I Get What You’re Saying: Interview with MC Eleven and the Karma Kids
By Kyle Nutter
If you like hip hop stripped of accessories and clutter, you’ll love MC Eleven and the Karma Kids’ new album Kombinations. It reminds you that hip hop was created with only wordplay over drums there to keep beat. That form of music exposes an artist. There isn’t anything to hide behind. The intellect of this group makes that fear mute. They understand wordplay.
“It’s too easy having a normal conversation,” said Gruff Lion, a Karma Kid.
Wordplay is the ultimate form of art because it is the building blocks of communication. Long ago our society developed to a point where grunts and gestures wouldn’t cut it. Complex thoughts need precise execution. Word development is thought development. More words allows for different expressions of the same idea, breaking it and building it. When things are defined more and more, it’s understood at a deeper level, and that knowledge automatically brings up new thoughts and ideas. And new ideas is what MC Eleven and the Karma Kids pursue. They build bridges to their audiences by finding and inventing ways of connection through communication.
Language is fluid and always changing to suit specific needs. Often times it goes unnoticed because it solves a problem. Acronyms and internet slang are for condensing. Nicknames and slurs are shorthand to communicate familiarity and hatred. As long as it’s accomplishing communication, it’s language no matter what’s being said. The group shifts language by articulating ideas in unheard of ways discovering a mutual language with audiences.
“The great part about the writing process is finding out how to say what you want to say in the best way without being predictable or abstract,” said Duncecap, a Karma Kid.
The fluidity of language allows for infinite combinations. The plasticity of language comes from the fact that words have no inherent substance. They are only sounds, hollow of meaning unless we fill them. However, the placed meaning must be accepted by others. Language is expanded through mutual agreement. It doesn’t matter if ten or ten thousand agree. Communication is effective when there is understanding between parties. That happens on a global and local scale. MC Eleven and the Karma Kids were drawn together over an exclusive understanding, and a particular language developed between them. This pillar supports their music.
“The fun part of wordplay is watching it stick,” Duncecap said.
“People are trying to figure out if it’s real,” said Googie, a Karma Kid.
A thought is real in your mind, but once it’s accepted it becomes even more real. There’s confirmation.
“Then you’re really working with fire,” said Gruff Lion, “It’s real because we are saying it to each other.”
Words are powerful because they’re used out of a desire to communicate. It is impossible to survive in our society without a dialogue with others. Language is the tool. And a tool is nothing without a user. Alone a tool can accomplish nothing, but with an adept user, it can create wonderful things. MC Eleven and the Karma Kids know how to build good things. Words fill their toolbox.