Update: Born

‘The old world is dying and the new world struggles to be born. Now is the time of monsters.’

— Antonio Gramsci

It is nearly a year since the world premiere of my debut EP, ‘Born’. Since then, I have released across streaming platforms the debut single from that EP, ‘First Time’, and uploaded all five tracks from the EP to SoundCloud, pending the official release of the EP in the near future. I have also released music from future projects which are coming soon. I am thrilled to have worked with Joe Stones on a remix of ‘First Time’ and seen The Captain’s own remix of the song released on SoundCloud. I have released music videos for songs from Born and its follow-up LP, with songs like ‘Beast’ catching up with songs like ‘First Time’ on TikTok, YouTube, and other platforms.

Artwork by Denis Istomin.

Wambop as a global genre is progressing apace. Blackpink’s Born Pink World Tour, announced following the early autumn release of their renamed album (following extensive blogging on Blackpink and my own Born musical project alike on this blog), has been a smash hit. Meanwhile hip hop remains tethered to such luminaries as Kendrick Lamar, while controversy surrounds the beating heart of the genre around such pop/hip hop/art piece cross-over leaders as Ye, the artist formerly known as Kanye West. Meanwhile pop music falls short of expectations as Taylor Swift and Drake release sub-par albums in 2022, while Billie Eilish and Rihanna take a lower profile as middle-tier artists claim the spotlight for the albums of 2022, such as rising star Sabrina Carpenter. The Netflix TV show Wednesday brought dark themes back into the aesthetic space, with leading actors Jenna Ortega and Emma Myers announcing their love for K-Pop groups like Seventeen. The worldwide wambop movement has begun, even as the era of hip hop reaches a culmination — as Rihanna looks set to take the world by storm at her Superbowl Halftime return performance, following last year’s hip hop top five lineup of Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, 50 Cent, Kendrick Lamar, and Eminem — with Mary J. Blige providing R&B vocals to bring the house down.

What could possibly be the space for my humble alternative music in this commercialised pop space? Wambop now is what hip hop was before it became fully mainstream; a peripheral possibility, a hope and a dream. But capitalism needs to actualise such possibilities lest it fall prey to the potentiality for revolutionary change. And to anticipate such class conflict, the sands of trade will allow what is peripheral to become mainstream, and will yield a new step-change in what is aesthetically dominant in the culture. But this change could always, as with the glorious 2008-10 moment in popular music, bring substance along with the new style, following the Trojan Horse model of Homeric fantasy in this brave new reality. I wonder what will happen. To quote Lil Wayne’s ‘President Carter’:

The future is born — put the past in a casket.

— Lil Wayne, The Carter IV

‘Of course’, we must answer to his injunction, but also — as the nostalgic in us all must reply: ‘not yet.’

Perhaps we don’t have to choose, and we can move forward by returning to the one from whence we emanate (to echo the refrain of neo-Platonism in the declining Roman Empire). But even to reach this conclusion, great time it may take. The future is waiting to be born — but we, in the present, have not yet found peace with the past. Until we do, the true resolution to our common crisis without end will be postponed. This is a time of change. But are we ready? We just have to wake up. Easier said than done …

If you want to hear more, sign up to my mailing list. Have a good 2023 everyone.

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