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Rapstrology | LL Cool J, Mac Miller and how Capricorns pursue ambition as a path to legacy

KC Orcutt

 // Dec 23, 2018

Much like the name suggests, 'Rapstrology' celebrates the beautiful (and curiously slept-on) intersection between hip-hop and astrology. Whether exploring the Zodiac is a guilty pleasure hobby, something to roll one's eyes at, or a swear-by daily guide to WTF is going on, this column aims to explore the roadmap that is astrology, through the context of hip-hop, lyrics and current events.


Depending on your sign, you may or may not find this little fun fact as interesting as I do. After looking up countless celebrity birthdays and compiling the data, I've found that Capricorns account for the smallest number of rappers compared to other signs. In fact, the pickings are kind of slim when compared to air signs such as Gemini, Aquarius or Libra. Crazy, I know.

Here's why I think that makes perfect sense. Capricorns--a sign ruled by Saturn, the planet of responsibility--can be found in a perpetual state of self-improvement, fueled by their ambition and time-tested ability to persevere no matter the challenges that can and do arise. We all know the music industry can be extremely fickle and no amount of time in the winner's circle is guaranteed, which is a fundamental turnoff for a sign that is built to weather the storm and come out on top.

While many Capricorns are known to enjoy playing music as a hobby, pursuing it as a professional means can contrast with their intuitive business-savvy and determination to secure wealth, stature and security. In other words, when a Cap invests, they go all in and we all know how that can go in the music industry. That being said, the ones who do feel compelled to pursue a path in music blaze one. Look no further than LL Cool J.



Although the Rock Hall of Fame has yet to give LL his past-due recognition, his legacy spanning over three decades speaks louder than any accolade he hasn't already received. A bonafide pioneer, LL Cool J has proven his staying power, navigating uphill while diligently nodding to those who have worked to join him at the mountaintop.

As renowned astrologer Linda Goodman worded it best, Capricorns are known to court success, respect authority and honor legacy. These are testaments to what their worldview yields as prestige. Hailed as hip hop's first major superstar, LL Cool J's innovations and influence span across generations and industries, alike. His staying power is unprecedented and his practicality ensures that he doesn't waste time on things that don't align with his greater purpose. There are countless lessons woven into the career of Uncle L and if you're not interested in paying attention to the example he's precariously set, he has little sympathy (or time) for you.

Similarly, Slick Rick, Lil Jon and the late Pimp C emerged as leaders in their own respective ways, exemplifying how their discipline -- paired with their ambition -- yielded results they are proud of. While Capricorn likes to show off their wealth -- i.e. Slick Rick's famous affinity for lavish chains -- their interest more so lies in what their possessions represent because that worth is more than what they are valued at in the first place. For Lil Jon and Pimp C, they valued their ability to give back in a similar fashion, putting on for their cities just to make sure the whole scene is lifted up. From Lil Jon building multiple schools in Ghana to Pimp C becoming a hometown hero (and doing what he could to make the late DJ Screw proud that the torch was being passed), Capricorns take their hard-earned privileges as a serious responsibility and have a practical stronghold on their principles. This makes them stubborn, but sturdy leaders.



Speaking of Capricorns with a heart of gold -- my ode to a sign that as a Gemini, I may never truly understand, but will forever be intrigued -- such a reflection wouldn't be complete without talking about Mac Miller. After going through a wave of emotions since his passing this fall -- a grim reminder of reality that still catches me off guard months later -- I'm still not quite confident I'm ready to pick the right words. But, I can always muster a "thank you." Graciously, the talented underdog from Pittsburgh breathed life into his music. He poured his soul into every bar and never tired of his ongoing exploration of self, even when peeling back the layers of his vibrant and complex psyche meant facing unrelenting demons on a seemingly calm Tuesday afternoon.

Capricorn is represented by a sea-goat, which in Greek mythology is the story of Pricus. Symbolically, the sea-goat can navigate land and sea, translating to a Capricorn's ability to experience the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. Such was the case with Mac, who felt both deeply. This pendulum became both his power and his crutch, something he turned to music to make sense of, as well as turned to life to in order to bask in the jovial, comical nature of it all. An impassioned creative, Mac Miller -- like many Caps -- held a higher capacity for suffering than others because that is the environment that they know how to work through best. Perhaps when the water is too calm, a Capricorn's perspective as a realist knows it's too good to be true or last, calling for the decision to either enjoy the moment or wake up one's reflex of resilience. Multifaceted and full of possibility, Mac Miller gave us a glimpse into his world, making it no surprise fans are finding solace in his catalog and memories of his charm, alike.

Now, keeping in mind that Capricorn rappers are as rare and regarded as they come, let's take a look at five songs and lyrical takeaways for this month's rendition of #Rapstrology.

Song: "I Think I'm In Love," Mac Miller

I think I'm in Love - Mac Miller
CEL

Lyrical Mantra: "Everybody telling us, this thing we have is so wrong / And she don't care whatever goes on / Plus she's best friends with my mom / Keep a journal, you all know the story though / The superficial type, love her horoscopes / And I'm a Capricorn, that she ain't never had before."

Capricorn'ism: There are so many fitting Mac Miller songs that reflect his diligence, his ability to persevere and his feminine side; all cornerstones of Capricorn. Luckily, the late rapper made it easy for me for month's #Rapstrology by weaving his Zodiac sign into his 2011 track "I Think I'm In Love." The light-hearted ballad was released during the tail-end of the coveted blog era and honestly, outside of seeing that it's annotated on Genius and meticulously ripped to YouTube/SoundCloud from devout day one fans, that's pretty much all I was able to uncover about this gem. (It was too late at night to ask DJ Booth's Donna-Claire Chesman, who is currently honoring Mac's legacy with a weekly column, #YearOfMac). After listening to it no less than a dozen times like Mac would have intended, but still be humbled by, I love how his self-awareness was constantly evolving. Traditional by nature (see: the line about his muse being friends with his mom), it's fitting how Mac was a romantic, even if his logical side knew deep down love can be fleeting. He was a one-of-one and remains missed dearly.



Song: "I Need Love," LL Cool J

LL Cool J - I Need Love
LLCoolJVEVO

Lyrical Mantra: "Romance, sheer delight, how sweet? / I gotta find me a girl to make my life complete / You can scratch my back, we'll get cozy and huddle / I'll lay down my jacket so you can walk over a puddle."

Capricorn'ism: Capricorns have a vision for their life that speaks to the long game. There's a reason LL Cool J's moniker stands for what it does. Once a Cap like the man born James Todd Smith has his eyes set out on a potential partner, it's not just a lust at first sight thing. Nope, he's already figured out a strategic approach to charm and win over the attention of the person in question, as well as has a strong instinct how to best make said partnership work. However, when rejected, a Capricorn's reflexes take them privately to a dark place to wallow in their lonesome, until their depths of emotions are worked through. Their cool demeanor takes a lot to break, however, and gossip is the last thing a Capricorn has time for, making love songs such as this as sweet as they are idealistic.

Song: "Knockin Doorz Down," Pimp C feat. Pop & Lil Keke

Pimp C----Knockin Doorz Down.(HQ)
AftaPancU

Lyrical Mantra: "R.I.P. to Robert Davis, he the king of the South / Anything else said, need to shut your fucking mouth / I'm down with Lil' Flip, and I'm down with T.I.P / If them n—s come together, know how much paper we could see? / Slim Thug and Z-Ro, y'all still bullshitting / Need to sit down, take a tour, there's too much money to be get / Paul Wall and that Koopa still ain't talking / Money speak, all that bullshit keep walking."

Capricorn'ism: Capricorn is all business. The late Pimp C was no exception. This song, one noted for its call to unify the South, speaks to Pimp C's ambition, discipline and drive to have structure, especially when it comes to securing the bag and doing so as a unified team. The late UGK member's verse on this track devises a scenario so straightforward and business-savvy, it seems ludicrous that such a call to action had to be made in the first place. Southern rappers coming together to represent for a region, especially at a time where national attention was primarily divided between two coasts, speaks to a Capricorn's desire to lead with tenacity. A true pioneer, Pimp C had a gift and knew how to use it.



Song: "Get Low," Lil Jon & The East Side Boyz

Lil Jon & The East Side Boyz - Get Low (Official Music Video)
Radial by The Orchard

Lyrical Mantra: "Three, six, nine damn she fine hopin' she can sock it to me one mo time / Get low, Get low / Get low, Get low / To the window, to the wall, (to dat wall) / To the sweat drop down my balls (my balls) / To all these bitches crawl (crawl)."

Capricorn'ism: I was 13 years old when this song came out and I vaguely can still remember my mother being mortified when it came on MTV in our living room after school. The song has since made history, garnering praised as facilitating crunk's breakthrough to the mainstream. A Capricious frontman, Lil Jon publicized how Caps are freaks on the low, all while having a hell of a lot of fun doing it.

Song: "The Ruler's Back," Slick Rick

The Ruler's Back
Slick Rick - Topic

Lyrical Mantra: "Gather 'round party goers as if you're still livin' / And get on down to the old Slick rhythm / Now this one here is called the Ruler my dear / It's a mere party booster that will set things clear."

Capricorn'ism: This 1988 track appears on Slick Rick's debut album, a project that has since been revered as a classic and held to high regard decades later. Lyrically speaking, this track brilliantly mirrors a Capricorn's ability to command attention and entertain when it becomes his duty to. Production-wise it called upon the late legend Jam Master Jay, further showcasing how a Capricorn holds the selective, top-tier company it keeps in high regard.


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