Hustle Real Hard – Let’s try that again
November 20, 2007
This song is so underrated. I was at the grocery store yesterday with the ipod on random when this Kanye’s “Last Call” came on. Its almost thirteen minute length assures that it is often dismissed as an unearned egotistical moment for a man with no shortage of them, particularly as it comes at the end of his very first album. I disagree. “Last Call” is one of the greatest documentations of the hustle I’ve ever heard as a motivational track, frankly it bests “U Don’t Know,” “Hustlin” or whatever else you want to throw out there. This is where Kanye’s everyman personality pays off.
A perfectly lucid description of the successes and failures it took for his voice to ever make it to our ears, the song is so amazingly detailed and warmly narrated, you can’t fail to relate to it. Plus it isn’t filled with Jay-Z type bravado about always being the greatest and perfectly plotting the path. Kanye works, finds a little success, then a whole lot of nothing happens. He retires to the one bedroom with the Ikea mattress. He pushes again, finding detractors, meeting his idols, seeing success around the corner and we’re with him in all this. This shit is so fucking real you can’t help but love that moment at the end when he asks you to raise a glass for him.
I recently sat in an unfurnished room with a group of young men on the come up. It’s the same moment for them that Kanye’s track describes, that Rocafella moment, trying to get the glory, with nothing but heart and talent and the dream to keep you going. Young, unknown, unproven but sure of your own talent and putting in the kind of work that it takes to actually get to the top. Long nights, bad Chinese food, barely enough cash for the subway but hustling for the right gear to rock the show with. Setbacks and weak shows and retooling the whole thing so it works better, it’s a magical moment. Take a moment and enjoy it fellas. It’ll never be this way again.