide. It’s a very critical take on the huge societal problems we sweep under the rug and blindly accept, no matter how volatile or immoral.
This track had me thinking critically, just listening to Lupe speak about personal battles such as self-doubt and insecurity all the way to global problems like the distribution of wealth, conspiracy and the overall futility of war:
“I really think the war on terror is a bunch of bullshit
Just a poor excuse for you house up all your bullets
How much money does it take to really make a full clip
9/11, building 7 did they really pull it”
“Crooked banks around the world would gladly give a loan today
So if you ever miss a payment they can take your home away”
– Lupe Fiasco
ALSO, the clip is one of those videos that gives the song a whole new life and perspective. I remember seeing it for the first time, all dark and gloomy, everybody on a bus in a muzzle, unable to speak or communicate… while Lupe has his megaphone spreading his message to the seemingly deaf public. It was freaky and surreal because, at the time, the integration of smart phones and the internet was taking place. It was like a three-minute episode of Black Mirror – 10 years before Black Mirror existed. Powerful and unsettling.
Lupe had substance I craved. I credit his music with a lot of my critical thought about things that I usually wouldn’t spend energy or time on. So, thanks for ‘Lasers’ man, it got me through a really weird time in my life and gave me food for thought throughout my adult years too.
Signing off as one inspired Lupe Listener,
Following on from releasing his critically praised new single ‘Skipping School’, Sydney-based alt hip-hop artist ZEKIEL has just revealed his DIY accompanying music video – shot and directed by DRXL and the artist himself.
ZE explains: “All the cameras were models sold/designed before the 2000’s. We shot this video in the Gold Coast. We had a non-existent budget and an idea for a lo-fi clip to show a bit more of my personality. Making fun of myself, looking like a fool most of the time but we had an absolute ball shooting it.”
With the masterfully dark hip-hop earworm ‘Skipping School’, this prolific topliner and guest writer stamps himself not just as an artist in his own right, but one of the most promising of his generation.
Friday, 1st November
ON THE RISE @ THE BERESFORD, SYDNEY