As odd as it may seem, I grew up loving Rap music. The first CD I ever bought was Big Willie Style by Will Smith. I used to love to listen to artists Coolio and Eminem on the radio. I loved the way they could cleverly weave poetry into their songs and could so elegantly rhyme to the beat.
Today I find it hard to listen to Rap music. Mostly because much of today’s Rap music sucks. Musicians today will try to fill a mold that they rarely deviate from, so almost all Rap songs start to sound the same to me.
Rap music is mostly filled with swearing, sexism, homophobia, violence, and in general, a lot of offensive material.
It is easy for people to get turned off by Rap.
I know people who say they will listen to any type of music except Rap. I don’t think they are giving it a fair chance. There are many artists who are breaking the mold. I think if people gave them a chance, they would realize there is good Rap out there.
K’Naan has a different background from most Rappers. He was born in Somali and lived there during the civil war. He stayed until he was 13 and he moved with his family to Canada on the last commercial flight to leave the country.
When he arrived in Canada he learned how to speak English by imitating Rappers like Nas and Rakim.
For someone who has gone through so much heartache, he is still one of the most optimistic musicians out there. One of his most known songs, “Fatima”, is about his girlfriend
that was shot when he lived in Somalia.
I predict that K’Naan will be one of the biggest stars in music in a couple of years. His song “I come Prepared” has been featured on ESPN and his “Waving Flag” has already become the official anthem of the 2010 World Cup.
He has worked with such stars as Mos Def, Adam Levine from Maroon 5, Damien Marley, and even Kirk Hammett, the lead guitarist for Metallica.
If there is a prize for the best Jewish Reggae artist from New York, Matisyahu probably has that award in the bag. Although he is mostly a Reggae artist, he incorporates a lot of Rapping in his songs and has even collaborated with Akon on a remix of his song “One Day”.
Matisyahu rose to fame in 2006, mostly with his single “King Without a Crown”.
Matisyahu takes his Jewish heritage very seriously in his life and it often shows up in his music. “Jerusalem” displays the pride he has for his heritage with lines like “Afraid of truth and dark history/Why is everybody always chasing me/Cut off the roots of your family tree/Can’t you see, that’s not the way to be”. Matisyahu even refuses to play concerts on Saturdays because of Jewish tradition.
Common is the type of Rapper that is no stranger to curse words or the n-word, but don’t let the parental advisory stickers fool you. He has written some very inspirational Rap songs.
His most famous song is “I have a Dream” and was featured in the movie Freedom Writers. The song includes samples of Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous speech in the chorus.
Common is known for his philanthropic work and has donated a great deal of money to AIDS research, has appeared in ads for PETA, and has promised to keep homophobic lyrics out of his music.