Thursday, July 19, 2007

Giving meth a bad rap

We are serious connoisseurs of rap and hip-hop around Montana Headlines. Well, OK, maybe not serious connoisseurs.

But there was a good story in the Billings Gazette today about Charles "Apache" Mitchell of Busby and his unique approach to the art-form:

The 16-year-old has funneled that passion into a career as a motivational rapper, graphic designer and music producer. He is signing artists to the family label, On The Cut Records, which is based at the family's home in Busby.

In a time when music can encourage misconduct, Apache takes pride in his work being clean. The music does not glorify gang participation, partying or demeaning women, he said.

"You don't need to have all that to have fun," Apache said.

The family is developing a "War on Meth Hip Hop Tour" to take its version of motivational music across the state, including to reservations.

The music targets meth and its deadly impact on families.

"It's the modern-day plague," Apache said. "We want to use talent to keep youth away from drugs."

The Mitchell family knows the pain methamphetamine causes. Apache has a tattoo of a cross with his brother Salah's name in the center and the phrase "See you at the gates."

Salah, 21, was an up-and-coming musician when he committed suicide last September. At age 16, Salah began using meth and was hooked for two years. He was clean, but struggling with the heavy emotional after-effects of the drug, said the boys' dad and On The Cut Records CEO Waymon Mitchell. Salah "was a meek and humble young man," he said.

Anyway, read the article and listen to the MP3 sample. There are any number of acts that we've heard that try to do rap with a positive message, but all too often the lyrics don't flow and the delivery falls flat.

If this clip is representative, Apache can't be accused of that -- he's doing some pretty good stuff, especially once he gets rolling.

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