*

Rapstrology | Kanye West, Kendrick Lamar and the Gemini charm of inspiring through words

KC Orcutt

 // May 28, 2019

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.


The second the clock struck midnight on May 21, Geminis around the world could feel their power strengthening, their eyes twinkling. As the #GeminiSeason hashtags began to blossom across the timeline, the remainder of the Zodiac collectively sighed and rolled their eyes, knowing full well we're all in for a full month of occasionally erratic, overly expressive and obnoxiously enthused behavior being excused by it being this time of year. This exact phenomenon is not necessarily breaking news to those born under the Gemini sun. Trust me, we get it.

While Geminis (like myself) are often fully aware of the bad rep they get for being indecisive, impulsive, unreliable, inconsistent and even nosy, one has to remember and take into consideration that the sign is represented by duality; the good comes with the less-good. Symbolized by the Twins, Geminis are characteristically known for having multiple personalities and a nature that is quick-moving and ever-changing. Ruled by the planet Mercury, on top of having several sides to their ruling characteristics, this sign is also known for being adaptive, whimsical and quick-witted. As the reputed astrologer Linda Goodman wrote, dating a Gemini will never be boring, nor will it ever be the same on any given day.

As the third sign in the astrological calendar, Gemini represents the age when one learns to communicate. They are curious, eager to learn and open-minded, naturally resulting in some of history's brightest and most creative thinkers, writers and innovators. Given that the sign is constantly navigating its duality, there is part of them that craves security; while the other, possibly stronger side, thrives off spontaneity. Eager for new experiences, Geminis are fascinated with the world and those who inhabit it, constantly searching for new places to explore and new people to learn from.



It isn't a coincidence that a generous serving of some of the most impactful recording artists, especially in hip hop, have also claimed Gemini. From the Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac balancing out both sides of the month -- with the former born closer to Taurus and the latter born closer to Cancer -- to artists such as Prince, Kanye West, Kendrick Lamar, Lauryn Hill, Ice Cube, Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes, Remy Ma and André 3000 rounding out the month, ample rappers and singers have built legacies based off their quicksilver tongues and aptitude for creative disruption.

Look no further than Mr. West, who is arguably one of the most interesting astrological case studies. As he's declared in his music, Kanye is the "ultimate Gemini." Over the years, his Twitter has turned into a work of controversial performance art, leaving many fans divided over what to make of it at times, especially as he speaks brazenly about politics, and stubbornly endorses Donald Trump time and time again.

West's overall struggle with his ego in relation to art and perspective is one to mediate on. Fans have found solace in categorizing him into "Old Kanye" and "New Kanye," so much so that Kanye himself has even reflected on the subject in his music, poking fun and taking ownership of his own shameless reputation. Kanye's brand of confidence, brilliance and arrogance is a special one, and is naturally misunderstood at times.

Only entertaining being discouraged in fleeting moments, Geminis battle with the feeling of not having enough time or resources to accomplish everything they want to and at the quality they feel they deserve. West declaring he was in debt was shocking to so many, but certainly not to him. Geminis have an inquisitive knack for finding new ways to be inspired -- especially through their words or art -- challenge the status quo and live the truth they speak so passionately. As exemplified by 'Ye and countless other celebrities born under this sign; Geminis are intellectual, skillful, dynamic, clever and an occasional source of another person's migraine.



Simply put, Gemini is a multidimensional, mercurial sign and quite honestly -- given that there's never a dull moment -- we certainly could talk Gemini all day. Instead, I'll spare you and get to the music. Now that we've covered the gist of everyone's favorite Air sign to have a strong opinion about, let's take a look at some lyrical takeaways to keep in mind, and when the mood strikes, keep on repeat.

2Pac - Let 'Em Have It OG
untouchable7110


Song: "Let Em Have It" - Tupac

Lyrical Mantra: "Look in my eyes and you'll find peace / A Gemini, so you really blow my mind freak, come on."

Gemini-ish: During the outro, Tupac runs through the entire astrological calendar, not so nonchalantly referring to himself as the "zodiac f--ker." Tupac was far from shy when it came to discussing sex and life's other simple pleasures, with his pornographic drawings even going up for auction for over $21,000 decades after his death. While his blunt sexuality was scarcely questioned, his emotional side was hidden much deeper beneath the surface. This gives his legacy an air of mystery -- a compliment that would make most Gemini smile -- and of course, draws attention to the fact that tragedy cut his life short before his full potential could be realized. Despite only having 25 years in this lifetime, Tupac became heralded as one of the most prolific rappers of all time, much like his contemporary and complicated rival, Biggie.

The Notorious B.I.G. - Big Poppa (Official Music Video)
The Notorious B.I.G.


Song: "Big Poppa" - The Notorious B.I.G.

Lyrical Mantra: "Who they attractin' with that line / 'What's your name? What's your sign?' / Soon as he buy that wine, I just creep up from behind / And ask you what your interests are, who you be with / Things that make you smile, what numbers to dial / You gon' be here for a while? / I'm gon' go call my crew, you go call your crew / We can rendezvous at the bar around 2"

Gemini-ish: With lyrics skeptical of the Zodiac, Biggie's charisma didn't need surface-level cornball astrology to charm the ladies. His ability to organically win over others was definitely a Gemini thing. A confident leader, Biggie prided himself on being loyal, a cornerstone of his larger-than-life personality that was later called into question as his relationship with Tupac infamously took a turn for the worse. While that's a conversation for another time, Biggie's storytelling abilities, paired with the mesmerizing dynamism of his commanding voice, all point to bonafide Gemini.

Kendrick Lamar - The Heart Pt. 1
Andrew svec


Song: "The Heart Pt. 1" - Kendrick Lamar

Lyrical Mantra: "Very emotional, I'm a Gemini / I love hard and I fight harder, a born author / A born starter, in the game for real / And the games appeal to the struggling youth with no father / You can't learn if mistakes ain't made / You gotta pay homage in order to get paid"

Gemini-ish: Kendrick Lamar's duality is one of the most captivating. The way he explores his ideals and brings to light his faults is truly impressive, and his transparency has helped him to rhyme his way to the top of the rap game. Kendrick recognizes his destined calling to bring truth to power, even as he acknowledges the ways in which he's not a perfect hero. He's human and he's a constant work-in-progress. In that and in his desire to keep bettering himself lies a strength, one that allows him to continuously inspire the culture at large. Gemini-ish, indeed.

Saint Pablo
Kanye West - Topic


Song: "Saint Pablo" - Kanye West

Lyrical Mantra: "Never listen to Hollywood producers / Don't stare at money too long, it's Medusa / The ultimate Gemini has survived / I wasn't supposed to make it past 25"

Gemini-ish: Kanye West's story, among many other things, is one of resilience. And in true (unfortunate) Gemini fashion, his ego grows in tandem with his ability to prove people wrong. As a young producer who wanted to rap, but wasn't taken seriously, Kanye's debut single, "Through The Wire," changed everything, much like the near-fatal car accident that birthed the song itself. For those unfamiliar, he wrote and recorded the song with his jaw wired shut, bringing a new meaning to the Gemini brand of perseverance and helping elevate his career to the next level. On "Saint Pablo," he celebrates this and more, while also recognizing how integral his individuality is to his story and his implied blessings, alike.

G-Eazy - The Beautiful & Damned (Audio) ft. Zoe Nash
GEazyMusicVEVO


Song: "The Beautiful & Damned" - G-Eazy

Lyrical Mantra: "'Cause I been this way, it's not a new thing / I know a Gemini can be confusing / Split right down the middle like there's two of me / No hiding, I bare all nudity / This is everything that comes with celebrity / Criticism, ridicule and the scrutiny / Think about what I spent on some jewelry / But it all comes back to me usually / And it's none of y'alls business truthfully"

Gemini-ish: G-Eazy arguably is also an ultimate Gemini. He explores the topic often throughout his music, calling into question the differences and similarities between Gerald the man, and G-Eazy the rapper. His words say it best. So, run this track back when you're interested in mediating on the multifaceted art that is being a Gemini. Tried and true... for better and for worse.


More by KC Orcutt:

Video
From the top