Coat of Many Colors


Lots of rappers spit about the spoils of their stardom”Bentleys, diamonds, Louis Vuitton luggage. Not many, and maybe none, have taken all that money they’ve made through record sales and donated it to charity. Except, that is, New York rapper and activist Awkword. His album, World View, featured contributions from artists in 20 countries and benefited Guns 4 Cameras, a nonprofit dedicated to ending street violence. And though his mission is serious, Awkword’s got a quicksilver wit that permeates most of his tracks. On the buoyant, reggae-influenced Stay Spittin’, Stay Flowin’ he takes listeners through the chambers of the heart, from the vena cava to the aorta. Then, on Colors, he turns his attention to the color wheel, rapping My blood is red, but I stay blue like Barack over a Motown loop. Only on Requiem do you get a sense of Awkword’s intensity. I’m here to lift you up / I can also take you down. Stay on his good side; it’s a pretty inspiring place to be.