While I classify myself as a lover of all things techno and classic rock, I’m a huge fan of hip hop but only when it comes to the artists who treat their work seriously. In the realm of Asian American hip hop, there’s a large number of artists out there that I show tremendous respect for, from the likes of Snacky Chan, Blue Scholars, Kero One, Denizen Kane, Magnetic North, Notorious MSG, and so many more.
There’s a new hip hop artist on the rise and his name is Mondega.
I had the pleasure of meeting Mondega several months ago through Lac Su (author of I Love Yous are for White People) when he came to visit Los Angeles. At first, I didn’t see what the big deal was about this guy since when it comes to praise within the APA community, I am especially wary since mediocrity and true talent are often glazed over in the name of community support.
But after meeting him, all my doubts were set aside. I was immediately struck by his intensity, his passion and knowledge for Asian Pacific American matters, but more importantly, it was his songs that backed this man up. It was this one particularly that got me in and from there, I was listening. The fact that’s he only 22 just blows my mind. If you want more details about Mondega, check out this inside look at his personal life and his struggles to survive to become the artist he is today.
On October 1st, 2010, Mondega released For The People, his first official EP album. Although I’m not a fan of buying music CD’s, the passion this man has for his craft and social justice matters was more than enough for me to plunk down $10. For the record, I’m going to start off by saying that this album is definitely something you need to listen to, regardless if you’re a fan of hip hop or not.
While it’s not entirely catchy that you can find yourself humming to, that’s not the point. You’re not going to find this in the Top 40 charts nor are you going to find this at Target. And that’s where the true raw beauty lies for this album. The title says it all. This album is for the people. Throughout the 15 songs, Mondega masterfully tells stories of struggle, loss, and hope. The lyrical content of this album is tremendous and it demands repeated listens to fully absorb the full spectrum of knowledge and emotions Mondega drops on his listeners.
But I can only say so much to express what I find to be powerful about this album. Listen to this song right here and if you like what you hear, you can buy the album on Blacklava.