There is a stabbing anxiety that comes with being a college kid these days. The reality of entering the real world during the worst economic downturn in 80 years, burdened with mortgage-level debt, and at a time when social mobility in America is at it's lowest point since they started keeping track, can very well squeeze aspiration into disillusion.
But Entelleckt, the rapper-slash-computer engineer we wrote about a few months ago, isn't giving up on the virtue of dreams.
Today, he released his third mixtape, LarryYOLO, a seven-track litigation in defense of dreams. Becasue, as he raps in "Though Police," "Killing dreams has become public policy."
He addresses his generation's world-is-collapsing-on-us angst within the first fifteen seconds of LarryYOLO's lead-off track, "Fear of Success." He drops in after single piano note:
"You're greatest ally is also your greatest enemy/ Who we talking 'bout? Uh, yourself, friends, and family/ Eventually you'll let go of your dreams/ Deny your ambition, put it aside because it's unrealistic."
With those opening bars setting the foundation, Entelleckt goes on to build his case for the power of dreams. High and low piano riffs drive much of the mixtape, which layers head-bobbing melodies over darker, contemplative beats. Entelleckt's lyrics, expressed through a sing-songy but crisp B.o.B-like twang, often take the second-person form of motivational speeches.
"Make them eat their words, you on the path to greatness/ They say you'll be a bust, prove 'em right-- Hall of Fame/ Obstacles in the road, you just switch lanes," he raps in "Elysian Fields."
In these cases of second-person delivery, he addresses the concept of "dreams" in the abstract. He boils it into tangible, though, as it relates to his own aspirations-- whether to get the girl in "Gravity" or to get big as a rapper in "The Adventures (of Larry Yolo).
"They say you always want what you can't have/ There's plenty fish in the sea-- well, I am Ahab/ I only have eyes for you..." he raps in "All I Think Is You."
YOLO is an acronym for You Only Live Once-- a thesis that potently encapsulates his whole argument for following dreams. By building his album around this theme, Entelleckt risks coming off as naive or out of touch. He avoids these pitfalls by framing his positivity with self-awareness. "Though Police" explores the way social conventions can douse particularly ambitious or unorthodox aspirations:
"Detention time, I ain't doodle between the lines/ So they try to solitary confine/ This the result when you dare to be different... So break the chain, who are they to facilitate/ What you've imagined, it's a rite of passage/ And so I'm asking, what the heck you masking/ Be passionate... They say you can either dream or be successful/ I'd rather do both, screaming out YOLO."
It might be just what we need to hear right now.
For more on St. Louis politics, boxing, hip-hop and miscellaneous social issues, follow @albertsamaha on Twitter.
Support Local Journalism.
Join the Riverfront Times Press Club
Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.
Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.
Join the Riverfront Times Club for as little as $5 a month.