I have not felt like an MC for a while. Yet hand me a mic and a fat beat and I’m back there.
I have not felt the need or desire to rap. This is new to me. I have felt the need and desire to rap since I was about 11 and it never went away. I wanted to be Chuck D, I wanted to be KRS-One, I wanted to be Ice Cube (and to my shame, I wanted to be Kid n Play.) Part of the whole character of being an MC is the need to be heard. Often fuelled by ego (which, let’s be honest, in alot of rappers cases is often fuelled by cocaine), but sometimes fuelled by passion. Most of 2014 I suffered from depression. To be honest most of my adult life I suffered from depression but avoided it and replaced it by surrounding myself with people who shared my hatred of mainstream society and/or my love of herbs. I have stopped running away and started facing these things. And due to no longer feeling like I knew what I wanted to say or how I wanted to say it – I have not felt like an MC.
What is an MC? Nothing has an independent nature, we are all MCs, when you speak with confidence and authority from your heart you are an MC. Put it on a fat beat and you are an essential part of Hip-Hop culture. But I have not spoken with confidence or authority much for the past year, not since I allowed my self esteem to be slowly but systematically eroded (mainly by myself.) But I am not my self esteem, I am the awareness of my self esteem and my awareness of everything else, what I am is power-born and indestructible. I have just been identifying with the wrong part of reality.
In short, self esteem issues have made me not feel like an MC. For about a year. Yet hand me a mic and a fat beat and I’m back there. During this period of low self esteem I have performed, not just poetry and compering but rapped over live bands, DJs, Hip-Hop, Dub and Jungle. And I have always smashed it. No ego, just facts. I have been doing this for years, I have tried and tested verses for most situations and I’m well practiced at adapting. I can go to a venue in a mood, get on stage, generally vibe with the crowd through some honest and open improvisation then give em what they wanna hear the way they wanna hear it. But I have been questioning my authenticity. Maybe I’ll stick to compere and poet for a while I thought, if I don’t feel like an MC, I don’t feel like an MC. I value authenticity.
I was given a talent, not just a talent to write raps but something more specific than that. I was given a talent to take complex ideas and express them simply. The same impulse to express these ideas has made me a blog writer, a story writer and an epic facebook status writer. This talent can feel like a burden. Because I was also given a vision that few, but some can see. It feels like a duty to share this vision because I have the vision and the talent to express it. But duty is an illusion. Nothing to do. Nowhere to go.
I was never a rapper cos I felt like I had to. I was a rapper because it was fun. I am an MC because I enjoy it. I felt like I had to because it’s what my soul wanted to do. As soon as I remember it was my soul and my spirit that wanted to express itself, not a duty, I wanted those fat instrumentals. Not to express political and/or spiritual ideas to an audience to accelerate the consciousness evolution of humanity. But because it’s fun. As soon as I removed the pressure and the duty the desire came back.
Am I a rapper? Am I an MC? I wanted those labels SOOO badly. I used to want to be known, accepted and respected by those labels, those TITLES. It was an honour in my culture. Then, due o the way the mainstream only championed certain stereotypes in Hip-Hop culture the popular use of the word started to change the word rapper or MC to mean ex crack-dealer and/or pimp instead of someone who raps in much the same way popular use of the word feminist started to change it’s meaning to ‘man-hater’ instead of someone who wants equality for the sexes. Luckily, especially recently, the mainstream has been forced to accept intelligent, educated, as successful rappers again. I used to want to be accepted by the title MC or rapper. Then I wanted to be a poet. Then I wanted to be a singer. Right now I do not need a box or a label. I am open source intelligence, I am an open-ended benefit creator. I am whatever the universe require in this time, place and circumstance. Chances are, based on personal experience that sometimes the universe will need an MC here and now. And chances are, based on personal experience, that I will be nervous before I get on stage, then proceed to smash it. Then I’ll get off stage and be just as anxious as I was before.
The thing is if you get your self esteem from the label you carry, or the box you have volunteered yourself for, even if that label is rapper, or that box is ’emcee’, or singer, or poet, or bard, or hippy, or activist, eventually your time, place and circumstance will change and then you’ll find yourself surrounded by people who neither accept or respect that label and then your avoiding and replacing will no longer work. But if you get your self esteem from your mind being the same mind as mother nature herself you are always one with infinity.
Am I an MC? Maybe, but it’s been good for me not to feel like one for a while.
I am what I am. Just another node of consciousness.
(Now gimme some instrumentals.)
Me – KP Kev the Poet
Kid n Play (I was 11. No shame.)
Cheesy 80s Hip-Hop, but I recommend you watch the movie ‘House Party’, at least the first one. It’s hilarious and quite possibly the first time Martin Lawrence (Bad Boys 1 and 2) was ever in a movie.
(Then watch the movie Wild-Style if you really wanna be a b-boy/b-girl Hip-Hop historian)
If you think you know Hip-Hop, you’d better get familiar.
The album ‘It Takes a Nation of Millions To Hold Us Back’ was voted the greatest Hip-Hop album of all time for several years in several magazines, from Hip-Hop magazines to Rolling Stone but with the current white-wash, cultural appropriation and mainstream media ignoring the Hip-Hop pioneers it may not be long before people forget why. Musically an album like this could not come out of a mainstream record label ever again because sampling laws have changed and it would cost too much to use the multiple samples per-track that were used in this album. Also politically the themes are too strong and controversial. But the beats go hard like viagra.
Respect the architects.