In an era of seemingly endless trap-centric, autotune-driven releases, rapper Abel Meri offers a refreshing reboot of lyrical prowess, packed with moving and timely social commentary.
Historically, rap music has long been the voice of the oppressed. The 1980s brought us Grandmaster Flash, Public Enemy and NWA. The 1990s brought us De-La-Soul, A Tribe Called Quest and Black Star. More recently, the likes of Lupe Fiasco, J. Cole and Kendrick Lamar have carried that mantle. Now you can add Abel Meri to the list.
Going against the grain for rap artists, Abel prides himself on avoiding profanity in his music. A “conscious” rapper, Abel’s subject matter is introspective and insightful. The DMV rapper has recently released a steady onslaught of socially inspired tracks that are reflective of the current news cycles.
Amidst the public outrage, civil unrest and protests triggered by the tragic deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Rayshard Brooks, Abel has unleashed a rare burst of creativity that has brought about some truly notable timepieces.
His latest EP “#BLM” is an inspired and truthful discussion of civil rights and police brutality, set against the backdrop of the Black Lives Matter movement.
In addition to “#BLM”, Abel has also released several socially conscious singles including “Glory”, a soulful track that cleverly encapsulates both the recent and historic inequities that have stained the idea of what The American Experiment was intended to be. “Truth to Power” is a high-energy track that conveys palpable frustration at the lack of accountability of elected leadership. “Right A Wrong” provides a well reasoned expression of grievances that points out hypocrisy in an indefensible way. Heartfelt and intellectually honest, these tracks dig beyond the surface to connect the dots between cause and effect.
In these troubling and polarized times, civil discourse is a rare yet necessary vehicle to bring about substantive reform. These tough and uncomfortable conversations need to be had, and music is a great place to start. As hip hop has grown to become the most influential modern art from, therein lies a great opportunity, and moreover, a responsibility for artists to use their voices and platforms to effect positive societal change. Prominent rap artists including T.I., Killer Mike, Wale and Meek Mill have been very vocal and active in using their art and influence to inform and mobilize their audiences.
In order to close the undeniable divide along racial, political and socioeconomic lines, it requires a keen awareness and willingness from all stakeholders. The contributions of artists and celebrities to highlight injustice and bring awareness to worthy causes is a valuable catalyst for change.