I don’t listen to hip hop. Seriously, there’s something about the genre that I rather dislike. I go out on the streets, hear all these kids belting out these lyrics that aren’t just obscene, they’re atrocious, and I know I’m better off going back inside and stepping into a cold shower. That’s how pissed off I get whenever rap music gets in my face.
It isn’t the form that bothers me. It’s the content. You can’t work with something that speaks of sex in the park, shooting folks that stepped on their “turf,” that kind of stuff. American rap, Brazilian hip hop, Mexican rap – they’re all the same.
I wouldn’t say that I haven’t heard of hip hop that doesn’t sit well with me, though. There are people who make decent rap songs that sit well with me. MVBill, for one, is a popular rapper who’s in the Brazilian music scene for a cause. That’s something else right here: whenever you see a rapper who’s in the business to make a difference, that’s something you have to admire. It isn’t just making a name for yourself in your listeners, or raking in the cash. This guy actually stands for something.
Not that it’s bad to work in order to earn your bread and butter – that’s part and parcel of having a job anyway. But for MV Bill, rap is more than just a way of making money. It’s a means to an end in more ways than one, and in the same way musicians like Bob Marley used their music to promote a belief system that emphasized on something that’s deeper, MV Bill uses his position as a fixture in the world of Brazilian hip hop to evangelize.
Now, I don’t know what he says when MV Bill raps (it’s in Portuguese), but a look at one of his videos will show you just what kind of individual spirit MVBill channels through his music. I speak of the video for Preto Em Movimento¸ which talks about an important event that schoolchildren should take note of. I’m guessing that it’s him urging the kids to recognize and celebrate Black Pride Day. Now, for kids who (as is made obvious by the state of the classroom they’re in) can’t afford to get quality education at a better institution, this is definitely a song designed to give them a boost in self-esteem.
That’s pretty brilliant right there. The world of Brazilian hip hop – no, the world of hip hop everywhere – needs more forces of decency and good like MV Bill. Because behind all the sex and violence, there’s a world that needs saving.