Artist Showcase: Raury

By Derrick Jean-Baptiste

Hip-Hop is more than just rap music. It's socially conscious commentary whose influence expands past music into graffiti, clothes, and language. The hip-hop community engages in a multitude of social issues across the country. It's a storytelling device that allows for the sharing of experiences through music. Those unaware of social issues that might not affect them gain a form of insight, and those already affected find solidarity. Keeping this sharing of experiences in mind, it can be said that hip-hop provides phenomenological insight into a specific lived experiences. 

The cover of Raury's  All We Need  album.

The cover of Raury's All We Need album.

This idea essentially makes hip-hop the pulse of the community. In its purest form, it's a voice for the voiceless. As a rapper, Raury understands this completely and uses his craft to showcase his story and the stories of those around him.

I first had the honor of hearing about Raury when I attended a conference in Atlanta a few months back. In this conference, I attended a session that discussed the future of Hip-Hop. 

The speakers at the time (including Alex Acosta, Mendes, Xeno, and Bem Joiner) compared hip-hop to the Big Bang, a comparison that has resonated with me to this very day. Much like the Big Bang, hip-hop started with an explosion. This explosion radiated out in different directions, creating different facets of hip-hop. Over the years, these different facets evolved even further and added more complexity to the definition of hip-hop. This growing complexity and speciation of hip-hop are expanding hip-hop past its own limits.

The speakers made the argument that much like the Big Bang, hip-hop has gestation periods which eventually bleed into entropy. 

This negative reading of the hip-hop landscape did not stay negative for long, as the speakers brought up rappers that are changing the direction of hip-hop, and once again pushing the boundaries. 

The names brought up by the speakers were Earl Sweatshirt, Kendrick Lamar, and "...a young cat from Atlanta that while young is doing some big things in the hip-hop community." The pride they had for this young man was apparent as they spoke about Raury.

This description intrigued me, and I spent the months afterward listening to his music. Recently, I had the privilege of getting to see him perform live at a concert last week. The concert showcased Raury at his energetic best and was a true joy to watch. The photos attached were taken at the concert, and make sure to watch "Sliding into the DM's with Derrick and Marlena" in order to get a rundown of the concert.
Raury at the astonishingly young age of 20 is a part of a revolution within the hip-hop industry. Some are calling it "Post-Rap" and, while I'm not a fan of the terminology, I personally think it's one of the best things to happen to the industry in a long time.