Seven of the top 50 most downloaded hip-hop titles on iTunes, millions of views on YouTube and appearances on big media outlets. These accomplishments are befitting of the biggest artists of the genre – you might be thinking of The Weekend or Drake – but the rapper in question might surprise you.

You’ve probably never heard of him, as he is not all too well known outside of North America. Allow me to fill you in. With his first releases being as early as 2014, Canadian songwriter Tom MacDonald is not a newbie on the rapping scene. Though he would not have his first breakthrough until the later part of 2017. What is most impressive about his career is that he has done it all from his bedroom, assisted only by his girlfriend and his producer. Unbound by labels and big companies, he is fully independent. He even films his videos in his own house and makes all the props himself! There are downsides, but for Tom, it’s the only way to make the music he wants to make. You see, Tom isn’t your typical rapper. He doesn’t rhyme about clubbing, money or drugs; he raps mostly about politics.

Oh boy, politics in 2021. What a joy. Disputes nowadays can get quite heated and Tom is well aware of this. But instead of cocking a fire extinguisher to suppress the flames of controversy, Tom takes out a gasoline canister, only to then decide that it’s still not enough and to pour a whole silo’s worth into the fire. To say he is aggressive and controversial in his lyrics is an understatement. All it takes is one look at songs like “Fake Woke”, “No Lives Matter” and “WHITEBOY” and it becomes very clear that Tom is a professional provocateur. But is there real value behind his attention-grabbing persona, or is at all a ploy for publicity? He has often said that he tackles heated topics with provocative language in order to make people think about their beliefs and the world around them. He believes to be the only one to say the things so many in the US think, but don’t share for fear of being ostracised. He’s been angered by this climate of political correctness and so his songs become an outlet. That, and the fact that his music obviously draws heavily from characteristically-angry rock and metal bands, such as Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath. 

You might still not entirely understand what I’m talking about. Firstly, I should mention that it is no secret that the US is a flawed country, with a very flawed democratic system. This is mostly because there are only two parties to represent the people. And when you only have two options things quickly go to the extremes. Suddenly, you are either red or blue, nothing in between. Tom is addressing a dying breed of people within the US, which he believes to be a part of as well: the centrists. A centrist is someone who disagrees with the Left on some topics and disagrees with the Right on others. But because of the exaggerated polarization, being a centrist has become almost impossible. There is now an environment, in which saying you think the police is a valuable institution can make you a racist, and where saying immigrants are valuable to your country can make you a traitor to the flag. If you believe both, you cannot hope to be able to express yourself freely.

This is the main reason for Tom’s anger – he wants to change that reality. In trying to do so, though, he has garnered a lot of hate and criticism from both the Left and the Right. As such, a lot (and I mean a lot) of his messages have been intentionally misinterpreted. It pains me to say, but it appears many people have become tone-deaf to meaningful sarcasm and satire. 

In conclusion, go give Tom a listen. And whether you disagree or agree with his viewpoints is, all in all, irrelevant. Keep in mind though, that with most of his songs he sets out to deliver a certain message. That message is about unity. And that’s real unity we’re talking about – not the “do everything I say or else you lose your job” variety. Remember that not everyone who’s opinion differs from yours is a white supremacist, or Antifa, or a bigot, or a communist, or a…  

Dieser Artikel wurde in englischer Sprache von Momchil Tzekov von 11 a verfasst und wird derzeit in Deutsch und Bulgarisch übersetzt. Wir danken Ihnen für Ihr Verständnis.

Статията бе написана от Момчил Цеков от 11. клас на английски език. Към момента бива преведена на немски и български. Благодарим за разбирането.