Even though it has been in the mainstream consciousness for many years now, Hip-Hop is still largely thought to consist mainly of idiotic, crude and often pointlessly violent lyrics that debase and malign the English language. Although to be fair, that is predominantly the Hip-Hop music being shoved down our throats by major record labels and radio. However, there is an increasingly large presence of extremely intelligent Hip-Hop pushing the genre’s boundaries and transforming rap into academically and artistically viable poetry. One of the primary underground artists working in this direction is Frenchman Han Sino. Sino is a self-taught musician who crafts music in the Nu Jazz, Rare Groove, Trip Hop and Spoken Word idioms. His new Spoken word Hip-hop album “Erotik”, is a recording of poetic texts written to be performed to music.
“It’s true that English Speaking people will lose a part of the poetic subtlety, but I’ve tried to make the project varied enough to propose a good musical experience to my audience,” say Han Sino. “’Erotik’ is more an Opus on the meaning of life, than a work with explicit content. It’s a proposition to find a way through Poetry,” continues the artist. The album consists of 8 Tracks, 6 Interludes, 1 Intro and 1 Outro, of which all the music and lyrics was written, composed and produced by Han Sino.
There is much to question regarding the current state of mainstream hip-hop, minus a few, fresh glimmers of hope. For the most part, it’s become monotonous, overproduced, and lacking comprehensive, lyrical depth. But when the art is removed from its clichéd natural habitat, the possibilities are endless, that’s part of what Han Sino shows us here.
Judging intelligence and artistic insight is an extremely subjective matter and will always spark debate, but decisions made solely based on lyricism, mastery and exemplary use of language, literacy and knowledgeability, and overall subject matter, concept and artistic statement, makes this task easier.
It also allows us to certify that Han Sino strikes gold in each one of the above criteria. Sino is a respected artist in the underground industry. And for good reason too; while his French language, spoken word creations may seem like an obstacle for English listeners at first, he has expressed untold ability to use language to paint beautiful pictures and make poignant statements, and he remains a wonderful story-teller on the tracks that make up “Erotik”.
How do I know this? Intelligently, the album comes with a handbook in Pdf format covering all the English translations of his musical pieces.
Throughout his Spoken word tracks, Han Sino has become increasingly cerebral in his raps, often dipping into abstract lyricism and existentialism, and his unconventional use of language has become more metaphorical than ever, making the average listener listen twice before continuing to groove out and have fun.
Indeed, Sino’s penchant for groovy musical productions lead many to know him for his chill and funky tracks, however he will also no doubt become known as a powerful spoken word poet, after people have listened to “Erotik”.
Sino blends spoken word poetry with a series of diverse soundscapes to create something that is unusual but a powerful combination of straight-forward honesty and abstract expression. He is moved to tell effecting stories from a universal perspective in his continual journey to explore the human psyche.
At times he is cryptic: “I like the Scents of Red Currants…X Forbidden Torments, The Velvet that retracts…Facing the forest that marvels…!” And then all at once he is explicit: “Don’t taste Strawberries, Who wants to…! The Danger’s wipe the slate clean…Of Misunderstood false hopes, In the soft silk of your arch…” All in the same song.
Even if you did not always know what he means you always feel it, thanks to the music. Han Sino makes songs that are so deep, so haunting, and so achingly beautiful that his music forms a deep connection with anyone who dares listen to it.
I won’t take you through the track list as that would be tedious and boring in contrast to actually listening to the album and personally reading through the translations. After several listens, “Erotik” will provide an extremely deep listening experience to those who take the time to decipher and savor the valuable gems to be found here.
Do not try to decipher all the lyrics in one of his songs at once. Listen again until something clicks, and when it does, and the meaning to one of his lines unlocks its meaning, it can be the most satisfying experiences possible to reap from any art form.
Link up with Han Sino at the following links:
facebook band page
facebook label page