First and Foremost, any poem, by any poet, that is an open letter to Drake deserves your attention. I mean, cause drake is probably out right now, In NYC, listening to Sade while rubbing Serena’s feet just winning. This point alone is enough to weed through every poem that is an open letter to anyone and click on the one that is an open letter to Drake. And I am glad that a couple months ago when I ran across this video I did. This is a really dope video, filmed by Write About Now, at an after hours cipher during this years Southern Friend Poetry Slam. This poem has stuck in my head since the first time I listened to it and for good reason.
New Orleans poet Justin Lamb, offers up a humorous yet poignant narrative about friendship, connections, and the things that tie us together in this world. About humanity and the impact the messages rap carries on our youth. This poem offers up such an interesting perspective on the tangible effect of this message “no new friends” on kids that learn a lot about their place on this planet from the music they listen to. The honest truth is that our children are consumed by hip-hop. no matter how you shelter them, it is embedded in all facets of culture and it is pervasive on almost all levels, there is no running from its messaging. And without strong parental figures, teachers, ect anyone who can act as a counter-narrative, hip-hop can have damaging effects.
So when someone as influential as Drake says “no new friends”, they believe it, they hold tight to what they know, they shrink into the comfort zone of their block or street, their neighborhood or high-rise. As an adult we know, or at least we should, that opening yourself up to new opportunities is what makes us grow, meeting and interacting with people you don’t know who are not like you, who are not from where you are from.
New friends are the best way to realize that YOU don’t know
In light of recent events I would like to think that this hook was written by Quentin Miller, that in his cocoon of ghost writing he does not need any new friends that anyone new in his circle was too risky, might have let the world know that he was pseudo-drake
So I agree with Justin Lamb, because there is value in dealing with your day 1 friends people who you know are true and there for you through thick and thin, but I too think we can augment the criteria Drake puts forward in the song. I think the most valid thing said in this whole poem is “why not some new friends and a more vigorous vetting process”
Also Justin Lamb sings the chorus like several times which is both jarring and awesome at the same time.
More about the poet – Justin Lamb is an educator, writer and a 2013 National Poetry Slam champion. A two-time Slam New Orleans Grand Slam Champion, Justin has represented New Orleans at regional and national competitions for the last four years as member of the nationally acclaimed Team Slam New Orleans (Team SNO). He is also the author of a live performance poetry album titled However It Turns Out Is Perfect
Find out more about today’s Spotlight poet below
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