Lyrically Handsome 001: Phonte – So Help Me God

I’ve always been highly inspired to create while listening to music. It could be the melody in the music, the feeling a song conjures or the lyrics of a song that fuels the spark within that launches some endeavor I’ve pursued. Most recently it was frequently mixes, but as of late it’s taken me back to my first love: illustration.

Like most everyone else, I highly anticipated and enjoyed Phonte’s No News is Good News, but one particular line just stuck with me over a period of time. While listening to So Help Me God, I heard him rhyme, “I am Hugh Masekela meets Masta Killa, Your OG’s OG, just ask the ni$$a.” Coincidentally, at that time I was working on my mix for Discogs and wanted to pay homage to Hugh Masekela who recently departed. I included the only Masekela track I owned, a remix of Mama from a Verve Remixed compilation and a snippet of how to properly pronounce his last name. Later, I reconnected with an old friend who admonished me because I didn’t have enough (any) Hugh Masekela in my crates. Much later, while listening to one of my favorite podcasts, The Cipher I heard an interview with Phonte where they discussed Tay’s use of “phonetics and homophones, and the use of words that sound similar,” a practice I’d noticed Black Thought use consistently over the years. They talked at length about the line mentioned above and I began to see the lyric in my head.

I’d pictured it looking more like the original Only Built 4 Cuban Linx cover, but this is what came out instead. This is still a work in progress, but I felt the desire to release it so I could move on. All Hugh Masekela album suggestions and image critiques are welcome. I’m still working on mixes and have a few to be released over the coming months. Stay tuned


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