What would you expect from a rapper with a name like Trouble Boy? Hardcore rhymes with bombing references every other verse drop? A Haiti rapper who goes by that name and who’s name Haitian-American music fans will get the chance to see the rapper perform at Miami’s Haitian Compas Festival this May.
While his name may indicate chaos and mischief, lyrically the rapper is heavy on the social commentary game. This is especially transparent on a track like “Nou Sou Nèt” (We’re on the Internet). Rapping about social media addiction among Haiti’s youths, and selfie addiction, and cases of social media disgraces and vicious gossip, he concludes: “Nou bezwen yon meditasyon nasyonal/We need a serious national meditation session.”
“Nou Sou Nèt” was preceded by “Nou Ka Chanje Ayiti”(We Can Haiti Around), another track that’s more like a public address than a song. A video for the song shows the rapper donning a suit, picking at the keyboard of a piano on a lush mountain. And as the camera expands to show valleys and mountain peaks in Haiti, and weather-beaten architecture, the rapper looks earnestly at the viewer and declares: “A lot of times we complain that Haiti has nothing to offer us, but have we ever asked ourselves what we’ve given to Haiti?”
Though part of an industry that raps about alcohol, partying, good times and debauchery, the Cap Haitien-based rapper rarely mentions these topics on his tracks. In the aforementioned track “Nou Ka Chanje Haiti”, Trouble Boy tells a likely story, that of a young woman who was raised in Haiti and spent her vacations abroad, until one day when her parents worried about her future, decide to send her abroad. They recruit the help of relatives to arrange a “business marriage” for her with someone in the United States, even though she’s dating someone in her hometown in Haiti. This storyline may sound dramatic, but as the verses flow, Trouble Boy assures his listener that this is the norm on his island.
The rapper is not above sarcasm. On the song “Tout Moun Gen Mennaj” (Errrybody Got Their Own), he raps about sugar babies and mate-sharing, and the dating scene among Millennials in Haiti.
“Poko Prè” (Ain’t Ready Yet) tells the story of an immature young man who’s being pressured by his longtime-girlfriend’s parents to marry. The song isn’t a traditional rap song beat-wise. It’s inflected with some heavy reggae and Haitian roots music.
The rapper is at the dawn of his career, but he clearly has the ears of Haiti’s youths, because his music relates things about their every day lives.
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