The world, an old truism goes, should sue the young for breach of promise. Not in the case of the High School for Recording Arts. Back in 2002, amazing potential was fully realized with the excellently crafted spoken word album U Have the Right. Written and performed by teens, U Have the Right used the genre to confront the issues of teen rape and domestic abuse. "It Ain't Right" by Mia R., set to music by St. Nick, is a powerful missive about a girl who avoids being sexually abused by the skin of her teeth, only to find herself the subject of lying gossip, branded a ho' when the perpetrator puts out the word that she's a tramp.
"Nobody believed me.
I felt so alone.
I didn't even feel right laying down in my own home.
Emotional scratches and bruises
bled more from my heart and soul
Than my body and face."
Another track by Mia R tells depicts still worse circumstance as the young woman doesn't get away this time and guy gets his ass carted off to prison for a crime that has ruined both their lives.
You can't find U Have the Right any more (sorry, I do not loan my copy out), but, you can sure get the fairly recent release, The Next Move, which will get its official launch toward the end of summer (presuming summer does actually ever get here.)
This time around the bag is Hip-Hop and it's done beautifully — again completely by youngsters, including gorgeous production by Javon "Hazy Burns" Shaw and featuring the brilliant "Essence of Woman." It's a confident — at points downright cocky — celebration of what it is to be a flowering female on your way to full blown womanhood. And does it without indulging the pitfall that so many grown folk find irresistible at spoken word open mics all over the Twin Cities — using the subject as an excuse to viciously trash men. There are some established names who could learn a lot from these rookies. It's too bad the talent isn't matched in the liner notes, each artist to the material. However, everyone does get named.
So much for breach of promise. For a full lowdown check the High School for Recording Arts out at www.hsra.org. While you're there, contact them and see what you can do about getting a copy of The Next Move before it goes the way of U Have The Right.
Coverage of issues and events that affect Central Corridor neighborhoods and communities is funded in part by a grant from Central Corridor Funders Collaborative.