N.W.A in India
This weekend I spent time with my cousin and his family. We talked about traveling and the next country we want to visit.
India has been on my list for a long time.
I asked them about their fondest experience when they traveled there. I was expecting to hear How:
- amazing the street food was
- transformative it was spiritually
- the Taj Mahal was one of the best pieces of architecture
- despite not having much, the people in India are able to smile
- bad and unthinkable the poverty is
I was not expecting to hear the story that I’m about to tell you.
So my cousin and his wife were coming back to the city of Bangalore from an ashram (religious retreat center) in Puttaparthi.
Their driver needed to fill fuel desperately and knew of a gas station that was off the beaten path.
When they got there they noticed the peculiar location. It was literally smack dab in the middle of nowhere. No villages, no shops, no cars, no real civilization and not even a concrete road to get to the gas station. The land around it was completely barren like a desert. If you were a lone hiker you could mistake it for a mirage.
I’ve come across odder things in the course of my travels, but nonetheless, it was a surprise hear this.
As my cousin and his wife walked into the gas station, perched above them was 4 huge speakers playing:
’Cause the boys in the hood are always hard
You come talking that trash, we’ll pull ya card
Knowin’ nothing in life but to be legit’
Don’t quote me, boy, ’cause I ain’t said shit
It was the N.W.A classic Boyz in the Hood!
When they walked into the gas station they saw a skinny Indian man with the patented Eazy E sunglasses, black white sox hat who also happened to be blazed out of his mind and straight bumpin this classic.
The Effects of Art
The track Boyz in the Hood came out in 1988, but somehow the culture is still alive and well even in a remote village in India.
Why is this? I’ll tell you. It’s because good Art doesn’t go away. It’s repeated throughout history.
Whether you enjoy rap music or not, what N.W.A did was change the landscape of rap. It took the realities from the streets to our living rooms and we could not get enough of it.
These young musicians were hard, in your face and unapologetic.
It was revolutionary because no one else was doing. It was a true depiction of what happens in the inner-cities.
Their art exposed the struggles they faced and the only medium that could channel their energy into something constructive was — WRITING & MUSIC.
They made good art and this relentless pursuit to craft their skills has won the hearts of a legion of fans.
Good Art is what happens when you become true to yourself and this is exactly what N.W.A did.
Making Good Art
At the end of this post there is a video of my favorite commencement speech from Neil Gaimen.
He is an acclaimed author for his literally work in short novels, comic books and theater.
He speaks to the creative in all of us and says, and when all else fails, “make good art.”
The one thing that you have that nobody else has is you. Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. So write and draw and build and play and dance and live as only you can. — Neil Gaimen
So for my creatives out there, keep writing, keep making beats, keep making beautiful applications, keep acting, keep dancing, keep coding and keep perfecting your artistry.
You never know who’s listening and who you may affect.
It may be a skinny Indian kid in the middle of nowhere that bumps your tunes, cries with your words, is moved by your drama or becomes a better person with your technology.
We are born to create. I intend to continue and hope you do to.
Anand Swamy @marketingswamy