By Neil deGrasse Tyson

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MP3 CD, 0 pages
May 5th 2017
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Community Reviews

Andrew Peter

Summary: This 11-minute long song is the final track in Logic’s album “Everybody”. Despite being mixed (having a black father and white mother), Logic has faced backlash in the hip-hop community because his skin tone is visibly on the lighter side. The turmoils of being considered not white enough or not black enough are expressed throughout this project. Logic weaves his own struggles with race into this project in order to demonstrate that everyone is equally human. The album outlines the alter ego of a man who passes away, and meets a God-like figure (voiced by Neil deGrasse Tyson) who reminds him that just as everybody else, your grave is six feet under and encourages humanity to live in the moment. The song “AfricAryan” concludes with a verse by J. Cole, who reminds you that it’s essential to learn to accept yourself and that you’ll never be anyone else but yourself.

Connection: When it comes to music, identity is a major theme, and this rings true when considering the last four minutes of Logic’s song “AfricAryan”. The latter half of this song wraps up the culminating narration of the theoretical Atom in his search for identity. Neil deGrasse Tyson plays the role of God in this narration, and when asked what advice to give humanity as a whole, he tells Atom that he isn’t defined by his car, his house, or his bank account, because when we’re dead, we’ll all be equally six feet under. This leads in the outro of the album, which features a verse by J. Cole, that functions as a letter to Logic himself (as a rapper). In this verse, J. Cole reminds Logic that “You’ll never be me no matter how hard you try” and ends the verse with a piece of advice: “Forget approval from strangers, that s*** is dangerous as hell… learn to accept yourself”. When considering the song as a whole, it’s essentially all about how our identities are unique and impossible to replicate. When considering MS students, this would be a great example to emphasize that you will never be anyone other than yourself, so it’s not worth trying to be someone you’re not. When I was in MS, I wanted to be one of the popular kids until mid-way through eighth grade that I realized I never truly fit in with that group. I was trying to be someone I wasn’t, and that only left me to feel more disconnected from my identity than before. Learning to accept yourself is a valuable lesson to teach MS students, because the sooner they can reach that realization, the better off they’ll be.

In terms of using this song for student-writing, Gallagher’s activity “Interpreting Song Lyrics” in chapter six of Write Like This is the perfect method to approach this song. Learning to interpret various types of text and an essential skill needed by MS students to advance throughout their education and be successful in their future careers. Since music is essentially just poems set to tunes, there’s a lot of value in analysing song lyrics for themes, deeper meanings, motifs, etc. Using Gallagher’s strategy, students could listen to this song (in its entirety) to find the answers to the aforementioned questions. Since students are likely to be familiar with Logic and J. Cole, this would be great for a writing assignment because it’ll spark their interest and present the opportunity to demonstrate how what we learn in English class can be applied to life outside of school. Since major themes and underlying meanings of the song aren’t made explicitly clear, students’ will have to analyze the text and think deeply about the artist's intended message.