Son of a Refugee
Sometimes I find that rap music amuses me. That doesn’t mean I don’t like rap: Many of my friends make fun of me for attempting to rap Jay-Z’s newest album. My point here is that when I sat down to listen to Patriarch’s new album ‘Son of a Refugee,’ I was expecting 20 songs that would entertain me. But the politically charged album proved me wrong. ‘Son of a Refugee’ showed me the depth of which rap music is capable.
The San Francisco Bay rapper’s ethnically charged lyrics set him apart from other rappers. In many of his songs he speaks out against the war in Iraq and the treatment of Muslims. His Palestinian descent makes his commentary on the album feel authentic. He sends a message of pride about his ethnicity, which he feels has been persecuted over the past few years.
Many of Patriarch’s songs bash Bush, yet he is never rude or inappropriate. As a devout conservative I expected to feel uncomfortable hearing his politics. Instead I found myself intrigued by the way he said everything. He describes himself as an ‘activist turned rapper’ in the song ‘Just Don’t Give a [Tinker’s Damn]’ and that message resonates throughout the album.
Unlike most musicians discussing politics, which often feels rather preachy, Patriarch’s rhymes made me feel like his primary occupation is that of his alias, ‘Patriarch.’
Not that that should take away from the actual music. At the start of the first track ‘Live by the Sword,’ I couldn’t help but start bobbing my head. The rest of the time I was completely immersed in the album.
Slower songs such as ‘Closing Pandora’s Box’ had a pleasant R&B soulful sound underneath Patriarch’s intense rapping voice.
In spite of the anger Patriarch expresses toward both the government and ignorant oppressors, he still maintains a positive message. The final song of the album ‘Dedication to the World’ even offers a resolution to the world. He consistently expresses hope for the future.
Though each song on the album stands on its own, some of his songs are a little repetitive. Once I got to the 15th track I began to ask, ‘Hasn’t he already said this before?’
Patriarch offers a new medium for the disenfranchised activist in the form of rap music. His anger and frustration at the government forces listeners to question their views while at the same time nodding their head to the infectious beats.