Why aren’t people allowed to do what is natural and still be respected? In this society, if you break from the norm, you tend to be classified into negative cultural subsets, with few exceptions. On this episode of The Axiom Amnesia Theory, Heit & Cheri analyze the music and lyrics from Z-Ro’s song “Never Been”, connecting the dots between many of the individual assessments of social issues we face.

Topics discussed include distrust of others, societal trappings, Z-Ro’s rap style, telling a life story rather than glorifying a particular lifestyle, selling out, differences between singers and rappers, what it means to be a man, gender roles, references to “bitches” and “hoes” in song, whether children are negatively affected by profane lyrics in music, male and female sexual stereotypes, and more!

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  • Song “Never Been” – Z-Ro

  • Heit has been listening to Z-Ro for over 10 years, and he loves his flow. This song talks about a lot of social issues, despite being controversial.
  • This song is from Z-Ro’s new album, “Angel Dust.” All of his recent albums have names of drugs–the claim being that his rapping and songs are addictive.
  • Cheri likes how Z-Ro always ends his songs by saying a few words after the music stops.
  • He references his mistrust of women in this song–really a mistrust of everyone. He constantly reminds us that he is solitary, on his own, and trusts nobody. He’s writing what he’s thinking at the time.
  • Heit & Cheri love Z-Ro’s flow, and the way he sings his raps.
  • Discussion about the lyrics where he talks about never “selling his soul” being the most important thing to him. This probably comes from his Christian foundation.
  • The emphasis on money and obtaining it was a drawback of this song. This is a sign that he has bought into capitalism, and it is the driving force behind the pursuit of money referenced in the song.
  • Discussion about the references to prison.
  • Z-Ro is not glorifying this lifestyle, but rather is telling his life story from his view. This is in contrast to other rappers who glorify a particular lifestyle.
  • Cheri likes the line where he talks about his breath being like a cool breeze, but her favorite line was about never selling out. She likes this because it is so easy to get caught up in the extra things that come with the success of one’s dreams.
  • A lot of people think that his music is depressing, but when you really stop to listen to him, he’s telling his life story. He has stayed true to himself by not talking about the shallow subjects from the same perspective of glorifying them. He could have been more successful if he had sold out to make songs just like today’s typical rapper, but he didn’t.
  • Discussion about great singers who sell themselves out in the process of wanting to become great. Leona Lewis is given as an example of this.
  • One of the differences between singers and rappers is that rappers are expected to write their lyrics and select their beats. Conversely, singers often rely heavily on producers and writers to create the finished product.
  • One of Heit’s favorite lines was, “I swear I’m half a man and half a machine–call me robot,” because of the play on his name with the word “robot.”
  • Discussion about the lines, “If looks could kill I’d die when they ride by, but ask ’em why they hate me and they don’t know why…”–another of Heit’s favorite lyrics. These words speak to the notion that sometimes people will dislike you for no real reason. Or, perhaps they know why they don’t like you, but don’t want to admit it.
  • It’s sad that sometimes people can’t just celebrate someone’s talent without all of the jealousy.
  • Z-Ro referenced being a man a lot throughout the song. This was interesting because of the whole notion of gender roles.
  • Discussion about the references to “bitches” and “hoes” in the song. Some people find the use of the language a turnoff, but this is the artist’s expression. This is how he views the world, and how can we look at that and discredit his view when it is his honest assessment?
  • In terms of the objection that children will be negatively affected by the music’s language, be sure to educate children so that they can make their own assessments. If you teach your children properly, they will be able to make the appropriate distinctions that Z-Ro is making in the song.
  • Discussion about what it sounds like when Z-Ro is in “the zone” and his flow is amazing. Heit says that he is gonna try singing his lyrics Z-Ro style.
  • Discussion about why people aren’t allowed to do what is natural and still be respected–like men in positions of power are expected to pretend to be almost asexual just because they are in charge.
  • Discussion about male and female sexual stereotypes.
  • Discussion about how women are expected to be either smart or sexy, but never both simultaneously.

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