For a long time, I never quite understood the relationship between the two parts of “Da Art of Storytellin’.” It dawned on me one day that the two songs tell the same story. The same stories of deconstruction that plague Suzy Screw and her partner Sasha in “Part One” are happening to Mother Nature in “Part Two.” Decay, the ills of the human condition and betrayal are all tropes that permeate both tracks. In part two, Three Stacks (no relation to Kat) reprises his role as the omniscient on-looker, witnessing the downfall of Sasha Thumper and miscreants gang-raping Mother Nature. His story is standard 3000, full of science-fiction, Technicolor, acid-filled rain, and detesting of silly mortals. Big Boi, on the other hand, rolls up the worst in all of us into three lines:
“The sky is fallin nobody ballin they done gave back they guns
For some tickets to the playoffs but the Hornets they won
Nigga we slum, kept all the guns, I gotta protect my family”
The despair, negativity and callousness of these lines area a triple-dose of hopelessness:
The hood turned in guns for playoff tickets. Good.
But the Hawks didn’t make it to the playoffs. Bad.
Big still kept all the guns anyway for his family’s protection. Terrible.
Just as Big and Dre united to create this masterpiece, the fates and human nature’s capacity for bad come together to create a terrible situation for Atlanta’s youth. Of all the lines in the part two, these are the most apocalyptic and miserable. They highlight the fact that yes, the uncontrollable may be our downfall, but it’s human actions and missteps that will ultimately do us in. It is a masterful turn that truncates society’s downfall into three bars. When 2012 comes, I’ll be playing this track back, rapping along and waiting for the end.