By Mtrill

Hip-hop/Rap is the most intelligent form of music with respect to words…and I’ll share with you why. No other music genre uses so many intelligent words overall.

Rap (rhythm and poetry or rhythmic applied poetry) is poetry and they say a civilisation without poets is a lost era. Poets use words to say what people feel or express people’s thoughts and opinions on life and social matters.

Fast forward 2013…hip-hop/rap is a worldwide music phenomenal with fans lapping up several styles of Rap voraciously. Fortunately, Nigeria isn’t left out with Rappers at some point in our modern music history being the number one acts in the country.

From Idris Abdul-Kareem to Ice-prince Zamani, Rappers have dominated the Nigerian music scene heavily.

It won’t be fair if anyone denies that at some point in our modern music history, acts like Mode9 (Cry), MI (Safe), Naeto C (Kini Big Deal), Ruggedman (Ehen), Ice-prince (Oleku) to name a few have held the pinnacle position as the most sought-out act in the country commanding the highest fees at that time.

So even though singers generally have better acceptance, rappers are right on their tail. The profitability of the genre has never been in question contrary to some opinions…and worldwide, there are more up-coming rappers than any other genre (from my personal survey).

RnB is barely breathing and pop is a much harder genre to dominate but Rap is words and words are on everyone’s lips. To be considered a real singer,you’ll need to be blessed with superior vocal ability but as long as you can stew a couple rhymes together (irrespective of your voice) you can be considered a Rapper…but to be a “special” rapper,that’s another matter entirely.

Gifted; endowed with talent or talents. So a gifted Rapper must be a talented act…

Rap has recently been trending on social media,locally and internationally based on its core component…real competition. Every rapper naturally believe he/she is the best and spends a large part of their career proving that point by releasing great work after work until they not only have mass appeal…they have critical acclaim. (Which in this sense,would be rap critics acknowledging your superior body of work and other great rappers acknowledging you bring something fresh and dynamic to the table).

So, let’s for the sake of ignorance continue to use the word “gifted” but modify the meaning to “extra-ordinary” talent which in that case, a “gifted extra-ordinary” rapper is one that shows one or more of these attributes than less…

1. Lyrical prowess – a gifted rapper must be lyrical enough for people to say wow, amazing use of words….very intelligent wordplay etc. Using a word for more than one meaning and conveying it in a way the audience gets the point plus intelligent use of metaphors, simile’s and co…

2. Great delivery – a gifted rapper must deliver a verse in such a way that is “unique” (having a rap style that is attributed to the rapper which can be said to be original or greatly modified in such a way, it sounds far from the original style but still can be termed unique none the less).

3. Deep content – very often a gifted rapper will have a song or songs that have deep meanings. Like all poets, the essence of a poem is to make the reader or listener think outside their circle/train of thought or say it in a way it conveys exactly what the listener had been thinking on a matter but so eloquently put. Therefore, a gifted rapper at some point in their career must have material that is considered deep content simply because poetry is deep.

4. Charisma – a gifted rapper must be able to then convey these gifts in such a way that conveys the emotions behind the words. Charisma in this case will also include using delivery to express joy,sadness, anger, love and all other emotions when a listener hears the work. Afterall, charisma is the ability to draw people to you irresistibly and a the great use of charisma on a record will do that easily.

5. Versatility – a gifted rapper must be able to balance their unique style while flowing on any kind of beat they decide to be on. So contrary to new beliefs, rapping in a language doesn’t make one versatile…it makes them multi-lingua. A versatile Rapper is one who can convey his/her verse on various kinds of beats while still maintaining their original style and fitting it in easily so much so you wouldn’t think it was out-of-place. This is the reason certain rappers only rap on beats they are comfortable with.

Usually, a gifted rapper’s catalogue would be full of “quotables”. This is a line within a verse that hits the listener in such a way that they can’t get it out of their head. It is also a line that very few individuals would think of relaying it that particular manner/way that the rapper did.

These are some of the reasons why for a simple thing like stringing words that rhyme together becomes hard to accomplish.

It requires a well-read, intelligent and skilled individual to be a gifted rapper.

To add to all of these, if such a gifted rapper can marsh most of these characteristics together and still appeal to the common man (mainstream) such a rapper would be termed an Emcee (MC); a master of ceremonies… for their ability to control each beat with words as if the rappers words were made exclusively for that beat weaving in and out of the beat in a colourful,beautiful manner while staying on the topic with ease.

Music has always been about talent and the reason why talent searches will forever be relevant is because talent kicks in when an artiste becomes comfortable.

A rapper usually starts off great because he’s “hungry” (a term used for beginners with potential) but after a couple successful albums,tours etc he “falls off” (a term used when a rapper doesn’t deliver the standard fans are used to).

Personally, I like the trend of things because it is bringing back the basics and boiling it down to the music. Can he/she really rap or are they average? Is it a great song? Did the verse just fly by your head or did the rapper leave you with content from a first listen?

Popularity and fame can be gotten from marketing gimmicks, it is really just flogging the product constantly until there is mainstream acceptance…only thing is it would be more solid when the talent is there and undeniable.

So ask yourself, can your favourite rapper just use words on a beat (that is just rap) and hold your attention from the start to the end of a song and keep you wanting more?

Press play!

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