ELEVATORS, ME AND YOU

“Me and you. Yo momma, and you cuz’n too. Rollin’ down the strip on vogues. Comin’ up slammin’ Cadillac doe’s… We movin’ on up in the world like Elevators.” OUTKAST, “Elevators Me and You”, ATLiens (1996)

RIGHTEOUSNESS. For those of you seasoned enough to remember “Elevators (Me and You)”, the debut single from OUTKAST’s sophomore album ATLiens I’d like to ask you this morning to think about where you were or what you were doing the first time you heard the song’s intro bassdrop.  It sounded something like “Boom boom click boooom…” then Andre came in over a live bass chord with “One for the money/Yes suh/Two for the show/A coupla years ago/on Headland and DeLowe/ was the start of something good/ where me and my jigga rode the MARTA through the hood. Just tryna find that hook-up.” It was the summer of 1996, I’d just graduated from college, and was headed to Los Angeles for a new beginning. Hearing Andre and Big Boi describe the ups and downs of their success provided a bit of comfort for the ups and downs I’d been experiencing as a young 22-year old carving out her place in the world.  OUTKAST was growing into young men who blended more southern-style political commentary into their street imagery.  And I remember how die hard OUTKAST fans hated that!

I didn’t.  I welcomed their harmony and extra-terrestrial other-worldliness.

Now more than ever, “Elevators (Me and You)” speaks volumes. It represents CHANGE.  It imagines GROWTH. This Sunday the graduating seniors from Spelman, Morehouse, and Clark-Atlanta University who took my HipHop2020 studies class will walk across the stage to get their undergraduate degrees. ELEVATORS!! Baring witness to their success is an opportunity that I don’t take lightly.  These are young leaders who fought against all odds to get to college, go to college, and graduate from college. ELEVATORS!! Last Sunday, my assistant Zaneta who took the hip-hop studies course as a senior at Spelman two years ago got her Masters in Social Work from the University of Illinois at Chicago. ELEVATORS!! Joshua Moore, my first HipHop2020 mentee when I came to Morehouse in 2008 will start law school at the University of Southern California this Fall.  ELEVATORS!! And the mere fact that a rapper/MC gets a chance to influence art, culture, and politics at the highest level of our government is an indication that Common and the voice of the people he represent are ALL MOVING ON UP IN THE WORLD LIKE ELEVATORS. Despite the back-and-forth reporting about the controversy surrounding his performance, COMMON STILL ROCKED THE (WHITE) HOUSE. ELEVATORS!! And I just found out that I will spend the Fall 2011 semester as the HipHop Archive Fellow at the W.E.B. DuBois Institute for African and African American Research at HARVARD UNIVERSITY! ELEVATORS!! Like Big Boi says, “We made it with them big boys in this industry and…moving on up in the world like elevators”, and we are doing it with a social perspective informed by the lessons of hip-hop culture.

The Daily Dose of Realness:  We are not CNN. We are THE DDR. Our mission at THE DDR is to inform the people and inspire the people to keep it real at the intersection where worlds collide.  This is our motto. Our information goes out once a day. Monday through Friday. 7AM. We don’t aim to keep you up-to-date on the minute-to-minute play-by-play of the news throughout the day, but to take the news that we get, filter it through the hip-hop state of mind, and give you something real and authentic to elevate your mind.   So click below to let us know your “Elevators” story. Have a good weekend.

(..boom ba doomp… boomp boomp boomp boomp ba doomp… Me and you. Yo momma and you cuz’n too .) Happy Birthday to Stevie Wonder. He turns 61 today!

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5 Responses to ELEVATORS, ME AND YOU

  1. Congrats on the being selected as the HipHop Archive Fellow at the W.E.B. DuBois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard University. I hope that we can connect while you are here. I love this DDR today. Exactly, what I needed to read to start my day!! #elevators

  2. I like Andre’s verse when the guy says, “Ay, man, Remember me from school?” Being from ATL, bearing witness to friends/ schoolmates’ come-ups in the entertainment industry, I became that guy. We all did. In fact, I began to have those run-ins with cats all the time. I have to admit to having a few lame moments, and a few others where the reunion was a mutual admiration. Unfortunately, there was also a childhood friend who didn’t live to enjoy his “destined” success… RIP Chris Terry. This experience helped me to see that everybody wanted to be on “elevators.” After a while, I came to realize we each have our own elevator. As one of my mentors always reminds me, time will take you to the next level. You must be prepared for your next stage when you get there. So don’t waste time. It is precious.

    Congratulations, Dr. Joyce! Keep telling the story. You are an inspiration to us all! Your elevator has platinum doors and spinners!

    Outkast Music Player for your listening pleasure!

    • dailydoseofrealness says:

      Isiah, we’ve known eachother for the last say 20 years, and I appreciate how you’ve always been a friend. Thanks for the commentary on Elevators. RIP Chris Terry. Everyone definitely wants to be on Elevators, but sometimes we get into situations that turn out to be…well…fatal, and that’s terribly unfortunate. I will do my part to continue to be an inspiration because I know you will expect nothing less of me. Thanks Isiah.

  3. Spencer Greene says:

    Dr. Wilson, I just used a quote from this blog post in a paper i’m writing, comparing Atlien’s to W.E.B. Du Bois’ The Philadelpha Negro. I look over some of the notes from when I took your class as well as other daily dose post and I realize HipHop 2020 has changed my life. Keep doing what you’re doing. I hope all is well at Harvard.

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