Kanye West and Gang Starr honor Black fathers in new videos

Rap music has been the voice of hip-hop culture. Ideas, concepts and ways of thinking have been sculpted from the litany of verses that have flooded the airwaves. 

Biggie and Tupac are always at the top of the list when we discuss the culture. Both of them are the product of single parent homes. We laud their greatness and honor their contributions. When they met their demise their mothers stood for them. Afeni Shakur and Voletta Wallace kept the memory of their sons alive.“Dear Mama” is arguably one of Tupac’s most impactful songs and is an anthem for single mothers around the world.. 

The story seems all to familiar. Rapper grows up in a single parent home without a father and everything they do is to support the family and honor their mother. This is not a bad thing however; where are the fathers? 

In 2013 The Centers for Disease Control reported that 72 percent of births were to unmarried non-hispanic Black women. This statistic lacks nuance and does not tackle the effects of mass incarceration and poverty in Black communities.This same study shows that Black men who live with their children or not living with their children are still more active participants in the lives of their children than any other race overall.

Kanye West recently released the video for his song “Follow God” from his most recent release Jesus is King. The voice of Pastor Dr. Kerwin B. Lee opens the video as we watch Kanye and his father Ray West make their way to an ATV in the snow. Pastor Lee explains how fearful his children were the first time they encountered snow and how he instructed them to walk in the footprints he made in order not to have any fear. The video closes with note from Kanye “My dad came to visit me at one of our ranches in Cody, Wyoming,” it reads. “He talked about his love for fishing, and how he would come here in the summers. It took me 42 years to realize that my dad was my best friend. He asked me, ‘how many acres is this?’ I told him 4000. He replied with these three words: ‘A black man?’”

 

The narrative is changing. Legendary rap group Gang Starr just released the video for their song “Bad Name” off of the latest project One of the Best Yet. In the video we watch Guru’s son Keith Casim shave off his hair in order to play the part of his father who has since passed on. 

The importance of Black fathers can’t be overstated and let’s hope this trend of honoring Black Fathers continues.

 

Is Gang Starr’s latest project ‘One of the Best Yet’?

The legendary hip-hop group Gang Starr released One of the Best Yet and it is a welcome addition to an overall underwhelming 2019 when it comes to new rap music. DJ Premier is the only surviving member of Gang Starr. Keith Edward Elam also known as GURU (Gifted Unlimited Rhymes Universal) died on April 10, 2010. This project comes 16 years after their last official release The Ownerz.

DJ Premier puts his best foot forward when paring Guru’s posthumous verses with current features. Before the official project was released, Dj Premier dropped the single “Family and Loyalty” featuring J. Cole. Guru’s voice rings prominently on the song and J. Cole steps in with possibly one of the best features of the year as he raps “J. Cole..Who’d a thought I woulda been rhyming with ghosts Guru flows forever like a diamond and most.. could never afford the precious jewels.. that’s precisely why I’m blessing you.. with clear cut messages.. I’m destined to.. invest in urban sections where depression rules.”

One of the Best Yet provides the listener with the raw boom bap DJ Premier production as a result Guru’s lyricism still cuts through even in these times. On “Business or Art” featuring Talib Kweli, Guru raps “Heres one for Spin, Billboard and Rollingstone hip-hop is so organic it will grow on its own, we watch em throw money at it with clout and power, but after a while things faded out and went sour.” Many would say that this sour space that Guru is speaking of is where we are right now. This is exactly why One of the Best Yet is so refreshing because it’s just real rap with no filler or gimmicks.

The standout songs on this album are “Lights Out (feat. M.O.P.)” “Hit Man (feat. Q Tip)” “Family and Loyalty (feat. J. Cole)” and “Get Together (feat. Ne-Yo & Nitty Scott)

Have you heard One of the Best Yet? What do you think?

Check out the video for “Family and Loyalty” off of the One of the Best Yet below

Listen to/Buy Speak Life by Precise below.