Every once in a while, we read something magnificent and we feel stunned. As if someone has lit our hat on fire, or punched us between the eyes. Sure, sometimes we like a thing, but sometimes it's more serious. This is one of those times. So forget, for a second, about questions of weekend geistiness and open your hearts to a blog that transcends our moment, and achieves, who knows how, a level of unparalleled virtuosity.
The blog we're talking about is called "Gabe Said, 'We're Into Movements.'" No, we have no idea what the name means either, or why the genius who wrote this stuff chose it. Nor do we know who the genius is; according to our friends at Idolator, duke's identity is a secret.
The blog is about rappers, mostly, but also pride and pain and love and tragedy. Almost all of the fifteen posts that have been published on the site since last May are written in the form of frenetic, hilarious, and (lately) genuinely moving letters addressed to Jay-Z. Quite simply, it is some of the smartest writing our little culture has provoked.
First thing to notice about this blog is that the shit is all written in capital letters. Unclear precisely why this is, but it does inflect a certain tone on the words that normal punctuation would simply not allow. The other thing to know is that "Gabe" contains more breakneck rap references and thick slang words than any one human could ever hope to absorb or identify. Just remember that it's okay not to absorb them, because you should be letting them absorb you.
With that said, take a look at a November 16th post criticizing Jay-Z for rapping too much about the comforts of his life as a grown-up CEO. "I AM A FIRM BELIEVER IN THE "YOU DO YOU" WAY OF LIVING," the letter goes,
IF YOU WANNA MAKE AIMLESS, ARTLESS, EDGE-FREE RAP SHIT THEN BY ALL MEANS, GO FOR YOURS. JUST ONE THING, THOUGH:
I WANT TO LISTEN TO SHIT LIKE THAT ABOUT AS OFTEN AS I WANT TO READ ONE OF JOHN "BALLS-AND-MY-WORD" UPDIKE'S ELEGIAC ACCOUNTS OF SOME BASHFUL 60-YR OLD ENGLISH PROFESSOR J-O'ING TO THOUGHTS OF WOMEN'S TENNIS. OR AS OFTEN AS I PLAN WEEKENDS AROUND FOLIAGE. OR AS OFTEN AS I LISTEN TO BLACKAFUCKINGLICIOUS!
CHECK IT: NPR RAP? WHATEVER GETS YOU THROUGH THE NIGHT, HOMIE. IT AIN'T MY THING, BUT IT STILL HAS THE CAPACITY TO BE GOOD SHIT. MAYBE. BUT THIS:
'I DIG A HOLE IN THE DESERT, THEY BUILD THE SANDS ON YOU, LAY OUT BLUEPRINT PLANS ON YOU. WE RAT PACK NIGGAZ, LET SAM TAP DANCE ON YOU"
YEAH IT'S ABOUT BODYING DUDES AND BUILDING CASINOS OVER THEIR MAKESHIFT GRAVES. BUT IT ALSO MAKES OTHER RAPPERS GRAB THE MAC FROM THE BACK OF THE AC AND FUCKING KILL THEMSELVES BECAUSE THEY WILL NEVER SAY IT BETTER. 40/40 CLUB'S APPETIZERS? SOME CONVO YOU HAD WITH THE IDIOT FROM MAD MONEY? WHO GIVES A SHIT. BUT RESPECT YOUR PAST FUCKING DARTS. YOU'RE MAKING ME FEEL LIKE I GOT ALZHEIMERS UP IN THIS PIECE.
So it goes on. Another letter scalds Jay for letting the less successful rappers in his old stable flounder and fade. Another chastises him for referencing Ben Affleck and hanging out with Gwyneth Paltrow. It sounds trite when summarized; when read straight, the passion and the insight more or less burn. His latest is about the difference between artful memory and hollow nostalgia:
"THERE'S LOTSA WAYS TO TAKE IT BACK [...] BUT MAKING A MOTHERFUCKER NOSTALGIC AND MAKING A MOTHERFUCKER PAY ATTENTION ISN'T THE SAME THING.
A few lines down:
YOU KNOW WHAT THE MAYOR OF MEMORY LANE UNDERSTANDS? THE TRUTH IS IN WHAT HAPPENED, HOW IT HAPPENED; NOT HOW IT FELT, NOT HOW IT FEELS.
THE ART OF STORYTELLING OR MEMOIRS IN BARS. WHAT'S THE FUCKING DIFFERENCE? YOU CAN'T POSSIBLY REMEMBER HOW SOMETHING FELT AT THE TIME BECAUSE FEELINGS, WHATEVER THE FUCK THOSE ARE, ARE FLUID. YOU CAN CON ME WITH THAT. I'M A SUCKER.
BUT THERE'S A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN TRUE STORIES AND TRUE STORYTELLING. AND PEOPLE CAN SNIFF OUT HOW MUCH YOU STEP ON THAT SHIT.