Thursday, February 5, 2009

The Second Line

Rappers B.G. and C-Murder really aren't so different. Both were raised in fucked up areas of Southern New Orleans on the Mississippi, Corey Miller coming up in the infamous Calliope projects, Chris Dorsey hailing from the 13th Ward. Both had to deal with difficult losses early in life. For C it was the death of his little brother Kevin, for B.G. it was his father at the age of 12. Both are less prominent members of their powerhouse labels yet arguably the best rappers to come out of each. Both communicate through weary monotones yet manage to convey hard earned experience and sadness with each bar. Both have faced tremendous personal hardships, the Baby Gangsta having a promising career derailed by an addiction to heroin and C-Murder looking down the barrel of a life sentence in prison.

In 2006, with C-Murder behind bars, both came together for a powerful anthem that took over the City of New Orleans in the Spring following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. I went down to do some relief work during that Spring Break my Senior year. My University sucks because the real trouble areas of the city were deemed too dangerous for white college students and we were shipped to nearby Chalmette in St. Bernard Parish to help a bunch of blue collar workers from the nearby Exxon oil refinery who already had flood insurance and FEMA trailers gut their water damaged houses. The best part of the experience was sticking around after the buses rolled back to Maryland and hanging out with a friend from home who attended Tulane. The extra week I stayed we went out and partied with the city of New Orleans every night, it was a celebratory time there as people were beginning to trickle back, primarily from Houston but also from all over the world. (Then again, in all the times I've ever been to NO I've never found the city in anything but celebration.)

"Yall Heard of Me" is a dark and menacing song. A choir of Seraphim and tolling church bells lend an operatic scope to the mournful synth wailing through the track as the drum and bass pound mercilessly. In spite of it's chest thumping homicide talk I can't hear it without smiling, remembering the reactions in the bars and clubs from The Boot to the French Quarter and how much joy this simple sneer of a banger brought to the city. It's bleak and confusing and quintessentially New Orleans.

1 comment:

T.R.O.Y. said...

Great post. Possibly the most concise yet most effective piece I've read by you.

Song is sorta great as well.

Keep this up. I'm mostly unfamiliar with this region's music and any information is useful. I'm sure I'm not the only one.