For those who don’t know, I’m a huge fan of Hip-Hop. I was essentially raised and mentored by my favorite rap artists when I was growing up, mostly because I, like most kids in the ’80s and ’90s, grew up in a broken home.
Those formative years between 12 and 18, when you’re still a child, not quite a man, are hard for a young non-white man. We deal with myriad things, like identity formation, ethnocentricity, racism, sexual curiosity, and frustration…
That’s not to say that we should all be pitied. We are survivors. At least those of us who channel our insecurities and anger into positive, or even semi-positive things are. We are survivors.
For me it was Hip-Hop, and yes, while it may be cliched to say: Hip-Hop indeed saved my life. The anxieties that most rap artists express in underground Hip-Hop are real for kids like me; kids who grow up to be men like me. And while I’ve been away from the game in recent years, the little bit I do catch here and there tends to make me sad.
I’ve asked myself a few times if Hip-Hop is, in fact, dying. There’s been controversy about that since the early 2000s. Nas even released an album called Hip-Hop is Dead, for all them young cats out there. (I wonder how many teens are even aware of Nas and his contributions to the culture.)
Not since I heard Lupe Fiasco’s track “He Say, She Say” off of his album Food and Liquor, have I heard a song about broken families that moved me. But today, I got put up on to Earl Sweatshirt and his song “Chum.” This track is on his latest album called Doris, and I gotta say, it’s a banga.
Big Ghost, one of my favorite reviewers (mostly cuz he’s funny), gave the overall album an average review of 3.5 Zeus Slaps, which is alright. It means it may be worth me messing with. But if “Chum” is any indication of talent and creative energy, then I’ve got to endorse Earl Sweatshirt.
Here’s the video for “Chum.” I’ma let y’all make your own choice, but in the meantime, I’m gonna give this kid my own Poet of Promise award.
–Luis Antonio Pichardo, aka Stimey Luv 1