A few of the recent posts have been about Kanye West’s “All Falls Down” and primarily focus on the idea of wealth, but I feel like the idea of racial discrimination has been overlooked. But instead of the actual song, I think it would be more effective to analyze the spoken word poem “Self Conscious” that Kanye performed on Def Poetry Jam a few years ago. The lyrics are basically the same but the first and second verses are switched.
These lines establish the concept of race that will follow in the next verse. Unlike in the song “All Falls Down” which starts with the verse talking about a “self-conscious” girl, the spoken word poem puts this girl in a different light. Instead of reading it as just a girl who hasn’t figured out a plan for her future, it is read more specifically as a black female struggling in society. Moreover, the next verse beings with the lines “I say fuck the police, that’s how I treat ‘em/ We buy our way out of jail, but we can’t buy freedom.” “We” refers to the wealthy African American community, which is significant because even though they have the money to pay their way out of jail, they can’t “buy freedom” because they are constantly oppressed because of their race.
Seeing how this post is getting a little long, this line may be an interesting topic of discussion: “Drug dealers buy Jordans, crackhead buy crack/ And a white man get paid off of all of that.”