After 10 Years, A Look Back At The Classic “What A Job”

DON DIVA

Millions of songs are produced and released daily, but every now and again, a song is released that embodies the epitome of dopeness, “What A Job,” written by Devin The Dude, Andre 3000 and Big Snoop Dogg explain the unique job of being successful hip-hop artists/personalities, as well as some of the emotional ups-and-downs that come with it. Devin kicks off the classic track asserting that he has the dopest job. Snoop plays the middle verse embodying classic Snoop and paying homage to his career choice. Andre 3K ends the record with one of the most introspective verses of all time about his career path. Each a legend in his own right, the artists team up to create a timeless sonic image that will forever reveal the reality of being a rap artist in these modern times. On the eve of the ten-yearanniversary of the release of this record, we thought some critical analysis was in order.

Devin The Dude

Devin The Dude–an organic legend without the bells and whistles–begins the epic record with the hook explaining how music is as potent as the best weed or as intoxicating as the best spirit.

“Rolling up another Swisha.. dranking but with concentration…”

He also speaks directly to the pressure artists have to be “hot.” He ends the catchy hook explaining how strenuous the job is, detailing graveyard shift hours and how close loved ones can confuse your ambition. Oh, what a job, indeed. Oftentimes, being a rapper is deemed a fun career choice, yet Devin says in his first verse that rapping is more than fun; it’s downright therapeutic. However, he explains how countless nights in the studio and performing go unrewarded and rappers are forced to continue to promote their music for finance.

“Push it peddle it to the people…”

Often throughout Devin’s observation, he makes numerous references that music is like drugs. From the emotional connection that is attached to the music all the way to how the final product is packaged.

“This music is something more different than the weed and the brew.”

Also Devin makes sure to remind people that the music is spiritual, giving less credence to the medium music is disseminated in and more credence to all the people that aide in creating the music.

“This is for all the independents, a few major labels, the big studios…. on the mixing and mastering, puzzling and plastering the track together, on tapes, cds, wax, or whatever.”

Devin even quickly mentions the seedy underworld behind the music. No matter how bad an artist just wants to create, the hard truth of the world is everything costs, especially your favorite Snoop Dogg and/or Andre 3000 verses. Artists often have to surmount these great costs to get their thoughts to the world.

“Can’t forget about the production costs and all the hidden fees for another rhyme written.”

Devin says that regardless of the ills the of pursuing music creation to make a living, it is still a righteous cause and he will continue down that path. Devin set the tone of the song and effectively explained how important rap music is to his life and others.

Snoop Dogg

Snoop Dogg comes up next, the elder statesmen on the song. Snoop has been known for his laid-back, witty flow and charismatic persona since the beginning of his career. Here, singing an ode to his profession, is the one of his best performances of his illustrious career. Snoop discusses the smoke-and -mirrors effect of the entertainment industry beginning his performance

“As easy as it looks to you, I make it look so easy…”

People watch Snoop smoke and C Walk and hang with pimps all while generating millions and millions of dollars. Though his marketing strategies may seem effortless, Snoop says that making it look easy is something he has perfected. In the next line he speaks to the impact his music has had on popular culture.

“With the music I be making; the impression I be leaving…”

Snoop understands that every song he releases will influence the future. A responsibility he doesn’t shy away from, but has stood up to over the years. Snoop says that although people may think or hope he will lose his popularity or go broke–like so many of his former colleagues–Snoop simply can’t see it ever happening. He is always looking forward and that has been a secret to his success. Snoop spits:

“Move on to the next phase and it’s amazing. The next generation of rapper Big Snoop Dogg raising.”

Snoop makes sure to boast his lengthy rap career and how he is still becoming an even bigger brand 15 years after his initial offering to the culture. Snoop’s verse is unique because, unlike Devin and Dre, Snoop doesn’t highlight any negative parts of being a rapper. The closest the west coast legend comes is saying that some people expect him to ruin his opportunity. Snoop makes it clear that he will continue making “hot” hip-hop music until he takes his place in Heaven. The Doggfather even implies that his verses and rhymes are on the same level as reverends’ sermons, as he speaks the truth.

“Check this Devin. Somebody said that real G’s go to Heaven. So I’mma keep spitting the truth on these fools like a reverend. Stay open like 7-11 that’s 24-7.”

Similar to Devin The Dude’s verse, Snoop also likens music to drugs. Interesting, because drugs, like music, can be addictive and potent. Also you can sell it by the album or by the single.

“I’m serving my rhymes like nickel and dimes. Plug it in, let it play and let me blow your mind.”

Snoop displays his ability and his perspective on this song and adds a much needed commercial layer to the record. This coupled with his velvety delivery helps boost the song to classic status.

Andre 3000

Andre 3000 is the most elusive, successful lyricist known to hip-hop. Over the years he has continued to be extremely eccentric about touring, taking credit on big rap albums, and even in his attire. Dre 3000 is one of the few emcees that has sold diamond and still pops up for classic hip-hop moments, like ”What A Job.” Automatically, Dre comes out equating rappers to terrifying, mythical creatures and lyrics to telling scary stories in the middle of the night. This gives light to Dre 3K’s insight and how he views his music career, in a normal world.

“We work nights, we some vampires. Niggas gather round the beat like a campfire.”

These two lines foreshadow the story Dre will tell towards the end of his verse. Andre also explains how artist is affected by the shift in the industry that came in the mid 2000s, whenstreaming and downloading became the primary way to get new music. Dre details the logic that the fan has which ruins the overall product:

“You download it for free, we get charged back for it. I know you’re saying, they won’t know, they won’t miss it. Besides, I ain’t a thief, they won’t pay me a visit. So if I come to your job, take your corn on the cob and take a couple kernels off it, that would be alright with you. Hell no.”

Andre takes his verse and uses it to shine the light on serious problems facing the rap industry. Unlike Devin and Snoop, 3000 felt the need to explain the issues with living off of rap present day and how true MCs will continue to make the music because it moves their soul.

“But we just keep recording and it ain’t to get no condo…”

When 3000 explains the fulfillment he receives from real people around the world, we finally start to understand how meaningful this job is. Dre says that he does his music for the families who are progressing in life and use his catalog to get them through trying times in their lives. This is one of the most rare perspectives hip-hop has ever heard. Dre details a fan encounter where they asked to be immortalized in music and he does just that explaining their story.

“…And that he wouldn’t have made it if it wasn’t for your CD #9 and he standing with his baby mama KiKi and she crying…”

Andre 3000 masterfully captures the fans with the latter part of his verse. He solidifies why he is among the most underrated emcees in rap music. Dre says he doesn’t care about the Bentleys, Grammys, or beautiful women that come with rap success, but is moved by how he is affecting families and saving lives.

If you are a west coast rap fan, a down south rap fan, Outkast fan, or just a fan of hip-hop and you never heard this ballad, you have been missing out on one of the greatest moments in hip-hop. This moment was easy to miss, as there was never a music video created and it was never a single on national radio rotation list, despite its star power. As long as Snoop Dogg, Devin The Dude, and Andre 3000 are still breathing, hip-hop is very much so alive, and they love their job.

Oh, what a job this is!

 

NIKKI MACK

Born and raised in Washington, DC, Nikki Mack began writing as a way to tell stories that would otherwise go untold. Nikki Mack is an avid reader who is currently working tirelessly on an urban fiction novel.

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DaChickenShack’s Fall Reading List For Millennials

Devil_in_a_Blue_Dress_(Walter_Mosley_novel)

DEVIL IN A BLUE DRESS by Walter Mosley

A mystery about a unwilling Texas native day laborer forced to become a Los Angeles detective. Devil in a Blue Dress, a defining novel in Walter Mosley’s bestselling Easy Rawlins mystery series, was adapted into a TriStar Pictures film starring Denzel Washington as Easy Rawlins and Don Cheadle as Mouse.

addicted by zane

ADDICTED by Zane

For successful African-American businesswoman Zoe Reynard, finding the pleasure she wants, the way she wants it, is not worth the risk of losing everything she has: marriage to the man she has loved since childhood, a thriving company, and three wonderful children. But Zoe feels helpless in the grip of an overpowering addiction…to sex. The book was made into a movie starring Tyson Beckford, Boris Kodjoe and Sharon Leal as Zoe.

bnw

BRAVE NEW WORLD by Aldous Huxley

Brave New World is a novel written in 1931 by Aldous Huxley. Set in London of AD 2540 (632 A.F.—”After Ford”—in the book), the novel anticipates developments in drug abuse, reproductive technology, sleep-learning, psychological manipulation, and classical conditioning that combine to profoundly change society.

220px-Assatabio

ASSATA by Assata Shakur

With wit and candor, Assata Shakur recounts the experiences that led her to a life of activism and portrays the strengths, weaknesses, and eventual demise of Black and White revolutionary groups at the hand of government officials. The result is a signal contribution to the literature about growing up Black in America that has already taken its place alongside The Autobiography of Malcolm X and the works of Maya Angelou.

fred douglass

NARRATIVE OF THE LIFE OF FREDERICK DOUGLASS by Frederick Douglass

In this, the first and most frequently read of his three autobiographies, Douglass provides graphic descriptions of his childhood and horrifying experiences as a slave as well as a harrowing record of his dramatic escape to the North and eventual freedom. Former slave, impassioned abolitionist, brilliant writer, newspaper editor and eloquent orator whose speeches fired the abolitionist cause, Frederick Douglass (1818–1895) led an astounding life.

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Summer Summer Summer Time

Fresh Prince (better known today as Will Smith) and DJ Jazzy Jeff – Summer Time

Summer Time by Will Smith goes down in history as a hip hop classic summer anthem. Others have tried and failed and none has stood the test of time like this song. Will takes you through a myriad of summer images that everyone can relate to. He even gives the energy of summer a name by simply calling it Summer Madness. Riding through any city during a hot summer day and your likely to still here this song banging out of your speakers. If Will Smith never recorded another song in his entire life he impacted and changed our summers forever with the single Summer Time.

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Too Short | Spotlight

Too Short is an Oakland MC from the 80s who brought pimping into the rap game. Not only does he produce, write his own rhymes, but he has been doing it for almost 30 years straight! Arguably every MC has been influenced on some level or another by “Short Dawg”. With career ups and downs, a couple years ago he was caught by TMZ taking local Oakland officers on a foot pursuit, but he’s also a platinum seller. Even if you’ve never bought a Too Short album you’ve definitely heard his influence and his unique way of saying “beyotch!” on popular tv shows, movies, and in various songs. Most recently Too Short has been appearing in reality tv shows (Couple’s Therapy, LA Hair) which has given his long lasting career even more life. Take time to explore Too Short’s 16 + album catalogue and get ready to learn something about macking and pimping and Oakland. The video attached is especially unique because Short describes his lengthy career in 2 short 16s on a club beat like only Too Short can. Honorable mention for the Gettin It album, Too Short’s short lived retirement project, and the CLASSIC Freaky Tales. ENJOY! BEYOTCH!

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Devin The Dude| SPOTLIGHT

Every so often an artist comes along and changes the course of things. Innovative original style. Edgy foresight. A stupid dope vision.
These are a few of the components that make up some of the best artist of the times. Imagine if Micheal Jackson had’ve fizzled out after his Motown deal in the 70s. Imagine if 50 Cent had died in that near fatal shooting that left him with an alleged 9 bullet holes. Imagine if Diddy had’ve graduated from Howard business school in the 90s and gone off to Wall Street instead of Beat Street. The songs and styles we all know them best for would have gone unheard.
Devin The Dude has never been the biggest artist in the game, he’s never had the “machine” behind him, he’s never even won an award for music as far as we know (Dr.Dre’s Chronic 2001 where Devin croons a hook doesn’t count). However he is one of the best to ever do it. Diamonds in the rough is what hip hop is ALL about. Even at hip hop’s inception the popular sound was lame and everyone wanted to know what the kids in the projects with no voice had to say. Before high powered hip hop labels existed propelling their artists to the forefront, the culture knew who was dope. “Hey man did you see Kool Herc in the park last week. Have you heard this kid from Bed Stuy freestyle? Man did you hear that song Freaky Tales?” etcetera etcetera. Finding great hip hop is like finding a great barber, a great lawyer, or a great mechanic the referral system works best. Devin The Dude has forged a 20 plus year career out of that exact system. He has recently released a new album and new singles to go along with it. But we wanted to take you all back to the beginning and the reason why this artist will always be heralded by greats like Dr.Dre.
His debut solo album cosigned by Scarface appropriately titled The Dude is a hip hop classic! Fuck the Grammys! Fuck the BET Awards! We dedicate our official SPOTLIGHT post to Devin The Dude and we thank Rap A Lot Records for continually promoting such classic hip hop. Your favorite rapper’s favorite rapper. Enjoy the full album stream of Devin’s debut album. If you are one of the hip hoppers constantly complaining about the state of hip hop take about an hour out of your life to make it a little bit better.
And if you need a reason other than the fact that we told you its dope to lend this legendary artist an ear maybe name dropping will help you see the light. Devin has been cosigned by Scarface, Outkast, Dr.Dre and Snoop Dogg, Currensy, WIz Khalifa, and countless others who have sold more records and have way more radio spins and get no benefit, other than people knowing they know what’s hot, by saluting Devin’s music.
Tracks like Do What The Fuck You Wanna Do, Write or Wrong, Sticky Green, and I Can’t Quit make this album arguably one of the best rap albums to be released. Enjoy!

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Happy by Pharrell

It was only right. This video has over 260 million views and counting. Perfect song and video for anybody feeling down or if your just feeling Happy. Enjoy!
PS Do not crash your car singing along to this song.

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Long Live Maya Angelou (1928 – 2014) I KNOW WHY THE CAGED BIRD SINGS

CNN

Maya Angelou, a renowned poet, novelist and actress whose work defied description under a simple label, has died, her literary agent, Helen Brann, said Wednesday.

She died at her home in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Brann said.

A professor, singer and dancer, Angelou’s work spans several professions. In 2011, President Barack Obama awarded her with the Medal of Freedom, the country’s highest civilian honor. She spent her early years studying dance and drama in San Francisco, but dropped out at age 14, instead becoming the city’s first African-American female cable car conductor.

Angelou later returned to high school to finish her diploma and gave birth a few weeks after graduation. While the 17-year-old single mother waited tables to support her son, she acquired a passion for music and dance, and toured Europe in the mid-1950s in the opera production “Porgy and Bess.” In 1957, she recorded her first album, “Calypso Lady.” In 1958, Angelou become a part of the Harlem Writers Guild in New York and also played a queen in “The Blacks,” an off-Broadway production by French dramatist Jean Genet.

Affectionately referred to as Dr. Angelou, the professor never went to college. She has more than 30 honorary degrees and taught American studies for years at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem.
“I created myself,” she has said. “I have taught myself so much.”

Angelou was born April 4, 1928, in St. Louis, Missouri. She grew up between St. Louis and the then-racially-segregated town of Stamps, Arkansas. The famous poet got into writing after a childhood tragedy that stunned her into silence for years. When she was 7, her mother’s boyfriend raped her. He was later beaten to death by a mob after she testified against him. “My 7-and-a-half-year-old logic deduced that my voice had killed him, so I stopped speaking for almost six years,” she said. From the silence, a louder voice was born.

Her list of friends is as impressive as her illustrious career. Talk show queen Oprah Winfrey referred to her as “sister friend.” She counted Martin Luther King Jr., with whom she worked during the Civil Rights movement, among her friends. King was assassinated on her birthday.

Angelou spoke at least six languages, and worked at one time as a newspaper editor in Egypt and Ghana. During that period, she wrote “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” launching the first in a series of autobiographical books. “I want to write so well that a person is 30 or 40 pages in a book of mine … before she realizes she’s reading,” Angelou said.

She was also one of the first black women film directors. Her work on Broadway has been nominated for Tony Awards. Before making it big, the 6-foot-tall wordsmith also worked as a cook and sang with a traveling road show.

“Look where we’ve all come from … coming out of darkness, moving toward the light,” she once said. “It is a long journey, but a sweet one, bittersweet.”