Magnetic North & Taiyo Na – Home:Word
by Priyanka Tanavde (Health Science), published May 4th 2011
Moldy | Stale | Edible | Fresh | Tasty!
I don’t usually listen to hip hop and rap except probably the popular artists like Lupe Fiasco, Mos Def, and Kanye West. I think it’s because I can’t relate to the subject matter of excessive money, cars, coming from the streets, and how a woman’s ass looks as well as the boots with the fur. Maybe I just haven’t made the effort to look for good hip hop and rap.
But a good album came my way a couple of weeks ago, Home:Word, a collaboration album from Magnetic North and Taiyo Na. It was released last summer, but it’s still fresh, and you should give it a listen this summer.
Magnetic North began in 2003 when emcees Derek Kan and Theresa Vu joined up to write a song for an Asian American rally in California. Their first self-titled album was released in 2006. For their second album they made music together with their friend and singer, songwriter, emcee, and producer Taiyo Na. He released his first album Love is Growth in 2008.
This feel-good album provides some insight into the trials and tribulations of these musicians as well as the greater Asian American minority. There is also the common theme of love and love lost so it is still relatable for those not involved in the rap culture.
My favorite tracks have got to be ‘I Got My 2′, a song with power-packed rhymes about the growing power Asian Americans have in life, the world, and music. It’s pretty inspiring.
‘We Belong’ is about the struggle of trying to be heard as an Asian American. It an upbeat and optimistic song and I am in awe at Vu and Kan’s rapping talent. ‘Summer time’ is a very light, smooth jam. I think I’m in California when I listen to this.
There are also two commentary-like tracks; ‘Chris Speaks’ and ‘Chuck Speaks.’ I really like that this was put in, especially ‘Chuck Speaks’. It’s a commentary about the idea of home and what it means to him. ‘Home is nomadic, and I think that’s what makes it powerful’. All this with the crescendo of sound in the background makes these words more meaningful and struck a chord with me.
‘Home:Word’, the last track, and is easy listening. A nice piano tune and simple beats; the catchy words and chorus are what make this track.
Overall this album grew on me since I usually don’t take to rap/hip hop. It also provided me with a different outlook on other people’s life and showed me the commonalities that people share. Although this album has been out for a year, the summer makes it brand new.
Recommended Tracks: Postcards, Home:Word, I Got My 2.0, Summertime