Yasiin Bey (Mos Def)
Yasiin Bey (Mos Def)
Much concern about the state of Hip-Hop has been brought about by audiences and artists alike, and though the topic of discussion can plunge into layers of debates, much of which are insightful and worth exploration, I much rather devote this time towards the simple appreciation of "craftsmanship." With so much push and pull around what determines a successful hip-hop track or album, whether its deep lyricism, creative punchlines, blazing beats, or a bopping hook, there is no avoiding the link to the art of crafting. In every artistic field, crafting is the watering and sunlight after the planting of the seed - the growth.
This crucial art, in my opinion, has gone on to be the abandoned home in today's hip-hop music. Most audiences have lost sense, and therefore appreciation for such skill in many of today's songs. Now, the idea of successful craftsmanship if certainly subjective, however, there are a handful of artists in hip-hop, who devote themselves to mastering such an art.
Bringing me to (call it bias if you will) my favorite MC, Yasiin Bey (formerly known as Mos Def). Clearly known as an icon in his field, Bey is one of the most genuine and devoted artist to hip-hop. From educating himself on the history of the culture, to continually pushing its boundaries towards evolution, Bey is one of the most respected artists in the genre.
In an attempt to re-awaken an awareness of how masterful rap can be (contrary to what many have come to assume), I wish to share with you one of my favorite crafted tracks by Yasiin Bey. At first, the soothing beat laid down by the talented producer Ski Beats can have you "feel good" nodding past the lyrics, however, on a deeper listen, the lyrical craft not only becomes more apparent, but also brings the song to an entire different platform.
I believe that rap music should be analyzed much like one would a play or screenplay. In my experience, watching a play being performed, and reading the actual physical manuscript bring about two different experiences. Such an example lies below. While listening to the track, "Taxi," produced by Ski-Beats, and reading along with the lyrics by Yasiin Bey, attempt to not only find the craftsmanship, but also how it propels the message in the words. Try to see how it takes the shape of the contradictions and overall cycle of "relationships."
Produced by Ski Beats
Lyrics Yasiin Bey
Bang Bang it's a war of the hearts
We could either make love
We could spar
Either way we hollerin' out
Either one don't solve the problem at all
Spend the first half tryna get it on
Spent the next half tryna get gone
“Nothing' at all”
Watch your head girl that lie is too tall
Do what you want
I'm out the front door
I'm waiting on your call
Forgot it took place
Remembering it all
Feel like forever,
The moment so small
Your eyes soft
Your kiss warm
Your cold heart
Tried to melt it off
Bags packed at home looking lost
Tripping out ending up where you start
Carousel at the merry-go park
Pretty horse, let me off
Shed a tear, but I'm too tired to mourn
I'll do it tomorrow
When your gone and you can't see me at all
Love and Hate,
We at the cross
Buckle up, rough course,
LOVE LINE REMIX
Mixing: Mr. Capers
We claim no legal rights
towards the instrumental used in this remix.
Lyrics: Self & Mr. Capers
Producer: Mr. Capers