Sunday, January 6, 2008

These are the Tales of Pool Players & Pimps, Sages and Queens

As I continue my current love affair with Lupe Fiasco's The Cool, marinate with me:

"The major things black art has to have are these: it must have the ability to use found objects, the appearance of using found things, and it must look effortless. It must look cool and easy. If it makes you sweat, you haven't done the work." ~ Toni Morrison


Gwendolyn Brooks,
"The Pool Players,
Seven at the Golden Shovel" (1960)

We real cool. We
Left school. We

Lurk late. We
Strike straight. We

Sing sin. We
Thin gin. We

Jazz June. We
Die soon.

Lupe Fiasco's "The Coolest" (2007)

Come. These are the tales of The Cool.
Guaranteed to make you go and fail from your school
And seek unholy grails like a fool
And hang with the players of the pool
Fast talkin' on the hustle
No Heaven up above you
No Hell underneath ye
And nowhere will receive thee
Shed no tear
When we're not here
And keep your faith,
As we chase

The Cool


A clip of Miles Davis, July 1991, at Montreux Jazz Festival playing "Boplicity" from The Birth of the Cool (1950). He died that September. The first comment beneath the video is by talkingwall: "When asked why he never plays the old stuff Miles once answered "because if I look back I'll die." I guess Miles was right."


Paul Gilroy: "The emergent culture of the black image offers no comparable experience of performance with which to focus the pivotal ethical relationship between performer and crowd, participant and community. But this music and its broken rhythm of life are important for another reason. The love stories they enclosed are a place in which the black vernacular has been able to preserve and cultivate both the distinctive rapport with the presence of death which derives from slavery and a related ontological state that I want to call the condition of being in pain."

Now...marinate on your own....

[Images courtesy of]

No comments: