Last winter, I sat in a class with a group of artists and we discussed the difference between truth and beauty while arguing whether one was more important than the other in regard to art.
Like any debate, there were people who felt strongly about both subjects, but what seemed most shocking was that most leaned toward the idea that beauty was more important than truth in art. Some emphasized the significance of packaging and marketing, claiming that art itself is the distortion of reality. Some also argued that art, for many, is an avenue of escape and people should not be burdened with “truth” when experiencing it. Others, like myself, perceived art to be a creative depiction of reality that magnifies truth instead of distorting it.
It offers a quality of direction in a world that is, for lack of better wording, all over the place. For example, hip-hop artists such as Tupac Shakur, Public Enemy, NWA, and Wu Tang Clan emphasize the conflicts of poverty, government corruption, and social injustice. They delivered grand truths, focusing on their positions in the world instead of the positions that they are in because of the money and popularity that they’ve generated. They make music for their communities, music that evokes emotion and action. That’s what makes them passionate and what makes other people passionate about them and their music. Likewise, mastermind manager, lyricist, and vocalist DaZay Burnett uses hip-hop to not only express himself, but to portray his experiences and their relationship with other people’s experiences.
DaZay Burnett grew up in Harlem, New York, home of the creative and performing arts where he immersed himself in both. He performed in musicals and talent shows at Beacon High School and attended weekend classes at The Harlem School of the Arts. He established The Vagabondz with his best friend Tyrone during their freshman year in high school. BrokeMc of The Deli Online Publication suggests that the collective sound authentically Westcoast; however, DaZay’s and his counterparts’,Tye’s and Zymoon’s complex, well informed yet, humble lyricism backed by synthetic instrumentals gives them a Wu Tang Clan texture and mien infused with their own organic aesthetic. What makes the group unique is the obvious gap between their age and wisdom. It is most evident in their debut album LESSONS.
DaZay states, "Yeah we definitely get the conscious rap label a lot, which I’m always kinda boosted by because if you peep our earlier tracks on soundcloud (Leopard Interior EP), it’s all sex, drugs, light and dark songs. But that’s just the life we were living at the time growing up in NYC, beefin with other public schools, turnin up at brooklyn free’s (frees= house parties), so the music is like a piece of that moment in time. I feel like we matured fast from that route though, especially with LESSONS, the subject matter is more focused on issues that a lot of people don’t know youth go through in this city, and just our day to day life lessons. Whether that be through songs talking about guns, not being able to afford college, police brutality, or even a lovey dovey song like “Come Tru."