If there’s one thing I’ve learned from watching Star Rapper is that our collective judgment of artists seems to be based less in technical, specific attributes of the work they produce and more in the aura we feel they should take. On the show, the judges are obsessed with how rappers must have ‘attitude’. Why they should, what this attitude should be, why this is limiting, or who really cares is not addressed. I was annoyed for a while, but over time I’ve become more comfortable accepting it as an accurate reflection of how anyone is ever judged. This is all a way of saying that it doesn’t really matter what exactly is happening in music, all that seems to make a difference is whether it makes us feel feels.
I look at this new Hasan Raheem video, and it’s just him on an unadorned set trying to untie some rope. Nothing really happens in the video. He says the word miracle kind of funny, but other than that what appears from the lyrics is not a story but a mood. Like most good pop songs, the words don’t really add up. In short, it’s hard to specify what is happening but it is dripping with feels.
Hasan’s appeal is that he oozes confidence. He switches languages and metaphor so easily it has to be wrong, but he does it so smoothly that it doesn’t matter. In fact what is conventionally wrong becomes what is novel and pioneering. Because underneath the monochrome visuals and the gentle electronica, is a charismatic appeal that makes you believe that this sound is saying something you needed to hear. And maybe this effortless randomness is not just novel, but a representation of something so embedded within us that it is impossible not to embrace.