Modern artists have an awful lot of responsibilities forced upon them in today’s culture. We’ve always placed our trust in musicians to create something original to soundtrack our contemporary times, and 2018 has been a less than peaceful year around the globe. With so much chaos surrounding us from all angles, now more than ever we need music to get us through the stormy weather and guide us into a better time hopefully not too far down the road. Canadian rapper and songwriter Mike Ra wants to get us there, not tomorrow, not a year from now, but today. His new track “Dog$” has dropped and Mike has decided that the future is now; the harmonies of the 2010’s are dying, and a new breed of elaborately arranged, soul-inspired hip-hop is replacing the over-indulgence of big corporate rap.
I wasn’t a huge hip-hop fan until the late 2000’s. It took me a long time to be able to break down the complexities of rap’s most legendary tracks, and once I did, I couldn’t walk away from the content that I discovered. In a historical timespan shorter than almost any other genre, hip-hop has managed to completely alter our pop culture in almost every single way, from fashion to filmmaking and beyond. Mike Ra has stayed true to the humble roots of his forerunners and has avoided letting his craft become overtly forward in its presentation. As much as the establishment might want you to believe that you’ve got to be grandfathered into the system to ever make an impact on the scene, indie rappers like Mike are the ones proving them wrong every time they enter the studio and cut singles like “Dog$” completely fat cat-free. Todayit’s blowing up college radio, and the possibilities of tomorrow are endless when you consider that there’s no marketing department to hold him back.
I’m not sure where pop music is going to go in the next few years, and it’s literally impossible to predict what direction trends will take our overall culture as we move into a new era of sound and artistry. But if there is one thing is not debatable in the entire conversation that surrounds the forthcoming revolution in music, it’s that it will be led by artists who are inclined to believe as much in tradition as they do in the capabilities of the future. Who cares about predicting what will happen next when there’s so much to celebrate right now, in this moment? 2018 isn’t everything that we had hoped it would be in terms of providing some sort of watershed that we can look to as a means of guessing where we’re all going to end up sonically, but at least there’s jams like “Dog$” to get us over the hump that we’re facing at the moment. Think about what life would look like without music that celebrates the vibrancy of humanity. Would you want to live in that space? I have a hard time imagining that you could.