Fresh off his critically acclaimed “#BLM” EP, DMV rapper Abel Meri is back with a follow up LP “Truth to Power”, a project that definitely lives up to its name. In these hyper-polarized times, Abel Meri has become an important voice in the vanguard of conscious rap. We had an opportunity to preview the album and were impressed by its artistry, honesty and balance.
Featuring eclectic production from DJ Pain 1, Mike Vince, Victa Beats and Edin, “Truth to Power” picks up where “#BLM” left off and elevates from there. The tone is pitch-perfect for the current social and political climate as Abel holds no punches in his artistic expression.
“In this day and time, being woke as an artist is no longer optional, it’s mandatory” said Meri. “The stakes are way too high” he added, referring to the upcoming 2020 presidential election. Sticking to his conscious MO, powerful tracks like “Stand Up”, “Cold World”, “Right a Wrong” and the title track “Truth to Power” take listeners on impassioned rides of activism which are both informative and lyrical. Meri touches on several prominent social and political issues of the time including COVID-19, police brutality, the Confederate flag, a discriminatory judicial system, voter suppression, the Me Too movement and political corruption. Meri also points out the deafening silence from many faith leaders in the face of brazen hypocrisy at the highest levels of government. Lines like “where the pastors at? I saw a few that stood up tall, against the grain, but the rest of y’all…good Lord I’m appalled” on “Stand Up” are examples of Meri asking rhetorical questions out loud and weaving the answers into clever lyrics with wit and sarcasm. His admitted commitment to his Christian faith makes this honesty even more notable.
In addition to providing poignant social and political commentary, “Truth to Power” also touches on the global influence of hip hop culture, and its unification effect on world. From slang, to fashion, to music, to art, hip hop is now inextricably embedded into the fabric of popular culture. Today, it’s common to hear primetime news anchors casually evoke hip hop slang like “clap back” mid-sentence of an on-air broadcast. A far cry from the days when the Grammys refused to recognize hip hop as a genre, and when MTV refused to play its music videos.
On the track “Hip Hop Raised Me” (produced by Mike Vince), Meri explores the journey of hip hop from what many seasoned industry experts at the time considered a passing fad, to becoming the most influential art form of our time. “Hip Hop Raised Me” masterfully tracks the culture’s roadmap from longshot prospect to dominant force. “It’s been like a relay race” said Meri, referring to the generations of artists, executives and fans that have contributed towards growing hip hop into what it is today. “It’s a cultural wiki that we communally cultivated” added Meri. “Hip hop is so influential now, how quickly we forget…the Grammys didn’t recognize hip hop…no respect, Rodney Dangerfield, rap was in a danger field, ex-drug gang members and drug dealers I guess did not appeal”, said Meri referencing the industry resistance artists like NWA and Jay-Z faced early on.
Staying true to his boom bap essence, “Bring it Back” (produced by Jay Mark Music) is a soulful, 90’s era offering that is both nostalgic and fresh at the same time. “This is Hip Hop” (produced by Victa Beats) is a boom bap banger that serves as a thank you to the pioneers of hip hop. Lines like “no them, no us, so OGs listen up, here’s a thank you, for all of us that came through, the doors that you framed dude” express gratitude to forefathers including Dapper Dan, Grandmaster Flash, Kool Herk and Kurtis Blow.
At a pivotal time in American and global history, “Truth to Power” delivers a much-needed message that is simultaneously edifying, entertaining and woke. Meri’s lyricism, charisma and track presence really shine through on this project, offering listeners food for thought in spades. A notable addition to the repository of BLM inspired art.
“Truth to Power” will be released on all digital platforms on September 4th.
Official Website: abelmeri.com