Nas once said “Hip Hop is dead” and for many years I believed that. Until artists like Kendrick Lamar, Vince Staples, J. Cole and many others. These artists are attempting to bring back hip hop with a deeper message. Returning us to the times where hip hop was meant to speak for the people and not just something to twerk to. However where are the female emcees doing this? No seriously…where are the female emcees?
Of course there is Nicki Minaj but she has definitely gone more of the pop route lately. So when it comes to female rappers that provide more than just a catchy hook they’re hard to come by. However, in darkness there is always a speck of light, this time the light shines from Harlem rapper Flo Kennedy and her debut EP The He(art).
The thing about this EP is you can’t help but replay each track because with each track comes an unapologetic message. Whether it be the struggles of an artist trying to break into an industry that isn’t female friendly or alcoholism Flo Kennedy let’s you in on her internal conflicts. On tracks such as “Like Water (Drank)” and “”Vent” you get to hear how deep her internal struggles go and the various methods she uses to cope. “put this glass as I chase this Henney with water”. Alcohol is her medicine and her tears (water) are the chaser for it she states in “Like Water (Drank)”. However, she continues to say throughout the track that she is also like water as in she will continue to rise and flow. A message that is carried on through “Vent” where our emcee speaks directly to god about her internal struggle.
Not only does the EP allow you to enter into the mind of Flo Kennedy but it also pays tribute to Wu-Tang and classic hip hop with rhythmic beats and creative wordplay.
“C.R.E.A.M”,a personal favorite and a wordplay on Wu-Tang’s “C.R.E.A.M” is one of the darker tracks on the EP with a much darker message than Wu-Tang’s. Cash Ruins Everything Around Me, is a song riddled in frustrations about how the complexities of the class system (due to money) further divides people. “Cash is the method for splitting up the people. Like high classes, middle classes, ass backwards we the same blood but never will we be equal”. What makes this track so great is that Flo Kennedy not only criticizes the system but criticizes herself asking if she’s a hypocrite because she benefits from the same system.
She continues to pay tribute to Wu-Tang with “Uptown Vernacular” produced by Don Solo who also produced the previous track and a good portion of the EP. Here the Wu-Tang influence is more apparent with actual references to them throughout. Needless to say Wu-Tang has had a strong influence on Flo Kennedy and I am not complaining!
I’m not sure if it’s the Wu-Tang tribute’s that make me love this EP so much or the refreshing honesty from not only an emcee but a female emcee that I can’t get enough of. However, “The He(art)” is a refreshing change from most of the music being played today and if given a listen can easily be in someone’s top EP’s to come out this year. Which is why there is no surprise that this EP is getting an A from me.