The Audience Of One
Hip Hop is an art form that allows you to express yourself in different ways. Some rappers are cool and laid back in their flow or delivery like Jay Z while some others may be a bit agressive or vehement like DMX. Whatever style you prefer is great but one thing that every rapper desires is an audience with a postive feedback.
The culture also gives room for different forms of reactions while the rapper performs. For example, some in the audience might choose to just nod or bump their heads in affirmation when they feel the lyrical dexterity of the artiste. Others may move or sway from side to side to let the artiste know that they are feeling the vibe his delivering. Then there are the great cheerleaders who throw their hands in the air and wave it like they just don’t care as soon as the artiste comes on the mic. These guys will ‘die’ for the artiste, they are his hard core fans who show up in every show just to let the artiste know that they are always there to support.
It’s great to be appreciated for the art that you do and the love is always naturally reciprocated but what happens when this ‘love’ is not shown by anyone in the crowd. How does it affect the psyche of the artiste? Does it mean he is whack? Or maybe they are not just feeling him.
As a Kingdom Emcee, I had a long struggle with this feeling. At certain shows, people show me love by giving the afore-mentioned feedbacks but in other shows some people do not move a muscle. They just look at you like “When dis one show?”, “Abi him think sey him na MI?”. It was difficult performing and not seeing the expected feedback I would have desired because people will naturally compare you to someone greater in their own estimation like you would never get better with the craft. How did I overcome this fear of not being loved as an emcee?
I tried focusing on just one person in the crowd who will just “feel me” but that was not good enough because on certain occasions there was no one who knew me so they automatically didnt “feel me”. I found out much later that this music is for the audience of One. The One who created me. He also gave me this gift to be a blessing to others. To tell my story through bars and punchlines. He gets the glory through it all and not them. Now i’m not worried about being “felt” or not, I just go to every show and kill it with the same passion because i know who is ultimately listening. My album “Raynaissance” drops May 28th, hope you show me some love.