I am absolutely thrilled to have the permission to play EL’s music for you. One of the best rappers in the world! Shit. Listen to the podcast here.
E.L touches on several topics in his music that resonate with themes that are recurring in my own life and thinking.
Someone who is attuned to nuances in how an artist delivers words, how sounds are layered, what words are used and how they are combined will hear that E.L’s music is heavy with information. This type of information leaves me with a (projected) idea of what state an artist is in and what parameters forms his or her world view.
Music is personal, and there is no doubt that my analysis of E.L’s music reveals just as much (or more) about me as it does of him. E.L also occasionally uses his lyrics to point out that we shouldn’t think we know him, not the real him. So I will keep my analyses on this web platform relatively shallow, at least until I figure out how I can translate emotive poetry from the intimate media of music to sentences on a screen. (I play music that allows me to connect – and that makes me scared to die because it’s so good. How can I combine that with the factual and analytical writing style I’ve been trained to practice through academia and art criticism?)
So, short analysis of one recurring theme in E.L’s music that I’m especially attentive towards these days:
What I hear is someone who is both strong and vulnerable in trying to deal with the pressure that comes with being in the spotlight and being in a competitive field; in trying to manage his time in a neo-liberal world where we’re expected to work, work, work, grow, achieve, compete and repeat – and how to combine that with having a family and people that just want our love and attention. Individualism and isolation versus community and care. And how to manage, limit and share your time, space (and face!) when your career is in the middle of the attention industry – and your time, space and face is currency.
And yeah, it was really hard to pick just one song for the podcast episode, so here are a few other suggestions.
4 songs that I love:
- I love how EL gives tribute and respect to his country in Wosop. With the song he practices his love for Ghana, and I feel him!
- As I crave going back to Ghana pretty much all the time, the feeling intensifies listening to Koko. It reminds me of how dance worked as a connector that brought people together wherever I went in Ghana. If you want to go beyond my personal anecdotes on Koko I recommend reading Ghanaian music journalist Gabriel Myers Hansen’s review of the song.
- I danced to Lalafalama and Wosa all summer, and did my best to do the Wosa dance challenge that was trending on Instagram.
- The storytelling in Nina! Nina and Annabelle makes me think of Eminem. You know? I don’t remember which songs, someone please remind me.
All links are directed to Spotify. I know most Norwegians have access but very few of my Ghanaian friends have Spotify so please let me know what will be a better platform to link to. Soundcloud?
Finally; do yourself a favour and listen through all of E.L’s albums when you have the time. Begin with the most recent, BVR, and then listen through all his BAR’s (Best African Rapper).