Saturday, August 1, 2020

Article at "Hip Hop Golden Age"

Last month I had an article posted at the Hip Hop Golden Age website "Who Got the Camera? by Kevlaar 7 & Bronze Nazareth: A Lyrical Breakdown" which takes a close look at two verses from the title track of the late Kevlaar 7's album Who Got the Camera? from 2011. As I have written about a few times before, that album was loaded with messages exposing social injustices and it came forth as an outcry against police brutality and racial violence. As Ari Melber talked about in a recent segment that aligns in some ways with my piece, this is a topic that rappers have made music about for years and since they were exposing what is now a widely accepted truth some of them deserve Pulitzers. Kevlaar 7 passed away on December 23, 2014. The reality of present day racism and its historical roots was always a major theme in his music. He explicitly came to warn us all but he knew he was also ahead of his time, as he put it on the opening track to the Wisemen album Children of a Lesser God, "It's too early, truth is dirty."

Kevlaar 7 (RIP)

Just like his brother Bronze Nazareth, Kevlaar was a brilliant lyricist (and a great producer too) and these two came together on this song to deliver a poetic expos√© documenting the ongoing atrocities of racial violence in America. Now that these issues are front and center in American life in 2020, so many of us have been compelled to try to learn more about these issues, seek out knowledge and read more history. American history is so often presented in a way that tries to conceal the bad stuff, but we need to face it if we will ever be able to overcome its painfulness. Bronze and Kevlaar wrote about this history and its present manifestations in their verses often, although rarely as concentrated and focused as on this track. This article I shared is actually an excerpt from a book I've been working on for several years where I try to unpack, interpret, and expand on many verses from Bronze. That book also includes another song he did with Kevlaar devoted to bringing this same topic to light. We are living through a sudden awakening now and it is helpful as ever to glean historical facts and information from the poetics of tuned-in rappers writing about Black America for those of us who want to see what's been going on and try to envision a better future. 

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