Last night, Atlanta-based god-hop emcee Sa-Roc dropped homemade visuals for "Queen's Philosophy," a song from her stellar Sol Messiah-produced LP Ether Warz, which has been garnering serious word-of-web traction - including 3,000 Facebook likes on her Bandcamp page - since the album's mid-December release. In fact, it's no longer available for free streaming on Bandcamp. To hear Ether Warz in its entirety, you'll have to grab a late pass and purchase it via her website now.
Here's why you should cop that if you haven't already: Sa-Roc is
arguably, no, easily one of the best lyricists out right now. No modifiers needed - not best Atlanta lyricist, or best female lyricist, or best conscious lyricist. Despite the fact that conscious rap has taken a huge hit over the last decade or so thanks to well-intentioned novice emcees who'd be of better service preaching behind a pulpit, Sa-Roc's method is straight-up microphone madness. With a message steeped in Five Percenter teachings, ancient kemetic wisdom, and metaphysical enlightenment, she can spit with the Gods. Yet she does so without coming off holier than thou. When she sat in on our female MCs roundtable last year, Sa-Roc, panel moderator Ms. Dia, and rest of the artists (Boog Brown, StaHHr, Lyric Jones, Khalilah Ali, Adrift Da Belle) talked about the need for lady emcees to carve out a space where they can be feminine without succumbing to rap's narrowly proscribed gender roles - i.e., the promiscuous ho or the manly dyke.
In the essay, Beats, Rhymes and Rap's Gender Gap, that resulted from that conversation, I used Nicki Minaj as the premise to talk about the need for an alternative to the hypersexualized industry standard. But in a recent essay of her own, titled "Why I'm Mad at Nicki Minaj," Sa-Roc breaks it down further, calling Minaj part of a self-hating racist agenda:
nicki won over our young with her colorful clothes, nails, and animation. and how clever was it to use a popular doll to lure in the adolescent girls, to create an identification using Barbie, a doll that for so many years already had little blacks girl longing for flowing straight hair and perfectly disproportionate bodies, perpetuating the painful heart of "the bluest eye", toni morrison's epic novel. nicki's blond wigs and blue contacts were helping to create a whole new generation of pecolas, hating themselves and craving the european aesthetics that would allow them to be loved and valued as beautiful. i knew that the MACHINE used artists as tools to keep the people down, stuck in a state of limbo, but the nicki agenda was coming at us with a vengeance. her songs were destructive mantras, repetitive sound bytes of negativity, "stupid hoe" being a prime example. here she calls her intended target a stunt double to a monkey while she crawls around in a cage. To think, we spent centuries being treated as subhuman, analyzed and ridiculed like animals by European "scientists" and voyeurs(research Sara Baartman) and she is willingly offering herself as subject. she is a living and breathing tool of white supremacy, supporting our schizophrenia by creating a schizophrenic character of her own, roman zolanski, a gay white boy who spews the most venomous lyrics against black women.
And for the "celebrity worshippers" who might dismiss Sa-Roc's critique by calling her a hater, she says:
i'm a lover of good music and i know and respect that every one's message or perspective won't be the same as mine. i love diversity of opinions and style, but i simply cannot tolerate this very intentional debasement of black women.
Sa-Roc is currently taking her Ether Warz tour up the East Coast, with a show scheduled for Brooklyn on March 31. She also has a new mixtape out on which she goes in over beats jacked from the likes of Drake, Common, Kanye and Jay-Z, Rick Ross, and Nas. And yes, you can get this one for free on her website.
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