"Video Trapped the Rapper" tour brings lyricism back to hip-hop
In Arabic, the verb "tableek" means to propagate or to speak the truth. Bronx-based emcee Tableek takes the concept very seriously. His current brainchild, the "Video Trapped the Rapper" tour is driven by the following manifesto: "Hip-hop is today at its most popular. At the same time, the essence of hip-hop, particularly the art of emceeing, is being washed over. Many would say the inception of over-priced, over-produced, misogynistic, and culturally depraved videos are contributing to this decline. Every video generally consists of a mass-produced carbon copy 'rapper' equipped with gun-toting lyrics, fake thug tales, allusions to famous 'rappers' cats don't know, and the biggest violation of all: biting."
Born and raised in Springfield, Massachusetts, Tableek gravitated to hip-hop at an early age. As a member of the critically acclaimed trio Maspyke he gained international notoriety as a lyricist and recently broadened his fan base with projects such as the Keynote Speaker Mix Tape Volume II. These days, Tableek is completing a pair of EPs, respectively titled American Terrorist and It's 2010, Time To Kill Whitey. He recently took time to reflect on the current tour.
"I wouldn't say it's anti-video or anti-bling," Tableek explains. "I would say it's more about opening the gates a little bit wider, about bringing hip-hop back to lyricism and not just a bunch of army chants. And not lyrics that are really 'I'll kick your ass' lyrics, but just insightful shit where there's something behind what you're listening to."
| Earatik Statik are among the acts joining forces for an underground hip-hop tour.
"What they're doing is a little bit different than what a lot of the people on the island are doing, which is mostly reggaeton," says Tableek. "They're bringing real hip-hop oriented beats, they just doing some stuff that I'm really liking on the beat level itself. I don't speak Spanish but when I hear them rhyme, I can feel what they're doing. I can feel the cadence, I can feel the flow, and all of that so I wanted to definitely do some stuff with them and get them out here and so far it's been good."
Also on the tour is 22-year-old Brooklyn, Bed-Stuy lyricist H the Great, who has quickly ascended to cult status in New York's underground circuit thanks to his hustle and wordplay. "One day I was at Fat Beats and H was outside selling CDs, cuz that's what he'll do out in the streets of New York, he sells CDs," Tableek says. "That's how he's trying to make a living. So I took his CD and went home and listened to it, and was like 'yeah, this is truth right here.' He got a unique flow, a unique way of laying down his rhymes in a way that's very picturesque. I could definitely relate to him on that. Ever since, we just been on the grind. He's just one of them people that deserves to be out there. He deserves to be heard so however I can help in that process that's what I'm a do."
| Tableek, Ciencia Fixión, H The Great, Earatik Statik, Dj Donnie D, and Scuba
9pm Fri, Apr 8 Sanctuary 1818 N. Main
Rounding out the bill is Chicago's exceptional Earatik Statik, who recently released its debut album titled Feeling Earatik. For Tableek, groups like these show promise for the future and make the grind worthwhile.
"It's so accessible now, which is cool, but I think there's also a lack of knowledge about this hip-hop thing that's out there that's just getting worse as time goes on," he explains. "I'm hoping that with this tour we can establish something that can take place on a yearly basis that will allow there to really be a focus on lyricism, and I don't mean just battling. Much respect to all of that, but I grew up really listening to people who were writers, people who would really sit down and construct these hip-hop songs and these anthems that were really saying something. I'm hoping that's what we can do with this." •
By M. Solis