Thoughts from the Art Studio: The Deep Questions

In the months since my college graduation, I’ve spent more time in the art studio than in the last four years combined.  My roommate is an art student taking five studio classes, which means that if I’m ever going to see her, it’s going to be while surrounded by paintings, charcoal-drawn portraits, and ceramics.

I don’t really mind it – I’ve always wished I were better at the arts, and something about being surrounded by it all is inspiring. About watching a blank canvas turned into a still-life painting, or a lump of clay turned into a teapot; it makes me want to create, even if it’s not the same type of creation.

So, as I write this from a rap-filled art studio (a fact about which I wish I were kidding), I’m confronted with certain questions.  I guess you could say I’m inspired to ask the deeper questions about life.

the deep questions

What do rap lyrics even mean?

As in, other than undertones of sex, drugs, homophobia, and sexism.  When you sit in an otherwise quiet studio listening to Childish Gambino “sing” about “coke up his asscrack,” you’re forced to wonder how that would even happen in a real-life situation.  And why that would make any woman want to have sex with him.  And what “.38 revolve like the sun round the earth,” even means; you do realize it’s actually the opposite, right Jay-Z?

Is a lie really a lie if you mean it at the time?

Okay, this wasn’t my question.  It’s Scroobius Pip’s question, if I’m being honest.  But he raises a good point, and now I’m curious.  I think I’ll have to get back to you with my thoughts on this one…

Actually, Scroobius makes a lot of good points.  He seems to be the answer to my question of whether there’s a single rapper out there whose lyrics make any sense.  But you’ll have to excuse me for being ignorant about it until tonight, because until an hour ago, I didn’t know British Rap was even a thing.

Are our passions genetic?

As I’m sitting here watching my roommate do what she’s wanted to do for as long as I’ve known her, I’m realizing that we’ve both somehow ended up doing exactly what our mothers were doing at our age.   Is that genetic, something we were always going to end up doing? Or just coincidence?  In the end, do we really have any choice as to who we become, or are we all just basically going to become a combination of both of our parents – part shy and curious from my father, part stubborn and determined from my mother.

I’d like to believe that while we are a combination, we’re also from ourselves, something new that doesn’t come entirely from either side.  What about you?  What do you think?

  • Marielle

    Haha, that Jay-Z line is nice. Isn’t there some percentage of Americans who still believe that, because they think it’s a choice to ignore/deny scientific facts? I don’t understand rap lyrics at all, and I generally just think they’re awful. I get the arguments that rap is an art form, and it’s cultural expression, blah blah blah. It still doesn’t have to be so awful. There are definitely honest lies. Like, I just psychologically can’t lie at all if I KNOW I’m lying, but if I genuinely forget something then it happens. And then I freak out later.

    The genetics/choice thing is one of those things that could just be argued in circles, but it’s always fun to think about. Like I feel like I’m becoming my dad, just kind of grumpy, sarcastic, and impatient (I mean, he’s totally lovable for realz but probably only truly patient with me) and I’m into doing crafts like my mom; all that’s just from how I grew up, no question. I might have some kind of genetic/personality based affinity for making stuff (really have no idea about the bio mother), but if I hadn’t had a mom who was constantly doing a new craft, I bet my interest wouldn’t have developed the same way.

    • Kiersten McMonagle

      Exactly! It’s not the form I have a problem with – it’s the lyrics. They’re so incredibly degrading and just awful! I just don’t understand having all that music that’s about putting people down and doing drugs, and in a lot of cases, physical assault/abuse (especially Eminem).

      I definitely agree – it’s basically the same as the nature v. nurture argument. I definitely take after my dad, or at least I always thought I did. But as I’m getting older, I’m seeing more of my mom in my personality. It’s weird to see.