I am currently nursing a bloody gash to the ear. Luckily, I managed a solid picture of the assailant. I am not his only victim. My ear-obsessed attacker appears to have sliced millions with a worrying frequency. Indeed, he works in tandem.
Weary of U.K defamation law, I’ll nevertheless name these men as rappers Akala, Lupe Fiasco and Plan B – each of which are among the most self-indulgent M.C’s ever to have plagued rap music.
Akala’s 2006 single Shakespeare, was a defining moment in U.K rap. It neatly stitched tales of the decline in inner-London with those by the nation’s greatest writer. Fast forward to 2012 and he has gone from being insightful to being an irritant. For 8 minutes Akala assigns himself the Enlightened Black Educator boasting about how he: “reading Malcom [x] aged nine" and “ definitely owns a library which costs more than your chain” on his Fire in The Booth freestyle.
And that is the problem with raps self-indulgers. Having started off as refreshingly gifted music makers, they now solely believe their own hype. To varying degrees of excess, these self indulgers now ply in the trade of: constantly reminding listeners of their intelligence, creating absurd stories of government conspiracy and sneering at other (more talented) rappers.
U.S rapper Lupe Fiasco proves a global ambassador for rap’s self-indulgers. His 2006 debut album Lupe Fiasco’s Food & Liquor was a 16 track gift from hip-hop Gods. Kick Push, American Terrorist and Sunshine unpackaged Lupe Fiasco as an insightful music maker, leading this Grammy nominated album to be hailed a "masterpiece of responsible rap" by The Washington Post. It is now 2012, and Fiasco has injected himself with poisonous doses of self regard. After decreeing President Obama a terrorist, Fiasco released what is said to be his last album before his much threatened retirement. This came in the form of Food & Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album Part One, a truly lackluster album that proves annoying in both its thematic pomposity and the rappers decision to choose a weighty 11 words for the title. Fiasco’s retirement couldn't come sooner.
Yet even if Fiasco were to hang up his mic today the attack of the self-indulgers would still continue. On this side of the Atlantic we have rappers such as Plan B and Lowekey gallantly braving to educate the great unwashed. Whilst over in the U.S Frank Ocean, a very fine music maker, is starting to show disturbing traces of self-indulgence.