IS RAP THE PUREST FORM OF ART EXPRESSION?
– Hillary Alemenzohu, ABH Press
Rap is arguably the most popular genre of music in the world right now, with bangers from the western legends – Jay Z, Kanye West, J.Cole, Kendrick Lamar; to our Nigerian sweethearts – Ruggedman, Vector; to the more indigenous personalities like Olamide, Phyno and Illbliss to name a notable few permeating our speakers and music devices. It really does take deliberate compulsion to deny the sensation that is rap music.
Rap’s arrow of love hit me some years back. I had been a certified rap hater before the time, asking where I got my certification is talk for another time but it is suffice to say that Hillary and rap were arrow-straight parallel lines. So there I was lying lazily alone in my room with nothing to do, then some force (which I now believe to be energy or fate, call it what you like) caused me to start fiddling with my friend’s laptop and randomly hit the play button on a song. A brittle and somewhat croaky voice of a young man filled the room, I was doubtful at first but I listened on. At the end of it, I was teary (okay that’s a bit of an exaggeration) but I felt what this guy is saying on a guttural level, It’s like being invited into a picture, or better imagine being in a story, literally for a few moments, and I knew deep down the experience was something I wanted to have again and something I hadn’t had before. The song was “Lost Ones” by Jermaine Cole well known as J.cole and that experience in my very limited opinion was pure art (Rap, if you’re feeling intellectual).
Art is a powerful force that finds expression in varied ways and it’s buried laden in every human being with an expression unique to each human being. It is not a physical concept but its presence is undeniably perceived in paintings (from the utterly magnificent to the frankly queer), in soulful music, in poetry (Rap’s elder sister if I may), in sports even (just look at Lionel maneuver the football) the list is endless. Given the different forms in which art manifests, it might be somewhat incendiary to say that in my opinion nothing personifies art as much as rap music does. Rap is a potent, powerful blend of ingenuity and heart cloaked in flow, rhythm and cadence with the result being something so ineffable yet so palpably superb. It is the force that makes my blood rage with anger in resonance to the rhythm of Kendrick Lamar’s “The Blacker The Berry” although my sole experience of racism would be from books, it is the complexity of a Lupe Fiasco’s song with its characteristic metaphor in metaphor style and intricate twists, it is the subtle nuances and double entendre that peppers Lil Wayne’s lines. It is powerful enough to transcend the language barrier, I mean how many of us chimed happily away to Olamide and Phyno’s “Ghost mode” barely understanding the song (I stand guilty as charged). Rap is undeniably beautiful as I have so exasperatingly reiterated throughout this piece. This however is my humble (not so humble if we’re playing this honesty game) opinion, so in style like a classic rap song I end at the beginning and begin at the end.
IS RAP THE PUREST FORM OF ART THERE IS?