Amir Bilal delivers two minutes of nimble wordplay, a reminder of the power of rap for rap’s sake.
Anyone with a laptop can create an entire universe around their projects. Free software is abundant and intuitive, meaning new creatives previously relegated to cassette demos or selling CDs in concert queues (both of which will probably continue until the end of time, if only as cultural heritage) are able to put together grand stories, new identities, aesthetic eras – as well as the music itself.
18 year old Virginia-based rapper Amir Bilal seems to be playing the long game. At a glance, their latest offering “RAPS 4 GOOD HEALTH” eschews the branding in favour of unsanded authenticity. A closer look finds that the support typical of a growth-conscious artist is still there – a producer (GNASHPER), videographer and editor (Ryan Clark Socum and Ari Kech respectively), collective (NO CLUE FR). Bilal has a foot in each world. It’s invigorating in the way a hot bath is and an active geyser isn’t; it’s easier to jump in when it’s handled by professionals. As for what qualifies this perceived realness, the music speaks for itself.
Over a luxuriously dusty sax sample Bilal wastes no time. After a couple bars of wind up, the song is non-stop lyrical effort; video game references flow naturally, “holla, olly olly, oxen free” disguises acrobatics by gliding. “Return of Holy Man” presents typical rapper posturing, only for Bilal to flip it with “still live even with my forty fans”. Wordplay and flow are fluid, bars like “moving like two false truths could make a whole” rely on listeners to get involved and take what meaning they can get, which is part of what makes this fairly short tune so charming. “We infinite, even if in the dirt” is similar, a rearranged rhyme hitting that part of the ear nonetheless. “I cared too strong” Bilal continues, “carrying some burdens put a test on my arms” is telling of a young but storied history (Bilal also mentions “older foes” before this) that won’t be given up easily. It’s put simply; “if it’s a problem you can at (@) me”. Amir Bilal is one to watch.
Listen to “RAPS 4 GOOD HEALTH” here.
Follow Amir Bilal on Twitter, Soundcloud, Spotify, Apple Music and Bandcamp
– Jamie (Staff @108MICS)