The video of Kenyan emcee, Khaligraph Jones’ track, ‘Everyday’ profoundly opens with a quote by Confucius (Chinese philosopher, politician and teacher) that reads: “In a country well governed poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed wealth is something to be ashamed of.” Right off the bat, Khaligraph makes it known that what is to come is anything but juvenile bullshit.
The theme of this track is poverty and the daily difficulties and realities associated with being economically disadvantaged. Rather than glorifying the ideology of meritocracy, Khaligraph stresses that it is only out of the innate necessity to strive and float above the disadvantage that “grinding” becomes mandatory and woven into daily activity. The chorus which states, “Everyday, every night we have to grind/ To make ends meet cuz we got to survive/ we grind til we fall no lies…,” insinuates that grinding is for some (most, in fact) a pure means of survival. Often times hip hop artists attribute grinding to the elevation of the Self, the ego or an accumulation of material wealth. Khaligraph cleverly flipped the colloquial connotations of the term, implying that it is a lifestyle that the impoverished majority must succumb to in order to remain living— especially to validate their existence to a monetarily driven planet.
“His name already got some buzz in the Kenyan hip hop scene, and this video doesn’t disappoint at all. Khaligraph is a young emcee from Nairobi (Kenya) who released his first track in 2004 at the age of 13. He grew to be a bilingual emcee who specialised in battling and freestyling. After participating in the Channel O Emcee Africa […]” – Juma4 of AfricanHipHop.com
What struck me as unique about Khaligraph aside from the general self- inflation typical of the hip hop persona, is that he remains selfless in his message for the most part of the track, highlighting the common folk. [Relevance!] He definitively points out the vitality of giving back to the community. He even says straight- up that the “definition of real Black” is standing up for one’s community and contributing in any way that is most fitting for that community, whether it be in the form of financial support or becoming a positive role model for the youth (“Good example for the teens…”) Bringing his message full circle, Khaligraph suggests in this track that one should utilize the “everyday grind” to uplift themselves and in turn uplift the community- at large— a positive feedback loop that benefits the whole rather than the one (and solely the one). In this day and time in hip hop, this is a rather progressive position to take and Khaligraph handled the stance very well. He deliberately chose to refrain from speaking about himself for the entire three– minute duration of the track. His message wasn’t too abrasive with the light beat and direct, but not too weighty, lyricism. Big ups to this emcee for remaining true to the community and staying with what’s truly happening with folk, letting it known that the world should be severely ashamed as long as its people must grind to support the everyday struggle of being human, and alive.
Be sure to take a look/ listen below: