Last night, I went to the cinema to watch the Jake Gyllenhaal and Forest Whitaker starring Southpaw. It was the fourth film in a short period of time I had ventured to my local Odeon on my own to see. Usually that wouldn’t bother me at all. The screens are usually borderline empty, and there’s no chance of having anyone sit near you and spend the time in which the trailers roll (Creed & Straight Outta Compton look amazing by the way) wondering why anyone would go to the cinema on their own. We’ve all done it, myself included. Judged the lonely outcast sitting on their own, whilst everybody else there is with at least one other person.
For Southpaw it was different. When I went to watch Ted it was near-empty, and Self/Less I didn’t expect anyone to come. As I walked into screen 7, I was shocked, maybe even intimidated, by the amount of people sat, waiting to watch Jake Gyllenhall in yet another solid film. Approaching my seat, there were five available chairs in the centre of Row H and yet the designated seat I was given, was right next to a group. Naturally, I sat two along, hoping that nobody would come to tell me I was in their seat. Thankfully, they didn’t.
I might have been there on my own by half-choice. I could have waited a few days and seen it with a friend returning to Newcastle from down-south. I could have text more people and tried to convince somebody to come with me, if I would just travel a little further away. For the former, I couldn’t guarantee I’d have any time to go other than last night and this afternoon. The latter is hindered by a mixture of my laziness and being too broke to justify paying for a taxi home should the film finish after the last metro – which it certainly would have.
So there I was, spending what little money I had on a cinema ticket (and I couldn’t resist a few vodkas in the bar), alone and feeling a little shit about it. As the film progressed and I witnessed the fictional loyalty between the protagonist and those closest to him, no matter his wrongdoings to them, I was peaking self-awareness. Billy Hope and I had parallels at his worst moments, but were complete opposites when he found himself on top of the world.
At 18 years old, I started a blog that earned quite a reputation. There are people still asking me about it, despite the fact that it’s been a stop-start project for around a year now. #SPLAM is the closest thing keep it anywhere near alive, and lately even that’s not been what we envisioned. I managed to get a dream job writing for OnlyHipHopFacts, and that fell apart. Picked myself up and got the chance to contribute to MOBO, and I’ve never been so disappointed in myself for not writing anywhere near as much as I should for them. I recently became manager of one of my favourite Hip Hop acts from my city, The Great & The Magnificent, and I can’t help but feel like I’m holding them back. Their gigs are being arranged by everybody but me, the work I’m putting into promotion isn’t being reflected in their play counts and worst of all, I can’t work out why.
Now, I’m 21 years old and feel washed up. No longer do people rush to read what I’ve said about whatever I’m reviewing. No longer do people tell me I’m the hardest working blogger they know. No longer does it seem, people care. I’ve lost it. Less than three years into my “journalism career”, its feels like its over before it truly began.
So lets re-cap. I’m lonely, lazy, broke and have lost my spark when it comes to one of very few passions I have.
Then, Southpaw’s credits roll and Eminem’s Kings Never Dieblasts out of the speakers. My ears prick up. My heart pounds. My adrenaline pumps and my brain clicks into gear. I have to stop feeling sorry for myself and go out there, and prove myself to the world. All my life I’ve overcome obstacles and broken down barriers that I shouldn’t have even known were there, and I’m not about to stop now.
I’ve never experienced a journalism lesson in my life. Yet people have told me I’m one the most talented writers they’re aware of.
I don’t know the first thing about managing musicians. Yet within weeks of working with The Great & The Magnificent, I received plenty of offers to work for more.
I’m naturally a pessimist when it comes to myself, whilst constantly trying to motivate others. One thing that always picks me up when I’m down is music. Specifically from Eminem.
Marshall Mathers is the king of creating adrenaline pumping music that makes me feel motivated and inspired to work harder. From Til I Collapse featuring Nate Dogg to his verse on D12’s Revelation. Eminem has always been able to make provocative anthems, and on the Southpaw soundtrack he might have finally outdone himself.
Between Phenomenal and Kings Never Die, Em has evoked something within me which has been missing for a good few months now. The hunger and determination to success and achieve my dreams. It took me to be at my lowest whilst watching the Southpaw film to truly appreciate the soundtrack – but now that I have I’m willing to argue with anybody that Eminem is right now, better than he has ever been.
Lyrically, he might have dropped the ball with shamefully corny wordplay but in terms of making music that just straight up connects with a listener – you can’t deny he’s on top of his game. He’s back to being the underdog, just as he was before the Slim Shady LP. But now, he’s not worried about how providing for his baby daughter. He’s worried about maintaining hislegacy – something which in my eyes will never be in doubt, but a lot of others have been questioning it for nearly a decade.
They say Kings Never Die, but my spark for writing and life in general came very close to it. Thanks to Eminem, and the Southpaw film/soundtrack double-team, I think it’s pretty safe to say I’m back. More hungry and determined than ever. So warn your favourite MC, because it’s no longer safe to release a record without having it ripped apart and scrutinised by yours truly. I earned a name for myself by being honest, and since this is probably the most honest and personal blog post I’ve ever written – imagine what it’s going to be like when it comes to reviewing music again.