First of all, R.I.P. Phife Dawg of the Legendary Zulu Nation Group, A Tribe Called Quest. This post is dedicated to you. Your clever rhyme style & delivery, sports references, and Trinidadian flavor will never be forgotten.
We, in the Culture salute you!
For those not familiar with his work, I suggest you purchase any and all Tribe Albums. The “Culture”, as “hip hop heads” sometimes refer to the genre of Hip Hop, has lost many great MC’s. You can research them on your own time, which I also suggest you do.
But Malik Isaac Taylor (Phife Dawg) stands out to me as one of the best because he comes from an era where writing rhymes was an art in itself and where individualism still held value. He stood his own, even out of the huge shadow cast by the talented Q-Tip, his partner in rhyme. Fast forward to today, not much of what you hear or read for that matter stands out.
I mean there is still really good stuff out there today. And in our current society where our time is minimal, our minds are taxed with insta this and snap that coming from every angle, content can be difficult to find but its out there. But I have a solution to help alleviate that search.
I think blog sites, small businesses, brands, and even forward thinking start ups should hire more MC’s to copy write and curate their social media content. Am I bias because I love Hip Hop? Fuck Yes I am. But here’s 3 valid reasons:
1. MC’s are insanely Analytical. At their peak, MC’s have the ability to condense vast amounts of data, philosophical theory, mathematics, jargon, sports, pop culture, history, etc. then add personal flare into briefs over syncopated rhythms. Like a poet, they get their message across providing word play, rhyming schemes with depth, and inspire thought. All signs of great writing, according to ‘Everybody Writes’ author, Ann Handley. Which is a great book for content creators and copy writers.
Furthermore, writing requires a balanced concentration between logic and creativity, let alone fitting it over a beat that will keep an audience’s attention for longer than a minute or 140 characters. MC’s also have that ability to reach audiences and do it in a cool way, which since I last checked keeps pop culture afloat. Overall, they say things logically with emotion, in a way that people can relate to or otherwise want to say but don’t know the art of saying “fuck the system”. Bold and precise, cunning and elusive in thought…
2. MC’s have an innate connection with the Social Consciousness. It’s almost Buddha-like in nature how they can capture what’s going on in the world across many cultures and convey a well scripted message in a way that connects people in a colloquial sense. Whether it be politics, religion, economics, social, or cultural, they seem to be up on things and are very expressive of their opinions.
And often their opinions are widely accepted views which is another strategy that businesses and brands shoot for. It’s all about return on investment and being in tune with your people or audience is a key factor in that strategy. Essentially, MC’s say the shit we all want to say but don’t know how.
3. As for translating their words into something cohesive, MC’s have the imagination and ingenuity to develop both acute & obtuse Concepts. I’ve literally sat and watched MC’s invent entire songs out of mass sheets of scattered papers. On those papers are what appears to be disorganized passages, but to them its an inkwell of grandiose ideology waiting to be transcribed into provocative I-Ching level food for thought. It’s pretty fucking amazing actually!
I can’t say if these intangibles can be taught. But I do know it takes practice, how many hours is debatable. I think its a combination of natural talent and motivation that can dictate the greatness of an MC/writer. I will tell you this though, if I started a business tomorrow I’d hire a dope MC to write my blog and curate my social media outlets. They’re street connected writers with ill concepts who possess a gift and a curse, a constant battle of left and right brain, and have microscopic eyes on their surroundings. Phife Dawg was one of the dopest MC’s to grab the mic, pen & pad, and had one of the most distinct record-able voices.
For the record, I’m no MC. But I’ve worked with hundreds in the last 20 years of producing beats which provides the insight for my post today. More importantly, MC’s can help grow your social media presence in a different and robust fashion.
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