I’m having a spiritual awakening over this lyric ever since my flight home from Nashville. Dan Charnas spends a minute on it towards the end of Dilla Time and it caught me off guard.
My early 2000s thing with Slum Village was… the music floored me. My buddy Mike put me onto them (he was always doing that) and explained the Tribe/Ummah/D’Angelo connection, which made it an easy sell.
But I got hung up on the rappers.
I love the beat-riding rhythmic stuff where the lyrics almost don’t matter in that I can appreciate it. Now, T3 and Baatin (and Dilla) loved them some strippers and sex. I got the message. By like the second half of the first song I heard.
So we’d have them on in the background and talk about that fan-tas-tic wobble, but I didn’t play their records to death until much later (after Dilla died, when I got over myself and back into the rhythms of it all, but I mostly fell for the rest of Dilla’s work outside of SV).
Dilla is the one who says the line I’m talking about in the subject of this post. The one that’s eating at me. It’s this one, which even if you don’t really know SV, you might know this song:
Don’t sell yourself to fall in love with the things you do.
We all sell ourselves in some way. It’s called work. I’ve got time, you’ve got money, and we’ve got a deal – at its simplest level.
The key word here is “to.”
Don’t sell yourself in order to fall in love with the things you do.
Don’t sell yourself on being in love with something just because someone is paying you to do it.
As Charnas imagines it further, ‘Don’t change yourself so that people will love you.” Or “Never get too comfortable with yourself, always change it up.”
There’s no answer to this, and Dilla might have just thought it sounded cool.
We need love. We need things to do. We need to, at times, sell pieces of ourselves. But these are three separate perspectives, and there’s a million right and wrong ways to combine them.
A meditation and some awareness. Thanks Mr. Charnas. And extra thanks Jay Dee.
You know what love is.
Ps. I’ve got a whole lot more Dilla related stuff coming I think. This book showed up in my life at the perfect time. Thanks Valle for just going ahead and ordering it when I said “I really should read that book finally” for the 1000th time. And thanks Mike for saying, “don’t you know this is the guy behind all of this?!” Well, I do now.