Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve always been a fan of dark voices that tell sad stories. Cookie monster was my favorite Sesame Street character, which later developed into a huge crush on Tom Waits, that says a lot I think.
I personally believe that music should be about honest emotions, be it happiness, love or sadness. The latter must be one of the hardest to write and perform. I think that’s why I’m so obsessed by it. When I was a teenager I only listened to hiphop, the likes of MF Doom, Guru and Biggie all blared from my speakers. They all had their own distinguished dark voices and woeful stories. Now and again the old spark of hiphop influenced music catches alight again, like a year and a half ago when Tyler The Creator released his single Yonkers. Finally a beautiful dark voice with equal dark lyrics and a even darker video clip came on the scene. And around the same time Ghostpoet stole my heart with his beautiful sarf London accent and poetical lyrics.
This year a couple of new kids took over when Tyler became an obnoxious little teenage boy with an attitude bigger than his talent and we’re still waiting in vain for Ghostpoet’s second album.
The 15 year old Haleek Maul for instance. The boy is from Barbados. You almost think he’s an albino, since why the hell would you otherwise make such mournful and dark songs when your living on a tropical island. I don’t know what this dude experienced in his life but it sure as hell makes his music sound good. It’s crazy that a 15 year old boy is setting an example for rappers worldwide for how hiphop should sound nowadays. His tracks Fraulein and Inebriated are pure beauty: lyrics, beat, atmosphere. Everything is right.
“I’m a huge nerd. I’ve been on the internet since I was around eight, at least. I’ve seen it all. I was making my own beats ever since I was 11. I’ve been planning this project since I was 12, 13.”
The more popular Petite Noir is a chap from South Africa and is a little lighter than his little brother from Barbados, but his voice is still dark enough for me. He’s the front man of Popskarr an electronic band. The production of his solo project is easier on the ear than Haleek’s and it has a catchiness to it. Noir Wave is his self-titled genre. He has only released two tracks but it’s very promising, so keep an eye on this one.
“So nothing is ever going to be normal. And I think that it’s what music is meant to be like. People try too hard to be genre-less that they end up making bullshit or just being as generic as everyone else.”
And there is the band Algiers, it’s more from a blues influence than hiphop, but isn’t everything! The track “Blood” goes right through your blood, real proper music, that reminds me of Odetta’s Waterboy. The crying guitar gives you the feeling that it’s being tortured. In a good way that is.
“Blood is really a distillation of this feeling of frustration, and a reassertion of world solidarity in the face of economic globalisation”.