Thursday, September 26, 2013

MGK Is Dope As Hell And You Should Be Optimistic About Hip-Hop

There's been a wave of new rappers in the last few years. The old guard has died away - guys like 50 Cent can't get any of the old momentum and Kanye West, while still prominent, doesn't get attention the way he used. All these new faces are diverse - Macklemore, Yelawolf, Kendrick Lamar and my favorite - MGK. Machine Gun Kelly.

MGK is ridiculous. The guy is 23 years old - four years younger than me, seven years younger than Macklemore and even younger than Yelawolf - but his music is stronger than either of them and deeper than anything I write. MGK knows what hip-hop is supposed to sound like - all of his beats have sounded like they could murder the best sub wofer. Check out "Chip Off The Block," the first track he came out with in the mainstream:


 MGK is tatted up and gruff - he's not apologizing. I'm sure his music will appeal to suburban white boys who would normally be scared of black music but his entourage in his video looks like hip-hop should. He's also prematurely balding which makes me like him alot. "Cleveland" was just as strong as "Chip Off The Block." The production is so stellar - using a distorted shout of "Cleveland!" with synths that progress in volume throughout the song - you can definitely feel MGK's passion and his love for his town:


 So at this point you know MGK can make bangers but any rapper can do that, right? Macklemore is big because he talks big issues - no other rapper or musician in any genre really took a hard stance in favor of gay marriage, talked bluntly about white privilege (at least in a mature tone) or addressed economic anxiety - all things Macklemore did with "Same Love," "White Privilege" and "Thrift Shop." Well check out out "Home Soon" with one lyric that really hit home:

 "Even with eighteen degrees you could be jobless with Uncle Sam in your pockets." 

 Shit. I guess we have moved past gangsta rap and in to brutally honest gangsta rap. I have a Bachelor's Degree and I do okay - I have money in my wallet but I have taken government benefits and not really found myself living the high life because of a degree. It was no guarantee of anything.

People say hip-hop is dead and there is certainly still alot of nonsense and crap in it but I think alot of this new crop shows a level of consciousness, clarity and intelligence that was very rare ten years ago. There is reason to be optimistic.

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