There’s no better catalyst for change than ambition. We use ambition to shape our careers, to build relationships and more notably, to grow personally as well as professionally. Ambition can unfortunately be short lived or hindered by the slightest challenging encounter. In Desire, Pharoahe Monch reminds us to hold on to our ambition and to never let others derail our route to greatness. Pharoahe Monch has steered his ambitions into a successful rap career and this track is a tribute to his desire that got him there. In light of Hip Hop’s 40th anniversary this weekend, may this song be a representation of the culture’s struggle, hustle, soul and desire.
Here’s my interpretation:
“Y’all just wanna shine, y’all just wanna glisten
Floss, knowing that the soul is still missing (Who am I?)
I’m the poetical pastor . Slave to a label but I own my masters”
Here Pharoahe Monch alludes to values of modern-day rappers and the record labels they are affiliated with. The commodification of Hip Hop has put the desire to craft poetical rap at a standstill. “Ya’ll just wanna shine, ya’ll just wanna glisten” reflects the urgency of folks in the music industry, who want to make a quick buck at the cost of shitty music. Commoditization sucks the soul out of Hip Hop culture and disregards the nature of its origin.
Pharoahe Monch even takes it to Twitter, where he further expresses his sentiments towards modern-day rap.
“Slave to a label but I own my masters” – I can’t help but think of Ray Charles when I hear this line. Charles owned his masters and could do whatever he wanted with his recordings; for a man of his popularity and stature, that meant a lot. Pharoahe Monch is essentially telling us he’s not a sell out (like a lot of artists these days *cough* lupe fiasco *cough*) and that he hasn’t given his rights up to a record label.
“You will feel me. You will admire. (My) Struggle (My) Hustle (My) Soul, desire”
This is my favorite line of the song – If you follow me on twitter you’ll know that I tweet this line a lot. Monch’s assertiveness in this line echoes my own journey and my ambition to grow personally as well as professionally. On a bad day, or on days where I feel that I am loosing site of the big picture, this track in general or this line in specific, puts me back on track. Pharoahe Monch knows that his contribution to this rap shit will not go unknown and that he will be admired for his poetical pastor-ness. This line has me anticipating the day where I am admired for my feats.
“Fire, you don’t wanna get burned like Rich Pryor. Move back, who’s that, there, the live wire.”
Pharoahe Monch’s desire is powerful enough to set you on fire like Rich Pryor AKA his music is straight FIYAH because he is hard working, ambitious and puts his soul into everything he crafts. His desire radiates throughout his music catalog and motivates listeners like myself to dedicate 100% of me to all that I do.
By: Amanda Girgis