Conceptual Language Usage from L’Orange and Kool Keith

The thought of conceptual metaphors is elusive, and ever present. What does this mean? Each and every day humans make sense of the reality around them by creating these metaphors. Not the type of metaphors seen in poetry where authors compare one thing to another, although similar, very different things apply to conceptual metaphors. Conceptual metaphors strive to make sense of reality by linking a concrete object (source domain) to an abstract idea (target domain) in order to better understand said abstract idea. In addition to the conceptual metaphors, we often see larger, more encompassing types of metaphors in something referred to as a general metaphor. These include subjects such as STATES ARE EMOTIONS, PURPOSES ARE DESTINATIONS, EVENTS ARE ACTIONS, and GENERIC IS SPECIFIC. Now, these general metaphors can be identified through a few different types of things including image metaphors and metonymies. With the combination of all these parts of language, we see a shape of what everyday language is and how it is created. However, even though these concepts are seen and heard in everyday life, the idea of them is elusive because it is so engrained in people’s lives that they rarely realize precisely what they are accomplishing. Even more so, these metaphors are seen in music performances. In the rest of this paper, I will discuss and analyze the conceptual metaphors found in a collaborative album from two members of the Mello Music Group, L’Orange and Kool Keith. 


-Indefinite-Can have a purpose, can also be haphazard
-Irreversible-Once done, cannot be undone
-Sequences-Happens in a certain order
-Quantifies rates of change-A change that can be quantified
-Imaginary-Concrete event

The second track on this album titled, “The Traveler”, embodies the conceptual metaphor of TIME IS MOTION.  This conceptual metaphor is seen in many lyrics through the album, however, in The Traveler specifically, the lyric goes, 

My time travel existence is a slight mission/Moving the courses/Changing the vision/Adjusting through the weather reactions/See the cerebrum, how fast I’m passing/Every thought is a different action

He speaks about time travel and also touches on how fast he is moving, thus, making it clear that TIME IS MOTION. Even on a smaller scale, the idea of traveling through time makes it apparent that you can move about in time, which is a concept. Time is not a concrete thing, which is why Kool Keith has to assign a target domain of moving through this time in order for the concept to make sense. If this target domain was not assigned or universally understood, the idea of moving through something that does not exist would seem completely irrational.

A little later in the same track, we see another example of this conceptual metaphor. This time from a featured artist, J-Live. He says;

I’m a travelling man/Moving through space and time most definitely/Since I was a little bush baby/Had to jump back and pinch myself/Timeless cuteness

            Here we see an example of how explaining a concept such as time in a way that people will understand the point, it makes it much easier to comprehend such abstract topics. The motion he talks about through space and time, make it clear his objective is to prove that time is something that can be moved through just the way you move through a room. However, at the end of the lyric we see something different. Still pertaining to the idea that TIME IS MOTION, but in a different sense. It shows that a feature of someone or something cannot be changed or altered through the motion of time itself. Meaning, that even though time has moved forward, the cuteness as he refers to, has stayed the same. 

            An image metaphor presents itself here as he refers to himself in a childlike form to present a sort of innocence. This is an image metaphor because it paints a mental image for listeners that this man who is speaking on very serious topics becomes a child in their minds, making it easier for the message to be received. 

            Overarching this entire idea that TIME IS MOTION is a much larger, more general metaphor of GENERIC IS SPECIFIC. What this means is that, by using generic terms such as time and motion, a more specific conclusion can be reached. The way it’s seen in these lyrics is specifically showing how the power of an elusive concept like time can be used to define things like how moving through time in a more palatable manner. 


-Goals, purpose for travelling-Destinations
-Unexpected life events-Detours
-Things that slow or stop you-Roadblocks
-Something that weighs on you and you must carry-Bags
-Milestones-Road signs
-Method of gaining progress-Modes of transportation

Within the album, we don’t see many examples of the conceptual metaphor of LIFE IS A JOURNEY, as this is an album that speaks on the concept of time a lot. However, in the track, Days I used to know, it bares its face. The lyric delivered by L’Orange goes;

His rocket ship in heading/In the general direction of Earth isn’t it/Sure/Have yourself looking at the view/And turn the radio scope on/All by looking one way forward window/No socket am talkin by me/Have I ever led you to the work of navigation

This one is a little difficult to see and we can’t look at it in parts, instead as a whole. We 

see L’Orange talking about a destination, even asking an entity if he has ever led them astray. This lyric does not necessarily touch on the journey in and of itself, however it mostly focuses on the destination that L’Orange is talking about. With any destination however, there must be a journey to get there. That is why it is inferred that this represents LIFE IS A JOURNEY.

            Also in this lyric there is an example of an image metaphor. L’Orange is speaking like he is in a spaceship, which represent the mode of transportation on this journey. It is an image metaphor because of the fact that the best way to describe the scene and how difficult this journey the entity and himself are on. 

The larger general metaphor that represent the conceptual metaphor of LIFE IS A JOURNEY is PURPOSES ARE DESTINATIONS. As a good rule of thumb, general metaphors are easier to understand and explain, so in order to understand life as a journey, we first have to understand that PURPOSES ARE DESTINATIONS. Lives are a purposeful thing, as they all have a destination or at least a path to that destination. So, inevitably, LIFE IS A JOURNEY that has a purpose simply because of the fact it has a destination at the end, in the middle, or at any point within. 


-Conducive to an end-Symbolizes the end of a life
-Imaginary concept-An imaginary symbol for death
-Irreversible-Symbolizes an irreversible part of life
-Quantifies change-A change in life that is quantifiable
-Indefinite-Never know when the reaper will come

            The next track on the album, titled Twenty Fifty-Three,holds yet another example of the concept that TIME IS A REAPER and it comes from yet another featured artist on the album, Mr. Lif. Within his verse he has the set of lines;

I move from 1823 to 2053 casually/Time creates casualties, actually/Whether the great plague, or your homie Bruce with the fake leg/Karma-kaze bomb but time moves on

In this lyric, Mr. Lif is speaking about how time takes away lives. This is very obviously 

the metaphor that TIME IS A REAPER. In a certain sense, time is a reaper because as time passes, the older people get, the closer they get to death, which the reaper symbolizes. However, in this lyric, it is approached differently than this. He is comparing time to things like the plague, and kamikazes, which are very sudden, harsh ways of dying. This proves that time is indefinite because in comparing the end of time to a sudden death, it’s very unexpected and is very hard to define when it will happen. Not the main conceptual metaphor, but I feel as though it should be mentioned that this lyric also touches on the metaphor of TIME IS MOTION with the very last section when he says, “time moves on”.

            The overarching general metaphor that aligns with the conceptual metaphor of TIME IS A REAPER is obviously EVENTS ARE ACTIONS. I say this because EVENTS ARE ACTIONS most often represent the personification of things in order to make sense of an abstract concept. The event that has action being placed on it is time and the reaper is that action. The reaper comes to take time away from an individual, thus putting the action on the event of time. It gets a little confusing when thinking about personifying the reaper, which is also a constructed, abstract idea, however, in relation to time, it is very concrete as it has a face and a figure and time is merely a thought and a very abstract concept. 


            This is a conceptual metaphor not listed by Lakoff and Turner. I tailored this one because I feel as though it is accurate in the way people speak about negative things. When something is beneath you, it is inherently not as good as you, thus negative. 

-Not on the same level-Not as good as something else
-Where the devil resides-Negative things are referred to as “the devil”
-Dark-Not presented in a bright way
-Lower in position -A lower standard
-Usually covered by something-Overshadowed by more “positive” things

            As far as the L’Orange and Kool Keith album, we can see an example of this in the song Twenty Fifty Three when Kool Keith says; 

Satan try to hide pull the top off a man hole/I’ll show you where the devil is

            In this line, he is saying that both the devil and Satan reside below the ground, explained by the manhole portion of the line. Another intricacy found here is that Satan is a negative entity and that he will introduce the person he is talking to throughout the verse to the devil beneath the surface in order to show him what is really bad. Since he has to put this person underneath of him in a sense, he views this individual as negative, or not up to the standards of Kool Keith. 

            An image metaphor that is found here is the manhole part. It is a much more creative way of saying that beneath the ground lies a negative place where this individual belongs. Everyone knows that a manhole cover leads underground so he doesn’t have to explain why the negative part of the world is in a manhole. 

            Also, with this metaphor, a general metaphor makes itself known. STATES ARE LOCATIONS best applies here as things that are negative (the state) are beneath other things (the location)

            In the duration of the album, Time? Astonishing!, by Mello Music Group’s L’Orange and Kool Keith, there are many instances where a conceptual metaphor resides within a general metaphor, allowing listeners to understand the intricacies of their lyrics and the message they wish to convey. While these thoughts are complex when analyzed, in day to day life, in casual listens to the album, these things are second nature and just make sense without much effort being placed in said thoughts. A combination of these two types of different metaphors and the usage of image metaphors, L’Orange and Kool Keith bring together an album full of dense imagery that tell a fantastic tale of what they believe time represents and what it means to them. 


Top 5 climbing areas Lander Wyoming (Blog Post #7)

If you’re a climber from Wyoming, you have definitely heard of a little town called Lander. If you’re not a climber from Wyoming, the fact that a small town of 7,000 people has some of the best climbing in the world may be elusive to you.

Whether you’re a seasoned climber, or a newbie trying to stumble across some cool spots, these are 5 of my favorite locales for doing all sorts of climbing from bouldering to sport climbing in or near Lander, Wyoming.

This is a list for everyone. A list for the best climbers. A list for the novice climber. A list for the person who likes to enjoy everything this area has to offer.

1. The Cabin Boulders

The cabin boulders are very accessible and very secluded in the same vein. Located at the base of the loop road in Sinks Canyon state park, you will find yourself immersed in a boulder field less than 50 yards from the banks of the mighty Popo Agie river.

The cabin boulders are an excellent spot to begin climbing, or hone the craft as it offers bouldering problems ranging in difficulty. They are also one of the best kept secrets on this list, so you will rarely run into fellow climbers if you prefer to be alone with a friend or two.

“It’s a gorgeous little spot at the top of Sinks Canyon. Perfect for staying out of the sun while getting some good routes in.” said avid Cabin Boulders visitor Ryan Crawford (pictured below).

Ryan Crawford attempts a tough move, laid out across one of the routes in the Cabin Boulders field. p/c Ryan Crawford

2. Wild Iris

Simply put, Wild Iris is what put Lander on the map in the climbing world. There is even an outdoor store named after this legendary spot. A short 20 minute drive from the town of Lander will present you with the 283 different routes Wild Iris has to offer. While the vast majority of these routes are sport routes, (rope, harness, and belayer for the uninitiated) you will also find an array of boulder problems to try your luck on. If you are so inclined, the dirt capped parking lot at the base of all of it offers free overnight camping for the climbers who need more than a day to enjoy all that this gorgeous location has to offer.

“Wild Iris has some of the best limestone, and is perfect for climbers of all abilities. Home of the country’s first 5.14, the crag attracts climbers from around the world”, said local climbing enthusiast, Hannah Skinner.

A man enjoys a lead climbing sport route on a Wild Iris face. p/c Moja Gear

3. The Dolomite Band

The dolomite band is the most difficult spot to get to on this list. A hike up from the parking lot off the main road in the state park traverses a very steep hillside. Once you reach the top, near the top of the canyon wall, you will find a pristine ring of dolomite smudged with chalk from past conquerers of the routes it offers.

A top the hillside, you will see the road winding its way down the rest of the canyon, parallel to the Popo Agie river. There is also a wonderful view of the south face of the canyon, lined with Douglas fir and lodgepole pine trees.

“Because of the vegetation shift from summer to winter, and the canyon walls getting direct sunlight, climbers are able to enjoy what Sinks Canyon has to offer all year round” said Lander native and climber Nesto Lowham.

The rewarding view you get at the top of a grueling hike to reach the dolomite band

4. Elemental Climbing Gym

The Elemental Climbing Gym located on Lincoln street in the town of Lander offers a perfect opportunity for beginners and experts alike. Small in area, the creators of this gym keep it jam packed with fresh routes, and training. Warm your fingers up on the various hang boards located around the gym before trying the problem you’ve been eyeing all week while the snow quietly falls outside.

For the beginners, Elemental offers climbing instruction by experienced, talented climbers and all gear you need to get started available for rent. For the advanced climber, there are a multitude of challenging routes, some even impossible, for you to hop on and really work on your climbing form before it’s time to go out and find some nice granite.

A crowd gathers to watch and participate in a competition at Elemental. p/c Elemental Climbing Gym

5. Falls Trail Boulders

The falls trail offer the least intensive climbing experience on this list, however, I included it simply because of the hike itself. While on the approach to the small number of climbable boulders on this trail, you will run across some breathtaking views. The likes of which include a swimming hole with a natural waterslide near the top of the hike.

The swimming hole at the top of the falls trail in Sinks Canyon State Park, Wyoming. p/c Trip Advisor

This, of course, is not a comprehensive list of all the climbing around the beautiful city of Lander, Wyoming, however it is an introduction to 5 of my favorite places to go when I need a fix of climbing.

Lander has much to offer in the outdoor scene, but most of all, it offers climbing areas that are the envy of the world.


Audio Profile – Payton Thomas (Blog Post #5)

Today, we will take a listen to Payton Thomas as he recounts memories from his favorite vacation. Payton has been a good friend of mine for a few years now, and has always had a knack for telling stories and speaking comfortably. When I needed someone to tell an interesting tale, I knew just who to call.

Today’s story teller, Payton Thomas stands outside of his home in Laramie, WY.

Throughout this interview I felt very comfortable. I felt this way for a couple reasons, first, because Payton is a good friend of mine, so talking with him was not an awkward experience at all, and second, I’ve interviewed some higher profile individuals before with an audio recorder, so this was nothing out of the ordinary to me.

Again, taking the portrait was an easy part of this assignment as Payton is a close friend so asking or the act itself did not pose any problems.

The most difficult part of this assignment however, was the editing portion. Taking a 5 minute clip and trimming it down to 2 minutes was very tough. I went through and did a rough edit, only taking out my voice and some blank spaces, and I thought that would be enough. Turns out that only took about a minute off the total length. I did not enjoy editing it further, because I felt as though some of the story was lost. This was the only real surprise of this assignment because when it was first given to me, I thought the editing part would be a quick cut job, but as it turns out, it took quite a lot of effort and meticulous work.

Utilizing audio interviews in the future is something I am very interested in and anticipate in my career. Wanting to become a journalist, this is sort of an expectation as it is the most efficient way to garner quotes for stories, and make sure as a writer you don’t miss anything the subject has to say. Aside from my career, I am interested in the idea of creating and maintaining a podcast. Actually, after I did this profile with Payton, we discussed creating our own.

Overall, this was a good assignment as it opened my eyes to the possibilities that audio can bring. From basic interview formats, to edited down stories, there are many things someone can do with an audio file.