I’m not quite sure why this album didn’t get more recognition considering it pretty much covers most, if not all of the issues affecting African Americans in our never ending plight for equality-AND it is super dope. As a people (and I mean black folks), we tend to focus more on one another’s flaws and shortcomings than our positive contributions, even when a person is speaking out on our behalf-using his voice and platform for the greater good of us as a people. Yes, Tip has had some run-ins with the law and might have some issues in his marriage, but we are all flawed and no sin is greater than the other and this includes JUDGEMENT. Besides, our flaws, don’t negate our greatness-it only reminds us that we all have work to do. Furthermore, his marriage is none of our business no matter how strong our opinions about it are.
In my opinion, he is the perfect person to speak out, because through his music, we have been enlightened to his struggles, growing up with a single mother in the South. It is disheartening to look on social media and gossip sites and see our people bashing a man who is fighting for us and who is very proactive in the efforts to move us forward-for this alone he should be applauded-he is entitled to some level of respect because he fought his way out of poverty and is reaching back to help others. What if every great thing you did was tainted by mistakes you made along your journey-I’m sure all of us have moments that we’d like to forget, yet many of us won’t hesitate to dim our fellow brother’s/sister’s light with darkness from their past. I like to think of life as a series of episodes-each depicting a different side of us. Unlike on television, the episodes aren’t written out and life happens-we succumb to our vices occasionally, but I’d like to think our good outweighs the bad-Tip is no exception. The only difference is that his dirt is being exposed and is likely, exaggerated perhaps to shift our focus away from the power he’s trying to give us through the wisdom of his words. The same way, the media was used as a tool to taint the images of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, Bill Cosby, Russel Simmons and a host of other positive influences who are African American.
This is not to say that these men should not be held accountable for any wrongdoing-just to say that it is unfair to dismiss all of the positives about their existence because they fell short in some seasons of their lives as we all do-I believe it is inevitable. I say all of this to say, Us or Else is a really good album, not just for music, but the overall plight of our people fighting against injustices in this country and beyond. It should be acknowledged by the people that it was created for. With so much music promoting and perpetuating stereotypes about our people, this album is something we all need to hear. It is a the truth on our position in society and how we contribute to the negativity. TI is not a saint-no one is, but this movement he’s on is so dope that it’s crazy for anyone, especially black people to discredit his work in the community.
My favorites are I Believe, Lazy and Black Man and it’s even doper that my eleven year old son loves the album too! I applaud Tip and I appreciate his efforts, after all, not only am I’m raising a black son, I am a product of the South and I know what that comes with. Some people can’t relate-they have no clue what real, blatant racism looks like. If we all saw the real picture, we would be more supportive of those who are using their platform to elevate us.