BEST NEW HIP-HOP: KENNYHOOPLA - "THE WORLD IS FLAT AND THIS IS THE EDGE"
Cleveland's KennyHoopla discovers the end of the world on "The World Is Flat And This Is The Edge."
KENNYHOOPLA - THE WORLD IS FLAT AND THIS IS THE EDGE
"Fortune favors the bold," as Alexander the Great once said. "You miss every shot you don't take." Our culture is obsessed with self-actualizing, with self-improvement, with following your dreams, leading to hollow platitudes like these, which look good on a bumper sticker or an affirming Post-It note but being somewhat lacking in actual substance. Sayings like these often seem more designed to make the speaker feel better than the audience. Perhaps no one wants to admit that going after your dreams doesn't mean they'll come true. Or, even if they do, that they'll make you happy.
"The World Is Flat and This Is The Edge," by KennyHoopla explores this equilibrium. The young alt-r&b star/rapper expounds upon life on the brink of the abyss, seemingly brought on by the end of a relationship or some similar heartbreak, over a tapestry of plastic pianos and trap beats. "This is what I mean/Living just to die/Loosen up my wings/Didn't even get to fly."
KennyHoopla sounds too young to be this world-weary, but the old don't have a monopoly on suffering and heartbreak. If anything, young adults have even more reason to be miserable, as they're just experiencing life's heartaches for the first time. They haven't grown numb to the disappointment yet.
KennyHoopla's music has been described as "genre-agnostic," with the Wisconsin-based producer/singer/songwriter/rapper citing a wide range of influences, including everyone from The Drums to Common. Underground rappers have been seeking a viable emo/hip-hop crossover for the past few years, from everyone from the Gothic-tinged Trap of Post Malone to the sadboi Soundcloud Rap of Xxxtentacion or Lil Peep. As we often say here at We Are: The Guard, splicing genres is tricky business. Like any genetic experiment, things could go very, very wrong. Or you could create a superorganism. It could go either way.
An Indie Pop/Emo/Trap hybrid could go very, very wrong indeed. The first two run the risk of drawing out the inherent whininess of each genre while the latter could easily fall into misogyny, nihilism, consumerism, or a host of other societal ills. Which is not the case, which is more than enough to make KennyHoopla worthy of being on your radar. He actually makes emo sound classy and heartfelt - no mean feat.
J. Simpson occupies the intersection between criticism, creativity, and academia. Based out of Portland, Or., he is the author of Forestpunk, an online journal/brand studying the traces of horror, supernatural, and the occult through music, fashion and culture. He plays in the dreamfolk band Meta-Pinnacle with his partner Lily H. Valentine, with whom he also co-founded Bitstar Productions, a visual arts collective focused on elevating Pop Culture to High Art.