Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Rebel Rap: A Mix of Haitian Rap Kreyol

A good friend of mine is, like myself, a graduate student in literature. Over the past several years, her regard for the academic world has visibly waned, replaced by a growing fascination for creative expression and Eastern religion. Her waning regard turned into open disgust, however, in a recent Facebook post, in which she bemoaned the university conferences on Haiti that were being organized in the wake of the island's recent earthquake disaster. Look at these sad academics, my friend opined, all they can do is organize conferences instead of really helping, really changing, really acting. To her this only underscored the stuffy pointlessness of the university.

It must be said here that action is never the point of the university. Conferences and papers and peer-reviewed journals can never take the place of, say, an immense international rescue effort designed to minimize the ravages of a nationwide disaster. The university can't be criticized for being itself, it is responding to the news of the day in its own language, that's exactly its task. So is the task of the DJ in this situation. Will a mix of Haitian rap save a life? Maybe, actually, if listening to it reminds you that you should donate to the relief effort. Is the point of the mix to save a life? No. the point of the mix is to respond to the events in Haiti in its own language, in music language.

Props to our friend Still Life for assembling some nasty-ass tracks. Enjoy.

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