I hope you get a paper cut on your tongue from a razor in a paper cup. I hope every soda you drink already shaken up. I hope your dreams dry like raisins in the baking sun. I hope your titties all saggy in your early 20’s. I hope there’s always snow in your driveway. I hope you never get off Fridays and you work at a Friday’s that’s always busy on Fridays. I hope you win the lottery and lose your ticket. I hope it’s Ben and Socrates poop all up in your kitchen. I hope the zipper on your jacket get stuck and your headphones short and your charger don’t work and you spill shit on your shirt. I hope your tears don’t hurt and I can smile in your face. Cut my losses, how Delilah changed my locks to a fade. I hope you happy. I hope you happy. I hope you ruined this shit for a reason. I hope you happy.
—  Action Bronson feat. Chance the Rapper, Baby Blue
A Conversation with Thandie and Norman.



Start.

Norman: so I’m listening to Ab Soul’s These Days right now. I think it’s a really good album and I hate myself for not having given it a chance when it first came out. In terms of the kind of artist he is and the stuff he raps about, which is about himself and how he relates to the world I don’t really understand why I initially found this album to be disappointing. I don’t know what I was hoping to find. It doesn’t make sense. I like it because it’s somber. It’s not pushing too much of an agenda. It’s him making music. That’s all that it is. Does that make sense?

Thandie: it’s a solid piece of work really, when it came out I payed a bit of attention to it and loved “God’s Reign” and “World Runners” the most I don’t think there’s any reason I liked those two the most, maybe it comes with feelings, a place and a time you know, things about dreams and such.  I completely understand what you mean when you say it’s not pushing too much of an agenda, I agree. Do you feel anything when you listen to it?

Norman: I think I just think it makes me think about spirituality and life. Reflective is the feeling. It’s like when I listen to Earl. Earl makes me think. I’m constantly thinking about where Earl Sweatshirt is when he makes music. And I’m always listening out for something I can relate to. A feeling. Lately it’s a vague ambivalence and optimism. I just like how honest he is. I appreciate that. Like success doesn’t have to be at the sacrifice of honest and Ernest inward reflection. I like Doris. I like Doris a whole lot. Because it was about the time he came back from that reformatory school in Samoa. That readjustment. Wanting to go forward but being somewhat stuck at the reason of why you need to go forward. The past. And Earl speaks to that for me. That one 10 minute song, solace.





Thandie: As soon as I read “reflective” I thought of Earl and how I’m always in that frame of mind while listening to any of his songs, I get that with a lot of other artists too, Kendrick and Joey Badass being the most frequent. Funny you mention the idea of wanting to go forward but being kind of stuck, Earl’s music mirrors a part of my reality, it may not be in the same situation but the feelings you get from experiences like that are the same, I relate to him describing being late for everything and not having been to prison but the feeling being the same. I mean whatever he went through isn’t what I went through but on a surface level it’s something I attach myself to so quickly because “wow he gets it too”. Me and my conscience and such…I obsessed over Grief when it came out for that very reason, sometimes it isn’t the complete story that I relate to but it’s parts of me that completely me extract me from my reality and have me look at it as if it isn’t my own, that’s probably difficult to make sense of but, sometimes I get the feeling with music that you borrow a pair of glasses from someone (the artist) to look at something you’ve been staring at or been around, sometimes you see it completely differently and sometimes it’s just the same, and when it is, you (I) feel understood and have experienced it, whatever it is, a feeling a memory or whatever. I don’t know how music does that. Listening to Solace feels like you get a chance to think about what the verses bring to mind when it’s just the instrumental playing after a while.

What do you think about that? A lot of people say listening to Earl depresses them.

Norman: That’s deep. Yeah I really like Earl and I get why people say he depresses them. This being the people who actually take the painstaking time to hear what he is saying but I don’t think that. He’s just honest and the truth is pretty depressing but even harder to admit. Like how it is much easier to say that you are okay and happy and good when that’s not the whole truth. That’s why I really struggle with “Happy” rappers because I’m like if you’ve aware and honest then you will be able to intercept the fact that all is not well. Like Action Bronson and Chance The Rapper are in my eyes (ears) the only somewhat happy song makers that I can agree to listen to and appreciate. Because they don’t lie. They have some pretty depressing tracks on each of their rosters that don’t paint pretty pictures with nice sounding words. But because of that then the songs that they do make that are cheer uppers are actually good. Because it’s an honest reason as to why they are happy then and there with their songs. Like Action Bronson’s Mr Happy is my “when I am feeling cheerful” album. Maybe it’s because I find him to be genuine. It’s not happy for show. Maybe it is but I would like to believe it’s not. But also think people are not honest. Because how do you say that Earl is depressing and not say that Childish Gambino’s B.T.I was not? The whole album is about a guy who has everything and hates all of it. Everything around him is fake and he is unhappy and desperate for some real something that declares that there is something in this world worth it and his conclusion is that he doesn’t know who he is anymore. If you go through something like therapy or a clinic I feel like you can hear a lot of that talk in the music and hear what’s actually going on. Do you find that you do that or is it all the same?



Thandie: I find that a lot of music and movies and even plain old pictures aren’t the same after my experience on the inside.(lol the inside) Like you say you can hear what’s going on more and understand that shit can be deep in so many different ways, as much as I’ve always thought I look at the world very openly, I didn’t realize how many more ways there are to see everything, being in the clinic made me so aware of life that even in songs I used to listen to I pick up so much more now. I absolutely get what you’re saying about Chance The Rapper and Action Bronson, they are happy in a way that feels real and attainable, they have dark songs and experiences and dammit it feels human, it’s not exaggerated it’s not trying too hard. Even more so they’re ability to make pain less crippling, in Baby Blue, I love the heart break and break up  angst they draw from I mean we know it’s there and it hurts but the song sounds so good, it doesn’t sound frustrated or like that pain will make you cry. Childish Gambino is my emo black kid. I don’t know how people don’t say his music is depressing. I’m not sure what it is, maybe it’s not dark in a frightening way. I can’t put my finger on it.

It’s strange I think the clinic revived my ability to feel so music is more intense and even when I don’t relate I’m enjoying it or putting myself in the artist’s frame of mind.

Norman: What’s your take on female representation in hip hop? Like when you listen to an artist that you feel and then they say something misogynist like calling a woman bitch. I know it’s an age old problem but does that ever affect you? Do you have a line that you draw? How do you go about it?

Thandie: You know my feelings about that seem to change a lot depending on my state of mind or how much of a victim I feel like at the time. Sometimes it really bothers me because I almost take it personally because I’m a woman, and what an artist says can easily influence a collective perception of me or other women, that bothers me. It would be great if Bitch wasn’t thrown around so much and if “reclaiming” the term wasn’t such a futile effort for empowering women. What is sad though is that the greater part of me has been desensitised to the way that women are represented in hip hop because of how commonplace the hyper-sexualisation and objectification of women has become. I don’t know why I’ve learnt to ignore the demeaning misogynistic connotations of “bitch” and “hoe” in music from artists I like the most, it’s a little disturbing that 6 times out of 10 it won’t upset me. The effort to reclaim words that are demeaning and using them for empowerment seems very futile to me, when female artists celebrate the fact that they are “the bitch” or the “baddest bitch” it doesn’t feel like anything to be glorified, but I understand the intention, I respect it. In terms of drawing a line, it’s really blurry because sometimes I’m unaffected and sometimes I’m completely outraged by it. I can’t attribute the flip-flopping to anything specific.

In terms of another side of female representation in hip hop I find its frustrating that it feels like there’s a need to sell sex before you sell your art in order to get recognition, which isn’t true, one of my favourite female rappers at the moment is Little Simz, maybe because she isn’t selling sex first and maybe because she’s my age and telling stories I can relate to. She just shuts down the hyper-sexualised image of women in hip hop, she shows that that’s not all it has to be and brings it home to the music and connecting with listeners.



Norman: I very much felt the same and attempted to pen a piece about that and the way I hate that women rappers just ate into that whole oh eat my pussy, she’s a bitch, look at my tits rapping. And that’s unfair of me to say that because all that that is a reflection of how fucked up the scene is that women have to degrade themselves to that level in order to garner attention. Like it’s so unfair that in order to be mainstream that’s what needs to happen. Not to say that every woman rapper out there using her own agency over her body is playing into patriarchy it’s just… that’s kinda how I see it. but I like people like Syd Tha Kid of Odd Future, I know she’s not a rapper but for me man I love how she’s blurred gender lines and all of that and is just an artist. Sings what she wants. dresses how she likes, which is like a dude, but then she sings and she has the most amazing voice but not once are you thinking about “I wonder how fat her ass is”.. I dig that. Yeah at times being called a bitch by my favourite rappers irks me and I won’t listen to music that day. Honestly. Because it’s off putting. It’s degrading and I’m already having a tough day and then oh hey whoa, I’m a dumb money hungry bitch. It’s tiresome.

How do you feel about the local scene? Do you go out to see anyone when they are around? I love Okmalumkoolkat and his whole afro futurism style. It’s original. Its African it’s global and it’s just catchy

Thandie: I agree! I absolutely love when female artists blur gender lines and make issues like that insignificant, I eventually forget and just pay attention to the music.

The local commercial scene is saddening but a lot of the underground artists are amazing, their sound is so refreshing and I wish they’d get the exposure they deserve. Because if we are being honest the local sound we get from TV and radio stations is mostly tired and isn’t exciting anymore. If Soundcloud and YouTube didn’t exist I would honestly be stuck, I wouldn’t be able to listen to local artists I like, ones that don’t get radio air play but are twice as good as what’s constantly shoved into our ears on radio. Not to say that they aren’t good, they are but they paint a stand any picture of African Hip Hop.




I’m very drawn to Okmalumkoolkat’s vibe you are right, it’s very original I love that about it, that’s what I’m dying to see more of. It bites that the ones that sound original don’t get the credit they deserve.


Stop.

rapper's signs
  • aries:chance the rapper (april 16)
  • taurus:busta rhymes (may 20)
  • gemini:kanye west (june 8)
  • cancer:50 cent (july 6)
  • leo:chief keef (aug 15)
  • virgo:wiz khalifa (sept 8)
  • libra:lil wayne (sept 27)
  • scorpio:drake (october 24)
  • sagittarius:nicki minaj (december 8)
  • capricorn:raekwon (jan 12)
  • aquarius:big boi (february 1)
  • pisces:tyler the creator (march 6)
The signs as rappers
  • <p><b>Aries:</b> Tyler, The Creator<p/><b>Taurus:</b> Childish Gambino<p/><b>Gemini:</b> Eminem<p/><b>Cancer:</b> Chance The Rapper<p/><b>Leo:</b> Wiz Khalifa<p/><b>Virgo:</b> Earl Sweatshirt<p/><b>Libra:</b> Angel Haze<p/><b>Scorpio:</b> Nicki Minaj<p/><b>Sagittarius:</b> Kendrick Lamar<p/><b>Capricorn:</b> Kanye West<p/><b>Aquarius:</b> Watsky<p/><b>Pisces:</b> Frank Ocean<p/></p>