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A Track for the People – A reading of the Hip Hop track People by Classified

Let the People Speak

After watching the video People (Classified, People 2023, https://music.youtube.com/watch?v=rAYcky8VpMk), and assessing the reactions that immediately follow, this track just begs to be reviewed and given critical inquiry.  After the first review of the track, it’s easy to come away with a negative sense from this work.  But that’s where the excitement begins.  Listen again; watch again; then remember that the track holds a proper position of “People” – use of the capital “P.”  Certainly, the argument could be made that this is just the title of the track and, therefore should retain a proper directive.  But that’s too obvious and neglects the value of that proper usage.  A socio-political argument frames that if the word “people” is used with the diminutive, lower case “p,” then, the subtextual issue, identity, and importance of that culture, community, and politic of that group in question is devalued.  Collectively, then, a subaltern is produced, and without a critically applied voice or proper reference.  In contrast, using the proper capitol “P,” applies a direct sense of value, importance, and equitable recognition of the socio-political identity of the culture, community and politic in question.  Scripting this track – People – Classified shed a global light, a collective perspective, a multiple identity construction and voice to those who engage the track.  I argue that with such a sensitive philosophy and approach to socio-linguistic realities, Classified would not have used the diminutive term – people – specifically so to invite a conversation for a wide-reaching audience base founded upon the differences of cultures, customs, identity, knowledge, and expressions.  People, as Classified notes in a 2023 interview, “…might come off as negative, [but] I believe that people who actually pay attention to the lyrics will understand that this song actually delivers a POSITVE [emphasis in the original] message, and I HOPE [emphasis in the original] that it brings people together.” (Tune Blast 2023, https://www.tuneblast.co/clients/classified-people/). Classified,

“People” don’t need to seek the acceptance of others (cultural, social, political).  “People” need to, now more than ever in the connected global contexts, focus upon the acceptance of their faith and belief system.  This agency leads to the building of a global foundation for the belief in ALL PEOPLE.   Faith is the active agency founded upon a living, thriving belief system.  These are not to be overlooked but coupled together allowing for our own self-reflexive necessity to establish, build, furnish and express how faith is activated within our daily life.

The position(s) of sovereignty is created by ‘people’ (lower case specifically) for the creation of a false faith security, and socio-political abject ideology construction.  Sovereignty can, and is, only found in faith, in one’s belief foundation.  Taking a further deconstructive critique, it can be asked of this track, “Whose image or inscription is on this track?”  “Whose image (read: profiling of identity) is on what classification of ‘p/People’?” These two questions contest a seemingly limited use of the lower case “p” in reference to this work.  The socio-linguistic importance is confirmed, through the specific inclusion of the capital “P” to flip-the-script on sovereignty where this agency is not in the hands of a populist ideology.  Sovereignty, I argue, by this critique frames the interlocked and secure functionality of faith and belief.  People exemplifies a sovereign identity construction situated within this binary reality.  The local-global community/communities need not seek the acceptance of others (cultural, social, political).  “People” need now more than ever in the current (2023) connected global contexts, focus upon the acceptance of their faith and belief system.  This agency, I argue, leads to the building of a global foundation for the belief in ALL PEOPLE.   Faith as agency; belief system as apologetic trajectory.  The position(s) of sovereignty is not a socio-political abject ideological narrative.  Sovereignty can, and is, only found in faith, in one’s belief foundation.

We The People

Electing to review the 2023 track People by Canadian Hip Hop artist Classified, I attest is drawn by his honest confession about what most of think about and deal with daily, even if we don’t express these thoughts to others.

’ve had a lot of time to think over the years….really any time I’m not on the go my mind is usually racing.  I think a lot of people are like that too…just wondering about things…Thinking about various personal what-ifs, question society, wondering why things are the way they are.  The things we wonder can feel personal, but really, we aren’t that unique.  This song [referencing Wonder in company with People] connects my personal thoughts to what everyone else might wonder about too, giving a glimpse into both my life and our shared experiences. (Bailey 2023, https://musictalkers.com/)

This lengthy quote is necessary to include as it reveals an often-secret path most of us entertain. Self-defeating thoughts can derail our ongoing association and commitment to building faith and following our invested belief system.  What continues to capture my attention toward the work of Classified is his level of honesty.  Yes, he includes images and lyrics on numerous tracks throughout his decade of work in the Hip Hop genre, each of which can be deconstructed to illustrate the importance of faith and belief in one’s life (i.e., The Day Doesn’t Die, https://music.youtube.com/watch?v=CZH3VXyIWL8).  However, this is almost low-hanging fruit to address with the work of such a lyrically musical artist.  Classified sub textually underscores numerous points toward the importance of faith and belief, in humanity and in the desire for a view to look beyond differences, disagreements, and the proverbial negative “isms.”  Classified articulates a lyrical agenda structured by the scaffolding of linguistic mechanics toward an unrelentless thriving voice that deconstructs the works being produced.  A listener need only be open to access these points and see how they relate not to a niche Hip Hop audience, but to all people.

Pass the Mic to Open the Dialogue

Focusing on the track People, Classified speaks to this work as being, “a commentary on the selfishness, divisiveness, and lack of empathy in society, suggesting that humanity is collectively responsible for the problems we [all] face and that everyone needs to come together and unite as one [people]” (https://www.tuneblast.co/clients/classified-people/ 2023).  Partnering with Dax (https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/684054630911991615/), an Ottawa-raised by way of L.A. Hip Hop artist known for his focused faith-based Hip Hop work sets a precedent on how to approach the collective oeuvre of Classified.  Electing to use Dax on other tracks that are in company with the track People, Classified is highlighting a humanitarian scope at the core of his works.  True, Classified is not known for being a faith-based Hip Hop artist, but Dax is known for this working platform.  Therefore, it’s not unreasonable to see that Classified knows the importance the rhetoric – the rap as it were – imbedded within People.  Dax does not make a cameo appearance in the video, but Dax does share his name, his brand, his faith-based work, and his supporting fans to the current (2023) work by Classified.  Trouping on the historic component in Hip Hop’s vernacular, sharing a collective position with a guest artist, Classified avoids an obvious and potentially generic stand by having Dax, or other faith-based Hip Hop artists on People.  Rather, when Dax does appear on another track released at the same time as People, there is a surge of community involvement crashing together from different angles into a singular call to action, justice, equity, and humanitarian inclusion for all people.  Dax

Though my process is one of an apologetic deconstruction, this track, People repositions a critical analytical style.  However, an apologetic reading is still apt to apply.  It is important to recall that the history of the apologetics is founded upon the core belief one has with their faith.  This contemporary track – 2023 – is founded upon a need to script a re-evaluation of belief, the faith in humanity, a stabilizing faith in People.  Reducing this point defeats the core sensibility and importance of this work at such a critical juncture in the world politics.  Faced with the ongoing principles and processes of racial profiling, ethical assumptions, misunderstanding of power structures, media hysteria, pop cultural misogyny, and socio-political marginalization, identity can fall victim to being self-minimizing.  If one begins to believe more in these social practices and constructions, rather than a centered faith, the value and visibility of the self begins to lose importance.  So, what’s the importance of p/People if these social media practices are institutionalized, protected, and passed as heirlooms to younger generations?  Is this the image, the identity formation, the faith, and belief value we, the p/People see as value to maintain?

Conclusion or more questions?

So, what’s the conclusion?  Does the track People satisfy a timely need for global communities to move beyond selfish institutionalized biases and work toward, at least, civil cooperation with others?  Does People have its finger on the pulse for sensitive change – an overdue paradigm shift – toward understanding of cultures, lives, expressions beyond our limited digital environments and comfortably constructed social media?  The theme of People, as Classified has stated elsewhere, is not a new theme, but, perhaps one that holds more value in the early part of the everchanging 21st global century.  Faith in humanity is central to this work.  Belief in change is foundational to this work.  People, as noted above, does not presume to be a faith-based Hip Hop track.  Yet, the principles of the track, the central faith-based theme of the work, the subtextual call-to-action for a social shift from bias focused to one that humanitarian embraced are all evident in this track.  Classified provided for us all, the global audience, the opportunity to touch our faith, question the relevance of our beliefs and honestly express if we are/are not acting congruent to our faith-based systems, values, and quest to learn to live with one another following our belief in the good faith of mankind. Classified, People, video image, 2023.

Alan Lechusza

www.alanlechusza.com

alanlechuszaauthor.com

https://www.patheos.com/blogs/thesweatpantsessions/

Sources

Bailey, Adam. Classified Drops Emotionally Charged New Single “Wonder.” Music Talkers,

28 October, 2023, https://musictalkers.com/.

CBC Music. “How Dax combined faith, honesty and poetry into a ‘recipe for healing.’” 27 April, 2023, https://www.cbc.ca/music.

Classified. https://www.classifiedofficial.com/.

Classified. “People” (official video), September 8/10, 2023. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rAYcky8VpMk.

Classified. Song Kick. https://www.songkick.com/artists/278050-classified.

Dawkins, Tracey. Newleasemusic.com, 29 September, 2023.

Dax. Pinterest. https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/684054630911991615/.

Disco Tech. “Best of Classified,” https://discotech.me/.

Rap Industry. 2023, https://rapindustry.com/.

Tuneblast.10 September, 2023, https://www.tuneblast.co/clients/classified-people/.