You're Breaking My Heart highlights songs that make me want to cry.
I go through periods of feeling fed up with rap music. I feel like I am too old, too white, too straight to be listening to it. What the fuck does my life have to do kids bragging about getting wasted, having sex, partying, selling drugs, and/or shooting people?
And then I'll hear a song that reminds me what I love about the music in the first place, namely the way it gives a voice to populations that don't often have a voice, and the way it lends itself to more thorough examinations of issues. Rock songs can be meaningful too, but a rap song will often have two or three times the number of words per song - a rapper can say more than a singer.
Which brings me to "Last Good Sleep," the 1997 song by Company Flow. Company Flow were a Brooklyn trio who were basically trying to make hip-hop like EPMD in an era where rap was first trying to go pop in a big way. CoFlo were part of the true school revival of the late 90s, artists who wanted to make the kind of hip-hop that got them excited about the genre in the first place. Up to "Last Good Sleep," their songs had been your typical rap songs about being the baddest MC etc. And then El-P decided to write a song about his abusive stepfather.
The song is told from his perspective, and describes the night his stepfather nearly beat his mother to death. The song describes El-P's feelings of guilt, horror, regret, and remorse at not doing more to stop the abuse. That is a heavy, heavy trip to lay on a little kid.
I cannot listen to this song without tearing up. It's one of the saddest songs I know, because it deals so honestly with pain.
He describes waking up and hearing them having the usual argument they had when the stepfather was drunk:
- ► 2016 (21)
- ▼ April (7)
- ► 2014 (50)
- ► 2013 (37)
- ► 2012 (58)
- ► 2011 (78)
- ► 2010 (101)
- ► 2009 (137)
- ► 2008 (144)
- ► 2007 (90)