Where does “Gangsta Love” come from???

Snoop Dogg’s new video “Gangsta Luv” f. The Dream is a funny ass video, and watching it has sent me on a mission: where does Gangsta love come from?

I mean, LL Cool J was “hard”, until he showed his vulnerability,  let his guard down, and dropped the classic single, “I Need Love“. But then again, LL wasn’t exactly “gangsta”…I needed to do more research…

Clip from Snoop Dogg's "Gangsta Luv" video...where does gangsta love come from?
Uncle Snoopy: where does gangsta love come from???

So I started with

Snoop- Dizzle, since he inspired this train of thought…I thought he might

have a track for this train to run on. The classic Snoop Dogg Love video in my eyes is “Losin Control”, I heard this in 7th grade, and to this day its

applicable.

But being from Northern California, there is a quintessential gangsta love song that says it all,   Mac Mall’s “Wide Open”

And then Master P. had his run, so I had to see what Percy Miller could bring in to the table in reference to gangsta love…

Master P F. Mia X

“thinkin about you”

And of course, when we speak of gangsta love, we have to talk about the tragic side…here are a couple of songs that have the tragedy of a Shakespearean sonnet…and the reality of John Singleton movie.

The Losty Boyz: Renee…. If you don’t know about this, then sit back and soak

game.

B.I.G’s “me and my bitch”. This song is classic, not only because Christopher Wallace paints the tragedy blatantly, but this song is sampled by a song that pops up later in this list..which means without this song, another song would not have existed.

this is a write in because: 1. its an R&b SONG (KINDA) and 2. now that I watch the video…its kinda corny… TQ’s “bye bye baby”

Eve’s “Love is Blind”…this is “gangsta love”…not only love between man and woman, but the gangsta things a woman would do fer her friend. I respect it.

And while on the topic of Eve, although she did drop a song titled “Gangster Love” f. Alicia Keys,  I don’t believe there was a more “gangsta love song” from her than her classic track “gotta man”…with that said, I gotta let it rock:

while we are on the topic of Ruff Ryder’s influence on “gangsta Love”…I wouldn’t dare pass up DMX’s “How its goin down”

50 Cent’s 21 questions has its place in the world of gangsta love… And

although his gangsta is questioned in real life, the way 50 used the music industry was definitely gangsta.

While we are on the topic of questioning people’s real life gangsta… Lil Wayne’s

“Youngin Blues”, the cold part is, one day, this will be  “ole folks music” for late 80’s babies…

Alright- enough with the tragedy- enough with the fake gangstas…lets keep it real. When we talk about love, we have to talk about the things you will do for

love- Bobby Caldwell’s “Do For Love” is perfect compliment to Tupac’s eloquent lyrical expression of defining this phenomenon of “gangsta love”of which I choose to speak.

I FOUD IT! the definition of gangsta love… a sample of Notrius B.I.G’s lyrics

“we ride together, cry together, I swear to God: I hope we fuckin die together” plus the soul sound of  Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terell “You’re all I need to get by“…all refurbished into a form that went directly to the heart of mid-90’s Hip-Hop heads:  Method Man and Mary J. Blidge,”All I need (to get by)”.

This shit is gangsta.

Gangsta love is fighting for love with the same passion that you would fight someone from the opposing turf, click, set, or in the broad sense- the other  side. Makes sense to me: you fight for love- cause the opposing side is hate- what gangsta doesnt fight against hate?

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Poem: Leaders and Followers

My teen years...in loose leaf

Before this blog, my writings would go into these composition books. I have accumulated exactly 30 note books (rap books) and I have never lost 1..I believe that the basis of all good writing is poetry, and now that I’m writing in many other forms- I’d be a fool to forget where it originated. Every so often, I’ll post a poem or two. some old, some new. …and that line sounded like Dr. Sues. hahahah anyway

No need to go in order, I’ll just post it as I see fit…

Today’s entry is from November 11th 2008.

(posted tonight because of a chain of events in my life and tonights State of the Union speech. enjoy.)

Leaders and Followers.

Angel’s halos hang around aimless gangstas

and God watches over single mothers as they strip naked

however 12 demonic spirits make decisions that put Black men in prison

and the preacher teaches that there is 1 God who looks over this world we live in

so why do we have to go to your church to bare witness

players prayers answered on faulty cell phones

dropped calls- resorts in dial tones

while kids at home all alone roll up bible paper with cush

forever disabled stuck on the sofa cushion

the pope and Bush, the Dhali lama, Muslims Jihad-ing, and genocided from Darfur to Rawanda- mo problems than just Obama can conquer

we need benevolent mobbsters

need single moma’s to pop-lock-and drop it- straight to parent teacher’s conferences..

the game is follow the leader, the question is: who do the leaders follow?

Check 1-2, 1-2…Dear Hip-Hop, These 12 songs are 4 You!

Snoop Dogg and Jay-Z recently came together to make yet another classic Hip-Hop track titled “I wanna Rock” (remix). Jay-Z’s entire verse is an ode to some of the influences in the rap game. It got me to thinking: what are other songs that are Ode’s to Hip-Hop/ music that I have to make note of….here’s the list:

(**there are two or three songs that the lovely people at youtube.com decided to make “Embedding disabled by request”…therefore you might have to click the link and watch them on youtube instead of this blog- thanks capitalism, you’ve done wonders for Hip-Hop)

To kick things off, I’d like to call on Erykah Badu, who is arguably the nicest female Emcee in history, but happens to be defined as an R&B/ neo-soul artist. I love this video, as it depicts Hip-Hop’s entire time line. From the block with donkey ropes and Addidas to the current world of corporate Hip-Hop, where white audiences reign supreme. The video is full of cameos: MC Lyte, Kool Herc, Chuck D, Common, and the legendary b-boy breaker Crazy Legs…check 1-2-1-2..check it out.

And while we’re on the topic of Badu, you gotta throw this one in there Erykah Badu’s “The Healer”…just because she dedicates it to J. Dilla, the late great producer…and she says “Hip-Hop…its bigger than the government.” And it is.

R.I.P Dilla

This next 1, might have flown under a couple of folks radars…but this is special to me: I used to this on repeat when I was about 10 or 11 years old…and at that time, you had to listen to the whole song, and rewind the tape in order to listen to it agian.

R.I.P. Freeky Tah

Eric Sermon’s “Just Like Music” This is a refreshing track, made by a legendary emcee and is a great example of the power of sample; using the legendary soul singer Marvin Gaye’s vocals.

R.I.P. Marvin Gaye

Afrika Bambaataa’s track…it’s a prerequisite to breing a hip-hop head… you don’t know this. Hip-Hop Don’t know you!

Dead Prez’s Hip-Hop…this is the power of Hip-Hop in terms of revolt against media control. This is motivation music; when this song comes on in my headphones, I have to hold myself back from doing push-ups…cause doing push-ups on the metro train is a little too gangsta for the majority of society.

Speaking of gangsta, you can’t more gangsta than NWA.The group’s resurgence in the late 90’s brought about this track…it wasn’t an ode to hip-hop as much it was “chin-check” of the so-called gangsta rappers of the day. Just a lil something to say “Hello”, and let the word know who started this Gansta shit: West side!!!

R.I.P. Easy- E.

Keeping it in the hood… One of my favorite’s and probably one of the most underated tracks in the history of Ode’s to Hip-Hop, not only was this song slept on by many, but I even slept on the video was looked over too! with appearances from Bun-B, Devin the Dude, and Scarface; Cleveland artist Ray Cash’s “Bumpin my Music” had to make the list…

Since we’re in the South now, we have to mention Outkast. They are the greatest Hip-Hop duo in the history of mankind. period. And with their artistry combined with Slick Rick’s aura, the song “art of story telling” is an ode to Hip-Hop’s basic purpose… a way for people without a voice to rhythmically tell their own story.

With the amount of life the last artists have put into the game, its hard to imagine Hip-Hop ever needing a tombstone…But Queens emcee Nasir Jones begged to differ. Nas’ “Hip-Hop is Dead” wasn’t an ode to Hip-Hop, it was more of an obituary… But it has it’s place on the list, for: if you love something, you should forever be critical of it.

Seemingly in response to Nas’ claim that Hip-Hop had met its death date, a slew of young artist popped up with lyrical insight and a breath of new life into Hip-Hop. One of the most notable new artist on the scene is kid from Chicago by the name of Lupe. This track is not only a dedication to slain rapper from New Orleans, Soldier Slim, but a dedication to many young men and women who find life in beat breaks, fresh hooks, and clever punch-lines.

Lupe Fiasco’s “Hip- Hop save my life.”

And last but not least… the all time classic: Naughty By Nature’s “Hip Hop Horay”…the original dedication to Hip-Hop.

Hope yall enjoyed this… R.I.P. to BIG and 2PAC, a number of other artist…And in the words of Eric B. and Rakim:

“what happened to peace?…oh yeah: PEACE!”

Foolish Pride…but That’s How P-Ride.

In middle school, I hated free lunch. You know how embarrassing it was to stand in that line? I don’t… Cause, I never stood in it. I’d sit and be hungry before I ate free lunch.

In high school, I hated going to the store with the foodstamp card, you know how embarrassing it is to whip out that colorful EBT card in-front of a store full of people? I don’t -I’d wait for everyone to walk out of the store before I made my purchase.

And now that I’m in college. The stage in life where everybody is struggling. I find the hardest thing in the world is to ask for financial assistance.

This is the classic example of having so much pride that I’m not willing to compromise my morals for money.

And this boggles the mind…

Is it an extension of the same middle school and high school shame?

Is it a Black folks thing- where we only brag of wealth, and shamefully hide our short comings?

Is it a man thing- where societal gender roles say: Pendarvis, you’re a man now, and your role in society is to protect and provide; and since you can’t provide for yourself, you must protect yourself…and your self-esteem?

This is deeper than the grumbles of my stomach on the late night. This more emotional than the frustration I feel as I try to call my family back home…and my phone is cut off.

This is the battle between morals and pride when your money gets tight.

Thursday night, my hunger caused me to swallow my pride: I asked a co-worker and long time friend, Jeremy Odoffin, if I could have a micro-wave TV dinner tonight cause I couldn’t afford to buy anything to eat.

On the first floor of the college dormitory in which we work, we sat and talked over the freshly microwaved blessing brought to me by Marie Calender.

Jeremy said, “At a point, you have to sit and question- What is it about society that put you into a position where compromising your morals is the only means to survival?”

I sat. I questioned.

what is it?

Why did I not eat free lunch in middle school? Why was I ashamed to use food stamps in High School? Why am I still ashamed to ask for a TV dinner in college?

I AM A MAN

I am a man.

haven’t I seen that slogan somewhere before?

The civil rights movement! thats right!

They had so much Black Pride that they collectively decided not to compromise their morals.

Many African-American’s took to the streets baring signs that read: I AM A MAN. Simultaneously, King’s Dream and Malcolm’s speech were about holding America accountable to the freedom promised to all citizens as defined by the US Constitution.

I should be able to wake up in the morning and be able to pursue my true happiness uninhibited by the societal requirements for survival…the societal requirements that cause many men to sale dope and rob innocent citizens…the societal requirements that cause many women to strip and prostitute…the societal requirements that cause many people to throw their morals out of the door when their money gets low.

When it boils down to it, I’m not going to sale dope to my community in order to eat tonight. I’ve been there, and I’m never going back. I’m not going to drive around women so they can dance for money, and give me a small percentage in order to pay my phone bill. I’ve been there, and I’m not going back. And I’m not going to plot on the pockets of intoxicated individuals who have more money than I. I’ve been there, and I’m not going back. I’m not going to compromise my morals and I take pride in that.

Ironic, some might this piece as a man calling out for help, and truthfully there is a touch of that present in my prose. But more evident than my need for financial assistance, is my need to see my self as a self-sufficient man.

In closing: I find it funny how, when I don’t NEED something, but want to see if I can get it for free, it starts off as a game: “can I use my words to get this or that” is the concept… and if I don’t get it, it’s kind of humiliating and humbling all in one. But when I sincerely NEED something and want to see if I can get it for free, it starts from a place of slight humiliation and complete humility…but when I don’t get it …its not a game.

Yea, It’s not a game.

6 East Coast Rap Songs 4 the Hard Times

 

East Coast Rap

East Coast rap is the most graphic musical example of “the struggle” of Black America since the invention of the Blues. period.

Here is a short list of some of the songs I let rock during the hard times…

Ghostface Killah’s “All That I got is You”

classic line:  “check it: 15 of us in a 3 bedroom apartment/ roaches everywhere/ cousins and aunts was there/ 2 at the foot, 2 at the head/I didn’t like to sleep with Jon-Jon/ he peed in bed.”

KRS-1’s “Love’s Gonna get’cha”

classic line: “I got 3 pairs of pants, and with brother I share/ so there in school- Im made a fool: with 1 1/2 pairs of pants you ain’t cool!”

Jay-Z’s “Anything”

Classic Line: “from the stoop, to the big dudes stopping us from playing hoops/ and us getting mad, throwing rocks off the roof”

Freeway’s  “what we do”

classic line: “if my heat stop working/ then my heat start working/…IMMA ROB ME A PERSON!”

Notorius B.I.G.’s “Everyday Struggle”

classic line: “I know how it feels to wake up fucked up/ Pockets broke as hell, another rock to sell/ People look at you like you’re the user /Selling drugs to all the losers mad Buddha abuser.”

DMX’s “Slippin”

Classic line(S): *This is one of my top 5 favorite songs of all time, therefore its hard for me to choose just a couple of lyrics- this whole song is exemplifies inner city juvenile struggle to a tee…but if there are any lines that stand out, these two would be them:

“I’m ready for the world or at least I thought I was/ Baggin’ niggas when I caught a buzz/ For thinking about how short I was”

” Sayin’ to myself that could’ve been yo ass on the TV/ Believe me it could be done something’s got to give/ It’s got to change cause I’ve got a son/ I’ve got to do the right thing for shorty/ And that means no more getting high drinking forties”

Photo Essay: A Walk Down MLK Ave. in South East D.C. on MLK Day 2010

He fought for Love. He fought for peace. He fought to uplifting Christ. And he fought to take down racism… But in the end Dr. King knew it was all about the allotment of resources in America.

His famous, “I Have a Dream” Speech, could have easily went down in history as the “Bounced Check ” speech. He spoke of America’s failure to include African-American’s into the greater society post-slavery. He acknowledged African-American’s role in the disenfranchisement, as many passively accepted what was given.

And now, 42 years after Dr. King’s assassination we have been given a National holiday in celebration of his birthday, and a Martin Luther King Jr. Ave in every major US city.

Every Martin Luther King Jr. Ave I have ever been fortunate enough to bare witness to runs through the most economically downtrodden part of the city.

I decided to take a walk down Martin Luther King Jr. Ave in the Nation’s Capitol, and this is what I saw…

Dr. King's Ave. in South East Washington DC

Martin Luther King Jr. Ave in South East Washington D.C. is a main artery through a predominantly African-American community. The area is in the transitional phase; the dilapidated structures of yesteryear still loom as a reminder of the 1968 riots after King’s death, the influence of crack cocaine in the 1980’s, and the economic turmoil that has plagued many Black communities since their creation- and through the current recession America is facing.

vacant housebuilding frame.Historically Black Community: For Sale

And like Every Black community in America, there were check cashing stores, liquor stores, heaps of trash in the street and graffiti on the walls

check cashing storeLiquor store. Good Hope.trash heapStanton Crew

But right next to the graffiti was something that started to open my eyes to the depth of the spirit present in the Anacostia community….

Islam on the riseSheik

Islam was far from the only religion present, in fact the number of Baptist churches was comparable to the amount of corner stores…Baptist church signUnion Temple

Fittingly enough, while attempting to take a shot of the church, another dominant force in the community conveniently intervened in my photo…

Cops and God.

But the governing bodies are also taking initiatives to aid the community…

A Government Savior?the plan...

dept. of Housing.

I don’t doubt the necessity for government aid in the Black community, but nothing trumps knowledge of self and knowledge of the land in which you reside. And in the community of South East Washington, D.C. there are numerous reminders of how fertile those grounds are, and how deep Black roots run through here said grounds.

Malcolm X centerFrederick Douglass' houseClara Muhammad schoolThurgood MarshallBlack owned Fish spotPeaceBlack familyBig Chair

And most of all… the words and image of Dr. King himself

MLK mural

On January 15th 2010 Dr. King would have been 81 years of age. To his memory, I give my respect.

Tenn Stack’s keeps it 100 for his Birthday Party.

 

Hackensack, New Jersey representative and Howard University student, Tenn Stack’s celebrated his birthday January 16th, 2010 in true player fashion. 
He rented out a posh French Bistro, managed to avoid “the politics” of the situation, and proceeded to have one of the most “wavy” parties he and his Swagg House Comrades have ever thrown.
For those unfamiliar with Tenn Stacks and the Swagg House (SWAGG= Survival with All God’s Grace) movement, here is is his first single “My Life at Howard”
A French Bistro played host to Swagg House event for the ages…and man, I don’t think the owners knew what they were in for…
The owner's of this posh French Bistro had no idea what they were in for...
the location

Upon arrival…. I bumped into these scholarly goons….  

Chase B Brandon D Chubb E Swagg J from LA

 But they were just as confused as i was….

This is where the “Swagg House” Party was supposed to be???

The Bistro before the party...
And then things slowly started clearing out…. But not before two bus loads of Howard Students arrived. As the impatient intoxicated students waited in the cold…. I figured, what the hell: make the most of it!
“girl, its a photo shoot”- Gucci Mayne 
But of course…people can only be pacified by photos for so long and as the line grew… peoples temper grew too….
And then…. out of no where the man of the hour showed up!

Tenn Stacks shows up.
And  fittingly enough, the party was titled “Red Light District”…and all hell broke loose.

After a while… the glow sticks arrived…and the night got live…
but, when they made the move to let the glow sticks rain on the folks downstairs….some asshole photographer decided to leave his dead batteries in the pile… I know someone got hit with a double A battery last night….
Nonetheless, when they did make it rain…it was a light show….
And when the red lights came out…. the temperature rose!!!! It was so hot, my camera lens fogged up!
so, I decided to write a special shout out to my bruh Tenn Stacks on the front door….and then I got the hell of out the sweat box before I passed out!
And in the end…. Swagg House got it in. I wish best of Luck to Tenn and the Swagg House conglomerate…look for them to be making moves in the new year,including the upcoming re-shoot of “My Life at Howard”…. oh, and as for Tenn Himself…. this is photographic evidence that the young man enjoyed himself….

 

Sam Cooke vs. Tupac Shakur…John Coltrane wins.

I need to change.

There are things in my life I need to correct, what they are-we’ll get to that when the time is right, but for now, I question: What is change?

I’ve always asked myself: who was right? Sam Cooke or Tupac Shakur?

Both died at a young age. Both were amazing musicians. And both were Black men with a message about change.

Sam Cooke’s “A Change is gonna come” has resonated off the walls of every Southern Baptist church in the bible belt of America, and beyond.

While Tupac’s “Changes” has influenced the world over, and recently made the Roman Catholicism headlines as it was added to the Pope’s playlist.

Both speak on the topic of change, but Cooke’s spiritual optimism versus Tupac’s reality check have always left me asking…change? WHAT’S THAT?

In my eyes, people change one of two ways: they change by choice…or they change by force.

When I think about Change, I initially think of the juxtaposition between Sam Cooke’s spiritual optimism versus Tupac’s reality check. Wondering to myself if Change is possible?

And then I look to stories that exemplify change: The story of Moses in the Bible- a murderer turned leader, the story of Malcolm X- a street hustler turned community vanguard, and most of all…I think of the story of John Coltrane.

Mr. Coltrane was one of the greatest jazz musicians to ever live, but he wouldn’t have dawned that title if it wasn’t for his DECISION to change.

Coltrane, a young acclaimed musician, known for playing jazz that was “ahead of his time”, became engulfed in the heroin epidemic of inner city America circa the mid 1900’s. His addiction deteriorated relationships with both his wife and his business partners (Miles Davis and Dizzy Gillespie and others), and caused Coltrane to make that change…

the story goes that Coltrane locked himself in a room in Philadelphia, Pa. He fed himself nothing but bread and water. His rehab process eventually crossed paths with the process of spiritual enlightenment. Even if by choice, change is far from an easy process. Coltrane periodically kicked his habit, but it was his moments of clarity that brought about some of the most transcendental jazz music the word has ever known. Coltrane’s effort to reinvent himself showed through production of many classics, but my favorite, “A Love Supreme”, has been my motivation to kick some the habitual actions that have been keeping me from reaching my highest potential.

With this said, I’ll leave this post with two Coltrane qutoes:

“You can play a shoestring if you’re sincere.”- John Coltrane.

I just think thats clever… And the next one, well it’s all about change.

“I’ve found you’ve got to look back at the old things and see them in a new light.”- John Coltrane.

Haiti:The Power of Prayer.

 

At this hour, it seems as though the communication tools of the world are ringing with information as to where and how you can assist in the Haitian relief effort. Top searches on the internet are about how you can help support Wycleff Jean’s initiative to aid the island. And a close second is topic of Pat Robertson’s declaration that Haiti is cursed. “cursed” an ironic statement if I ever heard one, as there is no doubt that there are strong spirits on the island of Hispaniola. But cursed isn’t a word I would use, not with the evidence of the power of prayer in Haiti.

On August 14, 1791  Boukman Dutty and Cecile Fatiman organized the community in an area known as Bois Caïman. The masses prayed to the Iwa Diety of Ezili Dantora. Her power of being the single mother, and the protector of God’s children  motivated the people spiritually. Ezili Dantora’s presnce in the people, accompanied by Boukman’s prayer rallied the people to fight for their land, and eventually drove out Napoleon Bonaparte’s French army.

This was the same army that was terrorizing many other parts of the known world;  who could forsee  a rebellious army of enslaved individuals could channel this power. The belief that  their God, and the God of those who enslaved them, did not operate on the same principles lead the toppling of one of the world’s most powerful armies; all on the strength of common belief as shown through prayer.  

At this hour, Thursday January 14th, 2010, two days after a massive earthquake has killed hundreds of thousands in Haiti, it has become evident that the relief efforst for Haiti is the talk of the world. But I believe the only thing stronger than the relief efforts of the Red Cross, the United Nations,  Wycleff Jean, and many heartfelt individuals world-wide…  are the prayers being casted world-wide.

I read that fried pork , chocolate liquor, rum,  Florida Water Perfume, and strong unfiltered cigarettes are the offerings presented tothe Diety Ezili Dantor during times of prayer. I offer this, thoughts, prayers, and positive energy go to the people of Haiti.

Peace.

Baa-Ram-Ewe Jay-Z, Baa-Ram-Ewe!

…Since we are on the topic of Images in the mass media and how the effect the greater society: let us discuss secret societies.

Shawn Cater, also known as the Brooklyn born rapper who dawns the stage name of Jay-Z, has a following that is unmatched by most contemporary rappers. His track record speaks for itself, and gives credence to his claim that he is “the best rapper alive”. But with all the praise that “Hova” (another one of his aliases) receives from his fans, supporters, and above all- consumers, it doesn’t stop eye-brow raising and the subsequent questions as to what is going on in Jay-Z’s imagination? And what are the meanings behind the latest images his videos are generating?

His newest video “On to the Next One”, is the latest successful hit from arguably the most successful rapper to ever do it. But something about this video didn’t sit right with the blog world, the real world, and has people in an uproar wondering about the symbols from the underworld.

This is video in raw form…

 

Jay-Z’s mysterious affiliation/ affinity for secret societies has been the topic of conversations in barbershops to business offices and back to the block, but the one question the easily entertained world is wondering: what does it all mean?

So much so, that this video was produced in effort to break down the symbolism present in his videos. Watch closely…

I find it fascinating that people are scared to speak on “the dark side”;If you shine light where there is darkness, there will no longer be darkness.

Ironically, Illuminati by definition means “the enlightened ones”. 

I found this video, where a gentleman by the name of Michael Tsarion sheds some sort of light on the symbolism in the media…

In watching this video and listening to Jay-Z’s lyrics “On To The Next One”, there are commonalities: the alcohol, the entertainment, the constant consumption of things that will bring about immediate satisfaction. These  things that will only matter until we again chose to move onto “the next one”. So when will we find “the one.”

This is how illusions in society  will steer you from true forms of fulfillment in life.

With fear that this conversation is lacking depth, I think I have the perfect way to summarize my point. Now, don’t get me misconstrued,  tangled, or twitsted, I’m not a fan of Swine or enforcers of the laws of which we (sometimes) abide by… But man, a pig has never spoken truer words:

Baaram-ewe, baaram-ewe. To your breed, your fleece, your clan be true. Sheep be true. Baaram-ewe.”-Babe

We are all sheep in way or another, but it is a matter of staying true to yourself in the midst of all this media consumption, in the midst of society, and in the midst of the unknown…know yourself: sheep be true.