I Am HIP HOP

FB_IMG_1470257826619.jpg
First thing first, shout-out to the pioneers
Without their work, we’d have no careers
Quit my job, became my own marketeer
Started from a blog, one-man team, now we fuckin here
Before I brag about my deeds, respect to the engineers
The designers, the architects- Nyirarumaga, Biggie and Pac
And every storyteller laying their soul on every track
You all put art in my heart, I put poetry in rap
From my early start, I just wanna give back
Design thinking till life imitates art
This is only a spark of a young star
It’s going dark when I go all lights
My bars are lit, put some welding glasses on or go blind
I’m a rare phenomenon like the eclipse, watch how you view me
Don’t mistake my silence for an ellipse when you review me
I aim at everything you say I am, if you thought you knew me
By the time you’re done defining me, it’s already a new me
I invite you to judge me, maybe you’ll see your own insecurity
Wish I could be your mirror but I bet you’d choose the selfie
Self worth is self-given or else it’s worthless, I pick what’s healthy
My spirit is so wealthy, all the Rothschild money cannot buy me
I’m priceless with a bank account constantly empty
I quit writing commercials to write my destiny
I gave up my Swatch, Irony, I gained in time
Now the world’s on my watch like a sentinel full-time
Look in the sky, I’m a hawk holding the message tight in my claws
I ain’t got no time for tiny beefs, I don’t fight small wars
Only Rwanyonga’s curving arrows would make me fall
Before you know I metamorphose, I’m a fly on your wall
Feasting on every shit that’s dope, I’m anti-AI, pro recycle
My recitals revive memories of lost souls
Call me a psycho but we all talk to dead people
You say “Rest in peace” I say “Rest in power or return for yours”
My poetry is traditional medicine for those looking for hope
It’s bitter just like the life of survivors trying to cope
With the hole in our souls that cannot be filled with alcohol
Cold hearts know no sunny holidays in these area codes
If your back’s against the rope, catapult and soar
It’s fucked up at the bottom when you got no condom
And this sick crazy bitch called life trynna fuck you live
Sometimes I wonder how many times one has to survive
To make it in this life before crossing to the other side
Millennials waiting for a white savior then I realized
Just like the devil, Jesus is a lie
At least the devil is in the detail
Well Jesus in the Bible retail
You know what those entail- Fantasy for sale
I’m breaking bad like Mr. White, about to go Heisenberg
This is just the intro like the tip of my pen is the tip of the iceberg
My vision is so clear it feels like a premonition
I got no reason to fear my final destination
I’m the architect of my dreams, this is my inception
They raise buildings, I build minds – perception
I talk fusion, they hear collision at the intersection
Confusion, not just my words, my actions are lost in translation
You can’t see through the crack yet, wait till I blow the wall
I’m coming out with a black belt, the system is about to crumble
Africa, rise, planet of the apes, I’m proud to be a Cesar
If time is a female, I’m about to seize her
I speak truth to power, I’m not a pleaser
What did you think this shit was? H.I.P H.O.P
H for His story, Her story, they’ll be told, by any means necessary
I for I coz nobody can fight for my mine like I
P for Power, knowledge or money, whatever it takes to get respect
H for Honor, for we’re kings and queens; not slaves or objects
O is for the oath that goes beyond the physical dimension
P for Progress even when it seems slow, it’s better than no motion
#1key

Eric 1Key – after the ‘Expericment’

Published on December 04, 2016 by Moses Opobo for the New Times

I was already familiar with Opobo’s work, which he shared on his Facebook page and we even got deeper after a few arguments related to how I view the work of entertainment journalists in Rwanda. He is absolutely right when he says;

The slam poet, rapper and blogger has cultivated another parallel reputation over the years – ranting. So much so that, day in, day out, he has to contend with the frequent question: “Eric, why do you like to criticize?”

When he asked me to meet him so we could discuss about my work, I said to myself, “I hope he did his research.” Indeed he did and we had a good couple of hours delving into the #Expericment series.

Basically it was testing the waters to see what business model could work out, and 1Key stretched his imagination and creativity to the limit. In all, he did four Expericment shows staged at different venues in Kigali, each with a different theme and concept; from politics to sex to identity.

Read More…

Thank you, Mr. Opobo for your interest in my work, and rants 🙂

All the best!

Entre 2 album review: En Root

Track 11: En Root (“In Root/En Route”)

The album’s message of a united humanity – which 1Key expresses in his previous song Universoul – nicely leads us into Entre 2’s reggae song: En Root (“In Root”). Over bouncy rhythms, the album’s entre deux (“between two”) motif persists until the end. As the title of the song suggests, 1Key is “in root”. The poet’s journey completes a full circle when he returns to his search for a connection to his “untraceable” roots. In the hook, 1Key sings in English:

“Take me to the roots of my family tree

Lead me to the truth and set me free

Save me from the dark, my world is full of lies

My shining star…”

1Key reveals that he emerges himself in technology “in order to get close to strangers/Hoping that the world will be better if we just accept to mix.” (Translated from French to English) The artist unsuccessfully tried to find himself through religion, race, ethnicity, nationality, traditions, and profession. In the end, 1Key tells us:

“I decided to embrace the fact that I’m this mass, or rather this mess that absorbs whatever the world throws at it, you know?

Who or what I am is no longer a big deal

I’m here and that’s all that matters…”

Breaking away slightly from his heritage, 1Key tells us that he has reinvented his personality. Rather than “in root”, he is now “en route”; the poet has “put the pieces together” and is on a new universoul journey…

entre-2_one-key_appreciations.png.png

With that, the piece transforms into 1Key’s appreciation song. The artist thanks his Grandfather, his mother, his aunties and his Uncle Faustin, who raised 1Key with his Grandfather. He also thanks his son. 1Key thanks music producers Barick, Junior Kafi, and Joe. He shows appreciation to the artists featured in the album: Dady Cassanova, Samy Kamanzi, Ricky Password, Brian Corpus, Jason Ntaro, Nono (Mhinganzima), and Natacha. He also thanks Tony Mwesigwa and Reniout Dujardin for “the amazing job on the cover”, and the founders of Spoken Word Rwanda (Diana and Betty) and Kwivuga Kampala (Nunu – who is also Rwandan). 1Key gives thanks to living legend Cecile Kayirebwa and her son Eric Soul, as well as Nelson, who invited 1Key to perform in Rwanda’s KigaliUp Festival for the first time. He thanks his colleagues and friends (Dorene, Colin and Josh) and members of Ze Clew: Kaneza, Fiona, Leah, PK, Dan, Gladys and Sam. Ze Clew is a WhatsApp group, with members from Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania. 1Key told me: “It’s a friendship group. The idea is for us to assist each other when travelling between these countries”.

Now here is my opportunity to thank you Eric 1Key! As an “outsider” in a country where privacy, distrust and caution have become normalised, I will be forever grateful for meeting you. Our first “interview” lasted for five intense hours! Since then, you have gifted me with many more hours of your time. Those were extremely busy days for you, with full time work, parenthood and preparation for your first live show. But patiently you helped me to translate all eleven tracks on your album. Your direct and open approach to discussion has taught me more than I could have imagined. It’s been a privilege; it’s been a lot of fun! Thank you for trusting me with your words.

Thank you, Merci, Murakoze!

Ceri Whatley

PhD African Studies/Anthropology of Music

University of Birmingham, UK

AHRC-M3C

 

Entre 2 is available on Soundcloud – Entre2 and for sale on digital stores iTunesSpotify, and Amazon. 

Eric 1key is very active on social media where you can find him discussing and debating all kinds of things. For updates and live info, follow Eric1key on Twitter: @eric1key, Facebook: Facebook/eric1key, Soundcloud: soundcloud.com/eric1key or email for bookings at ericonekey@gmail.com

 

_______

Song lyrics and translations

En Root (“In Root”  [Track 11 on Entre 2 album]) 

Prod. Barick (Kigali). Vocals: Yego Studio (Kampala); English, French.

[Intro] [Intro]
Alright! Entre2 has been a beautiful journey Alright! Entre 2 has been a beautiful journey
Yeah. Lots of discovery Yeah. Lots of discovery
So I thought maybe we could take another small trip So I thought maybe we could take another small trip
What do you say? Right? Come with me What do you say? Right? Come with me
[Hook] [Hook]
Take me to the roots of my family tree Take me to the roots of my family tree
Lead me to the truth and set me free Lead me to the truth and set me free
Save me from the dark, my world is full of lies Save me from the dark, my world is full of lies
My shining star My shining star
Take me to the roots of my family tree Take me to the roots of my family tree
Lead me to the truth and set me free Lead me to the truth and set me free
Save me from the dark, my world is full of lies Save me from the dark, my world is full of lies
My shining star My shining star
Woyooo Woyooo
Woyooo Woyooo
[Verse1] [Verse1]
C’est le retour d’âge d’un adulte prématuré It’s the mid-life crisis of a premature adult
Les boots dans l’asphalte, en route, le parcours est inauguré I’ve got my boots on the road, en route, the journey has begun
Les yeux dans les étoiles, je cours après mon ombre My eyes are lost in the stars, I’m running after my shadow
Car retracer mon histoire c’est recoller les décombres Because walking on the path of my history, the whole of it is putting the pieces together
Mes traces ressemblent aux marques des pieds sur la plage My traces look like footprints in the sand
Aussi belles qu’elles paraissent, elles disparaissent avec la vague Although beautiful, they disappear with the waves of the ocean
Racines intraçables, je suis superficiel comme une algue My roots are untraceable, I’m superficial like algae
C’est haut du gratte-ciel que je cherche la base du baobab It’s from the top of a sky scraper that I’m looking for the base of the baobab
Sur cet arbre généalogique, je ne sais sur quelle branche m’accrocher On this genealogy tree, I don’t know which branch to hang on
Donc je me livre à la technologie pour me rapprocher des étrangers So I emerge myself in technology to get closer to strangers
Espérant le monde sera mieux si on acceptait tous de se mélanger Hoping that the world will be better if we just accept to mix
A peine la troisième generation des peuples soumis It’s only the third generation of a subjugated people
L’histoire de ma nation reste fondée sur un mythe The foundation of my nation’s story is a myth
Je crois pas qu’on ait apparu comme en un jour des champignons I don’t believe we appeared one day like mushrooms
C’est pourquoi je cherche mes souches comme le noyau de l’oignon This is why I’m looking for my layers, even though it seems like peeling an onion
 —
On perd la voie de nos ancêtres, l’occident profite We lose the way of our ancestors, and the West benefits from this
On se vend aux enchères depuis que le dollar est notre devise We auctioned ourselves since the dollar became our currency
Main d’oeuvre bon marché, l’Afrique reste en crise Man power is very cheap, so Africa’s economy remains in crisis
Les Etats se multiplient plus on se divise Countries multiply the more we divide
 —
[Hook] [Hook]
Take me to the roots of my family tree Take me to the roots of my family tree
Lead me to the truth and set me free Lead me to the truth and set me free
Save me from the dark, my world is full of lies Save me from the dark, my world is full of lies
My shining star My shining star
Take me to the roots of my family tree Take me to the roots of my family tree
Lead me to the truth and set me free Lead me to the truth and set me free
Save me from the dark, my world is full of lies Save me from the dark, my world is full of lies
My shining star My shining star
[Appreciations] [Appreciations]
It’s funny how It’s funny how
I’ve been looking for myself all this time I’ve been looking for myself all this time
Only to realise that I was here the whole time  Only to realise that I was here the whole time
I tried to find myself through religion I tried to find myself through religion
Race, ethnicity, nationality, traditions, even profession Race, ethnicity, nationality, traditions, even profession
But none of these things worked out for me man But none of these things worked out for me man
So I reinvented my personality So I reinvented my personality
I decided to embrace the fact that I’m this mass, or rather this mess that absorbs whatever the world throws at it, you know? I decided to embrace the fact that I’m this mass, or rather this mess that absorbs whatever the world throws at it, you know?
Who or what I am is no longer a big deal Who or what I am is no longer a big deal
I’m here and that’s all that matters. I’m here and that’s all that matters.
So today I’m here to say thanks So today I’m here to say thanks
Because I don’t believe there is such a thing as self-made Because I don’t believe there is such a thing as self-made
We all need help from one another man We all need help from one another man
So I’m gonna start with my Grandpa – rest in peace beautiful soul. So I’m gonna start with my Grandpa – rest in peace beautiful soul.
Thank you for teaching me by simply being you. Thank you for teaching me by simply being you.
Thank you mom. I know you don’t know much about how I do what I do, but you believe in me. And that means a lot. Thank you Mum. I know you don’t know much about how I do what I do, but you believe in me. And that means a lot.
Thank you Tantine Chantal. You changed my life. Rest In Peace. I wish you were here. Thank you Tantine Chantal. You changed my life. Rest In Peace. I wish you were here.
Thank you Faustin. You’re my childhood everyday hero. Thank you for all the sacrifices. Thank you Faustin. You’re my childhood everyday hero. Thank you for all the sacrifices.
To my son. You’re my balance in this crazy world. I love you. I love you. I love you.  To my son. You’re my balance in this crazy world. I love you. I love you. I love you.
To all my aunties: Didine, Yvette and Mukaza, and even the other Didine. Thank you for being here and thank for making me feel special. Thank you for not judging me.  To all my aunties: Didine, Yvette and Mukaza, and even the other Didine. Thank you for being here and thank for making me feel special. Thank you for not judging me.
Yeah. I have a dream that one day we can sit around a table and laugh all together. Coz you know for sure we have so many comedians in the family.  Yeah. I have a dream that one day we can sit around a table and laugh all together. Coz you know for sure we have so many comedians in the family.
I also wanna thank Barick. You played a huge part in Entre2. I mean literally. I’m proud of you bro. I mean hang in there just a little bit, passion pays bro, it pays. I also wanna thank Barick. You played a huge part in Entre2. I mean literally. I’m proud of you bro. I mean hang in there just a little bit, passion pays bro, it pays.
Junior Kafi, your touch is divine bro. Keep doing what you do. Junior Kafi, your touch is divine bro. Keep doing what you do.
Dady Cassanova, Samy Kamanzi, Ricky Password, Body of Brian, Jason Ntaro, Nono, Natacha. Thank you so much for pouring your hearts on this project. Dady Cassanova, Samy Kamanzi, Ricky Password, Body of Brian, Jason Ntaro, Nono, Natacha. Thank you so much for pouring your hearts on this project.
Tony Mwesigwa, Reniout Dujardin. Thank you guys for the amazing job on the cover. I can never thank you enough. Tony Mwesigwa, Reniout Dujardin. Thank you guys for the amazing job on the cover. I can never thank you enough.
Diana, Betty, Spoken Word Rwanda, Nunu, Kwivuga Kampala, Cecile Kayirebwa, Eric Soul, Nelson, Kigali Up. Thank you for the vote of confidence. Diana, Betty: Spoken Word Rwanda, Nunu: Kwivuga Kampala, Cecile Kayirebwa, Eric Soul, Nelson, Kigali Up. Thank you for the vote of confidence.
Dorene, Colin, Josh, thank you for the support. Keep it real. Dorene, Colin, Josh: Thank you for the support. Keep it real.
Kaneza, Fiona, Leah, PK, Dan, Gladys, Sam, Ze Clew… oh Corey, yeah! Shout out to Ze Clew! Kaneza, Fiona, Leah, PK, Dan, Gladys, Sam, Ze Clew… oh Corey, yeah! Shout out to Ze Clew!
You’re my friends, you’re the friends that I’ve always wanted to have. So stay true. Keep it cool. I love you. Be happy. You’re my friends, you’re the friends that I’ve always wanted to have. So stay true. Keep it cool. I love you. Be happy.
And to everyone who shares my music on social media, I really appreciate. It means a lot to me.  And to everyone who shares my music on social media, I really appreciate. It means a lot to me.
Thanks to all you tweeps, to my friends on Facebook. Thanks to all you tweeps, to my friends on Facebook.
Ah! I don’t know! I don’t know where this music is gonna go, but I’m ready. I can let it take me wherever you wanna take me. Ah! I don’t know! I don’t know where this music is gonna go, but I’m ready. I can let it take me wherever you wanna take me.
Thanks everyone. Yego! Thanks Joe! Big up!   Thanks everyone. Yego! Thanks Joe! Big up!