PLAYING DETROIT: Mic Write “blak/joi”

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Emcee, poet, educator, and Detroit visionary, Chace “Mic Write” Morris is unstoppable. Mic Write’s reputation as a renaissance man pales in comparison to the weight of his message and unconstrained fervor. As a slam poetry champion, Kresge literary arts recipient and a main player in the progressive hip-hop collaboration Cold Man Young, Write has tapped into the collective social conscious, delivering striking commentary on race, community, and injustice with an impervious directness by means of jaw-dropping scholarly rhyme schemes paired with beats suitable for both grinding or marching, respectively.

Even when shining a light on systematic oppression and gentrification, Write never waivers in making it a point to remind of us of joy, hope, and gratitude. “It’s been a hell of a year/but if you hear this then you still hear us,” Write proclaims in his latest track, “blak/joi,” a song balanced with care, but not with caution. “Blak/joi” is as much of a story as it is a rap and just as much of a call to arms as it is a love-lorn sonnet to the past and future. One of the most impactful aspects of Write’s performance is that it doesn’t feel like a performance. It isn’t a callused memorization of lyrics or idle notations on cadence or emphasis, rather an in-the-moment, impassioned retelling of a dream/nightmare turned reality where words are both spilling and fighting their way through clenched teeth.

“Oh can you feel it?/ocean couldn’t drown it/chains couldn’t slave it/bullets couldn’t kill it/cops couldn’t beat it/death couldn’t tame it/government couldn’t steal it,” Write professes in what is one of the most hard hitting rhymes on the track, again, dancing the line between hope lost and hope found. The most unassumingly heartbreaking line, though, is the disjointed chorus. The song trails off to Write admitting “Sometimes I trip on how happy we could be/sometimes I trip on how happy we could be” as if he reached for the clouds knowing he would only bring down dust.

Feel the power with Mic Write’s latest, “blak/joi” below:

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