It’s like GLEAM, God Love Everything Around Me
true and living deities surround me
you can see me GLEAM
every time I step to the podium, suckas stay salty like sodium
cuz the way I GLEAM, females start to take notice
at which rap niggas be the dopest
and if you don’t GLEAM
then there’s something wrong with your style G
God Love, God Love Everything Around Me

It isn’t often that a group is able successfully take a beat from the Wu-Tang Clan and create an original, shining track. Cavalier and Faro-Z accomplish that with G.L.E.A.M. (God Loves Everything Around Me). Using the beat and ad-libs from the Wu’s legendary C.R.E.A.M. (Cash Rules Everything Around Me), the duo from the hip-hop super group New Rap Order spit afrocentric and spiritual rhymes over RZA’s masterpiece. The accompanying video includes a montage of relevant clips that display simulaneously the beauty and horrors of Afrikan history.

The duo first trade verses, with Cavalier opening the first with bars centering around spirituality, afrocentricity, and history. Inbetween the GLEAM references and precise flow, Cav drops powerful gems like “Allah can touch the heart of a fiend and pump peace“, “the masters have now amassed several lands in the region but it’s a gas, see their maps don’t show the paths of my people chiseled in sand“, and “some verses and a handful of believers won’t make a man” Images of castrated black men juxtaposed with b-boy swagger and self-determination are woven with Huey P Newton, Kool Moe Dee and Mumia. The ending couplet is notable: “but God Love Everything Around Me, she do/the devil wear a veil that’s see through.”

Faro-Z’s verse is a high octane journey. After two bars, there is no doubt why Faro was successful with his last album, Only Built For Afro-Cuban Linx, which effectively traded Raekwon’s Only Built For Cuban Linx mafioso platform with afrocentricity. “Concious”, or “positive” music often means well, but sometimes doesn’t have the same kind of freshness or originality found in street-hop. This duo from the N.R.O. (and that entire collective, for that matter) circumvent corniness with depth and rawness. Faro’s verse is proof of that:

Yo, when you see the light more closer
the end is so near for this suicide culture
when i was young they said the world was my oyster
but when I pull the pearl out, it’s comin’ out a holster
cuz God love everybody ‘cept we supposted ta
he only save enough niggas just to fill his quota
they tell me we all God’s children, yo save it
tell him that he’s late on his child support payments
God Love Everything Aroud Me, yo flip it
Great Legendary Elohim African Mystics
the universe was meant to, if Got exists I invented
original man, original land, I am descendant
everything is connected, the universe is dependant
everything is perfected the way that it was intended
cuz light shine every way around me, BLING
surrounded by kings, country full of g-o-d-s
peace to the older gods, knamean
N.R.O., Cavski, Faro-Z, superhero emcees
it’s like G.L.E.A.M….

The contrast between the two verses is what stands out to me. Whereas Cavski speaks of the Most High in abstraction and universiality, Faro demands accountability for a God that he can’t envision being perfect because of the unfairness of massive human suffering. It is not often that such existential concepts are packed into two verses, especially when multi-volume books (e.g. those by Bart Ehrman). G.L.E.A.M. presents two slighly opposed perspectievs, joined by a common vision of unity, self-determination, afrocentrism, and internal divinity, a ying and yang transcribed on microphones.