This Rap Song Says it All

If I could pick a theme song for Legendary Learning, this just might be it (please note that there is some foul language, and mistakes with the transcribed lyrics, but the message is there):

I’m not usually a fan of rap music, but these guys have a gift for lyrics and rhythm that make me want to stand up and cheer.

I was first introduced to Macklemore and Ryan Lewis the same way so many other people found them, through their immensely popular “Thrift Shop” video on Youtube (my son told me I HAD to see it). I loved it, and started checking out all their other songs on Youtube, which convinced me to buy their new album The Heist.

So why does this particular song resonate with me? Because it reminds people that no one is born talented. We all are born with certain gifts and natural inclinations, but it takes a lot of work and practice to turn those inclinations into something big.

The title of the song, “10,000 Hours” is borrowed from Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers: The Story of Success, in which Gladwell highlights the extraordinary advantages of culture and timing in predicting success. He also argues throughout the book that it takes at least 10,000 hours of practice for anyone in any field to achieve recognition in that field.

Working 10,000 hours isn’t a guarantee of success; there are plenty of poor souls who have worked at least that long with nothing to show for it. But if you look at any acknowledged expert, whether in sports, the arts, business, medicine, science or whatever, they will have spent an average of 10,000 hours to get to that point.

There are a lot of factors in success, but hard work seems to be the one that most people try to skip. Macklemore is now delivering that message to every young person who listens to him. He talks about the long grueling hours in his mother’s basement (how many great ambitions must have started in the basements and garages of this world!), the struggle to improve himself, and his dedication to becoming a musician. He also takes a shot at “No Child Left Behind,” suggesting that the school system did not expect much from him, especially with his low SAT scores.

In Macklemore’s words: “Take that system. What did you expect? Generation of kids choosing love over a desk. Put those hours in and look what you get. Nothing that you can hold, but everything that it is.”

I like it.

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2 Responses

  1. Laura says:

    Love it! Lots to think about, like “sparring with my ego” and “generations of kids choosing love instead of a desk.”

    • Jamie McMillin says:

      I just love stories about people who overcome obstacles to do the thing that nobody else thinks they can do 🙂