Dear Mr. (Local) White Rapper

Comment

Dear Mr. (Local) White Rapper

Dear Mr. (Local) White Rapper (and other white individuals who benefit from hip-hop culture),

For starters, I love you guys (and girls).

I’m grateful for the diversity and fresh perspectives that many of you bring to the Hip-Hop/Rap genre. From the great lyricism of Eminem, to the blooming evolution in musicality of Mac Miller, to the vibrant bounce and grittiness of Machine Gun Kelly, it’s amazing to see how the white spectrum of the genre influences and makes strides in pushing the culture forward artistically. Nevertheless, while I love many of your artistic contributions to the culture, I’m a bit concerned about your sensitivity to our (read: black) social matters. 

I’m pretty sure that by now you are aware that hip-hop was invented by black people and is a product of black culture. However, I’ll spare you that rich history lesson here, encourage you to study its origins another time, and get straight to the point: your voice is needed. Whether you realize it or not, you have influence, and you wield the ability to sway the opinions and thoughts of many.

We live in an era in which music, specifically hip-hop music, is thriving and impacting the world. From commercials made for mainstream brands, movie soundtracks and entire other genres of music, hip-hop’s artistic imprint is spreading like wildfire. Just look at Marvel Comics. Have you seen the variant hip-hop covers they’ve been doing for various heroes in the Marvel universe? Hip-Hop is universal. It now has the ability to speak as loud as any politician, scientist, or intellectual on this planet.

Macklemore posed a great question in his song, “White Privilege II”: “We take all we want from black culture, but will we show up for black lives?” As a black man within the culture, I ask you the same question: When will you use the power of your white privilege and artistic abilities and cry out with us? Or will you continue to take from us, benefit from our culture, whether it’s on a large or small scale, and remain silent? While I believe that some instances of silence are not betrayal, I also believe you can say something that shows you care.

I get it. Some of you don’t know what to say. Police brutality (terrorism) is a very sensitive subject and you may not know how to “cry out for us.” But you have a conscience. Technology has done us a deed and given us the ability to visually record what’s happening and display it to the world. I know you see the injustice. I know some of you who don’t speak do care. Sometimes, it’s as easy as saying, “I see the mistreatment, I see black lives being wrongfully taken, I acknowledge my white privilege and I’m sorry that his is happening to you all. It’s wrong.” Compose tweets, write a blog, have a Facebook or Periscope chat with your fans, march with us…do something! Make it clear to us you care. Use your voice to spur your white fans and friends to action against injustice.

The longer you wait to say anything, the more it makes me think you don’t really give a shit. It makes me think that you’re more concerned about losing your fan base and hurting your pockets than our social matters – more than black lives being wrongfully taken. And I’m pretty sure some of my other black peers probably think the same, too. It’s very frustrating to watch you wield your power only for your own good, failing to acknowledge the culture that has given you much of that power, when others are dying from acts of terrorism in our own country.  So I ask again, will you use your influence to speak up for us?

 

A concerned black artist,

P.A.T. Junior

Note: I would like to say thank you for all of those in the local area and beyond who take the time to speak up for black people when necessary. Your efforts do not go unnoticed. This letter is addressed to local white rappers because all progress (universally) starts at home.

Comment

The Art Consumption - February 2016 - Concert Edition: Lupe Fiasco

Comment

The Art Consumption - February 2016 - Concert Edition: Lupe Fiasco

What's up people?

I'm pretty excited about this addition of The Art Consumption as I had the pleasure of seeing one of my favorite artists live in concert for the first time.  My wife (the illest wife ever) bought be tickets for Lupe Fiasco's "A Tour for The Fans" tour for Christmas last year; we went to the Washington, D.C. stop since he didn't come to lil ol' Raleigh, NC.  I figured instead of dropping a blog in January, I made a mental note to do one about the concert because I just knew I would leave inspired. And I must say, I definitely did...

For the Concert Edition of the Art Consumption, we'll focus on the concerts I happen to go to and MABYE share some snippets from the live performance for you to jam to at the end of the post.

Let me start by saying, I'm thankful to have a wife who takes interest in my art and artistic inspiration.  She actually surprised me.  I had no clue what I was getting for Christmas 2015.  So Tamyra, if you get a chance to read this: I love you and thank you again.

The Introduction (If You Ain't Know)

When it comes to lyrical Titans in Hip-Hop, Lupe is one of the biggest.  I really believe God truly pre-destined Rap Genius to be created for dudes like him (ha!). Lupe not only challenges you to unlock his Rubix Cube like metaphors but challenges you to research about social injustice, political issues, racism, religion and other topics that the average person doesn't normally care to research.  And honestly, the dude is just incredibly creative.  I was introduced to Lupe when I saw the video for his first single "Kick, Push" on MTV after school one day and was hooked ever since. And of course, I purchased the album Food & Liquor.  It's one of his "less" complex songs lyrically but still a great song.

I must admit, I got a little lost with his work after The Cool (purposely) and then picked back up after his release of Food & Liquor II, which over all got mixed reviews but I enjoyed thoroughly. And of course, I have his latest Tetsuo and Youth, which I think is his best piece of work and the follow up EP, Pharaoh Heights.  Lupe Fiasco has and continues to have a great influence on my work as an artist and is easily one of the Top 5 on my list of MCs.

 

The Concert

The show was held in Washington, D.C. (in a nice part of town might I add) at the 9:30 Club -- and catch this -- on Super Bowl Sunday.  Now, a brotha was torn when the tickets had already been purchased and watched the Carolina Panthers muscle their way to the Championship game but like I said, I'm a fan. And Lupe was putting on "A Tour For The Fans" so how could I miss that?  However, the Super Bowl worked to our advantage because me and the wife were able to get really good seats in the upper balcony area.

Picture of me at Lupe Fiasco's "A Tour For The Fans" [Picture by The Wife]

The concert started of with a few decent opening acts from artists who were from Chicago, IL (Lupe's hometown) and Billy Blue who hails from Miami, FL.  Billy actually was featured on Lupe's latest album Tetsuo & Youth on a track called "Chopper".  Lupe actually came out during Billy's set and they performed both of their verses, which I thought was pretty cool.  I think I enjoyed Billy's performance the best out of all the opening acts which were overall decent.

When Lupe came out to perform with Billy Blue, he already mentioned that he was tired from "this tour life" but then said, "But, we do this for the fans right?"  **Note To Self: Artists need to be in shape and build endurance for touring and doing consistent shows.  Get it shape young fella!** So, when he came out to perform his set, you could tell he was worn down but he still put on a good show.  He started off with performing "Mural" from his latest album --

Wait, let me stop right there. Do you understand how amazing this is? Let me help you understand:

That is almost 9 minutes of STRAIGHT BARS. No hooks.  Not mention, there's metaphor, after metaphor, after metaphor, AFTER ANOTHER CRAZY METAPHOR...you get my drift.

Well, Lupe performed this song as tired as he was all the way through. Epic, to say the least...at least I thought so. Then he followed up with "Dots & Lines" a song about not signing to a major Record Label and the troubles that come with signing.  I haven't been able to dig deep into this song so please, do yourself a favor and check out the annotated lyrics on Rap Genus.  I'd actually check out "Mural" while you're at it too.

Afterwards, the whole concept for "A Tour for The Fans" came to life.  Lupe's DJ would play a voicemail recording from a fan, DJ friend, radio personality or artist friend stating their name and what their favorite Lupe Fiasco song was and then he would perform that song.  Simple, but genius.  I mean, you're talking hit, after hit, after hit with every person singing and rapping along. Of course, at this point, everyone had shown up towards the last opener's performance and the place was jammed packed!

The show was definitely an enjoyable and learning experience.  Below, you can take a listen to some of the live action (and me and my wife singing and rapping along to some of the songs).

Song Titles in Order: "Mural", "The Coolest", "Day Dreaming" and "Go Go Gadget Flow"

Peace!

 

Comment

The Art Consumption - November 2015

Comment

The Art Consumption - November 2015

I'm going to do my best not to make this post about me...

After the release of my latest project "Just Because I Wanted To Give You A Short Mixtape To Listen To", it was impressed upon my heart to share some of my inspirations as an artist.  My latest project was heavily inspired by artists of various genres (not just Hip-Hop) and was a homage to art as a whole.  Plus, I thought it'd be dope to highlight local and distance contemporaries that I think should be highlighted.

Anyway, every other month, I'll be posting everything from music, movies, design, paintings and other genre's of art that are or have been a strong source of inspiration for me.

This month:

Tony G

Tautology [Beat Tape]

Tony G and I have been good friends for some time now and if there's one phrase that I can use to describe his work ethic it would be: Consistent Growth.

Tony G is not only a talented MC but he's an excellent beat smith.  I remember a few years ago, I went to go visit Tony at his apartment to check out some of his tracks just for the heck of it.  They were pretty good even back then but I'm so glad he got rid of that producer tag (inside joke lol).  Since then, I've seen him grow into an incredible artist who has an ear for great textures when it comes to producing -- I would dare to say his production is just as good or better than some of your favorite "Boom-Bap" producers.  And the plus? He's not Xeroxing someone else's style.

Tautology (isn't that a dope name?) is a beat tape that combines a little bit of Hip-Hop nostalgia and some great Hip-Hop production.  Wondered what some of your older favorite Hip-Hop jams would sound like over good gritty and out of the box production? [Click that link!]


Next...

Travis Scott

Rodeo [Album]

What? P.A.T. Junior listens to Travis Scott? Yes.  This album is incredible for so many different reasons.  Due to the fear of my inability to keep my feelings about this album short and to the point, I've provided a review from one of my favorite music reviewers on the net.  In short, Travis Scott took what we've coined "Trap Music" to a different level.  It's super melodic, the textures of sound on the production match immaculately, the lyrics are well written and the harmonies in this mug?!  This album is the Oscar De La Renta of Trap-Esque Music.  I'll let Anthony take it from here:

Comment