Critical Analysis of “Dumb It Down”

Critical Analysis of “Dumb It Down” -...

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Darryl Williams Dr. Kathi Griffin ENG 205-09 8 October 2010 Critical Analysis of “Dumb It Down” Lupe Fiasco has been one of my favorite artists since I first heard his music. When I listen to him I can connect to what he is saying in so many ways. Our lives are similar in that we both are African American lyricists who grew up in the Midwest as middle-class citizens. I love songs that are complicated for the average person to understand on the first listen, and that is exactly how all his songs are. He is one of the few rappers whose lyrics I have to print out and analyze. With most rap songs I can read the lyrics without music and realize that they are merely songs, but when I read Lupe's work it is like I'm reading a beautiful poem. If I did not know who Lupe Fiasco was I would swear from reading his songs that he was an accomplished poet. I aspire to be a recording artist of Fiasco's caliber one day, and listening to his music allows me to enhance my own. The reason I chose to analyze “Dumb It Down” is because I knew it would be a challenge. This song is probably the most lyrical song I have ever heard in my entire life, and I am not the only one who feels this way. People all over the world extensively discuss this song trying to see exactly what Fiasco means by each and every line he writes. His use of metaphors inside of three major metaphors is impressive to say the least, which is why “Dumb It Down” is literary. He has even been criticized by hip-hop fans because this song is too complicated to understand without him actually “dumbing it down.” “Dumb It Down” is a well-known song from American hip-hop recording artist and poet, Wasalu Muhammad Jaco, better known by his stage name, Lupe Fiasco. Lupe was raised as a Muslim on the west side of Chicago, Illinois. Lupe's father, a major figure in his life, was a member of the Black Panther Party, so it is only natural that some of his father's Muslim and political beliefs show through his music. Actually, when Fiasco was younger he despised rap music, because of its vulgar language and misrepresentation of black people.
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Hee did not start embracing hip-hop until he heard Nas' It Was Written album in 1996. Initially, Fiasco tried to be gangsta rapper, because that seemed to work for other artists, but rapping about guns, women, and cocaine made him feel like a hypocrite, because his values had nothing to do with any of those things. After his gangsta phase, he then decided to focus on being a lyricist. The first major metaphor of the song completely blew me away, because he actually begins the song by ridiculing hip-hop fans and the music they gravitate towards. What is truly amazing is instead of just saying exactly what is on his mind he uses various images and points of views to get his point across. For example, the first few lines read, “I'm fearless now hear this I'm earless, and I'm peerless,
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This document was uploaded on 10/29/2011 for the course ENG 205 at Jackson State.

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Critical Analysis of “Dumb It Down” -...

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