Hip-hop has been a genre of dualities since its origin: simultaneously boastful and self-critical, down-to-earth and excessive, socially-aware and ignorant. Its embrace of all these things makes it the most honest and REAL music around, which is why many of us love it so much. But what does REAL really mean? On new single, “Prayful’ Hate,” Oakland’s Pep Love points out that whatever we THINK is real, ISN’T…because our thoughts are not really us.
Pep explained the revelations that have inspired this new music in a recent interview with SBVRSL:
Your thoughts tint the way you see the world and people around you. The ‘self’, your story, your identity…it’s really a destructive force.
You can call it a dark side, or can just call it the ego…People that have negative things to say about you or JUDGMENTS about you, it’s not really about them. it’s really about you, how you process it, how you see yourself.
Do you objectify yourself? If you do, you might as well just be another one of the people who hate on you, or talk bad about you, or think negative thoughts about you. Because you don’t hear their thoughts, you hear your own.”
Over velvety bass on the self-produced track, Pep philosophizes about how we deal with the enemy within, and show our true perceptions of who we are by the way we speak about others.
While staying true to the introspective writing and energetic sound that has characterized his extensive rap career, “Prayful’ Hate” also signals a shift in Pep’s path. Although he embraces his past, he’s not content to stay there. Veering away from the nostalgia and generational competition that has led many rappers with as many years under their belt to stagnate, Pep Love has instead been inspired by new independent artists, starting Wax Poetic music events in Oakland to showcase their underrepresented sounds, and developing a web series (teaser below) that explores underground hip-hop music and artists in more depth.
But Pep’s near future includes a huge output of his own new music as well, of which “Prayful’ Hate” is just a taste. And along with soothing our eardrums, it might also help quiet the mental distractions that keep us stuck in the ego.
It requires a little bit of just standing back and witnessing your own way of thinking and your own thoughts to realize…You are a BEING, and just being is enough.
To be who you are, what you really are, is beyond your name, your identity, your race, your gender, how you identify yourself. There is a you that exists, without any of that. The real you.”