“[Magical Realism is] what happens when a highly detailed, realistic setting is invaded by something too strange to believe.”
-Prf. Matthew Strecher
“Bitch I’m Murakami.”
-Yung Lean, “Hurt”
Did you know Lean was on Hip Hop Heads a while back?
He recommended three songs from his discography, so I listened to those too. ^^
Man. I feel like this kid knows what he’s doing.
In a bout of what I can only call coincidence you chose these tracks right while I was in the midst of 1Q84, which makes me feel sort of like I’m in a work of fiction. But there is such a thing as the right place at the right time.
First, “Gatorade.” That beat is unreal. I see why he got so much recognition for it, and I give props to Yung Gud. Lean is not necessarily the strongest wordsmith to me–shots fired. But his phrasing and his tone are where the interest lies. Cloud Rap, I feel, has an awesomely poetic name–because everything about it is nebulous.
He makes me feel like I’m not in a reality. Like I’m floating in space with all the gravity of Io, like there’s nothing holding me down to this earth except my inclination not to take LSD. It’s for this reason that I say he knows what he’s doing when he says he’s Murakami.
I think Cloud Rap achieves the same thing as Magical Realism in that there’s nothing to hold us down to reality when the unbelievable happens. I think there’s also that longing and search for identity present when this sadboy puts in visuals where he’s surrounded by Japanese characters that he undeniably does not understand (there was some hangul in there, did you catch it?)
“Hurt” and “Kyoto” are a great pairing because it is this fascination with identity and the nebulousness of life that invariably very Eastern feeling. Lean is pretty into Japanese culture (he totally seems like an otaku). I mean where else have you seen a rap with Charmeleon in it? And his obsession with Pokemon all but points to the adoption of Japanese culture into the mainstream (did you know Pokemon is the second most successful game media based franchise in the world? Second only to Mario. Now that’s some global movement).
Hip Hop is always about the real, the what’s-realer-than-real. But Lean is going for the kill. There is no real. Everyone’s reality exists in the mind. Everything is concrete and in a state of suspension, nothing is concrete and the more we try and depict how bizarre and amorphous this life is, the more real it gets. So in a way, Lean is the realest.
This pick was grrrrrreat.