Saturday, March 19, 2011

Emcee of the Month: Jean Grae

I've been listening to Jean Grae interviews on youtube for about an hour now and honestly, I could listen to her all night long. Really. Rarely have I seen an emcee who can converse with such a balance of wit, intelligence, humility, insight, and confidence. Most stick to their shtick and have limited ability to communicate the subtleties and nuances of their personalities. Perhaps it has something to do with a fear or apprehension of seeming vulnerable or weakened.

Not Jean.

She invites us into the frailties and idiosyncrasies of who she is just enough to keep us wanting more. We get a sense of how she observes her world and what drives her. It's actually incredibly enticing. Since the business of hip hop music is such a male driven industry, the usual pattern of women emcees is to mimic the way the dudes navigate the culture. But Jean embraces her femininity, which allows her to seem much more grounded in life and work.

There is a lack of recent interviews featuring Jean on youtube (I wonder why.) but I was able to find clips from what seemed to be many different moments throughout her career. I was fascinated to see how she's evolved in the way she talks about her art and life. Here I'll be posting the most recent video I found, but I encourage you to scroll back and check out some of her earlier words. She's a sophisticated person and her journey is wonderfully colorful.


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