Local hip-hop musician promotes equity through music – TommieMedia
Matt Allen, a hip-hop artist from Eagan, Minnesota known as Nur-D, combines pop culture and hip-hop production to create a powerful commentary on current events, like his experience of the COVID-19 pandemic and of the murder of George Floyd last summer.
His most recent albums, “38th” and “Chicago Avenue”, were inspired by last summer’s protests around the world in response to the death of George Floyd. Allen used his experiences during the protests and his experiences as a black man and turned them into music.
“As an artist, as a person who takes life and reflects it as a musician, it was impossible for me not to reflect on the things that I saw, the things that I have already experienced in my life and that I live now. in different ways, and so this time on the streets influenced my music and that’s where “38th” and “Chicago Avenue” were born, ”Allen said.
After seeing the injustice firsthand, Allen and a few friends formed a group called Justice Frontline Aid that goes out and provides first aid and many other necessary services to protesters and others who may have been injured. during the demonstrations of last summer.
“In those first two weeks and throughout that time, even as we continue to go out and do things, you got to see firsthand some of the horrors of police brutality and injustice, and how the Systemic injustice really makes people weak, ”Allen says.
Brian Casey, assistant music teacher at St. Thomas, compares the music that arose in response to George Floyd’s murder to protest music from the 60s and 70s.
“I wish there were more. I mean, the local artists are doing it like crazy. Local hip-hop artists do it, but I wish the big hip-hopers, the big hitters would focus on this, ”Casey said.
Casey said that hip-hop, especially black-American produced hip-hop that addresses social issues in America, is demonized and used as a weapon against blacks.
“The religious right and the white supremacists that exist in this country are using this as a reason to hate black people,” Casey said.
Allen said the protests that took place over the summer and continue to take place on the streets of Minneapolis and around the world are a continuation of protests that began in the 1960s.
“People are still walking, people still talking, so the music that comes out of these movements is the same as every time you see a Vietnam movie and hear Fortunate Son,” Allen said. “You hear this song, and the spirit of it, about how there is inequality in the system and how the system is built for the elite, and especially the white at the top, the white men. cisgender at the top.
Allen said he viewed the music from George Floyd’s murder as protest music in the same vein as songs like Creedence Clearwater Revival’s Fortunate Son.
“It’s a direct correlation to Kendrick Lamar’s ‘Alright’ now, then songs like Anderson .Paak’s ‘Lockdown’, and even stuff like ‘Break Chains’ that I even wrote,” Allen said. “It’s the same spirit of people who say it’s wrong, we have to change.”
When choosing a stage name, Allen took inspiration from these ideals and his inspiration from another side of pop culture: the dark-skinned Christian comic book character Nightcrawler, often demonized for his looks.
“As a black kid reading comics… that was something that really resonated with me as a kid who felt a lot of these things most of the time,” Allen said.
Owen Larson can be reached at [email protected]