Toronto legend k-os has been one of the most prominent voices in Canadian hip-hop for over a decade, and an advocacy for intelligent and critical discourse is a defining theme in his music and lyrics. With his brand new song, “Egotrippin’/7evenGod,” k-os explores what Black History Month means for Canadians, and youth culture today.
I happen to be born in Black History Month, so as a kid I always wondered what it meant for us in Canada. Black people in North America have evolved to see an African American president running the United States and a homegrown culture that started in Jamaica known as toasting grow into the art form called HIP HOP - which could be argued to legitimately be the biggest music in the world right now! And so the question is… and not just as Canadians, what does Black History Month mean for youth culture today?
This new song has 2 titles. I called it Black Mystery Month precisely because of my quandary about how to celebrate it. It’s a mystery to me at this point, especially as a musician to comprehend what being black is even defined as? In a bizarre turn of self fulfilling prophecy it seems like most of the youth culture in the world ARE black even if their skin tone is not… They seem to exude a black or African ethos quite effortlessly and there is no doubt Hip Hop has had a lot to do with this expression. From Bieber to Swift to Jonas to Adele and the list goes on. Pop music today is the result of black history. The freedom of allowing people to share ideas and culture has created a new species of pop artist and it’s a beautiful thing to see.
Which brings me to the other more central title of this song.
When I think about freedom I often think back to the story of Spiderman, and what Peter Parker did when he got his powers and freedom. Initially seeking to capitalize on his new abilities Pete Parker dons a costume and, as “Spider-Man”, and becomes a novelty television star. However, on one fateful day he blithely ignores the chance to stop a fleeing thief, and his indifference ironically catches up with him when the same criminal later robs and kills his Uncle Ben. Spider-Man tracks and subdues the killer and learns that “With great power there must also come — great responsibility!
As seen in this story there seems to be this EGOTRIP that people go on when they achieve their personal freedom and I feel HIP HOP has been stuck on this ego trip for the last 15 years! We are ALL guilty of it. We all feel the need for speed… and to be recognized for our talent and swag and individuality. I don’t claim to be any less egotistical than any other musician in this world, however, in my opinion Black History Month might just be a time to get off that ole’ ego trip. Contemplate the great ones who have helped us achieve the freedom we enjoy now… and be conscious of how we are using that freedom!
That’s what this song is about, it’s not a condemnation… it’s a reminder that ego trips are fun, but at some point… Once a year - FOREVER - you gotta stop trippin for a sec and pay homage to those who helped pave the way.
Stream/download “Egotrippin’/7evenGod/Black. Mystery. Month” below, and keep an eye out for his new album, Can’t Fly Without Gravity, coming soon via Dine Alone Records.