Coping, handling it, hanging in there. Whatever you call it, Marcus Parker explodes back from the shadows of despair as he raps about what it was like to make it to the top of the bullpen and be pulled down again because of a past transgression that he had hoped was long behind him.
For those out here swimming around in the 'rap swamp' looking for clean lyricists who build up in love rather than tear down in fear...there is always an audience for Parker's kind of rap, be it
mainstream or no.
Long Time Coming is a thematic about that consistent nagging ache inside that something you've done in the past is going to catch up with you sooner or later, but you keep it moving anyway and hope, maybe even pray, that it won't.
With an opening riff that bears down hard on the keyboards and a good snare drum effect in the backsplash that is easy on the ears, Long Time Coming is Parker's way of dealing with the fact that he knew the background noise called his past life was coming to catch him even while the at-large world that he knew was holding him up on a pedestal with great expectations for the future.
Certainly not an underdog, nor pretending to be one as some rappers do, Parker was and is well-known in the motivational rap game of the early millennia. He was invited to perform live at T.D. Jakes' Potter's House in Dallas, Texas, and “almost” made it to the Oprah Show just before the world he had worked so hard to achieve literally crumbled at his feet.
We like to say that “when it rains, it pours.” In the verses of Long Time Coming, a major cut from the album The Motivation Compilation, Parker lets his fans know that there is no such thing as a done deal, even when all signs point toward the end.
Just what is that anyway?
Listening to some of the top track burns out here that are considered motivational in the community of positivity, but still pretty hard on the ears, Marcus Parker rapped his way through many naysayers who said he'd never make it in the rap industry without the consistent use of expletives every so many rhyme meters.
But true to the powers, there is always a ready audience, particularly that of the older generation brought up on the lyrical mastery of Kurtis Blow and Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five who are longing, aching actually, for the music that their children like to listen to be void of the derogatory edge. Parker makes it his business and his goal to market just those kinds of beats and rhymes to his audience.
Motivational Rap is the fulfillment of an encouragement to spit the lyric without having your mother run into the room with a bar of soap and a bucket of water for your mouth.
Motivational Rap may remind some of us of the “Fresh Prince” days when Will Smith had more OG's listening to him than he did audiences in his own age range. However, it is a short run fresh piece of rhyme with a representative beat about Parker's own earlier days when he finally took his message on the road, making inroads that the major players said couldn't be done.
M.R. is not a head-banger, but it is definitively a head-mover and toe-tapper that is easy-listening rap, strong and authoritative in its movement and timing.
Parker isn't the one who would sit in jail with all of the other inmates who 'didn't do it.' He admits to his former sins, throws himself on the mercy of the judge, and gets off light considering the seriousness of the crimes of which he was accused.
The power chord in this rap: How can I be so loved and still be so broke?
Leaving just enough room at the end of the recording for the listener to seriously contemplate what he just said while still hearing the travel notes of the ending beat, the message behind the man sparks a definitive “Yeah. That's about the size of it.”
Think on that.
What the “P” for? feat. Bluu Suede
No, the “P” is not for “Parker.”
But let's rap about Bluu Suede, the feature artist on this cut, for a hot minute. According to his blog site, Bluu Suede, who started singing at the age of 14, was born around the time when Disco, Funk and Soul were at its peak. Movies like Shaft, Car Wash, Foxy Brown and other funk/soul-oriented films were peaking on the scene.
Bluu, an American Idol favorite, lived in a pop-driven world that inspired his musical ability and ever since that time, he has mixed his unique sound by incorporating elements from a variety of genres, including Rock, Country, R&B, Neo-Soul, and Hip-Hop.
Together Bluu Suede and Marcus Parker collaborate on “music made to move your spirit,” when they boss up the power line meant to encourage you to keep moving forward: ...When they say NO, they really mean “Not yet.” ...
Never take no for an answer, tomorrow is another day, we got it … so what is the “P” actually for?
In his book, The Final Product, written as the end sequel to the original The Product from 2005, Parker says of this rhyme … “ … I would put my positive twist in the verses with hopes of creating classic songs that could motivate people while they jam to it. The theory seemed to be a success because my next song called 'What the P For' finally got my music on the radio. The “P” stood for Pursuing your Purpose, Keep your eye on the Prize. … it got some love [on] its radio debut on Dallas’ K104.5FM.
Watching Parker's screaming audience on the video hang out with him while he blows out “What the P For?” is an inspiration in itself. They eat up the beat like roasted, smoked, baked and fried at a real homegrown down-south family reunion.
What the P For is not a formalized cut meant to sound studio-enhanced and high celeb-glossy, but meant to fresh out a picture of picture of pride and productivity as you pull into a 'drive-by good time' blasting it loud and proud with the music.
If you've heard Big K.R.I.T.'s “Children of the World” with the restricted ratings, chances are you will be able to hardcore roll with this Marcus Parker production of “Be Yourself.”
Simplistic in its thought process, this cut goes hard on the truth about chasing the dollar, committing crimes, and womanizing in a motivational lyric without the extra verbal enhancements.
It is an obstacle-thumper that lives up to its mandate to help listeners understand what it's like to reach the top and fall down again.
The proverbial “top” is seldom what people make it out to be. So the ultimate goal of finding life's peace can never be realized by having mills, bills, and trills to spend without having to think about the ultimate cost. “Get rich or die poor” is all about obtaining money and attaining material substance, but not about what money does after the fact.
Parker spells out the reasons why, if you've ever wondered why the richest people in the world are the most unhappy even with all of the fame and bling the world has to offer, money is never the ultimate answer. He doubles down with it in this lyric encouraging you to “Be Yourself.”
Money isn't the answer isn't the only knock-down punch in this rhyme, that's the easy part. He uses this beat to underscore the point that beneath the skin of cash-getting and worrying about it afterward is the heart of what happens when you make Be Yourself your life's national anthem.
Even without a major mission in life, everyone, this rap rhyme seems to say, has a contribution that they can make in their own right way, right where they are.
Be Yourself won't leave you hanging about what “the answer” really is.
As Parker said during a recent news interview, (paraphrased) “I discovered that I had matured when I stopped asking questions and started answering them.”
We often hear what seems to be overly-simplistic answers to super-complex problems, but at the end of walking a cold hard lonely road, the simplest answers are always the only real answers there are.
M. Positive seems to know this in his “coming of age” work titled The Motivation Compilation, an album in which the songs and the motive behind them can easily be translated from impossible to M-positive.
Be Yourself and just do it.
Reflecting on the soul food Sundays many of us grew up with, Marcus Parker rolls forward with the ideal behind being forced to go to church on Sunday mornings, as well as the somebody's Uncle Someone who would come by the house in his car for a drive to the ice cream shop back when Miss Margaret hand-cranked and sold it out of the back door of her kitchen.
Parker hits the ever-longing soul “spot” of hunger with this rhyme.
Sunday is as lyrically satisfying and beat-driven as Will Smith's “Summertime,” which was reminiscent of the showcase of cars riding to the park on a Saturday summer afternoon to hang out on the weekends, watching all the 'fly honeys fresh from the beauty salon' and the 'washed and spit-shined rides' on parade.
Will took us waaaayyy back with that one, and by the same token, Marcus takes us by the hand for a walk down memory lane on those weekly Sunday family gatherings back when nobody talked back and grandma and grandpa were more than an old joke.
A comparison would be his old jam “Product of Adversity,” where Parker raps it up about the reasons why we should respect our older generations and strive to be a living example of the models that were set before us and to which we might surrender bad ideas.
Sunday is a laid back and smooth groove, a sip of smooth sparkling visual cue wine. The opening riff plucks out on a guitar that walks down the path leading to yesterday while staying in the here and now.
Parker memorializes the living family portrait by throwing in some real names of people he knows and not just any old “folks 'round the way” when he cranks up the clues about hanging out in the Village before we ended up with a 'hood for a replacement.
Here, in Parker's beautiful mind, there are no “be-atches in nine-inch nails” or “tricks and ho's in full booty-wear” at the most scandalous neighborhood pool party, there are “pretty little girls in their pretty little dresses” and “Mama's smothered fried chicken” on the plate (she never needed KFC) and folks telling kids playing out in the front yard to watch out for the cars while the livingroom window opens to the OG's watching a football game.
It's a feel-good Parker groove that hits our ears the way Charlie Wilson croons “There Goes My Baby.”
Whenever you want to go home even when you can't get there, crank up Marcus Parker's Sunday with a “cold one” and chill.
Product of Adversity
Talk about “blast from the past,” Marcus Parker's decision to include his older cut “Product of Adversity” in the Motivation Compilation was an excellent idea.
It's a lyrical mind tease and slow jam through the thoughts that we all think anyway, but sometimes can't find the words to express, and often when we just want to say “Thank you.” You are appreciated.
Like the kind of music Mom & Pop will get up and try to “swing dance” to if they still can, Product of Adversity is a lyrical beat-fest on the mind and a nice finger-pop and shoulder roll to the ears with it's swaying movement and heartfelt sincere beat.
It isn't hard to say “That's my jam!” while listening to this one, or at least while watching the older folks listening to it and trying a throwback step to the old-school dance move, The Snake.
Anyhoo … the background singer, the unnamed wife of one of the producers of Product, does a bang-up job of adding the sweet sound of down-home soul to the rhyme itself and carrying it out all the way to the finish.
Product is a base hit to this day, with its rolling salute to the mothers, grandmothers, aunts, uncles, and dads who 'went the rounds' bringing children up in a hard and cold world, many while simultaneously cashing emotional checks of restoration on an empty psychological bank account.
Next time you need a past due reminder of how far you've come in life, this is my life, and where you came from, plug in Product of Adversity and listen and remember.
The Antidote feat. Bluu Suede
Thinking life is about what I can get, never what I was giving.
Smoke on that thought for a moment, then crank up the track The Antidote by Marcus Parker featuring Bluu Suede on the recently released album, The Motivation Compilation.
Parker talks about how the hard part of life for everyone is passing up the easy money for the long-lasting dream that heals instead of kills. It's a sweet-cheeked lively mix with a running fresh back-up groove that is extra nice to chill to, and get high on the sunlight of tomorrow's promises.
The Antidote carries with it a jazzy smooth flava wrapped in a no-nonsense truth about the streetwise ways that hold plenty of temptation for those who don't have a lot of options, and whose only way out may be hooked into how much harm and damage they can do and how much loss they can cause. The antidote to the strivings of life is always love and there is nothing on earth that will negate that everlasting truth.
Many days, people tend to forget that it's not just poor disadvantaged kids in the inner-city urban 'hoods living through hard times who are listening to Parker's music, it's also the young folks of all races, creeds, ages, nationalities, and colors who want to hear the words…never give up on your dreams.
In a day and age when motivational rap still means plenty of foul language and derogatory ideas if you're planning on 'making it' to the prime time, The Antidote switches off that background noise and leaves you with a fresh spearmint taste on your brainwaves. Even when the success of life is off the mainstream radar, struggles and all, the antidote is to keep looking up and moving forward.
Like many of us tend to think of the Biblical analogy of the sparrow in the miniscule scope and cross-hairs of God's eternal eye, Antidote reminds us that life is often its own cure, and that big things always come in small packages.
Take it as it comes, one day at a time.
The fulfillment that you seek, Parker tells us in his own way, does not always happen when you want it to, but it's always sho'nuff right on time.
If you like hearing the kind of rap music that transcends a few generational gaps, Last Time frames a lyrical mental picture of something of a blend between Snoop's “Doggy Style” and Eazy-E's “Real […] G's,” without the extemporaneous expletives.
Rap has always leveraged the timed use of the snare drums to hit up a precise punched up beat that makes a finger tap, pop snap, or an impromptu rhythmic dance step not totally out of the question.
In Last Time, Parker makes use of the snares in a way not unsimilar to the way Boyz2Men did it in “Water Runs Dry.”
The mainstream rap market dictates what hits the “big time,” but Marcus Parker is able to translate the same groove and lyrics to the audience by keeping it uplifted and overwhelmingly positive, as well as easy to listen to.
Without the screaming and yelling a point in order to get it across on the mic, Parker proves that the power chords don't always belong to the guitar; sometimes, they are engrained in our meaning in the way a message comes across.
“Highly under-rated” is not the street game in the rap business, but hooks, books, and studio passes keep him moving in the direct flow of the upstream.
Parker recalls a time when people didn't take him very seriously and some even laughed and told him he would not go very far in the industry with music that was so far under the radar that it would only be fit for kids in Sunday school, but Parker didn't invest his time in making it big … he invested it in making his music the centerpiece of the soul and the “big” just came along with the package.
Even without a long history of run-ins with the cops, Parker has had his unwanted share of showing up in courtrooms and walking away without so much as the smell of smoke on his cloak. If there is ever inspiring talk about God sending folks on a life's mission, Parker's name will come up every time without fail.
Last Time talks about the nuances of dues-paying and he admits, in its own special way, that while life doesn't always work out the way we plan, 'the end' does not necessarily mean the ultimate end even if it's the last time that you think you will get the chance to start over.
Insecure feat. Mr. Mayberry
Marcus Parker's return from the threat of a close call with a long-term stint in a federal prison due to a real estate wire fraud transaction shows up in Insecure featuring Mr. Mayberry.
Mr. Mayberry, for the record, is the founder of Thick & Thin Family Entertainment, a motivational rap label that takes pride in bringing the inspirational genre to the younger generations without the negativity that typically clouds the industry from the outset.
Insecure is a quick-step beat not unlike the sound we might splurge on while listening to acid jazz; without the acid, of course.
OG's can almost picture The Beatles getting down to this Parker track when they were crowning the airwaves with hard rock hits like Yellow Submarine and Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. New G's who have heard old school rap might be better with comparing something similar to Eric B. and Rakim dealing it down on Paid in Full or Rakim's Welcome 2 the Hood.
Yeah, it's that serious.
Look in the mirror and tell me what you see … reflections of a follower, or that of a leader. Parker and Mayberry talk about how you “ain't gotta feel” Insecure in this journey called life.
That's a powerful belief system which says much more underneath than it seems on the surface.
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