Polo G. A Poetic Genius at 21.

The song “21” by Polo G off his album THE GOAT is a perfect example of poetry in rap. The album was released in May of 2020, and is Polo’s sophomore album. In the song, Polo G reminisces and walks through his past life, articulating everything he has experienced while being just 21. Polo G also pays homage to the late rapper Juice WRLD, who died last year from an overdose just days after turning 21. Both artists grew up in Chicago. A one-cut music video was released shortly after the song came out showing Polo walking through his childhood, which included him dodging bullets and fighting internal demons. This is one of many songs off his album that exhibits poetic elements.

Ever since I stepped up in this game, I’ve been a bomb threat
I was in the trenches, tryna see a life beyond that

In this part of the song Polo G uses assonance to push his message. The words “threat” and “that” do not rhyme with each other, but instead are words that are in close proximity to one another. There are many different parts of the song where this occurs, and it is an effective way to keep the flow of the song going without utilizing rhyme. The use of assonance plays a major role in connecting to the theme of the song. Polo explains here how he knew he had the potential to blow up as an artist, and how he was not content with the current situation he was in. His horizon was much greater than staying in the neighborhood where he grew up. Hyperbole is used here as well because he is not actually a “bomb threat” and he did not actually live in “trenches.” The terminology, however is relatable for a large portion of his audience.

I just been ballin’ on these n****s, like I’m Kendrick Nunn

In this part of the song Polo uses simile to draw a comparison to a basketball player. While Polo means he is surpassing other rappers in success, the person he compares himself to is important in alluding to the theme of the song. Kendrick Nunn is a basketball player for the Miami Heat and was a “Rookie of the Year” candidate this past season. He grew up just minutes away from Polo G and had a similar success story in making it out of his neighborhood and becoming a star. Polo G could have choose someone much more prominent to reference like Michael Jordan or LeBron James. The fact that he chose to compare himself to someone who was in a similar position goes to show the significance Chicago still has to him.

Decorate your block with red tape, foenem slidin’ every day
Bunch of hollows spittin’ out the Glock
I been servin’ fiends all day, out there posted with the gang
N***a, we was taught to get it off the block

While there are many more poetic devices included in “21,”Imagery is the last of them I will be discussing. Imagery is an essential part of music because it can help put the audience in whatever situation the artist desires. In this beginning portion, the vivid imagery of the lyrics shapes the theme of the song. An immediate impression can be made regrading what the song contains. Chicago terminology and slang is also included, and is an effective way to connect to the specific audience he is attempting to reach.

Exiting “Exit West”

There are many important takeaways that come from “Exit West.” The prevalence the novel has on modern day situations is immense. Understating what life is like for people in other countries is a necessary element of life. Empathy is built through understanding. I really enjoyed reading the book, largely because of its non-fiction components and real life scenarios. While initially I was unsure how I felt about the idea of “doors” due to their unrealistic powers, in the end I realized that they were needed to tell the story. At times the long sentences were difficult to consume, but as the book progressed it became easier. Unlike my summer reading book, I did not find a single typo which is impressive considering I am always on the hunt.

One thing I would have liked to see was more detail on the life of Saeed and Nadia after they separated. The last chapter jumped many years and left a lot out. It would have been fascinating to know what they were up to. I enjoyed seeing the progression of the relationship between Saeed and Nadia grow as the book progressed. I expected the book to end with them happily together, but it does not seem like that was the case. I was fascinated by the unrelated stories that were thrown into the book as well. Initially, I though the stories would connect with the events in the novel. I am unsure as to the purpose they served. Overall, “Exit West” is one of the most enjoyable books I have read during my time at OPRF.

Questionable Decision Making

As Part 1 nears a conclusion Meursault finds himself in a completely unnecessary altercation. Raymond, a neighbor of Meursault invited him over to his friends lake house. Raymond has tensions with a small group of Arabian men. Raymond physically assaulted his girlfriend when he found out she was using him, and one of the men is her brother. When on the beach near the man, Meursault says “It occurred to me that all I had to do was turn around and that would be the end of it. But the whole beach, throbbing in the sun, was pressing on my back. I took a few steps toward the spring” (58). Meursault is choosing at this point to cause problems by approaching a man equipped with a pocket knife. Meursault, however, has a gun so is at the advantage. It is puzziling why Meursault is putting himself in this situation to begin with. All for a neighbor he is barely friends with.

Meursault continues to walk towards the Arabian man. As he nears him, he gets sweat in his eyes which prevents him from seeing. Meursault then gets slashed in the face by the man. He says “The light shot off the steal and it was like a long flashing blade cutting at my forehead.” What Meursault does next I found to be quite shocking. Rather than walking away from the situation, he chose to fight back but in the more extreme way. Meursault fired the gun at the man. He says “Then I fired four more times at the motionless body where the bullets lodged without leaving a trace” (59). I am uncertain what the result of this will be, but I can not assume it will be good. The next few chapters will definitely be some interesting ones, and I look forward to reading them and finding out.

“The worst book I have read”

I have read many different books throughout my life and most have been great. I am someone that understands the difficulty involved in writing one. Very few times have I finished a book and said wow, that was an atrocious read. However, after finishing my last summer reading book I can say for certain that the book I was given was the worst book I have read in my life. Uninformative, uninteresting, dull, redundant, unengaging, full of typos, missing a lot of important information and overall just poorly written.

The book I read was “Kobe Bryant” by Clayton Geoffreys. I was actually very excited to open this book up. Kobe had already passed away and I wanted to learn more about who he was as a person. The book failed to provide any insight on this at all. Rather than keeping the reader engaged with plot twists about his life and what went into some of his greatest games, the book merely listed stat after stat of his performances. Nothing more. It felt as if I was reading the same page over and over again.

The things Nabokov says in Good Readers and Good Writers help to better reiterate what was not happening in this book. Nabokov says “To the storyteller we tun for entertainment, for mental excitement of the simplistic kind, for emotional participation (32).” The entire book was unentertaining. And as much as I hate to say it, there was not even any excitement I felt while reading. Excitement is a necessary component to reading. altogether, I learned that bad books can still make it into schools. If you gave me enough time I could have put together a better book, it was that bad.

“Escape from the pain”

“I used it, dropped it down the heat vent, in case I changed my mind, then stood there like: I can’t believe I just did that (78).” In “Escape from Spiderhead” Jeff was required to watch Heather receive an excessive amount of Darkenfloxx in order for him to prove he had no feelings towards her. After the test came back, it was proven that he did not have any. The test also resulted in a lifeless Heather. The Darkenfloxx proved to be much too powerful and led to Heather smashing her head against the wall repeatedly to the point of death. Jeff had to watch all of this unravel. Even after all of this, Abnesti wanted to also Darkenfloxx Rachel to see if Jeff’s results would differ for her. Jeff, however, did not want the guilt of being partially responsible for someones death again. So he decided not to “Acknowledge” when Abnesti asked for his drip to be on. Permission needs to be given in order for an action to take place. While Abnesti was looking for a waiver that would force Jeff to take Docilryde (a drug that makes someone do whatever is asked of them without hesitation) Jeff decides to shoot himself up instead. Jeff recognizes that it is more important for him to endure the drug than to allow someone else to suffer. Jeff would end up hitting his head on a desk to avoid feeling more of the agonizing pain the drug had caused him to feel, and died.