Honcho Supreme: When Negro Spirituals and Hip Hop Collide

Honcho Supreme: When Negro Spirituals and Hip Hop Collide

Often I think about the legacy of Black people across the diaspora and it seems to be the case we have a remarkable ability to spin gold out of table scraps or tragedy. From Negro Spirituals, to the Blues, Rock, and Hip-Hop, Black people have found salvation in music. When there wasn’t a way, time and time again we made one. We made our tragedies so extraordinary with music and the written word, the world had no choice but to listen. Sometimes I wonder if we’ve done all we can with this genre, if hip-hop has reached a plateau, but then a newcomer reminds us this just can’t ever die.  Honcho Supreme (or Honcho Pop, as he is called on his mixtape), a rapper hailing from Marrero, Louisiana, reminds me hip-hop still has so much to show the world.

In a stripped down version of his song “Dedicated”, which opens his project DEDICATED, Honcho Supreme‘s deep, scratchy voice is reminiscent of what I imagine a gathering around the fire on the plantation would have been like–the knee-slapping, snapping, chest-beating to conjure the beat, that ancient, guttural, howling pain only music can soothe–except now the Spiritual has left the plantation, surviving centuries of iterations to come alive for this moment.  But there is hope here that better times will come. I’m officially, unofficially coining this–what I would boldly call a new sub-genre of hip-hop–Hood Spiritual.

“Baby momma kicked me out for the last time so it’s back to the trap for me” is the bar that opens DEDICATED. From there, the rapper walks us through a tour of the broken sidewalks, boarded-up windows, and destitute image of his situation. While many, many rappers before Honcho Supreme have doled out bars about having a harsh life, it feels as though the rapper is pulling from the past while blending elements of trap. Maybe these are Trap Spirituals? Hood Spirituals? Who is to say just yet. Maybe this was complete happenstance that Honcho and his homies Zacquiri King (@ZacquiriKing_318 on IG) and Poka Bantana (@PokaBoi on IG) were just high, playing around and stumbled on gold. And isn’t that how many brilliant musicians find their genius?

Being frank, this stripped down version is much, much better than the original. I say this with all love: I believe Honcho Supreme more in this version compared to the original. Before this, he was hiding behind beats which are not in service to him and his lyrical caliber. At. All. This version shows a rapper who knows his voice, who knows who he is, and isn’t fazed by what competition may come his way. I melted when I heard this Honcho Supreme. I want more of this and I hope he delivers.

You don’t have to take my word for it. Again, here’s the link for the project. Video of the stripped version is below. Enjoy y’all.

 

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I.S. Jones is a writer living in New York by way of California. Please send her pizza, not nudes. Her inbox (on Twitter) is always open, so send her a track or a hello. She’s still catching up to her 2017 to do list. Tweet at her here

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