My name is Miles, and this is my gallery of words.

If I’m gonna tell a real story, I’m gonna start with my name.
— Kendrick Lamar
auto tune pimping, 2 wayz

auto tune pimping, 2 wayz

🔀 day I'ma have a car.  I'll have a car, and I'll have someone, and I'll have independence, and I won't have to sit at this fucking bus stop seeing the same bullshit every day.  I won't have to feel like a loser, daydreaming to pass the minutes by.  I won't feel trapped.  I'll figure something out.  I have to figure something out.  Don't want to have to speak in class again today.  No one else will though, I guarantee it...I just don't want that spotlight.  God, I fucking hate the smell here.  Every fucking morning.  Smells like cigarettes and burnt teriyaki.  I don't want to do this.  I can't do this...


I don’t idolize America, I’m dancing with the stars.
— Lupe Fiasco

At the time of this article taking place, I was not driving, as you probably guessed it.  Not to splinter off into a whole other story, but this part is important - I actually did have a car, I did not know how to drive it.  I was 20 and attending ASU.  I had used money, that I had received from a life insurance policy after my father had passed when I was a sophomore in high school, to purchase a used 2008 Dodge Charger.  White, SXT, used, and most unachievable and beloved thing I had ever possessed.  Not only was it my dream car, but it was a glimpse into a life of freedom that I had not yet trespassed on the grounds of - it was also in my mind, a selfish, but personal use of the funds I had received.  Majority of the funds at that point had gone to helping my mom pay off the house, purchasing new and necessary furniture for the house, college tuition, and the occasional outings with my friends.  Yeah, I spent a lot of the money unnecessarily on movie tickets, burgers and the occasional mythical adolescent strip club visit.  What can I say, moth to a flame.

My car sat in the backyard of my home.  I didn't know how to drive it, and I was too proud to have anyone other than my mom teach me how to drive.  Reason being?  All of my friends are Mexican, and grew up surrounded by cars and car culture hence making them all very knowledgeable and capable drivers.  Even though I know deep down that they would not have hesitated to teach me, I was too afraid of looking foolish.  Of looking like a loser.  I needed my mom to teach me just so that I could flourish from there.  No shame in that, because I love and respect my mom...but everyone has flaws, and her's is procrastination.  So shit got pushed back.  Days.  Weeks.  Years.  I wasn't the greatest student by any means, but she wasn't looking to teach either.  Pawned me off at one point to my Grandfather...Jesus Christ, if you ever get the chance to listen to my Mom talk about him, she can describe how fucking infuriating it is to try and take direction from that man.  By the time I had my headphones in listening to this Lupe Fiasco album, I had boiled twice over.  And I had developed a serious frustration toward public transportation as the years passed.

There’s only 2 ways out of here
You’re way too late, you’ll be trapped here forever
— Lupe Fiasco

I decided to write about this album because of how much Lupe Fiasco hates it.  This is an album that was put out with malevolence.  At this point in time, Lupe was under the oppression of Atlantic Records.  They continuously pushed his album back, tried to manipulate his message in an effort to be trendy to the times as these pseudo industry pimps do, and had it not been for fan intervention they would have succeeded.  There are definite allusions to this struggle as well as the hollow shells that were kept in the album despite Lupe's wishes.  Done in a more tongue-in-cheek manner is my favorite song on the album "Beautiful Lasers (2 Ways).  The chorus is auto-tuned which at the time was the hot thing to do, but the jury is out on whether it was done out of dictatorship, or out of artistic irony.  When it comes to the last few years, Lupe has openly invited flame wars on Twitter to this album after releasing two different, assumingly much more artistic representations of himself.  My favorite verse falls at the 2:44 minute mark.  The heavy realization of having to suicide a part of who you are.  Either way, you lose...

...I can't win if its me against me, one of us ain't gon' survive...


I get really bored with repetition.  At this point, I'm exceptionally bored with taking the light rail and bus every day.  Get's old looking at that Blue Fin Teriyaki sign, smelling those burnt oils and sugars mixed with the feint, but permeating cigarette butts in the trash next to me.  The other side of the tracks doesn't offer much else.  Looking into the windows of The Old Spaghetti Factory offers mixed feelings of curiosity as seemingly happy families enter, and reassurance to things being absolute shit as people leave angrier than they were when trying to navigate that parking lot.  You'd think that this would make me want to constantly deviate from the normal path - unfortunately, I've made things complicated and didn't chase the normal psychological facades.  I'm a free-will dreaming individual trapped in a moral compass lacking a polarized needle.  May it stay forever spinning; no, may it one day finally point to a direction.  Shit, Lupe talks about that circle way of thinking that we are trapped with.  Mapped with.  Fuck me, I love that feeling of rebellion he rapped with...needle within a cork be damned...

...inspiration drying up, motivation slowing down...

There’s only 2 ways out of here
You wait too long you’ll be trapped here forever
— Lupe Fiasco

Walking into the light rail for the first time is a lot like any of life's first times.  You're unaware of your surroundings and you can't fucking wait to reach that final destination.  The unfamiliar is uncomfortable.  You're not sure where everything is placed.  You're not sure of the order.  You quickly muster up some sea legs and find your spot.  Might end up sitting, but most likely standing.  Personal bubbles don't exist in public transportation.  Think sardines in a can, but like a can with multiple levels of people nearly on top of you where every once in a while a bicycle smacks you in the head when you're lucky enough to sit on that bendy part of the light rail.  Then factor in that such an environment is constantly accruing the smell of thousands of cigarettes and the steady B.O. of individuals coming and going in the hot weather.  You have a stunning mix of delusions of grandeur in the morning consisting of cologne, perfume & body sprays to contrast the smell of the broken & impoverished.  Tweed suits bumping elbows with humans trying to avoid the heat.  Both partaking in a ride reliant upon a simple $2.99 purchase. 

Those different, but equally pungent smells twisting and turning in the air and being rapidly consumed by the downward gazed, nose inhaling commons perched in their seats.  A microcosm of realities.  I don't know what's sadder.  Well, the poor ones are more upsetting at the end of the day.  Cuz' C.R.E.A.M. laws.  But there's something eerily connecting when it comes to public transportation.  I guess it just blurs the degrees of separation.  The superficial beast residing in the maze of the game.  The hero and the victim.  All points at one point have legs.  Hold that thought for a second, and flip it - reality & all...


You would never know if you could never be
If you never try, you would never see
Stayed in Africa, we ain’t never leave
So there were no slaves in our history
— Lupe Fiasco

One of Lupe's most thought provoking songs not just on this album, but from his overall body of work.  It's a beautiful dream of an alternate reality where slavery never took place and supposed realities were allowed to grow.  Black power allowed to grow uninterrupted in Africa.  An equal economy where not only material goods are pulled from, but ideas as well.  Represented equally on the global scale.  Interesting dynamics such as a black woman being the head of the KKK keep a sense of realism that separate fantasies from simple realistic divergences - where the more inner pessimistic thoughts would assume that all things evil represent all things equal.  Essentially saying that black people would have the equal opportunities to partake in early oppression.  Shades of the slave trade echo here, where splinters of Africans would further the slave trade by essentially selling off their own.

Keep aviators on.  Keep headphones in.  Keep music loud.  Gaze remains down.  Don't invite anyone in.  A reluctantly captive audience won't have any pressure as long as it remains looking uninterested.  The public transportation eye contact game is the same as the five-barrel loaded Russian roulette game.  You might beat the odds and end up in an interesting conversation.  You might also feel as if you've just had a bullet penetrate your fucking skull.  Yeah, find that one song to focus on.  Eyes, down.

Trials of a child, everything truth
Moments of the past, comin’ back to find us
Not to relive them, just to remind us
— Lupe Fiasco

My biggest fear is never amounting to the sum of my days.  That despite being the conduit of emotion and knowledge that we all are, I don't absorb.  I don't grow.  A testament to the illogical aspects of being a person.  That it's entirely possible it takes a life time of relearning simple lessons before it all sticks.  Rather underwhelming.  Guess it's more reflective of the wrong way in a two way system.


There’s only two ways out of here
One is through the door,
The other is through me
— Lupe Fiasco

This song brought me to this point.  I may have not realized it, but becoming enthralled with these lyrics while simultaneously hating life and all things teriyaki, made me appreciate struggle.  Lupe's were far more frustrating and grandiose than my own.  All things relative, It was comforting.  Like how rhythmic expressions of notes & lyrics are meant to be.  I think it made me want to kill myself.  And then convinced me to not.  That's a strong dichotomy of emotion.  Hell of an emotional swing while swaying to the bumps and swings of the light rail.  I, in a weird way, want to achieve that with this.  "Beautiful Lasers" influenced me more than I'll be able to do it justice at this moment.  It's hard to put trajectory influencing moments into words.  You'd have to be in my mind at that moment.  I'm not even capable of doing that.  I just know the lingering recollections; spinning around in a centrifuge of reflections and impressions.  Two ways out.  End it all, or end what you don't like.  The kind of decision you breathe through the nose before considering.  Inhale...

I be in outer space but I got inner peace
— Lupe Fiasco

...exhale.  The emotional come down...

So I'm sitting on one of the premier spots of the light rail.  Not the bendy area where bikes whack your head.  I'm talking the back end of the tram.  The kind you need steps for.  Trust me, you're lucky if you get back end seats.  Seems oddly counter productive from a social standing, but ayyyeee...

Despite my preferential seating, this shit still sucks.  What doesn't suck, from an observational perspective, is the show that is now transpiring deep into this normally lackluster ride.  Can't sugarcoat this.  There are three black dudes.  They fit whatever stereotypes just popped into your head - yeah, you created that image.  Hands clean on this one.  Straight up though...I had just witnessed an African-American newly transsexual sell shit-weed to a couple sexually confused niggas.  Straight up.  Don't get mad.  I'm just planted up on my high-horse seat observing.  Saw it all go down.  These dudes flirted with Her Majesty; I witnessed an awkward drug deal take place, shit was smoked, egos were consumed, my eyebrow eventually descended, my playlist resumed.  I need a fucking car.

No, I ain’t that nigga trying to get a liquor line
When I be scripting lines, want this petition signed
It says I’m sick of dying, sick of this prison time
I really love my people, I’m sick of pimping mine
— Lupe Fiasco

Strong lyrics.  It's sadly ironic when an artist views their art as trash when others treasure it.  There's a certain je ne sais quoi met with a conflicting c'est la vie.  That's art.  Shit's weird, and beautiful.  The uncertain product followed by opinions slowly sinking into concrete.  Not yet shifted, & not quite settled.  Lupe Fiasco was probably in many ways, just writing a public transportation of an album.  I get the feelings of resentment on this one.  Going through the necessary motions.  No shame there.  Na.  Only understood feelings of incompletion...eyes closed & head bobbing aside, I know that the dinging above me means there are three stops left.  Felt it before it happened.  Knew it after that second bend in the track.  Eyes closed, warranted bass booming out of these headphones won't add to Keller-like intuitions.  Patterns become so dull...

...we pimp ourselves out when down and sell ourselves short of the struggle.  Like it's something shameful to go through hard times.  Like your story couldn't possibly create another paragraph in time for someone else.  Like you couldn't add to anything.  The studio of life is a fucked up one, but effective none the less.  Lupe's heart wasn't in this album, but it was a Lupe album full of Lupe messages none the less.  But, art is broad.  I fully sympathize with an artist that isn't proud of their product.  Especially when it becomes forced by hands other than your own.  Bitter sweet comes to mind. 

"Love Always Shines Everytime, Remember 2 Smile - Lasers"

Here's my stop...get your footing...

I like to pause my music as I exit so that I may dance back and forth between my mind and reality.  At this moment, I'm exiting the light rail.  I'm not looking down.  I'm fully acknowledging previously side-glanced existing individuals for a split second.  I don't revel in these awkward interactions.  I just feel compelled to connect.  Majority of the time dictates that two pairs of eyes met quickly turns into two pairs of eyes looking down combined with weird corner twitches of the mouth.  Eventually you hit the air past the automatic doors.  Sometimes crisp, sometimes hot.  I'd start to walk, struggle with my backpack, adjust my shirt, and hit play.  Each step a thudding reminder of complacency.  Look down.  Hit...


To every man, woman & child...We want an end to the glamorization of negativity in the media.  We want an end to status symbols dictating our worth as individuals.  We want a meaningful and universal education system.  We want substance in the place of popularity.  We will not compromise who we are to be accepted by the crowd.  We want the invisible walls that separate by wealth, race & class to be torn down.  We want to think our own thoughts.  We will be responsible for our environment.  We want clarity & truth from our elected officials or they should move aside.  We want love not lies.  We want an end to all wars foreign & domestic violence.  We want an end to the processed culture of exploitation, over-consumption & waste.  We want knowledge, understanding & peace.  We will not lose because we are not losers, we are lasers!  Lasers are revolutionary.  Lasers are the future.
- Lupe Fiasco

Empty clips & a yellow-taped ego.  Not trying to wait too late, but there are some tribulations withdrawn from understandings remaining.  It's unfortunate that there are no forwards and replays when it comes to life, because I would have worn some buttons out around this time. 

Seems poetic that the end of an article about the beginning of a self realized individual, finishes with the opening of the album that first inspired...

If you feel you don’t wanna be alive
You feel just how I am
I’m on the dark side
And you can’t come find him
— Lupe Fiasco

⏮         ⏭

...some after credits shit?  I miss that shitty burnt-teriyaki smell, and occasionally roll my windows down at light rail stops in hopes of hearing some ridiculous bullshit...

Juxtaposed Prisons

Juxtaposed Prisons

Hip-Hop Collabo's That Need to Happen

Hip-Hop Collabo's That Need to Happen