Turn the speakers up. Knot your knuckles behind your head. Lean back with your feet on the desk. If you smoke, light that cigarette. Inhale, breathe out a long, cinematic puff toward the sky. Then travel first-class without leaving your easy chair….
“Let’s go to sleep in Paris,
and wake up in Tokyo.
Have a dream in New Orleans,
fall in love in Chicago, man.
Then we can land in the motherland,
camelback across the desert sand,
take a train, to Rome, or home,
Brazil, for real.”
I can’t get this song out of my head. It’s fuel carrying me through the cold Andean mountains to the cosmopolitan beaches of Rio de Janiero. Each drop beat reminds me that I’m exploring unknown lands one pedal stroke at a time. It’s happy hip hop the likes of A Tribe Called Quest that takes you on a world tour in less than five minutes, makes you want to buy a one-way ticket to anywhere the population drinks espresso from little white ceramics and lounges in orange sunset glow with rooftop appetizers. Its catchy rhymes stick with me in a way no song’s have since Warren G jammed my tape deck and we were all half-bouncing to Vanilla Ice at school dances. And I like Lupe’s message: that travel is beautiful, that love knows no borders.
Ok, ok, reality check. We’re not all hip hop jet setters who can “…hit Japan, /…make ’em jam, /…make a hundred grand, / spend it in the south of France.” But so what? I don’t rock rented Armani suits while lip syncing music videos in Paris’ Gare du Nord either. This song gives me the same citizen-of-the-world feeling I get swapping stories with backpackers fresh off an Asian tour, or sharing a beer with a Quechua country boy. It makes me happy knowing there is a somewhere else just a quick plane ride away.
“I’ve been known to levitate like a hobo tryin’ to catch a freight, to get away, to clear the day, and I’ll be smilin’ at the stars like a hood does cars.”
Pharrell’s jazz rap, Q-Tip’s old school stylings, and Lupe’s refusal to be outdone on his own track make the following remix worth a listen too:
This song and other conscientious songs can be found on Lupe Fiasco’s acclaimed album “The Cool”.