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  • Writer's pictureRawiri James

Behind the Lyric: Kill The Music!!

In 2006, one of the greatest street poets, the illlmatically talented Nas, declared that hip-hop was dead. Although I didn't want it to be true, I couldn't help but agree with the sentiment.

The ubiquity of hip-hop in the early 2000s had pushed the culture to maximum saturation and while there was still great artists and material being produced, there was also room for disposable hits that felt offensive to me as a long-time fan.

"Legit, we need some hip-hop 100% authentic
You need a hit, a reason to not sit
It's the season, best believing they're killin' the music"

I won't tell you which 2007 snap hit it was that provoked me to write Kill the Music, but suffice to say, my intense dislike for it's mediocrity meant that it became the first - and so far, only - song to inspire me to respond to it.

Taking cues from some of the more colourful characters of mainstream hip-hop (Andre 3000 of Outkast, Busta Rhymes, Missy Elliott) and taking on a distinct, loquacious style, this song is maybe the most unique on my album Lost Boy.

Not only is it the lone all-rap song, but it's comedic approach, equal parts parody and emulation, makes it very different to the rest of them. It's also partly because it was written before any of the other songs and to me, it sounds like me at 18 years old. Direct, kinda arrogant... and it sounds like I have something to prove.

"In the crucial arts of hip-hop I am trained
Yous couldn'ta do better on yo' best day
You get my back hand if you don't clear the way
What can I say? It's a state of emergency
Remove the gloss off hip-hop it's an urgency
You will forever be a wannabe in infancy
You're killin' me, you're killin’ the music can't you see?"

I'm not the biggest fan of my vocal performance on this one but I do enjoy the lyrics and performing it live. Calling out "I'ma squash you like a sumo wrestler" on stage to an audience is a hell of a flex!

Ultimately too, it feels like a strong representation of me as a teenager, which is kinda cool. When you write your own songs, you get to soundtrack eras of your life and, as someone who is quite a different guy now to the 18-year-old Me, I like that he gets to keep Kill The Music all to himself.


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