Hip-hop artists aren’t good at the uplifting stuff. They get way too heavy-handed and preachy when they’re trying to inspire. Eminem’s “Not Afraid” was a whiny, emo mess, Nas’ “I Can” was an obvious attempt to placate Parent Teacher Associations, and Talib Kweli makes boring songs for goobers.
Donwill of Tanya Morgan does a much better job of connecting with the regular guy who’s down on his luck. The message of “Breathe” is simple: relax, it’s gonna be alright. He doesn’t spew platitudes or tell you about how you can be president if you believe in yourself and eat your vitamins. The video doesn’t have a children’s choir singing about perseverance, just a car that needs to be dug out of the snow. It’s powerful because it’s simple and real.
“Breathe” works even better in the context of the album. Don Cusack in High Fidelity is out now and one of the better rap releases of 2010.