Much like the name suggests, 'Rapstrology' celebrates the beautiful (and curiously slept-on) intersection between hip-hop and astrology. Whether exploring the Zodiac is a guilty pleasure hobby, something to roll one's eyes at, or a swear-by daily guide to WTF is going on, this column aims to explore the roadmap that is astrology, through the context of hip-hop, lyrics and current events.
Welcome to the commencement of the astrological new year! Coinciding with the spring equinox on March 21, Aries season marks the start of the Zodiac; representing new beginnings, uncharted waters and fresh opportunities to take action.
Symbolized by the Ram, this fire sign has an unwavering drive to trail-blaze. Given their charm, work ethic and ability to thrive in conflict, consequently Aries gets what they want more often than not. Since the Zodiac doubles as a mirror to the cycle of life, Aries is signified by infancy in that most born this time of year bring a childlike quality into all that they do. As such, Aries require a lot of attention, move quickly through emotion and have an air of youthful innocence around them.
Often considered the most dramatic and impulsive sign of the Zodiac, Aries are born with a set of survival skills that allows them to navigate through challenges with a robust spirit of adventure. Brave, quick-witted, impatient, fearless and loyal, Aries' strength lies in how well they handle their own fire. In other words, the line between confident and short-tempered, as well as aggressive and passionate, is one that Aries spend their lifetimes straddling. Comfortable assuming leadership roles, many pioneers who were born under this sign have risen to the top of entertainment, business, sports and politics.
As Aries have the nerve to affect change, their mission is as motivational as it is exciting to watch. It's hard not to root for an Aries, especially considering it's best advised to either support them or stand out of the way. As soldiers to a higher cause, Aries take initiative to embody the change they wish to see, even if their ego may take centerstage.
Given that the sign is ruled by Mars, it is in Aries fiery nature to take charge, occasionally taking action well before they think about it. As Aries keeps it moving, and with a desire to be as direct as possible, this sign is always ready to compete and enthusiastically work toward a goal. Without a goal in mind, Aries becomes bored, frustrated and loses sight of direction. Again, word to Charles Bukowski, what matters most is how well you walk through the fire.
Throughout hip hop, much impact has been made by a plethora of passion-driven Aries such as Q-Tip, Method Man, Redman, Da Brat, Juvenile, Curren$y, MC Hammer, Juicy J, Blac Youngsta, Big Sean, Chance the Rapper, Quavo, Young MA, DeJ Loaf, Killer Mike, Ty Dolla $ign, Mannie Fresh, MadeinTYO, Dreezy, and even feared yet revered music executive Suge Knight. Additionally, Aretha Franklin, Diana Ross, Mariah Carey, Chaka Khan, Billie Holiday and Jill Scott all exemplify a diva dynamism that commands the spotlight and subsequently catapulted them into superstardom. Larger than life, there are a myriad of examples that show Aries get shit done, demand respect and reign supreme.
Now that we have welcomed our new Zodiac calendar with a brief overview of what signifies #AriesSeason, here are some lyrical gems to keep in mind and when the mood strikes, keep on repeat.
Song: "Bounce Back" - Big Sean
Lyrical Mantra: The entire song, honestly. "Everything I do is righteous / Betting on me is the right risk / Even in a fucking crisis / I'm never on some switching sides shit / I switch gears to the night shift / Blacking out 'cause I'm enlightened."
Aries'ism: Big Sean energy is Aries energy. There's no other way around it. As exemplified through this track specifically, which appears on his fourth studio album, 2017's I Decided, Big Sean is a phoenix rising from the ashes. With every bar motivational and authentic to his experience, this song speaks to his infinite belief in himself, all while showcasing his confident ability to lead by example and continue to rise above, especially in the face of conflict.
Song: "Stubborn Ass" - Young M.A
Lyrical Mantra: "Doing shit for attention won't get my attention / Instead of hitting me up you do shit with intentions / I thought we was grown / Like, who are you kidding? / I guess trying to make it work now is out of commission, huh? / Compromise / Don't make selfish decisions / Admit when you're wrong / The only way we can fix it."
Aries'ism: While reflecting on Young M.A's breakout success through her explosive "Ooouuu" freestyle also exemplifies Aries' ability to make a strong introduction and claim stake, her latest single that was released in February 2019, is a love song that speaks to how Aries like to be as direct as possible and present logic in chaos. Young M.A isn't interested in anyone wasting her time, but when she believes in someone or something, Aries' tendency to be loyal to a fault and prove a point takes hold. Through her own way and volition, Young M.A has an effortless ability to let criticism impact her the same way as a compliment, a quality that is as sage as it is strong.
Song: "Best Life" by Cardi B and Chance the Rapper
Lyrical Mantra: "Said I'm livin' my best life / Said I'm livin' my best life / Made a couple M's with my best friends / Turned all my L's into lessons / You see the whip pullin' up, it's like 'skrrt' / Dreams pullin' up, I'm like 'skrrt' / I'm livin' my best life / It's my birthday, at least that's what I'm dressed like."
Aries'ism: Chance the Rapper's career speaks to his being an Aries in that he blazed a trail of his own. He released the first streaming-only album to debut on Billboard and led others to examine what being independent in music means in the 2010s. His activism also speaks to his larger purpose. He's aiming to be the best version of himself, while paying it forward.
Song: "Big Beast" by Killer Mike featuring T.I., Bun B and Trouble
Lyrical Mantra: "These real-ass killers move in silence with violence / The minute it set off, we the motherfucking wildest / How you from Atlanta they ain't never speak upon / Where everybody got a sack of dope and a gun."
Aries'ism: In his own words, Killer Mike explains, "This is some punch you in the face shit." Yup. Killer Mike of Run the Jewels fame is larger than life and as real as they come. While not everyone may agree with his outspokenness, his work as both an activist and an artist is beyond worth taking note of. In this song, he embodies Aries energy by opening up his album in a way that hits the ground running and welcomes the listener to the realities of Atlanta. No sugarcoating, no shrugging it off.
Song: "Bandz A Make Her Dance" by Juicy J
Lyrical Mantra: "Like a broke ATM I'ma spill in all this cash / Them n----s in the club don't be spending shit / 20 stacks in one night, I be on trippy shit / My cribs paid off, but I'm still paying rent."
Aries'ism: One glance into Juicy J's discography and it's impossible to miss how sexuality steers his creativity and influences his perspective. Aries is known to stay in fifth gear and quite often his sexual traits lean on the intense side of things. With a huge sex drive and no shame, Aries views sex as a conquest, going from one extreme to another and often, one partner to another until finding their ultimate match. Deep down there is a desire for romance, but as exemplified in the strip club anthems that are the foundation of Juicy J's creative output, first things first, there's no harm in enjoying all that life has to offer before settling down. Or what have you.
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