Blaklez: Social rappers aren’t appreciated in the game
The Steve Biko of SA hip-hop‚ Blaklez‚ has lamented the lack of social consciousness in the industry saying that too often those who try to bring an “edge” to hip-hop are not appreciated enough.
The rapper‚ whose latest album includes songs such as Who Killed Senzo? and Cool Slaves‚ told SowetanLIVE he has been fighting against the tide for several years as the “figurehead of black consciousness in music””
“It has got easier but there is still not a lot of space in the industry for social rappers‚ they aren’t appreciated as much. I don’t know what it is exactly because there are artists that speak loudly away from the music. Maybe they fear they will lose fans if they try to push a message.”
Blaklez had no such reservations on his album Baby Brother‚ addressing everything from self-worth to economic inequality.
“On one song I speak about the ideal relationship between a man and a woman‚ another where I speak about dealing with the battles of doubt and struggle within. There is a song where I talk about a woman who feels like she has no worth but to sell herself sexually to a man‚ and another about a man who uses his money to get whatever he wants.”
He claims to have “brought consciousness into the mainstream” and said people often misunderstood the genre to think that in order to be conscious‚ you had to be “preachy”.
“Too many people think that consciousness is telling people they are wrong or right. Consciousness is presenting issues to people. Decisions are made every day; sometimes they are decisions you don’t think a lot about it but most of them are about enhancing your life and being more intelligent or educated. Why not have that in music?”