Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Guante & Big Cats: TO YOUNG LEADERS (Official Music Video)


Download the song for FREE and pre-order the album now through Strange Famous Records HERE.

Huge thanks to PCP for all the video work; he also shot and edited a ton of live stuff that we'll be releasing later. I'd highly recommend him (get in touch at pcpmeltsfaces@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter: @pcpmeltsfaces). Also thanks to Antonio Schoen for dancing around and being our villain (unless you think I'm the villain; it's kind of open to interpretation).

As always, please share the video! Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, etc. Thanks!

And don't forget about the release party on November 9 at Hell's Kitchen in MPLS. 10pm. 18+. Facebook event page HERE. It's going to be wild, and we hope to see you there.

Monday, October 29, 2012

My Thoughts on the 2012 Election + Link to Voter Guide



Part of the trouble with releasing an album on Election Day is that a lot of my energy and ink is put toward promoting that, rather than the obviously-more-important election. But before we get to a deluge of music videos and promos and reviews and all that, here are my thoughts on 2012:

1. VOTE NO ON BOTH THE MARRIAGE BAN AND VOTER ID
This one is easy. Both the marriage amendment (which would write discrimination into the state constitution) and the photo ID amendment (which is a costly and dangerous solution to a non-existent problem) are mind-boggling unnecessary. They're both on the ballot this year largely because state Republicans are worried-- and rightly so-- that their straight, white, middle-class male base is shrinking. Photo ID explicitly addresses this for the future by attempting to backdoor-disenfranchise voters (which is scary and which is why we need to defeat it), but both referenda are meant to drive conservatives to get out and vote, especially in a year when no one is excited about the Republican candidate. It's all sinister political BS, and beating back this amendments would be a powerful step forward-- both as a symbolic victory and as a real, concrete victory. See the video PSA I shot at the top of this post for more info, and here's a cool "Vote No on Photo ID" song recorded by a bunch of great Twin Cities rappers:



2. BE PREPARED; CHECK OUT THIS VOTER GUIDE
The League of Women Voters have this handy voter guide that tells you what will be on the ballot in your area, as well as interviewing candidates so you can be more informed. One example of how this guide was helpful: in the race for Chief Justice, which I usually don't pay much attention to, I learned that one candidate (Lorie Skjerven Gildea) is the current Chief Justice, and that another candidate (Dan Griffith) likes to quote Ayn Rand. Now I know how I'm voting.

3. TURN ONE VOTE INTO MANY
Winning isn't just about showing up and voting; it's about getting everyone you know to show up and vote. Have that difficult conversation with your family. Take that commercial break during the the football game to make sure your friends are planning on getting out to the polls. Record your own video PSA or write your own blog/Facebook post about why you're voting on 11/6 and spread it around. Forget that MN-nice "let's not discuss politics" rule and DISCUSS POLITICS. One vote is great, but 10, 50, 100 are even better. You don't need to spend millions of dollars on TV commercials to have an impact.

4. NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS ON NOVEMBER 6, ORGANIZE
No matter who you vote for, there's going to be work to do on November 7 and every day forever. We can't let Republican victories destroy our morale, and we can't let Democratic victories make us complacent. I'm not the type to say that both parties are exactly the same, but they are both imperialist, corporate-backed, power-mongering political parties who don't have our best interests in mind. It's up to us to build mass movements to challenge our leaders no matter what party they belong to, and it's up to us to cultivate independent media, community power and real relationships at every social and cultural level. That's where positive change comes from. Organize.

That being said, I believe that elections can be effective tactical tools within this larger movement. To me, the important question is:

Does supporting Democrats enable their unprogressive policies, OR is supporting Democrats a tactical block of Republican policies that would be just as bad and almost certainly worse?

To me, that's the real question. It's not whether Nader cost Gore the election, or whether the two party system isn't fair, or whether both parties are exactly the same. It's not about theory or ideology or conscience-- it's about tactics. What is going to make our world better in a concrete way? And I don't have the answer. If you do, please post a comment.

I also think it's worth stating: some of the smartest, most effective organizers I know are hardcore Obama supporters, and some of the smartest, most effective organizers I know would never in a million years support Obama. I know smart, committed people who aren't going to vote at all, as well as smart, committed people who are going to vote for Jill Stein. Multiple sides to this debate make very good points; as progressives, let's not lose sight of that and tear ourselves apart.

I'm planning on voting for Obama (and other Dems), because when I do the math, I think it's worth blocking Republican policies (and taking a stand against the values those policies are based on). I think the "small" differences between the two parties aren't equally small for all people. I also really want the hateful, backwards, hypocritical conservative movement in this country to be dealt a death-blow, or at least a backhanded slap across the face. Mostly, I want us to be able to build a movement that can be on the offensive instead of the defensive.  It's not a choice I make lightly. Again, if you agree or disagree, feel free to leave a comment.

In the end, it's about what we do more than it is about who we vote for. We have work to do, and I think 2013 can be a great year for the progressive movement no matter what happens in November. Keep fighting.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

10 Things I Can Tell You About YOU BETTER WEAPONIZE


The first single is embedded below, and above is a YouTube link to the song that the Current leaked, "Lightning" featuring Chastity Brown. It might be one of the more challenging tracks on the album, since there isn't a catchy hook or anything, but I'm really proud of it, and Chastity is amazing as always.

1. This is the best, most substantive, most fully-realized art I've ever made. These ten points will illustrate some of that. Be sure to pre-order the album through Strange Famous Records or come to the release show on November 9 at Hell's Kitchen in MPLS and get one.

2. It's a very collaborative album, not just in terms of me and Big Cats working out the songs together, but in terms of guest appearances too. The album features Toki Wright, Crescent Moon (of Kill the Vultures), Kristoff Krane, Chastity Brown, Chantz Erolin (of Audio Perm), See More Perspective and Chris Hooks (formerly known as TruthBeTold of TTxBC). You can also hear Claire de Lune (of the Chalice and our collaborative EP "A Loud Heart") as a vocal sample on one of the songs. Guests were chosen based on who fit the tone of the song and who could either add to or contrast in an interesting way with my songwriting style, and everyone knocks it out of the park. If I had to highlight a few contributions, I think Chantz will really turn some heads here; he's brilliant and still pretty under-the-radar. And Chris Hooks might have the coldest verse on the whole album; it's definitely going to surprise some people. They're all Twin Cities artists too, which we're very proud of.

3. Related to that point, Big Cats is a genius. Here's the thing: I think I'm a great rapper, but I could totally understand someone not liking my voice or the patterns I favor or whatever. That's cool. But Big Cats is undeniable. If you've heard our last album, or followed his work with TTxBC, or heard his new solo album, you already know. The beats are beautiful, but they also BANG. It's all very full and dynamic. It'll sound great on laptop speakers or whatever, but we're definitely going to encourage people to listen on a good sound system, in a car or in headphones. Also, the album was mastered by Dave Cooley, whose credits include projects from Dilla, Common, Dangermouse, Madlib and many more.



4. As a songwriter, an important idea for me is that just because a song is well-intentioned doesn't mean that it's effective. Particularly as someone who writes political and social justice-oriented songs, I wanted to make sure that the songs on this album weren't just telling people what they already believed. I wanted to avoid platitudes and rhetoric and really try to get to the heart of some of the issues that I care about. It's a very solutions-oriented album. Most political rap songs boil down to "things sure are messed up," and that's an important message, but I wanted to go further. So the political songs here, like "A Pragmatist's Guide to Revolution," "Fireworks," "The Invisible Backpacker of Privilege" and more all have very specific, focused thesis statements; they're not just me shouting about how the government is corrupt. I'm trying to write songs that people can walk away from holding some specific idea or message-- that can be artistically risky, of course, but I think we were able to walk the line really effectively.

5. Related to that point, the songs are extremely focused in terms of concepts. A challenge I had for myself was to avoid writing a concept album, but still have lots of conceptual songs. There are songs here about mixed race identity, the politics of sexuality, monogamy, white privilege in hip hop, the power of organizing and much more. The philosophy behind all that is that rapping well isn't a challenge. Rapping well about something meaningful is a challenge. Rapping well about something meaningful and still making that stuff FUN to listen to is a challenge. I wanted to write good songs, but more than that I wanted to write memorable, unique songs that stood out from the pack.

6. It's a political album, but they're not all explicitly political songs. The whole personal/political line is something I've walked a lot in my career, and I think it's important that personal songs aren't entirely disconnected from larger ideas and that political songs aren't just cold rhetoric-- you have to combine the two. So a bunch of the songs here are more personal, whether it's me just talking shit like an MC is supposed to talk shit ("Straight Outta Genosha") or reminiscing on a near-death experience ("Everything Burns"). I also think "Asterisk" might be the best straight-up love song I've ever written.  I embrace the identity of "political rapper," but I also like to think I avoid most of the baggage that goes along with it.

7. There is no "spoken-word" on the album, but it's still some of the best poetry I've written. I mean, "Lightning" kind of walks the line between song and poem, but it's still made of rhyming couplets. Everything on the album rhymes (except for some ranting and raving on the first track). We thought about putting a poem or two at the end, but decided against it-- partly just to have a cohesive listening experience (read: lots of people hate spoken-word), and partly to highlight the natural poetry of rapping. I think this is some of the best poetry I've ever written, even if I'm never going to do any of it in a slam or get it published in a book. The album also demonstrates my poetic philosophy-- good poetry isn't about using weird, abstract language to talk about simple stuff, it's about using direct, easily-understandable language to tackle complex ideas.

8. It's not a concept album, but there is an overarching theme. If I had to describe the theme of the album in one line, it'd be the relationship between power and community. Power (represented by electricity, fire, etc. as well as traditional conceptions of political power) comes up over and over again, as does the idea of community and people working together. I think it's an important connection to make in this day and age, even if it wasn't 100% intentional from the beginning. And the phrase "You Better Weaponize" fits into this framework too-- it's about knowing the resources at our disposal and using them to achieve our ends. We may not have millions of dollars or the backing of a big corporation or the police behind us, but we have numbers. We have independent media. We have art. We have so much potential. And people have done so much with less. As the first track says "we got all the weapons we need right here." There's a reason we're releasing this on Election Day. No matter what happens on November 6, there's going to be work to do on November 7.

9. It's a much funnier album than you're probably expecting. Obviously, it should raise a red flag whenever a guy calls himself funny. So sorry for that. But it's always easy for political artists to be tagged as joyless or self-important, and this album is really celebratory and down-to-earth and weird and funny as hell. At least I think it is. My biggest influences are artists like Boots Riley from the Coup, the Pharcyde, the Fugees, the Dungeon Family, etc., all artists who had layers and could mix up the fun stuff and the serious stuff in unexpected ways. I'm not saying that this album sounds like any of those artists' work, just that that's the foundation on which we're building.

10. It doesn't sound like anything else out there. I mean, I could sit here and tell you how talented I am, how I'm smarter than most underground rappers, or funnier than most punchline rappers, or more substantive and creative than most "conscious" rappers and on and on, but that stuff is all subjective. The thing that I'm really proud of is how we were able to create a piece of music that adds something unique to the conversation. It's really not about being "better" than anyone else; it's about having something new and engaging and meaningful to put out there. And by those criteria, we definitely succeeded. I can't wait for you to hear it.

We hope you like the album; it'll be available online on Election Day (unless you pre-order now). If you want to check out some of our older stuff (including a FREE mix of older Guante & Big Cats tracks), check this out.

Friday, October 19, 2012

VOTE NO Concert on 10/23, two songs from the new album, more updates

Busiest month of my life. A few important updates:

1. First of all, this is coming up on Tuesday, 10/23 at the Varsity Theater in MPLS. Click the image to go to the Facebook event page:
It's going be a very special show. A genuinely diverse lineup featuring artists from a whole bunch of different communities and styles, all coming together to encourage people to VOTE NO on both the marriage amendment and the photo ID amendment. Here's a video PSA I shot with my thoughts on why I'm voting no on both.

2. If you missed it, you can pre-order the new Guante & Big Cats album, YOU BETTER WEAPONIZE, exclusively through Strange Famous Records (home of Sage Francis, B.Dolan, 2mex and many more). You'll get your choice of a signed CD or a signed CD bundled with the album instrumentals and a bunch of my spoken-word poems. Also, here's the first single from the album, available now as a free download:


Plus FIVE REASONS YOU SHOULD COME TO OUR CD release party (11/9 at Hell's Kitchen in MPLS) can be found here.

3. Local cool-kids radio station 89.3 The Current leaked another new song from the album too. It's called "Lightning" and features the always-incredible Chastity Brown. Listen to it here.

4. In case you haven't noticed, we've been posting beautiful, brand-new videos of many of my best poems. Patrick Pegg with Unique Techniques shot and edited them. There are more to come, but we've made three available already. They're the first three listed here.

5. As always, please share (over Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr or real life) whatever you like, whether that's the link to the pre-sale, one of the new songs, info on the Vote No show, one of the new poem videos, or just this whole page. It all makes a difference. Thanks!

Monday, October 15, 2012

YOU BETTER WEAPONIZE pre-sale through Strange Famous Records, first single, release details!

Check out the first track on the new Guante & Big Cats album, YOU BETTER WEAPONIZE. The song is called "To Young Leaders."



You can now PRE-ORDER the new album exclusively through our friends at STRANGE FAMOUS RECORDS (home to Sage Francis, B.Dolan, 2mex, more). We're very grateful for the support, and this is a pretty cool deal too, especially if you live somewhere else and can't pick up a CD in-person from us. Click this link for details on the standard signed CD or the bonus materials package.

If you're in the Twin Cities, be sure to mark your calendar for our RELEASE PARTY on Friday, November 9 at Hell's Kitchen in MPLS. Here's the Facebook event page.


FIVE REASONS YOU SHOULD COME TO OUR RELEASE SHOW:

1. The lineup is unique and beautiful. Mankwe is a brilliant singer/songwriter whom you should all know about. Chantz is probably the most talented local rapper you don't know yet (I mean, unless you do), and he'll be joined by Julian Fairbanks and 80H20 to represent Audio Perm. And we'll also have the New Heist crew in the building to make sure the b-boy element is represented. Plus us, all for just $5 if you're 21+ or $7 if you're 18-20. That's a steal, so arrive early.

2. Hell's Kitchen is one of the best places in town to see a show. The food is great, the staff is friendly, the sound is superb, and they're pretty damn progressive too. It's right downtown, so you can take the bus or park in the $5 ramp that is RIGHT next door.

3. This is your official post-election after-party. No matter who wins, there's going to be work to do. Let's recharge. Our album is dropping online on Election Day to push that message even more-- voting matters, but what we do the day after and every day is what matters the most.

4. Our last release party at the Bedlam Theater was one of the best shows I've been a part of, and Big Cats' solo release party last week at the Cedar was even bigger and better. Our crew, our community, our family-- it's going to be beautiful.

5. This is the best art I've ever made. As a lyricist, as a vocalist, as a poet, as a writer, as a performance artist, whatever-- this is leaps and bounds beyond what I've done so far. I can't speak for Big Cats, but I think this is some of his very best work too. The album also features Toki Wright, Chastity Brown, Kristoff Krane, Crescent Moon (of Kill the Vultures), See More Perspective, Chantz Erolin (of Audio Perm) and Chris Hooks (of TTxBC). It's wild. If you already support us, you're going to be validated in a big way, and if you've never heard of us, you're not going to see this coming. Can't wait to share it with you. Here's the cover and tracklist.

Finally, as always, please SHARE this page. We're doing this DIY (with the SFR assist) and rely on word-of-mouth, Facebook posts, Tumblr posts, Tweets and all that. THANK YOU!

Friday, October 12, 2012

New Video for "Love in the Time of Zombies"



I can't post this without first assuring whatever audience I have that I wrote this back in 2006 or so, before zombies were cool and way before they become so overexposed in pop culture. So miss me with that "here we go, another slam poem about zombies." I got there before the flood, haha.

I think this piece holds up, despite the now-tired subject matter, because it's really not about zombies. It's about love. It's about finding love in terrible circumstances, something that happens every day in this world.

If you like this, be sure to check out my other poetry videos here.

As always, any re-posts, Tumblr posts, Facebook posts, Tweets and whatever are much appreciated. I was going to wait and post this around Halloween, but I have something even better (something album-related) to post then. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

What One Person Can Do About _______

(Syria: photo from AP/The Guardian)

The other day, hip hop artist Dessa tweeted this: "Alright, all you informed activists. I'm moved by the situation in Syria. I don't know how to help. Suggestions?"

This is a very common question-- not just about Syria, but about any number of causes. As someone who people call an "activist" (though I could definitely do more to live up to that, and be more involved in any number of important struggles than I am), I get this question a lot-- from students, from fellow artists and from random people on the internet. I don't have answers, but a few thoughts:

1. The Power of Education and Media
"Media activism" sometimes gets looked down on as a form of "slacktivism," as a bunch of people posting Facebook statuses dedicated to ending world hunger or re-tweeting some vaguely political statement made by Lupe Fiasco. And sure, social media isn't going to save the world. But let's not pretend that every person using social media, writing letters-to-the-editor or designing stencil graffiti patterns is intending to "save the world." Political, social and cultural change is a big, long-term process, made up of many different strands-- some concrete and immediately impactful, others more intangible and long-term.

Media activism is about spreading information. It's about education. It's a bottleneck through which we can have a lot of impact for minimal effort-- and "minimal effort" isn't automatically a bad thing. You can't build a movement around any issue if people don't know anything about it. And you can't win if people don't care.

So yes, whether you have 100 Facebook friends or 100,000 Twitter followers, spread the word about the issues you care about. Find someone more knowledgeable than yourself and help amplify their voice. Write letters and op-eds. Shoot a PSA. Create poetry and visual art and film based on the things you care about. None of this by itself will change anything, but change won't come without it either.

Related: "Beyond the Benefit: 3 Ways Artists Can Have a Concrete Impact on the Election and the Larger Movement"

2. Make Global Issues Local
Whether you're talking about war and torture in Syria or poverty and oppression anywhere else in the world, it is neither possible nor helpful for you to want to "go somewhere and save everyone." That's not the right attitude to have. Instead, research the issue. Figure out the connections between what's going on "over there" and your own community. It's not too unlike poetry-- you have to take big, abstract ideas and make them manageable.

It's the difference between holding a rally to demand that the US stop supporting Israel and engaging in a targeted, tactical divestment campaign within the local university. It's the difference between protesting "war and imperialism" and setting up a counter-recruitment booth at a school or community event where the military is trying to recruit kids. It's the difference between saying "I'm against racism" and organizing a weekly facilitated discussion where you and your neighbors can talk about their experiences and build. It's the difference between supporting LGBTQ rights, voting for LGBTQ rights, and volunteering to campaign to get 1000 people to vote for LGBTQ rights. The list goes on and on.

When problems like the violence in Syria, or global warming, or global poverty are so huge, we have no choice but to think tactically, use the power of own communities and...

3. Organize Together
If there's an issue that you care deeply about, you're probably not alone. Google it. Find an organization. Find a crew of like-minded people with whom you can work. Maybe they'll have ideas about what to do, or maybe they'll be as confused and inexperienced as you. But this is how movements start: people identify a problem, get together, and do something about it. One person may not be able to make a difference when it comes to fighting these huge world problems, but one person can definitely make a difference in the context of an organization. For Twin Cities readers, be sure to check out the MN Activist Project, which lists a bunch of good local activist organizations.

This is also about understanding, however, that sometimes there's nothing you can do. Well, that's not quite right. There's always something you can do-- that's what this essay is about. But there isn't always a clear path, easily-identifiable solution or action point. Using Syria as an example, you can try to pressure your own government to adopt a particular stance (diplomacy & sanctions vs. arming the opposition vs. all-out invasion vs. whatever), or you can donate to a particular charity that is involved with helping civilians, or you can organize a rally for awareness, but you can't march over there and punch Assad in the face. "Activism," as I understand it, is about recognizing both the power you have and the power you don't have, and forming a plan from there.

Whether the issue is intensely personal or big and abstract, local or global, well-known or unknown, it can always be addressed somehow. Movements of everyday people have won, time and time again. I think these three points are important first steps to consider, but there's always more-- anything anyone would add?

Related: "Where Does Change Come From?" and "Five Steps Toward Getting Involved"

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Hip Hop Against Homophobia: Looking Back, Looking Forward

(a photo from the first HHAH in MPLS, courtesy of Jon Behm)

We started throwing these Hip Hop Against Homophobia shows in Minneapolis back in 2009 or so, and have since thrown more than a dozen of them all around the state. While the shows have sometimes raised money for different LGBTQ organizations, the main idea behind the concert series is bigger than that. We wanted to create space for healthy community collaboration. We wanted to highlight the overlap that already exists between the Twin Cities' big, vibrant, diverse hip hop scene and big, vibrant, diverse LGBTQ culture. We wanted to throw fun rap shows that were also explicitly safe spaces for people no matter how they identify.

The power of the HHAH series isn't just about confronting homophobia in hip hop, though that's certainly part of it; it's about the idea that when communities come together, they become even more powerful. When we highlight and cultivate these kinds of overlaps and collaborations, the potential for new connections, new strategies and more increases. Even when people don't come to the shows, seeing the phrase "Hip Hop Against Homophobia" on a flyer or Facebook invite has power.

At past shows, we've tried to feature a mix of LGTBQ-identified artists and straight allies (including Toki Wright, Tish Jones, Mike Mictlan of Doomtree, Heidi Barton Stink, Ill Chemistry, Kaoz, See More Perspective, Maria Isa, Kredentials, Tori Fixx, DJ Shannon Blowtorch, Oskar Ly & Linda Her and more, plus myself). We've also tried to be representative in terms of race, gender identity and style. Apart from all the politics, the HHAH series is really about throwing big, fun, substantive hip hop shows-- without that, there's no point. So even though we're talking about important issues, we're also celebrating each other and celebrating this culture. I'm really excited about the fact that other people are taking this idea and running with it. A while back, I got to perform at a HHAH at Central High that I had no input in planning and it was great. Things keep growing.

It's also been a learning process-- building representative bills while maintaining a quality live experience isn't always easy. Booking spaces that feature gender-neutral restrooms isn't always easy. Balancing the needs of a rap show with the needs of different communities and organizations isn't always easy. But it's all worth doing, and we're still learning, and trying to be better about everything.

With the marriage amendment on the horizon (and a lot of work to do no matter how the election plays out), we're throwing a whole bunch of shows in October (probably more TBA) especially shows outside of the metro, where a lot needs to happen. Feel free to spread the word:

UPCOMING INSTALLMENTS:

October 6 at the Moonshine Lounge in Brainerd, MN, 9pm. Featuring Guante, Kaoz and See More Perspective. Link.

October 18 at St. Cloud State's Atwood Mall, 5pm. Featuring Toki Wright, Heidi Barton Stink, Kaoz, See More Perspective and Guante. Link.

October 19 at the Depot in Hopkins, MN, 7pm. Featuring Heidi Barton Stink, Guante, Kaoz and See More Perspective.

October 23 at the Varsity in MPLS (not a HHAH show, but a Vote No on Both Amendments show organized by Take Action MN and MN United; details TBA)

October 24 at Inver Hills College, noon. Featuring Heidi Barton Stink, Guante, Kaoz and See More Perspective.

February 22 at Central High School in St. Paul, details TBA.

February 23 at Patrick's Cabaret in MPLS, details TBA

A special shout out to the performers who have been really key in keeping this series going--

KAOZ is an MC, poet and educator who most recently executive produced "Kaoz Presents: Real Talk MPLS,” a full-length album that tackles HIV/STI prevention, stigma and homophobia.

HEIDI BARTON STINK is a visionary MC whose last album, "A Charming Gut," was one of the most unique, creative albums to ever come out of the Twin Cities scene, at least in my opinion.

SEE MORE PERSPECTIVE is one of the more slept-on geniuses in the local rap scene. He produced all of Heidi's album and has some brilliant work of his own. We've collaborated a bunch.

Also, a quick shout to B.Dolan, who released this song/video addressing homophobia in hip hop and the CeCe McDonald trial:


And Tish Jones, who isn't rapping in this clip, but is always great (and she hosted the first HHAH):


Finally, a few relevant links:

Monday, October 01, 2012

Kristoff Krane & Guante: "Pushing Boundaries" (prod. by Big Jess): Free DL and a Close Reading


Big Jess of the Unknown Prophets is creating an ambitious series of projects called “Honorable Mention,” wherein dozens of different MCs are rapping over his beats across multiple installments. Me and Kristoff Krane (who will also appear on two songs on the new Guante & Big Cats album) got together to record this track, “Pushing Boundaries.”

DOWNLOAD THE SONG (AND THE WHOLE ALBUM) HERE FOR FREE.
Our song is track 14; Kristoff is the first verse and I'm the second.


For fun, I’m going to share a “close reading”/analysis of my verse. I think sometimes we skim over MCs’ work, just appreciating the rhythm or the tone of voice or whatever and only vaguely paying attention to the content underneath. As someone who puts a ton of energy into the craft of rapping and constructing substantive lyrics, I wanted to share some of the process here.

Partly, this is to show how talented I am (I mean, let’s be honest, haha), but it’s also to show that a lot of rap bars you hear probably have more in them than you catch—it’s not just me. Rapping can be an incredibly complex form of poetry, but it can also be very rewarding because of that. There are a ton of really wildly smart MCs out there and I’d love it if we all starting to pay closer attention to what they’re saying. So here are some footnotes for my verse: