HOME IS A CASTLE OF STORIES

MUSIC DEFINES US, MAKES US.

By Visiting writer, Mahanda Martin.

We all like club bangers; at least that is something I can get everyone to agree on. But, eventually, when you are lying on your couch at 1:00 am in the morning, earphones deep in your ears, what is it that you listen to? Hip hop is a genre of music commonly associated with African-Americans. And Hip hop, like everything else, evolves, and evolved it has from the boring times of baggy jeans and red bandanas to what it is now- the slightly less boring times of chopped jeans and metallic teeth. I respect that. Hip hop has never been as glorified as it was in the new-but-now-old movie, Black Panther. Man, they made us feel proud! But then again, most Hip hop lovers didn't actually identify with the soundtrack of the movie. Reason? It's not trap!

Hip hop boasts of lyrical geniuses like Kendrick Lamar and J Cole, mad men who have had to struggle extra hard to get in the game because of their kind of music. And then there's Migos (apparently pronounced mico) who really have nothing to say, but still make the loudest noise and grace airwaves for an awful long time. They drop songs as uninspired as an avocado-plus-githeri fart.  I have to give it to them; they are rhythmic and hyped up and flashier, but they did not get a Pulitzer for slippery-excuse-me-believe-me-headdrop-I-can-make-your-ass-clap, now, did they? No. But Kendrick did. He is the kind of man who believes that Hip hop is an art; not just a meshwork of beats and sketchy lyrics that seem to only talk about vaginas, big buttocks and expensive alcohol. I believe that too. A friend of mine, self-proclaimed rapper-on-the-streets declared proudly, "Mimi siskiangi Kendrick Lamar. Huyo msee hajui kubamba crowd." He is a proud Gucci Mane fanatic , that wide mouthed man with an ice cream cone on his face and a potato shaped nose. Let's try this on for size: "Mimi siskiangi Kendrick Lamar. Am too daft to understand him."

A video was recently doing the rounds online, of Snoop Dogg and Fifty Cent and some other guys (most likely their groupies) commenting on this new breed of rappers that work harder on the beats of the song than what they are actually going to say, and so end up saying the same thing over and over, and whining like rabbits to the end of the song (Gucci Gang', Gucci Gang', Gucci Gang', Gucci Gang', Gucci Gang', Gucci Gang', Gucci Gang', Gucci Gang').  But we idolise these bastards, with their pink dreadlocks and rented cars and rented beach houses, and their models with plastic buttocks! We just love their shenanigans! And then, when J Cole releases an album, it gets the kind of views on YouTube that make you think his is a parody account.

As much as Kendrick claims he raps for the love of the game (and Compton, his hometown), he has had to take into account the logistics and economics of producing an album. To be able to "reach the masses", he has been forced to "dumb down" his lyrics, to the point of saying that one vagina or the other "was to die for". We understand you, Kendrick. There exists a whole bunch of very smart, very intelligent, very creative, rappers who have remained as underrated as they were since they got into the business- probably about the time Offset was breaking his virginity? Macklemore, Lil Yatchy, J Cole, Hopsin, and so many others. My point is, these guys are resources. They have the potential of educating us in a way that will not make us break our necks as we doze off. We need to use them, to listen to them, and to connect with their way of thinking, their style and their presentation. Otherwise, this generation will spit out a shallow calibre of artistes with nothing to say. We probably won't even play their  songs in clubs.

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