May 27, 2008

Rapper's rez-centric reality

Native hip-hop at Folklife:  Komplex Kai raps a rez realityFor 40 minutes, Kai rapped with a mix of compassion and anger, revealing his allegiance to another tribe that could use a revival: '90s gangsta rappers of emotional substance.

Grim rez snapshots of "kids having kids" and "kids smoking pop"—or crack—came backed with Tulalip pride ("I'm throwin' my Tribe up!"), a move that's pure Tupac Shakur. Kai even did a dead-ringer for Tupac's wistful reconciliation track "I Ain't Mad At Cha," a ballad that mashed head-shaking love into sad truths ("drunk is how we cope"). Like 'Pac, Kai sounded much older than his age.

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