Welcome to the newest genre of music: anti-woke hip hop
Last week, rapper Tom MacDonald released his latest single Snowflakes and it has since racked up millions of views on YouTube. In total, his videos have been viewed over half a billion times on the platform. “Y’all are so fake,” snaps the chorus. “The forecast said that there’d be snowflakes.”
Born in the Bronx, hip hop is a genre long known for its message-driven beats, and it has proven a fitting vehicle for MacDonald and other likeminded musicians to broadcast their take on the state of American culture. Snowflakes leaves few guessing as to this rapper’s diagnosis:
You think taking guns away will save our kids from the killings
But your pro-choice abortion kills way more children
If America’s so terrible and racist
It probably isn’t safe to encourage immigration, just saying
All the contradictions are embarrassing
You know who hates America the most? Americans
The song crisscrosses an array of themes — from trigger warnings to corporate wokeness; intolerance of straight white men, neglect of veterans, gender pronouns and more. Far from being racially identitarian, however, MacDonald’s tune taps into long-shared values of liberal America. “Black folks and white folks divided by the news,” he laments, “But we're all the same, we are red, white, and blue.”
Having been in the rap game since the age of 19, MacDonald is no stranger to the diverse neighbourhoods of urban America. He has also faced his fair share of personal trouble.
In a probing interview with Blexit co-founder Brandon Tatum, MacDonald detailed his lengthy battle with alcoholism and a “catastrophic mental unravelling” that nearly took his life three years ago. Sporting a gothic decor and loose language, MacDonald tells Tatum of the crippling anxiety he suffered over a nine-month period while staying at his mother’s place. He barely ate, slept or even spoke. “If it wasn’t for my folks, I would have been on the streets,” he explains. “I was totally done.”
But this same dark period was MacDonald’s musical remaking. He confesses that previously, his style frequently ripped off well-known artists like 50 Cent and Eminem. “When I started rapping, I was talking about all the same stuff that everybody else is talking about today — the money, the clothes, the girls and the cars.”
Though having little experience of it, he also sang about gangs, guns, drugs and other “nonsense”. “I wanted to be the cool rapper guy at the parties,” he says, “and get the girls and get rich and famous.” His copycat tunes got little traction in those early days.
During that soul-searching year, however, MacDonald found his own voice, resolving what he wanted to make music about, which kind of audience to tap into, and who he hoped to speak up for. The rest is history. Other tracks of recent years give some indication of the kinds of themes he returns to: Politically Incorrect, Conspiracy Theorist, Propaganda, No Lives Matter.
MacDonald is no saint. His is a secular salvation. In another recent hit called Church, he opens by confessing, “I need a short drink or a long prayer.” He admits to being angry at God for unanswered prayer and reflects on the demons that still haunt him. “I pray on my way to the liquor store that they lock the door.”
Tom MacDonald doesn’t call himself a conservative rapper. In fact, he doesn’t use that word at all. But he is part of a rising generation growing tired of postmodern dogmas. Snowflakes is worth the listen — to provide readers with a veritable directory of woke hypocrisy, if nothing else.
Few solutions are offered in the song, but MacDonald is at least asking the right questions. His latest ode to wokeness suggests that the tide may be turning for the next generation.
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