Keep Kicking, Keep Pushing, Keep Coasting

By: T-Rod

There’s point in Lupe Fiasco’s famed skateboarding anthem “Kick, Push” that really resonates with me, someone who can’t skate to save his life.

“He couldn’t fight the feeling, something about it / He knew he couldn’t doubt it, couldn’t understand it / Branded since the first kickflip he landed.”

Obviously the song is about a kid growing up skating, and the way it changes his life, from childhood to adulthood. On the other hand though, I think Lupe’s penmanship on this song captures the best appeal of music: it’s universal. Let me break down why “Kick, Push” should be regarded as one of hip-hop’s most essential singles, as well as an example of Lupe’s genius.

Before diving into what makes this track tick, it’s important to mention how good this song sounds. Lupe glides effortlessly over slick horns, steady percussion and watery tones that almost seem dreamlike. The hook being as simple as it is expertly supports the theme of how locked-in Lupe’s character here is on skating, like it’s all he knows. “Kick, Push, Kick, Push, Kick, Push, Coast” proves that less can be so much more when used correctly. The song just feels good to hear, a key reason for why even non-Lupe fans know this song.

Content-wise, I think the thing that makes this track so important in the grand scheme of hip-hop is twofold: its influence and its universal relatability.

Lupe may not have been the first hip-hop artist to embrace skate culture, but he was the first one to have a track so blatantly about it; visions of grinds, parks and tricks roll over the track’s verses. Skating is commonly accepted now in hip-hop due to acts like Odd Future and Lil Wayne, but when this track dropped it was still very niche as a topic. Fast forward to today, hip-hop artists everywhere have embraced the idea of lacing their tracks with their own random hobbies and interests: Babytron with sports references, Open Mike Eagle with anime, Ka with mythology. Hell, just an album later Lupe was rapping about Monocle Magazine, Japanese manga and Street Fighter in one cohesive verse on The Cool.

Influence, however, is not measured entirely on its own: songs can only influence because they resonate. “Kick, Push” is an ode to your own interests, your own tiny hobbies and passions, and the path they take you down in life. The genius of the track is really found in its narrative. Starting the track with a kid taking up skating and busting his hip, only for him to grow in skill, meet a special girl, and finally accepting that passion as an escape from a world that grew colder is brilliant. Everyone has those niche interests and hobbies that most are dismissive of or can’t understand. We may not know why we like it either. But it’s a critical path for us all the same: it lets us experience the world in our own unique way, makes us meet special people, and takes away the negativity of the world, even for a little bit.

Apply the tale Lupe paints on “Kick, Push” to your own life, your own interests. It may just inspire you to keep on kicking, pushing, coasting, no matter what the world says