D.C. Rapper Ya Minko Takes A Stand On "TIRED"
Decade after decade, one of the defining characteristics of rap and hip-hop — according to outsiders who have never bothered to take a closer look at the genres — has been its lyrical substance focusing on misogyny and general inhumane offense. It’s been true time and time again (look at Pac’s misogynistic lyrics embedded in larger verses pretending to respect women or any number of Eminem songs literally about murdering women) but it isn’t always. Many hip-hop artists, like Grieves and Lupe Fiasco, write about their lives and their emotions and their dreams, effectively standing far, far away from their misogynistic competitors.
On his new single “TIRED,” Washington D.C. rap artist Ya Minko details a thoughtful contemplation of a world he loves despite its shortcomings. Growing up in a place known for its disrespect of women — being taught, even, that men should bring harm upon women — Ya Minko recognized the injustice of his hometown.
Hear what Ya Minko had to tell us about the new single below:
“TIRED” is a sleek, pumping hip-hop track flavored by jazzy elements, but beyond the music are the lyrics that matter to Ya Minko and both the community and culture he comes from. With clipped, repetitive lines, he tackles a range of “physical, mental, emotional, and social exhaustion,” referring in each verse to bullshit prejudice and men’s mediocrity. “TIRED” is as much of a fuck-you to the ideals Ya Minko was taught as it is an honest exploration of men’s role in women’s safety and comfort. At times, “TIRED” is uncomfortable, too jarring and too detailed in its name-dropping and self-reflection, but in a genre dominated by sexism, long-time fans of hip-hop and rap need reminders like this one that not all artists want to profit off of lewdness, and some are just as exhausted as us by it. At its simplest, though, “TIRED” is just a smooth, slinking effort built on steady drum pad beats, drowsy melody, and lax rap delivery.
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Photo courtesy of Maeve S. Fagelson