Lupe Fiasco — “Kick, Push”

Released: 4.18.06

Peak: #78

There are better ways to dissipate your critical energies than by differentiating the “real” from the ersatz, whether you’re sorting through Americans or hip-hop. So far be it from me to consider the Midwest “realer” than either coast. But I will say that Chicago’s middling successful rappers more consistently pepper their rhymes with recognizable, mundane detail than superstars to their east and west. And “Kick, Push” is the ideal example of how Midwestern realism distinguishes itself from that of other regions.

At first, Soundtrakk’s swooping strings (less “Backstabbers” than “Nights in White Satin,” sad to say, though dig that discordant resolution) seem to clash with Lupe’s plainspoken sensibility–and skating may not seem the most promising extended metaphor anyway. But the orchestration sets up “Kick Push” as a fantasy of the everyday, the daydream of a romantic after Phil Spector’s own ears, and a skateboard subs nicely for a motorcycle in what amounts to a “Born to Run” for city kids who’ll never see the open road that leads out of town.

In the course of his rambles, Lupe’s sk8r boi finds a girl with her own board and her own mind, and dodges run-ins with some surprisingly polite security guards. At its most romanticized, “Kick, Push” is still less corny than supposed tough guys who whine about their stress–though if you require additional grit, the more downbeat “Kick, Push II,” closes off the full-length Food and Liquor somewhat less hopefully. The song’s ultimate value is its expression of life as something to be lived rather than won. I’ll never be quite as annoyed by those dumb kids clattering in the streets again. And I can’t say I’m disappointed that we’ve placed a transplanted Midwestern realist in the White House. Coasss…

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Comments

  • KIN-TAK  On October 18, 2010 at 5:47 am

    and a skateboard subs nicely for a motorcycle in what amounts to a “Born to Run” for city kids who’ll never see the open road that leads out of town

    um, i take it you meant to say “Born to Be Wild,” right?

  • usefulnoise  On October 18, 2010 at 5:33 pm

    Nah, I always pictured Bruce leaving town on a bike (maybe because of the “wrap your legs ’round these velvet rims” bit).

  • KIN-TAK  On October 18, 2010 at 5:46 pm

    yer right, dang it, i forgot about that line. also, the “suicide machines” line makes much more sense when you imagine dude’s on a motorcycle too.

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