By Derian Diaz
Artist: Uncle Meg & MC John Debt
Album: Can’t Stay the Same
Release Date: December 1, 2017
When was the last time you’ve ever heard of a transgender/gay rapper? Sure, there are some artists that have brought a voice to hip-hop that come in the form of Mykki Blanco, cupcaKKe and Kevin Abstract (from BROCKHAMPTON). In a genre that’s synonymous with this machismo, tough-guy image, homosexuality is regarded as taboo. However, we can find that many of these artists, often without fear, have shared their unique perspectives and garnered almost cult-like followings. There is one artist, Uncle Meg, who not only shares his story through his music, but even has a YouTube channel where he shows the world how he is adjusting to transitioning. Walking into the hip-hop house party an unconventional guest, Uncle Meg exhibits this confidence to the listeners that states not only that he’s in the right place, but that he belongs.
The short ten-track album Can’t Stay the Same, which was released Dec. 1 2017 and is essentially a collaborative project with fellow MC John Debt, shows them pondering things such as love, friendships, death and even self-identity. Some of the tracks in this album can provoke this cliché “hair blowing in the wind, cruising with the top down” feeling. It can make you miss those warm summer nights Lil Rob used to talk about all the time. This is especially evident with songs like “Easy Ride,” “Impermanent,” “The Sunrise” and “Good and Wonderful.” It’s kind of ironic that they can give off this feeling since the album itself was released in December and, you know, cruising with the top down at this time of the year will probably get you sick.
As the album progresses, and as Uncle Meg and John Debt trade bars with each other, the tone of the album goes from a laid-back and mellow vibe to this sort of loud/aggressive and somewhat braggadocios one (“I get more everyday / more spells, more potions, more girls okay” off the ninth track “Spells”). It’s safe to say that Uncle Meg came into the party, probably kept to himself but by the end of the night, was hitting redemption shots and asking Kyle what he said and to step up (pardon my Vine reference). While this does a good job of uplifting the listeners, there are also some more somber moments. One line that stood out to me was from John Debt, “I know what hell is, it’s in hello / heaven is goodbye forever, time for me to go.” In the same song (“Leave So Soon”) he goes on to say that he has been to “multiple funerals by the time I was 20.” As heavy as some of these moments are, there seems to be a perfect balance between the upbeat ones and the more somber ones, so much so that the album is a wild roller coaster ride of emotions.