Thursday, June 9, 2016

Celebratory hip-hop is the new stoned, navel-gazing hip-hop

As much as I like The Weeknd and Drake, they have a tendency to wallow in their privileged misery, the poor lambs. So it's a relief to see some hip-hop artists rediscover positivity in their music.

You could argue it started with Chance The Rapper's joyous, thankful Coloring Book (he means Colouring Book) mixtape a couple of weeks ago. Now Joey Bada$$ and Wiz Khalifa are joining in, with two life-affirming tracks about overcoming hardship.

21-year-old Joey Bada$$ is first out of the gates with Devastated, a song that follows the death of his high-school friend and rap contemporary Captain Steez, who took his own life.

"I used to feel so devastated / At times I thought we'd never make it / But now we on the path to greatness / And all it ever took was patience," he sings, on what sounds to me like a massive crossover track.

Wiz Khalifa's doubles down on that message on Celebrate, with a refrain that declares: "I could've been dead / I could've been in prison / So I want to celebrate."

It debuted on his sixth album, Khalifa, last week and now comes with a eye-straining video.

The positivity is even spreading to the UK, where Makola has gone against the grain of grime with the carnival vibes of This Is London. A love letter to his home town, it's like an Afrobeat version of Lily Allen's LDN. In other words, it's very good indeed.

And that hasn't lifted your spirits, here's Chance The Rapper performing Show Me Love on national television in a cuddly teddy bear sweater.

With new records from De La Soul and Jurassic 5 also on the way, would it be too far-fetched to say The Second Daisy Age starts here?

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