Lowkey's approach to hip-hop was always professorial and politicized. His critically acclaimed independently released double-album Soundtrack to the Struggle last year was layered with lyrical lectures and skits sampling luminaries like Tariq Ali. It was, then, as surprising as it was fitting that the 25 year-old underground MC born to an English father and an Iraqi Arab mother, suddenly took to Facebook yesterday to announce his departure from hip-hop in favor of further pursuing his studies.
With statements critical of the music business and social networking sites, Lowkey followed quickly on his word as his fan page and Twitter account have already been deleted, but not before I was able to take a screen shot of his final post:
Fans hungry for the rebel rapper's political commentary immediately set up a Facebook page pleading for Lowkey to stick around, but he's gone for now. As the statement reads, he does leave the door open for a possible return to the game. Coachella show? (Only kidding) Until then, however, all that remains is his brief musical legacy.
Soundtrack to the Struggle was the MC's second and most notable release. It featured collaborations with Immortal Technique, M-1 of Dead Prez and Shadia Mansour, the first lady of Arabic hip-hop. Unabashedly political, Lowkey sampled Lupe Fiasco's line from “Words I Never Said” that was scathingly critical of President Barack Obama and went all in. The resulting “Obama Nation Part 2” featuring M-1 and Black the Ripper proved that letters to the president in the form of hip-hop are still being voiced at a time when the man sitting in the Oval Office is Black. Other tracks touted the Palestinian cause and denounced conspicuous consumption in society.
Making waves, Lowkey's music was mocked on Glenn Beck's radio program and the rapper placed on the MTV Base Best Of The Best top ten list of UK rappers in 2010 and 2011, a distinction he cared not for preferring that the channel never utter his name again.
When hologram 2pac at Coachella gives new meaning to the saying 'Hip-Hop is Dead' it's truly untimely to lose an MC like Lowkey who helped to keep it alive. He's only quitting music, not the movement, though and is promising to channel his energies in ways he feels will be more helpful. So in that, we say godspeed!
Gabriel San Roman is from Anacrime. He’s a journalist, subversive historian and tallest Mexican in OC.