Published on April 4th, 2017 | by John Magee0
MSC’s March Hip Hop Listening Party
Florida Southern’s Multicultural Student Council held a listening party March 30 dedicated to rapper Noname, and specifically listened to songs off her debut mixtape “Telefone.”
The MSC’s official goal with these listening parties is to “treat hip hop as a kind of poetry that give us the valuable experiences of oppression, suffering, and joy. And through this philosophical insight we hope to build solidarity based on empathy.”
Before listening to any of the songs on the album, MSC Vice President Derrick Jean-Baptiste wanted to provide important background regarding Noname’s personal life that had an important influence on her music. He explained how the artist’s grandmother was from Mississippi, a state that is frequently brought up in many of the songs on this album.
Jean-Baptiste also elaborated on why the album was called “Telefone,” and why there are is a diverse selection of featured artists present on the tracks.
“The album is called Telefone because all of the songs here are based on real phone conversations she had,” Jean-Baptiste said. “That’s why a lot of the songs are duets and go back and forth between artists.”
With this important information out of the way, MSC began listening to the mixtape of all 10 songs in the order they appear on the album. First was the song “Yesterday,” a sad song about death of Noname’s grandmother.
After each song the group would reconvene to talk about the message the artist was trying to convey in the song, what meaning any of the students personally got from the song, and then discuss the themes brought up within the lyrics.
H.A. Nethery, who has a doctorate in philosophy and teaches the subject at FSC, talked about how “Yesterday” was about death and how people are remembered after they die.
The next track,“Sunny Duet”, is about both love and the significance of a name. This song sparked conversation about the significance of Noname’s chosen title.
“It could be in relation to the Trans-Atlantic slave trade,” Nethery said. “Where the whole process was about stripping the slaves of any identity.”
Another song that MSC really conversed about,“Casket Pretty,” is a rap the artist herself has explained is about police brutality. The song sparked a lot of discussion within MSC about not just this controversial topic but also how other artists deal with the same issue.
Nethery brought up “Thieves! (Screamed the Ghost)” by Run the Jewels which talks about what life would be like if the ghosts of all victims of police brutality could be seen. The song ends with a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. about the conditions that form riots.
Jean-Baptiste brought the discussion back to Noname by talking about how this song really convinces him that the theme of this mixtape is not just death but also life and how the two are so strongly intertwined.
Once the listening party had ended, MSC talked about two fundraisers it currently has going on–a Chipotle night where students can go to Chipotle and tell the restaurant that they are there for MSC, and a portion of the proceeds will go to the club.
The second fundraiser MSC is doing is selling Easter baskets for Love Unlimited. Love Unlimited is a non-profit foundation that gives school supplies to underprivileged children in Jamaica. The baskets cost $10 and will be available to order until April 17.