When we last checked in with Sole (aka Tim Holland) a couple months back, he was just starting to explore the notion of "rap as journalism," in which he turned pre-existing songs and beats into political statements, quickly and without a lot of investment. He's since gone on to do a few of these, including two new videos that dropped in the last week.
The two songs, "The Long War" and "The Great Deluge," tackle "the rap as journalism" philosophy in a different way. "The Long War" takes the beat from Lupe Fiasco's "Words I Never Said" and adds new lyrics. A kind of 21st century culture-jam, the approach is a means for getting ideas out as quickly as possible.
The second video is for the track "The Great Deluge," by Fake Four, Inc., which appears on the label's Japan relief benefit. The song is totally new, and the video uses appropriated images from NHK laid under the various rappers to convey the tragedy.
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Combined, the two videos exemplify Sole's two-pronged strategy of creating new content whenever possible and finding new ways to use existing material. In this day and age, the latter approach might seem risky on his part, and it almost certainly will end with at least one take-down notice at some point in the future, but by the time that happens, the message will already be conveyed. Sole is planning to post a few videos every week from now until the release of Sole and the Skyrider Band's Hello Cruel World, in July.
That's at least fourteen more videos. Sole has been notably prolific lately, so we're not surprised to hear about his plans for this sort of "rap weekly newspaper." But be forewarned: Sole is not NPR, so if your political leaning lands somewhere between "Meh" and "Fuck it," you'll probably want to steer clear of his hyper-politicized song movement.
While "The Great Deluge" is pretty clear in its ambition, "The Long War" hopscotches around a few topics. From Pitchfork writer Ian Cohen being an asshole to the state of the media industry and the electoral college, Sole cuts through a few different topics of popular conversation -- you know, like a short editorial in a newspaper.
Even if you don't agree with the political stance, it's still an interesting way to convey both his knowledge and his brand. If there is a danger here, it lies in the fact that he doesn't need to source his quotations, but that's what YouTube annotations are for.