Can I Live

Can I Live?

Can I live?

You have rappers who turned to actors and you have those rappers that turned into business men; when referencing cultural relevance, no matter what your criteria is – Jay Z deserves to be in the conversation.

“If this is what I have to live for, I’ma take the chance to get more” is one of my favorite lines off the record Can I Live from his classic album Reasonable Doubt. We can discuss all day about his commercial success, record sales, whatever but, to me he’s the perfect mix of what a true artist CAN be.

That line is something anyone with dreams of having more then their current situation offers can relate to. The lyrics to Can I Live glides over the smoothest horn section you have ever heard. Look of Love by the one and only Isaac Hayes is the sample track featured on this record and to be honest, I can’t think of a better selection. This bed of music likens itself to the true soul of the 70s.  So, what exactly is the verse saying? What’s the meaning?

“If this is what I have to live for”

Examine where you’re at in life. You hate your job – your perfect 9-5 schedule is no longer convenient. maybe you’re stuck in a marriage that adds to your misery. You know you’re stuck in a rut when to can complete your daily task without even consciously thinking about doing the task itself. Can you drive to work with your eyes closed? Or maybe this; Have you ever started off driving in the direction of your job but was heading to another location and before you know it you find yourself in the parking lot of your job asking yourself why am I here? Ever miss a turn b/c your body was in cruise control aimlessly going in the direction it has been for so long? If you have then please believe that is a rut that you’re in.

So… really… is this what I have to live for?

Some of us feel like this is what life is all about. We got out of HS, went straight to college, got a good job and started a family. If any of us were lucky we had a little fun a long the way. How on earth did a small group of people convince billions to give up their dreams and work for others as a meaningful way of life? Most of us had kid(s), a husband or wife and we gave up on our dreams because we were told to be content with what we already had. Society will have you believing that you’re selfish, heartless and down right greedy if you’re even thinking about getting more.

Some people will never fully understand ambition and will try to make you feel down right guilty for thinking about making more money, living in a bigger house, not settling for your current circumstances no matter how good/bad those circumstances are.

“If this is what I have to live for, I’ma take a chance to get more”

So, now that you have taken personal inventory of your life; do you like what you see? Are you content or can you honestly say you are happy where you are and wouldn’t change a thing> the general rule of thumb has always been to take two steps forward and if need be take one step back. Once you have placed two feet on any surface, you are officially planted there. When adversity comes your way one foot or one step is normally taken backward in order to brace yourself through the storm. Once the storm is over your back foot is then moved right next to the other on the platform in front of it.

We seem to have this theory backwards though. We tend to take one wobbly step forward and when adversity hits we take two steps back. When that happens we unknowingly plant ourselves firmly in the same place we were before we even decided to step out. We retreat to the norm, to the comfort zone.

“Ima take the chance to get more”

So what is the chance/risk involved? Unless you are literally on the block or living a different kind of lifestyle your chance/risk that you’re taking is remaining the same. If you don’t desire more the consequences for you is staying exactly the same. One step forward two steps backs will land you firmly planted right where you started. You gained nothing –lost time. So, there is much to gain from wanting more. I’d say you have everything to gain – and nothing to lose. Realistically by not striving for more you end up merely existing and not living.

If this is what I have to live for, then ima take the chance to get more after all why wouldn’t you???


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