“All has gotten formulaic.
Really hate to say it…
But I can see it easy really in the sun.”
-Q-Tip (from “In the Sun”)
Mankind has always tried to make sense of the world around him, to understand it. Towards this end, religious men have used spirituality to appreciate, if not fully comprehend, what was thought to be unfathomable. The Torah, the Bible, and the Koran, the embodiment of spirituality for their respective faiths, all teach that there is an underlying order to the nature of the universe. Many believe this order, or divine plan, is ordained by God and is perfect. Many also believe that these revelations predict what has not yet come to pass.
Scientists are no different. As I write, physicists are hard at work trying to arrive at what is termed the ToE (Theory of Everything), a premise that would bring together two successful theories, general relativity (which governs things larger than an atom) and quantum mechanics (which governs things smaller than an atom) and describe the basic nature or order of the universe in a mathematical equation. This equation could be used to predict the outcome of any event in the universe.
By now you’re thinking, what are spirituality, physics, and “Cosmic Slop,” some obscure song authored by Funkadelic, doing in an article in a Hip Hop magazine? Well, consider the following lyrics from “Ain’t the Devil Happy” by Jeru the Damaja:
“As devils search for the secrets to immortality,
I alter my physical chemistry.
Walk through the valley of the shadow of death.
I exist even when no things are left.
Vibrations transcend space and time. Pure at heart because I deal with the mind.
That's why I compose these verses.
Audible worlds, my thoughts are now universes.”
Allusions to alchemy, mysticism, the conservation of energy, and cosmology are nothing out of ordinary for the accomplished Hip Hop lyricist, but to have them coherently combined inside of 32 bars is an amazing feat indeed. There is order behind the song. Jeru had a message that he conveyed over the rest of his lyrics, and it’s a fairly simple and important one: killing each other pleases the devil, hence the title. However, I’m more intrigued with the first eight lines of this primordial soup or cosmic slop of ideas he has served up. You see, out of this lyrical hodge-podge of 400 level college or street corner courses, comes the genesis of something inspirational, something sublime, uninhibited thought, the kind of thought that gives you the Torah, quantum mechanics, and yes, Hip Hop.
The world is messy, and whether priest, professor, poet, pimp, or piper, we all try to make sense of it. In the song “Cosmic Slop,” Funkadelic sings of a woman who turns tricks to feed her family. At night she prays, “Father, Father, it’s for the kids…please don’t you judge me too strong!” From sin to sacred, chaos to order, knowledge to ignorance, boundless to bordered. “Do you wanna dance?”