Thug Genius

Ever notice how it’s the poor, black, unemployed, idle but creative youth who create musical empires? It’s true in Hip-Hop, and I’ve since learned it’s true in steel band, too.

Tenor steel drum interior. Those little indentions in it are notes.

Tenor steel drum interior

In our lecture on the history of the steel band last week, the professor called Hip-Hop “an empire” and noted that the type of people who created the genre. I thought about all the times we probably disregard genius because it looks like thuggery. Not saying all thugs are geniuses; if you’re unemployed, idle, and not creative, you probably find ways to be destructive. But if you are creative, you make empires. You make history. You turn the empty steel oil drums you see in the background in the photo on the left to the shiny steel instruments you can see your reflection in, and that can play every musical note and genre. (We *tried* to learn Michael Jackson’s “Human Nature,” but … we tried. So even if I weren’t having technical issues, there would be no recording, but video of our instructor is below.CAM00246)





Channeling my inner Sheila E.



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